Downton Abbey Recap: Party Favors

Downton Abbey Season 4 RecapOn this week’s Downton Abbey, Rose arranges a surprise for Robert’s birthday bash, but it’s Mary who gets the real shock when she walks in on… Well, keep reading. I’ll tell you in a bit.

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LOST AND FOUND | Beside herself after she learns that Violet has sacked Pegg over his suspected thievery, Isobel makes it her mission to prove the young gardener’s innocence. To that end, she waits until the Dowager Countess has gone out, then feigns dizziness so as to convince butler Spratt to let her come in and sit down. Once alone in the parlor, the born busybody makes short work of searching the place, and voila! She discovers the missing letter opener lost between chair cushions. But, before she can give her frenemy as thorough a tongue-lashing as she’d like, Violet calls in Pegg to inform Isobel that he’s not only already been rehired, he’s even received an apology! (Which, of course, puts a fun twist on the ladies’ earlier exchange, in which Isobel huffed, “How you hate to be wrong!” and Violet replied that she “wouldn’t know. I’m not familiar with the sensation.”)

STICK A FORK IN HIM | Alfred has scarcely begun to mope about his failure to get into culinary school when he receives a letter informing him that he’s being accepted after all. This, in turn, sets off Daisy, who places the blame for his subsequent departure not on his love of cooking but on his unrequited love for Ivy. Ironically, the dishy kitchen maid only realizes that she might have made a mistake in paying no mind to the gentle giant after he’s gone — and after James suggests that, since he’s taken her out several times, he’s entitled to more than a peck on the cheek! Meanwhile, Carson balks at the notion of (again) asking Molesley to fill Alfred’s position, arguing that he doesn’t want anyone on staff who is merely “willing” to do their job. In the end, however, Mrs. Hughes manages to press the issue so adorably that the head butler is left with no choice but to relent and rehire Matthew’s onetime valet.

ALL THAT JAZZ | While Mary takes an immediate dislike to Evelyn’s boss, Charles Blake — he’s studying failing estates in order to safeguard the country’s food supply, not counsel the aristocracy — and Edith learns that she is indeed pregnant (and still no sign of Michael!), Rose gets the joint jumping by securing Jack and his band to play at Robert’s birthday blowout. “I think it’s fun,” says the man of the hour. Mind you, not everyone likes jazz. “Do you think any of them know what the others are playing?” asks Violet. And certainly, not everyone likes jazz as much as Rose: When Mary goes looking for Jack to tell him that Robert would like to pick up the tab rather than let Rose pay, she finds the teenager in a clinch with her favorite singer!

IN OTHER NEWS… | A letter informs Cora that her brother, Harold, has gotten himself in a bit of financial trouble. Mrs. Baxter becomes increasingly ill at ease with her and Thomas’ “arrangement.” Tom continues to discuss moving to America. And, though Cora is able to get a snobbish maitre d’ to honor Bates and Anna’s dinner reservation, nothing seems to help the couple shake the feeling that, after recent events, their every move is “shadowed.”

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Initial thoughts on Mary’s new sparring partner? Hit the comments!