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!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Simon says:

    I gotta say this was the best ep of the season so far!

  2. Livvy says:

    The scene in the nursery as three loves were remembered with smiles was the best of the year.

  3. S7 Fan says:

    I enjoyed the way Mrs. Hughes finessed a job for Molesley. Love her.

  4. knd says:

    Poor Edith seriously can’t catch a break.

    • Sara says:

      She doesn’t deserve one. She jeopardized the family’s reputation to spite Mary. She encouraged the married farmer and she got involved with a married man. She gets what she deserves.

  5. Ck says:

    With the luck the Crawley girls have with pregnancies I’m wondering if Michael is dead. The scene in the nursery wihwre talked talked about falling in love was such a beautiful scene

  6. gregk says:

    My wife thought that Violet’s lost/stolen things were a setup to give Isobel some busy work and “indignancies” to help get her over Matthew’s death. It did seem suspicious the way they were found.

  7. JimZ says:

    The gov’t analysts are a foreboding of the eventual decline of Downton; the question is how long Fellowes will prolong the agony. As his whole series is intended to reflect that period as he knows it, that decline will be painful, but inevitable.

    • Ben says:

      My guess is not – some of the estates managed to survive ok until World War II – a period of time he has said he wants to fall well short of. And I don’t think it is very Fellowes to leave the end as a low note.

      • Isobel says:

        Agree it’ll probably end on a good note, though due to the shows popularity ending well before WW2 may not be in cards anymore

  8. J3 says:

    The scene in the nursery was the best of the episode. It stirred emotion. “Aren’t we the lucky ones?” Loved it.

    • AmbleAlong says:

      This was a really great scene and a nice touch in the episode. I know there need to be these “bridge” episodes where not a lot goes on, but this year has seemed even slower than ever.

  9. A says:

    Ok, my new theory is that Michael is a spy. Thoughts?

    • AmbleAlong says:

      Now that would be interesting if he were a spy! At least Edith is getting something to do this year…

      I am still wondering what the document was that Edith signed so willingly for Michael a few episodes back “for the period in which he would be away”… It was such an unusual entry into that episode that I keep expecting it to show up or be a plot point sometime soon…

    • Rita says:

      I too have had that same thought in terms of his being a spy as well. Obviously something isn’t right and what did Edith sign..??

  10. Stormy says:

    Has anyone other than myself noticed that the last couple of times a scene was set in the dining room, we haven’t seen the portrait of Charles I on the white horse? Maybe I missed it, or they just haven’t panned up enough.

  11. Saluzzo says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the show, as always, even if I am a bit concerned that Mary and her suitors will take over the show, as in previous seasons. Nit picking here, but Cora’s lady’s maid is Miss Baxter, not Mrs Baxter. As I understand it, the Mrs honorific was only used for housekeepers and cooks, even if they were unmarried. The other more senior servants were Miss or Mrs, according to their actual marital status. I suppose it’s possible that Baxter is a widow, but I’ve seen the same error here when referring to the previous lady’s maids.

  12. jenferner8 says:

    Please keep this guy around for Mary!! She’s so much better when she’s being challenged. Her behavior is tiresome and boring, it’s bad enough that Molesley seemes to have cornered the market on being pathethic. She’s more alive this way, I love her verbal sparings!