Downton Abbey Recap: Down and Dirty

Downton Abbey Season 4 Lady Mary PigsIn this week’s Downton Abbey, Mary and Charles begin to see each other in a new light. Not coincidentally, they also see each other covered in mud. (More on that later… ) Of course, this turn of events means that Tony must be returning in 3, 2… Ah, there he is! Read on for all the sloppy details!

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WHEN PIGS FLY | For the first part of the hour, it’s business as usual for Mary and Charles. In other words, sarcasm and condescension. However, she’s so set off by his description of her as aloof that she asks Anna if she agrees. “Do you want me to answer truthfully,” Anna wisely replies, “or like a lady’s maid?” Clearly, Charles is getting to Mary. Later, when it turns out that only she and Cora will be on hand to dine with her antagonist, she uses his estimation of them against him, wondering aloud, “How can two brainless dullards like us ever hope to entertain Mr. Blake?” After supper, though, everything changes. A stroll to see the Crawleys’ newly arrived pigs reveals that Babe’s forebears have overturned their trough and are becoming dangerously dehydrated. Finery be damned, Charles leaps into action — and, shockingly, so does Mary! By dawn, they look like they’ve been mud-wrestling. But, as she scrambles him an egg (herself!) and thanks him for his help (“You completely saved our bacon — literally!”), it’s clear that their opinions of one another have been drastically altered. Certainly, their mutual admiration is clear to his old war buddy, Tony, who drops by to do some fishing to continue pursuing Mary in spite of his engagement. (Sorry, Evelyn. The Dowager Countess was likelier to invent twerking than you were to win Mary’s affections.)

NEVER SAY DIE | Speaking of the Dowager Countess, she takes ill. very ill. (And, given how fond of her I and all of us are, it’s beyond upsetting to see.) Luckily, Isobel — taking a break from encouraging Tom to rekindle his romance with political activism — volunteers to take care of her frenemy 24/7, lest her bronchitis devolve into pneumonia. Even when Violet is delirious with fever, demanding another nurse because Matthew’s mother talks as much as “a drunken vicar,” Isobel doesn’t leave her side. And — thank heavens! — Violet pulls through just fine. Upon learning from Dr. Clarkson that (all of) the nurses who looked after her were Isobel, Violet is even nice to her.

THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS | Meanwhile, in London, as Rose encourages Jack to live — and love — in the moment, Edith confides in a surprisingly supportive Rosamund not only that she’s pregnant but that, under the circumstances (Michael being missing at best, dead at worst), she is getting an illegal abortion. As she sees it, she has no option. If she kept the baby, she’d be an outcast. “Sybil might have brought it off,” she notes, “but not me.” However, when push comes to shove, she can’t go through with the procedure.

CATCH OF THE DAY | To keep Alfred from dropping by for a visit — once again stirring up the rivalry between Daisy and Ivy — Mrs. Hughes tells Carson to fib to “the Downton heartbreaker” that there’s a flu bug going around, and were he to catch it, he might miss some important days at cooking school. “You’re quite a plotter when you want to be,” he notes. “It’s a skill every woman must learn,” she slyly responds. Nonetheless, Alfred does pop in, and, much to Daisy’s chagrin, Ivy makes it as plain as the pert nose on her face that she’s now as interested in him as she is disinterested in Jimmy.

MAY THE DEVIL GET HIS DUE | When Robert is called to America to (reluctantly) try and bail Cora’s brother out of hot water, Mrs. Hughes reveals Anna’s secret to Mary so that she will persuade her father to take Thomas as his valet instead of Bates. (Along the way, Mary even shocks her papa by suggesting that Thomas will have a great time ogling the “handsome stewards” aboard their ship. How does she know about such things? “I’ve been married,” she says. “I know everything.”) And it’s an especially good thing that Bates does stay behind, too, because Tony hasn’t returned to Downton alone, he’s brought his valet, Green. No sooner has Mrs. Hughes (rather thrillingly) threatened Anna’s rapist than it appears that Bates has deduced the identity of the “burglar” who attacked his wife. (If he hasn’t figured it out, there’s no explaining the murderous gleam in his eye.)

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Are you Team Tony or Team Charles? Hit the comments!

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53 Comments
  1. StupidPeopleShutUp says:

    So happy that Bates will finally know what’s up. Don’t care about Mary’s suiitors. Endgame is Mary and Tom.

    • Stormy says:

      That’s out of the question and disgusting.

    • catelyn says:

      Ugh. Why? Why would she end up with her dead sister’s husband?

      • S. says:

        Which is totally the feeling of Michelle Dockery, Allen Leech, and Julian Fellowes–not to mention a lot of fans. They’re al ‘ew gross, he’s like a brother’ so it ain’t happening. Let it go.

        • S. says:

          To clarify, the “let it go” was to anybody shipping Mary/Tom. Also, I typed “all”…I don’t know why it showed up as “al.”

    • Aryn says:

      Ewe, that is not something I want to happen, why in the world do you???? I like Mary with Lord Gillingham; once he fires his valet and drops him at the police station for what he did to Anna he will be ever the knight in shining armor!!!! (P.S. Mary and Tom together would be “end game” of me watching the show!!!)

    • The Kaibosh says:

      I gotta ask because I don’t understand the reaction to this. Why are people saying ewe and yuck to the possibility of a Mary and Tom pairing? They’re not related. They’re both widowed. What’s the moral issue here?

      • Stormy says:

        This is the 1920′s The idea of a man sleeping with let alone marrying sisters is bad enough. Two aristocratic sisters sleeping with the man who was the family chauffeur is beyond the pale. The same goes for posters who want a wedding between Tom and Edith to give her child a name. People would think Tom was the baby’s father and that’s just as disgusting, not to mention the shotgun wedding aspect. Edith has caused more than her share of gossip writing to the Turkish ambassador, kissing the married farmer, being dumped at the alter by Strallen.
        IMO neither sister should end up with Tom.

    • maggie says:

      Mary is still enough of a snob to not be interested in a former Chauffeur. As much as she’s come to like Tom, he’s still not in her class, and she’ll never overlook that.

  2. Alichat says:

    I really hope Bates doesn’t do anything violent to Green. As much as I think he deserves it, I don’t want Anna’s prediction to be true. If anything violent happens to Green, let it be that he is put in jail and a friend of Bates in prison takes care of him

    • Jean M says:

      I like this idea, or Green’s body could turn up somewhere, who cares where! an accident, an unidentified killer?, who cares, let’s get rid of this blight on society…so smug, and vile!

  3. Cheryl says:

    Team Charles. I think he is more interesting and challenges Mary, which she needs.

  4. jenferner8 says:

    Charles is much better for Mary. She’s like Violet in so many ways. Mary hasn’t been this much fun since season one and Matthew and quite frankly all the other suiters have been a bore. I love her wardrobe though. That red dress was beautiful, I didn’t even cringe when it got muddy but I loved that she just jumped in to help the pigs, that’s something I’ve done. I really, really do wish the 90210 kitchen crew would stop, it’s tedious, stupid, boring and gotten so old, enough already!

    • uh huh says:

      The dress was purple. She has only worn lavender/purple, gray, and black since Matthew died. Purple is the “half mourning” color. When she appears in a different color, she will be signifying that her period of mourning for Matthew is over. She’s not there yet.

  5. Sarah says:

    I actually think both men have exceptional chemistry with Mary. Being a huge fan of Julian Ovenden, I’m Team Charles….but from the look in Mary’s eyes, she’s soooo not over Tony.

    Why exactly could Anna not tell Mary it was Green? Knowing about the rape seems to be the bigger of the two secrets.

    • S. says:

      Yeah Team Charles. Loved that belly laugh she gave after getting mud on him. She hasn’t done something like that since she and Matthew laughed over the mouth full of salt Strallan got at that dinner party and that’s where Matthew started to get the idea she might be interested (the Strallan/Edith bet situation messed that up, but it was that moment they shared that Matthew later started to mention to Isobel). One thing that bugged me, I get Mrs. Hughes saying it’s okay to leave the key in the door lock to Mr. Carson. He doesn’t know about any rape and thinks it’s perfectly safe, but if there’s an alleged intruder, you’re kinda giving it away that it was someone you knew and someone you didn’t expect to come back, i.e. Green. I might be messing up the timeline but wasn’t Robert gone to America already when the pig incident happened? That means Mary would already know about a mysterious intruder and would probably find it weird that they’d be unsafe and leave the door sort of unlocked.

      • Linderella says:

        I thought the same about the key in the door. I must watch too many detective shows…like Foyle’s War where Julian Ovenden was Andrew Foyle. I also it when Charles Blake called Tony Gillingham by his pre-titled name of Tony Foyle. I wondered if that was a little homage Julian Fellowes put in after the two roles were cast. I think Charles Blake is just the kind of man who Mary needs – one with backbone although Tony Gillingham would certainly be an adoring husband! At least her options are better than Edith’s, poor love. I’m hoping that in the end Michael doesn’t end up being a complete jerk or even worse – a Nazi sympathizer!

  6. The Beach says:

    Well done, Mrs. Hughes, well done!

  7. cjeffery7 says:

    just your average romantic pig slop date.

    • S. says:

      Ha. I loved the part where Mary doesn’t just pick up the buckets and charge into the breach. They still kept it true to what Mary is deep down because she goes ‘uggh’ under her breath, knowing the disgusting nature of what’s to come but doing it anyway. That little moment set the scene to make the whole thing in character. It was believable because as Matthew said, Mary’s practical. She absolutely will knuckle down and fight. She’s still gonna think messing around in muck in her nice dress and gloves is gross. I really hope that wasn’t any vintage garment. I’m betting they made something from scratch for that scene.

      • Stormy says:

        Still easier than carrying a dead guy through the house in the dark. LOL

      • maggie says:

        Those pigs are to make money so Mary can keep Downton Abbey. Of course she’s going to do what ever it takes to save those pigs. Mary will do anything to be able to keep Downton Abbey. Mary is the Scarlet O’Hara of Downton Abbey. She may be beautiful and spoiled, but she’s not as weak and delicate as people think.

  8. cjeffery7 says:

    team Tony almost seems too good to be true, so if its not Tony, it’s gotta be Evelyn. did ya’ll not see Mary LIGHT UP when he walked in for the first time in whatever episode it was?! he MAY have a habit of bringing bad boys to Downton, but in time he could be the familiar friend Mary needs.

    • S. says:

      Ugh, there are Napier-fans that loathe Charles so hard because they can tell that’s a big threat. If you could put money down in Vegas, Napier would be long odds and 3rd choice in the betting pool. You don’t mind Tony because you don’t think she’ll end up with him in your gut. Napier’s a great guy, but c’mon Mary’s shown no romantic interest. She lit up the first time she saw him in awhile, in part because he was a dear old friend and she hadn’t seen him in ages. The man’s been friend-zone’d. Poor Evelyn, he’s a catch himself but he always seems to bring men to Downton that strike Mary as more interesting. It’s a shame that he knows Edith threw her sister under the society bus in S1 or you could think of him as a good man for her after picking so many bad or maritally unavailable ones. I don’t see how he’d ever try to get with anybody who’d done that to a family member of theirs. He obviously was Team Mary when he told her about what Edith had done.

  9. cjeffery7 says:

    of course Evelyn is third fiddle in this whole scenario, but it won’t stop me from shipping he and Mary anyway. call me an idealist, but while he knew that Edith threw Mary under the bus, he still had enough respect for Mary to tell her when he could’ve just kept it to himself and continued on with his life. something tells me he’s always been an admirer of Mary’s, he’s just been too shy or unsure of himself to admit as much up until this point.

  10. Sheryl says:

    More Isobel and Violet please!

  11. Aryn says:

    I am loving that Violet and Isobel are finally going to have that friendship you have always wanted them to have :) They are truly BFF’s!!!

  12. Belle says:

    Why does every lady become pregnant almost the minute they have sex…not loving that Edith is with child – she needs a good man (Edith’s age this time) some hot Englishman that Mary wants from afar but can never have because he is totally in love with Edith :)

  13. Bridgette says:

    I’m curious that no one has picked up on the fact that Lord Gillingham is broke. His fiancee, as read in the newspaper, is the sole heir to her father’s estate. He pokes his head around Mary for the first time in decades AFTER she become part owner of the estate. His initial conversation with a “friend” and brother in arms is about the finances of Downton. During his last visit, his friend is a man who makes his living as a card shark to the clubs that he can only get into because of LG and his valet is a crooked rapist. Not that he would necessarily know about the valet, but how is the best friend of a gentleman a man of ill-gotten gains? He’s ready to dump current girlfriend because her estate isn’t worth anything but he knows Downton has made the changes to make money. He’s looking for a meal ticket, not love.

    • maggie says:

      ^This.^

      I think Tony is after Mary’s money. He didn’t show up until after it was revealed that she did indeed inherit Matthew’s estate, not George. Tony has his title, but lost his home because he’s short on money. He’s engaged to a wealthy woman, and even tells Mary that he’s expected to marry Mabel, with the suggestion that it’s for financial reasons. As soon as Tony finds out that Mary is now incredibly wealthy, Tony shows up at Downton to profess his love for Mary, whom he hasn’t seen in years. And now Tony knows that Downton is in good financial shape for the future, which means that he will pursue Mary even harder.

      Charles is a better fit for Mary. He’ll make her more modern and less stuffy. (I also have been a fan of Julian Ovenden since he played Andrew Foyle on Foyle’s War. Sam should have ended up marrying Andrew and not boring Adam.)

    • tan06 says:

      I agree 100% with your comment “Lord Gillingham is broke. His fiancée, as read in the newspaper, is the sole heir to her father’s estate. He pokes his head around Mary for the first time in decades AFTER she become part owner of the estate. His initial conversation with a “friend” and brother in arms is about the finances of Downton.” Gillingham is all shades of SHADY! The creepy chauffeur who he made some comment about (to Mary?) inferring he did not like him much but seeing as money an issue he could not be picky. AND his card shark ‘friend’.

      And foreshadowing/irony maybe when Mary joked with one of the gents that they had brought an enemy into their fold – referring to Charles – when in fact I bet she ends up with Charles. (Which will tickle her brother in law to no end!)

      BRAVO Mrs. Hughes- once again the protector of all people Downton. I love the scenes with her and pretty much anyone else in the cast, but especially Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Carson.

  14. Luli101 says:

    Agree about Lord Gillingham. He’s after the money, I think. Team Charles.

  15. CC says:

    I like Charles because I like Julian Ovenden. I am simple like that :)

  16. Nara says:

    Team Charles. He’s a multi-sided character who looks to the future.

  17. tan06 says:

    So who is going to end up being Anna’s savior?

    I sense Charles is going to somehow find out about his friend’s scum of a valet, help Bates set him up to confess (with witnesses present), turn him over to police and end up Mary’s hero!

    Either that or we need Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in a cross-over episode……

  18. tan06 says:

    And what is up with Edith’s baby daddy?!? I am bored with the ‘mystery’ of his disappearance but feel it is going to be a major story line once resolved (seeing as it is mentioned often even if in passing).

  19. DB says:

    I think Mary should concentrate on her baby and not worry about the vultures that are circling. Also, just curious, –for this time period–why is it fine to marry a cousin but disgusting to be interested in poor Tom, who is beloved and a young father with a long life ahead of him? Just food for thought.

    • Stormy says:

      Because third cousins that you’ve never met [Mary and Matthew] is very different from someone who was your brother-in-law. It’s creepy. And from a snobbish viewpoint ca. 1920s, 2 aristocratic sisters both marrying the same chauffeur is beyond scandalous. It isn’t about consanguinity, it’s about good taste, class order, common sense and moral fiber. JMO

    • maggie says:

      Mary is still a snob, and would never marry someone not of her class/wealth. Matthew was acceptable because he was the heir to Downton. If he had not been the heir, she most likely would never have been interested in him. Her sister may have been independent enough to marry someone from the working class, but that will never be something Mary would do. (Another reason why I think Charles will be revealed to be rich and/or titled.)

      But the main problem I have with pairing Mary and Tom is that they love each other like brother and sister. They are family now. Even though Matthew was family, he was a distant relative. His father and her father were second cousins. I’m not sure if that means Mary and Matthew are third cousins, or second cousins twice removed, but it does mean they weren’t closely related. They were strangers to each other before Matthew becoming heir.

  20. Morisot says:

    “The Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act” of 1907 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, allowing a man to marry his dead wife’s sister.

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