Downton Abbey Recap: In Recent Proposals

Downton Abbey Season 4This week’s Downton Abbey is so full of romance that not one but two proposals are left to occur off screen! (And it isn’t even a Valentine’s Day special!) Who pops the question, and who gets their bubble burst? Read on.

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IN A PIG’S EYE | No sooner have Mary and Tom hired Drew to be their “pig man” than Edith has decided that this virtual stranger can be trusted to raise her baby in secret. (M’kay.) Thankfully, Rosamund swoops in with at least a slightly better plan: She announces that she’s going away for a few months to improve her French, and she’s taking her niece with her. (While they are off doing the aristocracy’s version of the Rosetta Stone, she tells Edith, she will have the child and put it up for adoption, and that will be that.) Of course, since Rosamund and Edith aren’t exactly masters of either subtlety or subterfuge, Violet sees through the lie at once. (For starters, “Rosamund has no interest in French,” the Dowager Countess points out. “If she wishes to be understood by a foreigner, she shouts.”)

LOVE COMES QUICKLY | When not encouraging Tom to run for office, Isobel tickles the fancy of Mary’s godfather, Lord Merton. (If you ask me, he’s rather a chilly substitute for that nice Dr. Clarkson. But at least he sends flowers after their luncheon at Violet’s.) Meanwhile, over and over again, Tom runs into Sarah — the schoolteacher next to whom he sat at that political lecture. And, though at first she gives him a hard time about his highfalutin status as a Crawley, the more she gets to know him, the more she is forced to respect him. (And hey, what’s not to like about a handsome blueblood-by-marriage who knows how to jump-start your stalled car?) Finally, Mrs. Baxter and Molesley strike up such a warm friendship that he defends her when Barrow returns from America with Robert and begins using his usual menace.

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MARRY-GO-ROUND | After Alfred proposes to Ivy in a letter, she rejects him the same way. (Lord, even the show doesn’t seem interested in these two.) But at least the downstairs love quadrangle is brought to a satisfying conclusion when, on the advice of her father-in-law, Mr. Mason, Daisy bids her crush a sincere, fond and, most of all, final farewell. (She’s so grownup about it, in fact, that Mrs. Patmore tells her she couldn’t have been prouder if Daisy was her own daughter.) Meanwhile, in rapid succession, Tom blabs to Mary that he saw Rose on a date with Jack, Rose informs Mary that she’s going to marry Jack to piss off her mother (and, what seems like minutes later, adds that, since the last scene, he’s proposed), and Mary pays Jack a visit, during which he reveals that he intends to break off the engagement to spare his fiancée a lifetime of being stared at and ostracized.

GOOD RIDDANCE | After learning from a reluctant Anna that Green was her attacker, Mary — without going into the details — asks Tony to give his valet the axe. However, it turns out that it isn’t necessary for the villain to be fired: The same day that Bates is in York doing “this and that,” the rapist falls into the road and is struck by a bus. (Well, THAT’S not suspicious at all.) Mind you, Mary shouldn’t be troubled for too long by her knowledge of what may or may not have happened to the devil: On one hand, she has Tony, who’s given Mabel the heave-ho so that he may resume his pursuit of her, and on the other, she has Charles, who’s now so smitten that he laughs off her preemptive rejection.

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Are you liking any of the new couples that seem to be pairing off? Hit the comments!

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53 Comments
  1. Nicole says:

    Not enough anna and Bates for me but glad Mr. Green has finally got what he deserved.

    • Sue says:

      Bates could not have done the deed, and be back in the same day. UNLESS, he has a secret plane somewhere. Maybe Anna did it whilst in London with Mary!?

      • Kate says:

        ooo, I like that theory! I was thinking Mrs.Hughes…but I have to go back and re-watch the episode…but I don’t recall seeing her all that day of the bazaar! Can’t wait to find out! :)

  2. Sarah says:

    Poor Edith…is it God or the writers who never want her to be happy?!? However, she’s not that bright (giving your baby to a tenant, and believing no gossip could come of it). Seriously, Gregson is where??? I feel for her….and tire of the storyline.

    I adore Mary with Charles Blake. (Poor Evelyn, never had a chance). Tony is too washy-washy (and so pouty that other men are interested in Mary!)

    • S. says:

      Yeah I adore Blake as well. Tony and Evelyn have merits, I just think Blake makes sense long term for so many reasons. As soon as he and Mary stopped putting each other on the defensive and started from a place of mutual respect, things heated up–much like they did with Matthew. Side note: Napier’s face when Blake took the crying baby was hilarious. Not sure Evelyn would be what you’d call a hands on parent. I know Isobel had a brief exchange with Tony when he first showed up, but I’d like to see her have a conversation with Blake. Blake and Tom or Blake and Robert interacting more would be nice. We got to see Matthew bonding and connecting with the family as he grew to be part of it. Blake having a male friendship that doesn’t involve a Mary-suitor competitor would be great because who doesn’t love a good bromance? We got the hint of Tom/Matthew and I want that back somehow.

      • maggie says:

        I don’t like Tony because I think he’s after Mary’s money. He’s lost most of his and was planning to marry Mabel for her money. It’s seems suspicious that he shows up right after Mary finds out she’s Matthew’s heir. Tony hasn’t seen Mary in years, but is suddenly in love with Mary. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tony’s valet said if Tony fired him he would tell Mary the truth about Tony being after her money, so Tony pushed him in front of the bus. (That would be better than another storyline with Bates accused of murder.)

        • MiaB says:

          Ohhh, that would be a nice twist. Although the way Downton’s been going this season, I doubt the writers put that much thought into it.

        • JMK says:

          I actually had the same thought!! Bates being away for the day without a firm explanation was way to easy; plus if he had pushed the ‘Rake’ in front of the bus, he would have had a better answer to Anna’s question about what he had done, instead of ‘this and that.’ Plus, I think Tony was pushing Mary for her reason for wanting the ‘Rake’ gone so he could use it against him, in case the ‘Rake’ should ‘talk.’

      • Melanie says:

        So, in the end, you just want a Matthew 2.0!?

        • S. says:

          Mary’s got a type, that’s all. Fellowes is the one writing Matthew parallels. I find it hard to believe that people in the family aren’t gonna wanna get to know Blake on a more intimate personal level, and it would be a shame if had an emotional distance unlike what they had with Matthew. Tom’s gonna be working closely with Mary and in theory whoever she hooks up with. Blake and Tom would surely be having conversations. I’d like to hear what Tom has to say about him because you’d think they’d have had talks about estate management as part of Blake’s research. Does Blake know Tom used to be a chauffeur? I actually think he’d consider that another point toward the family not just being all about entitlement. A key player in the future of Downton (hopefully Tom stays) is someone who knows how to work hard, has sympathy for the workers, and has a background with farming and management.

  3. uh huh says:

    I’m so bored with this season. And that makes me sad.

    Who knew Matthew was so darn important? He was the sun at the center around which every other character and storyline orbited. Without him, it seems, directionless mess.

    • Stormy says:

      That’s why I harbor ill feelings toward Dan Steven’s, even though it’s his career and he had every right to leave. I refuse to be mature about it.

      • Cy says:

        I agree. It’s not like the show was going to run forever.He could have put a few more seasons in and then done whatever the heck he’s doing.

        • S. says:

          If everybody were willing to stay, I do think Fellowes would take it on way too long. The fact that people are getting big offers is gonna cause him to actually wrap it up sooner and that’d probably be better honestly. All kinds of rumors are out about who wants to leave. Dan couldn’t just stay years–he left after they filmed the 2012 Christmas special. He has young children and if you’re getting offers and have to do things like put them in school eventually, you have to make a call about what to do. It wasn’t some big ego thing of Dan’s. Waiting just to be nice to fans and Julian isn’t right for his family. JF understood totally. Besides, Dan leaving helped them give Mary a significant arc. She definitely had more to do than S3 where her biggest thing was arguing with Matthew about a magical inheritance but nobody can figure out where Swire got it.

      • Leigh says:

        I agree. And do so fully understanding this is not a rational sentiment. But, there it is.

    • Sarah says:

      I think some characters are not purpose-driven, so certain story lines are lacking. But I think Mary, Tom Branson, and Isobel really get to shine. Who would Mary have been moving forward had Matthew survived? I miss Matthew, but I think each of these characters got the chance to grow. Certainly some story lines (the downstairs love quadrangle, Rose, Edith…) have been missteps, but hopefully the show will grow from here.

    • johnhelvete says:

      It is not Dan Steven’s fault that Julian Fellowes, the writer, wasted a whole season on a love triangle between Alfred, Ivy and Daisy (completely wasted her character). Fellowes has a tendency to repeat things a few times throughout a season and it seemed like there was more of that this season. Losing Matthew and Sybil has not helped things, because I don’t care about the new characters, but most of the problems are the writing IMO.

      • gregk says:

        There is indeed a lot of repeat story lines over past and current seasons and even some of the dialogue rings familiar. Quite disappointing. Hope Daisy and Mrs. Patmore get significant story lines and not just brief scenes.

        • Bob Johnson says:

          Keep in mind that this is a HUGE cast. Everyone cannot shine every week, or even every season. They have to stay focused on three or four solid, longer-arc stories.

  4. KenL says:

    Edith has become too much like the Jan Brady of the show, but it was a great episode. Did Bates do something? Sure, and well deserved.

  5. Alichat says:

    I have a hard time believing that Edith is already 5 or 6 months along. And if she really is then I’d say Gregson really is gone. I don’t know that I’m enjoying the massive amount of suitors that Mary suddenly has. It just seems a little odd. Who knew being a widow made you so appealing?? I did love the bits with Molesley and Mrs. Baxter.

    • ben says:

      The Molesley stuff is wonderful. It’s nice to see him get a little change in fortune.

    • Tess says:

      Perhaps all the guys interested in Mary learned about her inheriting Downton from her late husband – surely that makes a widow with a child seem much more desirable. When Edith and Rosamund were speaking about travelling abroad for her to have the baby and give it up she mentioned having to be gone for 4 months so figure she’s 5 months along. I suppose with those drop waist dresses they’re now sporting that she maybe wouldn’t quite be showing yet. As it was she didn’t learn she was pregnant until she was toward the end of her first trimester if I’m not mistaken; it does seem rather odd that Gregson’s been missing for that long though without even a hint of what happened to him. I can’t help but think that Edith could just move to another country and stay there claiming to be a pregnant widow and just change her last name. She could have the baby and raise it alone and wouldn’t be looked down on for being unwed. Perhaps her American grandmother could have taken her in and played along with the charade and society there wouldn’t be the wiser. Surely if she told her parents, that would be the solution they would come up with so Edith could still have her child and they wouldn’t lose face in polite society. Baxter and Molesley are kind of cute together. Same goes for Tom and Sarah. Glad Daisy finally let go of her hang up on Alfred. Oh, and making it look like Bates killed Green has got to be a clever ruse. They’ve been talking about how they had to keep it from Bates so he didn’t hurt Green for what he did to Anna, so why write it that he actually did do something to him. And when Edith made the comment about God not wanting to be happy I thought not God so much as Julian Fellowes. Or he’s trying to tell us he thinks he’s God…

      • maggie says:

        I do think that Tony is after her money. He told Mary that he lost his fortune and large estate, and is living in a small house now. He also told her that he was expected to marry Mabel, which suggests he’s interested in her money to bail out his family. Mabel is the only heir to her wealthy father, but perhaps Mary now has more money.

  6. Jonathan says:

    I really enjoyed this episode and I haven’t found this season boring at all. This is what I appreciate most about British drama. The subtle humor and the fantastic dialogue is what makes it great. I realize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I prefer it much more than any of the other standard fare on television these days. The scene with Mrs. Patmore and Daisy towards the end was so touching it almost brought a tear to my eye. And I just love the growing relationship between Mr. Mosley and Baxter. The last few episodes have reminded me of the first two seasons once again.

    • Agreed. I think it’s been a sweet season. I don’t need a lot of action (I’ll leave that to my procedural shows that I love ) and I like the slower “tease type” drama that Downton offers. I think this season has given many of the characters time to shine.

      And for the people who are wondering what has happened to Gregson, keep in mind that he went to Germany. This is a historical drama so if you take into count the political climate of the era… I’m wondering if that might play into why they can’t get a straight answer as to what has happened.

  7. Sheryl says:

    My vote for favorite couple…Violet and Isobel, no contest!

    • MommaSqwirl says:

      ^^ THIS!! 1000% LOVE THEM! They need their own spinoff

      • Stormy says:

        I’d love for Dame Maggie and Penelope Wilton to do a remake of The Snoop Sisters which was a hoot. The original starred helen Hayes & Mildred Natwick.

    • JKR says:

      Yes. Indeed!

      I died at their exchange when Lord Merton was coming to visit. Violet was saying no one was available. Isobel: “I’m a feeble substitute for the entire Crawley family.
      Dowager Countess: Mmm, yes, but you’re better than nothing.
      Isobel: How warming you make that sound.”

  8. Shira says:

    The farmer mentioned that this is the second time the family have helped him. It’s the same man that Edith helped during the war, and had to stop because they were getting too close.

  9. Christina says:

    I really really dislike the schoolteacher. Something about her grates my nerves.

    • I think the fact that she’s not Sybil is going to be hard for everyone. Who doesn’t love Tom & Sybil?

    • linds says:

      Thought it was just me…. and I really wanted to like her because I love Tom and want him to be happy and a school teacher seemed perfect.

    • gdv says:

      Having seen the whole season already, I’d be really surprised if she were meant to be a serious love interest, which I don’t understand. Why bring in these women who obviously don’t hold a candle to Lady Sybil and don’t respect Tom and his position? What’s the point?

      • brynnomsfordmommasqwirl says:

        The actress has signed on for next season, so that lends more creedance that she is likely to be a love interest. Tom sure looked interested in the last episode.

        • gdv says:

          Well, they’re going to have to do quite a bit to make her character likable, especially after how she treats Tom in the season finale.

          • Dillon says:

            Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after looking at a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

    • AmbleAlong says:

      I don’t like the schoolteacher either. She reminds me of Ethel. It’s like they are trying to force a story here with Tom. I do hope he and Sybbie don’t leave Downton, but I hope it is not due to a weak story about some helpless teacher…

  10. Pati says:

    I don’t enjoy Edith’s story lines, she is so tiring, the winters don’t want her to be happy. Mary has so many love potentials but what do they see in her? The show is so silly sometimes but I could not help myself with Daisy and Alfred I was crying so much I didn’t know what was happening but I was crying my eyes out

  11. Was it just me or was the scene with Mr. Mason one of the most touching scenes in this whole show? That man has the biggest heart in the world and if Daisy does ever grow out her doormat personality I believe it will be because of Mr. Mason’s loving attention and Mrs. Patmore’s firm hand. He could so easily resent her being attracted to another man or try to keep her with him at the farm rather than do what is best for her and let her make her own decisions and choose her own way. Major props to that actor because he manages to make tiny 5 minute scenes into moving life altering moments for Daisy that choke me up and in this case made me cry like a baby.

  12. DEBORAH says:

    I cannot help but think that Mr. Greene has left quite a few of his misdeeds through out England. Gillingham had commented earlier that he had been staying with several families throughout the country including Miss Mabel’s. This has several possibilities for the story line. I do favor Mr. Blake for Mary even if his character is much like Matthew’s.

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