Downton Abbey Recap: Be Prepared

Downton Abbey Mary Tony

This week’s Downton Abbey is rated R — for responsible!

Not wanting to commit to Tony without first taking him for a test drive, Mary asked Anna to go to “the village” and pick her up a condom. At least, I think it was a condom; neither woman could bring herself to actually say the word aloud. (Update: It was a diaphragm!)

Of course, she might need a whole lot more protection than that if Tony makes good on his promise of all-night love making. (And what a naughty little speech that was.) But here’s my question: Do contraceptives protect against sudden, inexplicable death? Because Mary’s currently 2-for-2 in the dead lover department.

DON’T BE JELLY | Speaking of relationships being tested, a “very brown” man (Mary’s words) by the name of Simon Bricker arrived at Downton this week, immediately wedging himself between the lord and lady of the house. Robert tried to downplay his jealousy by accusing Simon of courting Isis (“There’s nothing more ill bred than a man trying to steal the affections of another man’s dog”), but everyone — including Cora — knew he was really upset by Simon’s “flirting.” The question is… Will Cora really tell him to stop?

CAN YOU FEAR ME NOW? | But this week’s real dramatic conflict came from the introduction of a “wireless” to the Abbey. Of course, this being 1924, I’m referring to the wireless radio Rose practically bullied Robert into buying in order to hear the voice of King George. Carson was particularly concerned about the device — I believe the word “corrupted” was bandied about — but even he caved (I think) upon hearing the king’s speech.

PLAN B(ABY) | As promised, Mr. Drewe came up with a brilliant plan to allow Edith to spend more time with Marigold, naming her the child’s godmother. Mrs. Drewe objected, as she is want to do — “Marigold already has a godmother,” blah, blah, blah — but Edith was thrilled to finally have a bigger place in her daughter’s life. (Hopefully this will also end her arson streak.)

THE R-WORD | Can we talk about Carson and Mrs. Hughes for a minute? Like any good Downton fan, I’ve wondered about their unspoken connection since Day 1 — especially after that beachside hand-holding — but even I was surprised when Mrs. Hughes suddenly/finally dropped the R-word this week: “Every relationship has its ups and downs.” Was she speaking about their professional relationship… or something more? What does it all mean?!

Additional thoughts/observations:

* Thomas and Jimmy’s goodbye was actually kind of heartbreaking. They’ve come a long way since Thomas surprised him with that game of Sleeping Beauty, and I’m really going to miss their friendship. (Confession: I giggled at “I’m sorry to see the back of you.”)

* On the flip side… Baxter and Molesly? Like there isn’t enough going on in this house already, do we really need to invest in their romance, too? Come on, now.

* I was kind of enjoying Bates being on the back burner for a bit. Now that the police are asking questions about Mr. Green’s death, does that mean we’re in for another season of Bates’ legal woes? I don’t know if I can take that.

* Just when you start to forget how far in the past this show takes place, Isobel Crawley starts talking about this new thing called “insulin.”

Your thoughts on this week’s DowntonDrop ’em in the comments section below.

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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33 Comments
  1. It wasn’t a condom. It was a Dutch cap or diaphragm.

  2. kath says:

    I keep tuning in every season hoping that Mary will finally become tolerable, and she’s as big a snob and as nasty a person as she ever was. Between her and Robert taking potshots at Edith just because they can (did he really have to throw in the jab about the Drew’s getting tired of her?), if I were Edith I’d move out even if I had to live in a hovel. Mary having three men is just absurd unless it’s for her money.

    I like Baxter and Molesly, actually more than any other couple currently on the show.

    As a Canadian, I was thrilled at the mention of insulin.

    • Carol C says:

      I so agree, Kath. (I’m Canadian, too.) I also like Baxter and Molesly and hope he’ll come around. Poor Edith having such a mean family, especially Mary with her glut of men. And give luckless Bates a break (even though we’d been forewarned about this).

    • uk-usa-tvaddict says:

      I don’t understand how Edith hasn’t just slapped Mary after any of the really nasty comment she makes. And it is tolerated by everyone around her just feeds into Mary’s ego. I have to say I hope Edith leaves and goes to London or overseas. What is keeping her on the estate? Mary is stuck, Edith has options.

      • Lyn says:

        It’s complicated, but IMO Edith gets what she deserves. Karma. She risked the entire family’s good name with her letter to the Turkish Ambassador out of spite against Mary. She went after the wounded soldier she suspected was the true heir. She went after Matthew before he took up with Mary. She canoodled with the married farmer she was helping out by driving the tractor. She got pregnant by a married man. She reneged on the adoption with the Swiss couple. She does as she pleases with a complete disregard for ethics or how her actions affect anyone else.

        • kath says:

          We really see Edith differently.
          Mary was the one risking karma when she had sex with the Turkish Ambassador and risked her family’s good name, but then nothing happened because Mary never has to suffer the consequences of her actions. Edith only wanted to send the letter because of what Mary did to her.
          I don’t remember her going after Matthew but if she was interested, so what? She was single and so was he before Mary took him.
          Edith’s romance with the soldier was blighted, she got stood up at the altar (for an incredibly stupid reason) while Mary had a beautiful wedding and had to be the spinster who “gets up for breakfast” while Mary eats breakfast in bed. When she finally falls in love it’s with a man who has an insane wife that he tries to divorce but ends up disappearing in Germany for years. Meanwhile Edith is pregnant and unlike Mary and Sybil has to hide it. She got pushed into giving the baby up for adoption but it hurt too much so she arranged for the Drewes to take care of her.
          Mary isn’t going to get pregnant out of wedlock because Julian Fellowes would never do that to her, it’s only Edith who has that kind of bad consequence.
          I find it offensive that Edith can’t catch a break on the show, that she has to watch her sisters’ children being loved and cared for by the family while she has to give hers up, and still is the butt of truly nasty remarks by Mary and Robert. If he had been a halfway as decent as father to her as he was to sainted Mary, she wouldn’t be so unhappy.

          • Lyn says:

            1; Pamuk wasn’t the Turkish Ambassador, he was his son. And if he hadn’t died no one outside the house would be the wiser. Edith let it out to the world.
            2. She went after Matthew by trying to drag him around all of the local churches and throwing herself at him during the outings, making him uncomfortable.
            3. The wounded soldier was the Canadian Patrick. Anthony Strallan was the one who jilted her and she had forced that relationship, too.
            4. She’s the one who slept with Gregson and got pg. A baby is the prize you get for taking a chance on a blanket.

          • kath says:

            Edith loved Gregson and would have married him if he wasn’t ripped out of Jane Eyre, Mary is just taking Gillingham out for a drive and she didn’t really care about Pamuk. Why does Edith have to pay the worst consequences for her actions while Mary always gets off scott free for hers?

          • Lyn says:

            Edith is rapacious. She fancies herself in love with anyone who looks twice at her. Did she love Patrick the burned soldier? Did she love the married farmer when she kissed him? Did she love Strallan? NO! She just wants any man she can get. She knew Gregson was married. At least Mary confines herself to eligible men. Case closed.

          • Maggie says:

            I see Edith the same way you do. Edith is much more sympathetic than Mary. I hope that Edith finds some happiness.

            I hope that Mary can find a man that can keep her from being so selfish. Matthew helped make Mary a better person, but she slid back after his death. I see Charles Blake as being able to teach Mary, while Tony seems to bring out Mary’s snobbery. Mary can be an awful person, and it’s often hard to be concerned about her love life because of that.

          • kath says:

            I agree with both. I like Edith more, but I would like Mary to find someone who can make her a more sympathetic person.

          • Maggie says:

            In the above comment, I meant that I see Edith the same way kath does. Edith is sympathetic, and is treated poorly by her family.

        • B says:

          I agree with most of what you said. Also, people tend to think of what others are saying to Edith as if they KNOW about her daughter. Most of the worst comments are being made out of ignorance.

          I think their parents are to blame for Mary and Edith’s relationship to begin with. It’s like they think the two of them hating each other is to be desired because of their positions–as if it’s a sign of their strength of mind. Of course at this point Mary and Edith would have to fix it, but there’s never been any attempt to teach them how to view the other with compassion.

    • Isobel says:

      Agree Mary is nasty, Robert is more clueless than bitchy. I agree Edith owns the newspaper she could move out and have options, though I don’t see the show exploring that, she’s just the butt of Mary’s taunts

      • herman1959 says:

        If Edith wanted to “adopt” her daughter, that could be a reason for moving out. It would be an interesting storyline to see her as a working single mother in that era.

      • Maggie says:

        Edith could move out any time. But the show is about Downton Abbey, so if she moves to London, we wouldn’t see much of Edith.

    • KC says:

      I like Mary and Edith equally. So what if Mary hurls a few zingers at Edith on occasion. That is what sisters do. At least in my family they do. I believe Mary will step up to the plate for Edith so that she can live openly (among the family) as Marigold’s mother. After all, Mary did step up for Sybil when she wanted to marry Tom, and she also smoothed the way for Tom as he tried to fit in with the family. She was also trying to do the right thing by Matthew and Lavinia by putting aside her own feelings for Matthew and getting engaged to someone else whom she didn’t love. So, I don’t think Mary is as bad as all that. She is a bit of a snob and has a sense of entitlement, but all aristocrats are and do. It goes with the title.

      • kath says:

        We’ll see what happens. As I recall, Mary liked Sybil and she loved Matthew. She hasn’t ever shown any sign of liking Edith.

        Zingers wouldn’t be a problem if the sisters were equal in good things and bad things in their lives. But the writing for the show consistently dumps on Edith and she can’t ever be happy while giving Mary everything and having men flock around her even when she doesn’t want them. It’s what turns me off of the show the most because it ends up looking like bullying.

        • Lyn says:

          IMO Edith is Rosamund’s daughter whom the Crawley’s raised as their own to avoid a scandal. It would explain why she’s never felt like one of them and why a lot of the conflicts between the girls were overlooked. Also, there is not much difference in the ages of Mary and Edith so jealousy is built in whereas by the time Sybil was born, Mary could enjoy her as a new doll baby.

  3. S. says:

    Baxter and Molesley were making a connection last season. This isn’t new. We were already supposed to be investing in them.

  4. Ben says:

    I am very invested in Baxter and Molesley… they are one of my favourite parts of the show at the moment, along with Violet/Isobel and Carson/Mrs Hughes

  5. Ellinas1978 says:

    “Forget how far in the past”: Yes with the whole radio and diaphragm incidents it’s so easy to forget, insulin needs to bring you back.

  6. kt5 says:

    I’m loving the bantering that is going on between Isobel and the dowager. It’s like Edwardian old lady teen ager talk. And about a ‘boy’ no less — well two ‘boys’ actually.

  7. ggny says:

    Really thought they where heading towards Rose and Blake connection to make Mary jealous. Still hope they head is that direction. Edith is still pretty much the Meg Griffin of the show i wish she wasnt. Her getting a real suitor over Mary would make a good storyline

  8. herman1959 says:

    About the “update” – the clue was that she only bought one. HA!

  9. Linda Gibson says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that Robert, Lord Crawley is very crabby so far this season. He complains about everything.