Downton Abbey Recap

Downton Abbey Recap: Marrying the Hatchet

It took six seasons, but Lady Mary Crawley was finally served a fat slice of humble pie on Sunday’s penultimate Downton Abbey — and I have to admit, I kind of loved watching her choke on it.

The trouble began when Edith announced that Bertie — still waiting on pins and needles for an answer to his proposal — had lost his cousin, and that he was the next in line to become the Marquess of Hexham. “That’s absurd!” Mary thought aloud. “If Bertie’s a marquess, then…” Robert cut her off, proudly proclaiming, “Edith would out-rank us all!”

No amount of words would do justice to the stank-face Mary made while processing this news, so I’m just going to let it speak for itself:

Downton Abbey Recap

If that wasn’t your first clue that lunch between Bertie, Mary, Edith and Tom would end in disaster, you wouldn’t make a very good detective. As if she were discussing a known fact, like the sky being blue or Carson being an emotionally abusive husband, Mary told Bertie how much she admired him for accepting “who [Marigold] really is,” forcing Edith to reveal the truth about her daughter.

Mary attempted to play the “I thought he already knew” card, but after everything she’s put her sister through over the years, her half-assed attempts were futile. Time for pie!

Tom gave Mary her first nibble: “You ruined Edith’s life today. How many lives are you going to wreck just to smother your own misery? … You’re a coward, Mary. Just like all bullies, you’re a coward.” It was the emotional equivalent of a punch to the gut, albeit a deserved one. Tom was the last person Mary ever expected to come at her, but considering his penchant for blunt honesty — coupled with the fact that, somehow, he seems to know her better than most others — maybe she should have seen this coming.

But like the true gentleman he is, Tom saved the bulk of the slice for Edith, who tore into her sister with one of the most painful, honest and long-overdue speeches in Downton history:

Just shut up! … Who do you think you’re talking to? Mama? Your maid? I know you. I know you to be a nasty, jealous, scheming bitch. … You’re a bitch! And not content with ruining your own life, you’re determined to ruin mine. … Don’t demean yourself by trying to justify your venom. Just go. … And you’re wrong, you know, as you so often are. Henry’s perfect for you. You’re just too stupid and stuck-up to see it. Still, at least he’s gotten away from you, which is something to give thanks for, I suppose.


Boom. If Tom’s speech was a gut-punch, Edith’s was a full-on curb stomp — and it was exactly what Mary needed to hear. She and Edith eventually made peace, but only because, as Edith says, their “shared memories will mean more than [their] mutual dislike” someday. In other words, they might hate each other, but they’re stuck together for life, so why not try to make the best of it?

Downton Abbey Mary Wedding‘A NEW COUPLE IN A NEW WORLD’ | Because the laws of Downton Abbey strictly state that Mary must always come out on top in spite of everything, the episode ended with her wedding to Henry — a subtle affair, far less grand than her first wedding to Matthew.

Putting Mary’s transgressions aside for a moment, I confess that I broke down like a baby when she and Isobel spoke at Matthew’s grave. First came Mary’s words for her late husband: “The truth is, I love [Henry]. I believe we are right together, but I so very much want to feel that you’re happy for me, as I’d happy for you, my darling. Remember: However much I love him, I will always love you.” Then, Isobel’s words to Mary: “I don’t know if you have his forgiveness, but you don’t need to ask for mine. I’m delighted.” (Great, now I’m crying again.)

Downton Abbey Thomas Suicide‘HOW SAD, HOW VERY SAD’ | Unfortunately, not every development was a pleasant one. As I, and many readers, have been cautiously predicting for weeks, Thomas finally attempted to take his own life Sunday; if Baxter hadn’t connected the dots and demanded entrance to Thomas’ room, he might have died right there in the hauntingly red waters of his bath tub. The suicide attempt affected everyone differently; Mary, naturally, tried to place the blame on Robert, a notion he called “rather below the belt, even for [her].” Though Thomas’ job at Downton is safe (for now), I’m curious about his future as a character. Will he bounce back from this a stronger man? Will he finally find the sense of belonging he’s always wanted? (And am I the only one who half-chuckled when Carson discreetly informed Robert of the situation, only for him to scream, “Thomas has cut his wrists? God in heaven!” for all the family to hear?)

Odds and Ends:

* “I always knew that women were ruthless, but I didn’t think I’d find the proof in my own wife,” Carson said after Mrs. Hughes agreed the Crawleys should help repair the tattered reputation of Mrs. Patmore’s bed and breakfast. She laughed off his comment with a kiss, telling him, “You’re such an old curmudgeon … [but] you’re my curmudgeon.” Is it just me, or has Carson been the worst ever since he and Mrs. Hughes tied the knot? I had higher hopes for those two.

* This was a beautiful line to Mary from the Dowager Countess, one which almost changed the way I see Edith’s wicked older sister: “You are the only woman I know who likes to think herself cold and selfish and grand. … Make peace with your sister, then make peace with yourself.”

* I’m not sure which would make a better spinoff: Spratt’s secret life as Cassandra Jones, or Molesley’s life at the school? (Just kidding, definitely Spratt. As Edith would say, it’d be “bananas.”)

Your thoughts on this week’s crazy-awesome Downton? Hopes for next week’s (gasp) series finale? Drop ’em in a comment 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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70 Comments
  1. Matt says:

    I could watch Edith finally tearing into Mary on a loop for hours. So gloriously cathartic.

    • The Beach says:

      Yep, I think everyone was happy to see that. And I loved Tom in this episode (well, I always love Tom but especially so tonight).

    • Megan says:

      the only thing that could have made the catfight better is if edith had gave mary a honest to God shiner.

    • AM68 says:

      I agree but I like what Tom said more because it was the most accurate description of Mary. She’s a bully – and a coward. As all bullies are.

  2. GeoDiva says:

    If Edith doen’t get her happy ending, I’m going to be pissed!

  3. Eric says:

    The series finale is in two weeks. Just watched it on DVD. So good! Very fullfilling!!!

  4. Romi says:

    I’m team Lady Mary. She’s a fascinating character, I like her and was on her side tonight. Love Tom, but he interferes too much.

    I’ll never forget Lady Edith’s role re Mr. Pamuk.

    • Na says:

      I remember that Mary had just destroyed Edith first attempt with Sir Anthony Strallan. Edith never strikes first always Mary. Tom was spot on, Mary is a bully.

      • Carol C says:

        So true.

      • I agree that she is a bully but also believe that she has become such a thing as a way to deal with the time in which she lived. As a woman, with passion and an opinion, she didn’t have much standing, even with the status that came with her name. Although this doesn’t excuse her actions and very awful treatment of Edith, it does put them into perspective.

      • BB1234 says:

        Actually, you have it backwards. Edith wrote the letter to the Turkish embassy in episode 5 of the first season. Strallon broke off things with Edith in the last 10 minutes of the final episode of the first season (episode 7), at the garden party when Robert announces the start of WWI.

    • canadian ninja says:

      I’m also a fan of Mary but I don’t see how one could be on her side here. I was a bit dissapointed they couldn’t achieve this with Edith (who has been great this season) just finally standing up for herself after one of Mary’s comments.

      In fact, it really felt like this was beneath the character and was just there to pander to all the over the top Mary-haters. They don’t seem to mind. Mary-haters gonna hate.

      • Morisot says:

        This, exactly.

      • RZ says:

        Julian Fellowes never panders to the Mary haters. He doesn’t seem to think they exist (otherwise Mary would have been put in her place a long time ago). This was about the getting a way for Mary to realize that she should marry Henry and have her happy ending (and to continue using Edith as the show’s punching bag).

        • Anna says:

          Sadly true, and Julian Fellowes is a blooming idiot. I don’t know why he wants to stick to this stupid, parodied formula. The show is no longer emotionally satisfying to watch. Characters become obnoxious parodies of themselves instead of real people you care about. I hate the writing of the show since Matthew died. It gets worse and worse. I won’t even watch season 6 now that I know what to expect.

    • Jane says:

      Honestly if Edith wasn’t such a pathetic little mouse who always wants people to feel sorry for her so she can play the martyr she would have already told Bertie. Mary at least stands up for herself. I am also team Mary. Can’t stand Edith.

    • RZ says:

      The Mr. Pamuk letter was in the very first season, and it was the last nasty thing that Edith did to Mary. Mary has since ruined 2 weddings for Edith and continues to belittle her, act coldly, and be downright horrible – with no provocation from Edith.

    • Janice Best says:

      Mary is a rotten b&#ch. it is simply what her nature is. It is in her core. Poor Henry Talbot. You can just imagine what this marriage will be like in 5 years. I wish Edith would have gone even further with her outrage against the bi&#h. Also, would have been nice if the parents and aunt tore into Mary also. Tom did a good job also in dealing a verbal slap.

  5. Bonnie says:

    The Dowager’s heartfelt wisdom given to Mary with a delivery only worthy of the great Julian Fellowes’ scriptwriting……absolutely one of my favorite scenes of all time. Until next week, at least!

  6. cheryl s. says:

    At last, didn’t feel cheated by the sneaky and just plain wrong, 50 minute episodes of this final season. This, next to last episode left me feeling greatly satisfied. I will miss every single Downton character.
    Will definitely be going through “Downton Withdrawal Syndrome.”

  7. Zara says:

    Please let there be a spinoff! There is so much more story to tell!,,

  8. Charlie Zygmond says:

    Finale

    1- Bertie is persuaded by reformed b$&@/?! Mary to marry Edith – making everything right with the sisters.
    2- OR somehow the writers quickly fire up some passion between Thomas and Edith and they marry and live happily ever after with their two kids.
    3- Mosley lands a great paying teaching job, Andy and that brat Daisey get engaged and Andy learns to read and goes to work on her father- in -law’s hog farm and Daisy gets into school, and Thomas then stays on as chief under-butler / footman or whataver he would be called to replace the other footmen.

  9. cadfile says:

    This episode was so emotionally deep I couldn’t help but ask where was this the past few seasons. Probably done on purpose I wish every episode was a deep as the one tonight. I was wondering where Evil Mary had gone. Welcome home…

  10. RedReddington says:

    Agreed about Carson. He’s been so unlikable this season, and I hate that because he was one of my favorites. It’s like Fellowes forgot how to write his character. 😕

  11. the cookie queen says:

    OMG-GOSH finally Mary got served!!! It’s about time,she has been so,conniving and mean it’s about time. I loved the one two punch 1st Tom and then Edith. Yeah enough said. I was glad she was made to eat humble pie. And poor Thomas Burrows I knew he was gonna snap. Everything was being taken from him and the weight got to heavy,so glad he was found before he died. I’ll write more later.

    • Carolyn says:

      I found myself crying for Thomas last night. I hope he gets a happy ending. His character started off so hateful, but he’s redeemed himself in the last year.

  12. Mary is a bitch! Thank goodness she got called out and I hope it makes a difference, but if Edith doesn’t get her happy ending I’m going to be pissed. Edith deserves some good. That line “Edith couldn’t get her dolls to do what she wanted.” made me want to cry.

  13. Jane Girton says:

    Are my husband and I the ONLY ones who hoped to see a relationship between Tom and Mary? He seemed to be the only one who understood her and cared for her. We expected with each new episode that that storyline would develop. We are disappointed! Who is Henry and who care?! I never really felt any chemistry between them. Love, love, love Downton Abbey, but Tom and Mary would have been the cherry on top for us!

    • Lyn says:

      That’s disgusting!

    • I totally shipped Mary and Tom. Their relationship matured so much over the years and he seemed to be the only one who would stand up to her. I felt like she barely knew Henry. I didn’t care at all about him. They are wrapping up all the characters lives nicely except for Tom. He has always been one of my favorites. I read that Allen Leech was disappointed in how they ended his character so I think he shipped Mary and Tom too!

    • AM68 says:

      Ummm…ewww! He was married to her SISTER! In what world would that be okay??

    • Wooster182 says:

      I’m with you. With every character that tried to convince Mary that she is in love with Talbot made me feel like the show was really trying to convince the viewers. I don’t buy it.

      Henry is her equal? How? Who is the only one that controls and challenges Mary like they claim Henry does? Tom. Tom is her equal. And they are clearly best friends and love each other. I kept waiting for her to yell at Tom that the real reason she sent Henry away was because she really loves Tom. Made no sense.

    • No, I wanted Tom and Mary to be together too. You’re right he is the only one since Matthew who really got her and understood her. I was VERY disappointed in the Tolbert marriage.

  14. Ronnie says:

    I enjoyed watching Edith call out Mary for her behavior. It would have been even better if she had given her a well deserved slap for all the years of bad behavior, but then they ever would have had that reconciliation at her wedding.

    • Megan says:

      I think Marigold is autistic and will grow up to be a really strange beautiful woman who paints crazy stuff like Jackson Pollock and andy Warhol.

  15. Lyn says:

    This is off point, but does anyone besides me think that there is something off about the child playing Marigold? She always seems to be drugged or mentally deficient. I realize that she is the second child in the role but she is so non reactive in every scene I wonder why she was cast.

  16. T Walsh says:

    I have a prediction for Thomas. He will become the butler in Mary’s young son’s life, in the same way that Carson has been a touchstone, friend, and father figure for Mary herself. And that will finally give him a sense of true purpose, appreciation, and love.

  17. RZ says:

    I can’t believe that after how horribly Mary behaved throughout the episode (not just to Edith, but to Henry, Robert, and Tom too), she still got a happy ending. And she didn’t even get to have her parents and aunt chew her out for her behavior because Carson interrupted with the news about Thomas just then. I was looking forward to seeing that.

    • Megan says:

      I have a feeling she isn’t going to be happy with henry.He will get tired of trying do everything perfect for the queen.She is on her own way to becoming one of those sour old ladies that no one pretends to even miss when they die.

  18. JCon says:

    Writer is wrong though, clearly Mary hadn’t learned a thing from Tom & Edith’s sound verbal slaps for then she dug into her Pop asking was the expense worth letting Barrow go implying he was responsible for Thomas trying to kill himself. Mary became unbearable the 5th & 6th seasons, & her kind acts to Bates’ & Carson were not enough to redeem her for me. She learned nothing & changed very little. Honestly she didn’t deserve the happy ending she got. Glad Edith finally got her man.

    • JCon says:

      Crap sorry about not adding a spoiler alert!!!

      • Terri says:

        We all knew it had to happen anyway. The only mystery is how, and if Mary was responsible to redeem herself. Don’t tell us that.

      • Lisa says:

        Gee, thanks a lot. You didnt even need to write that regardless of putting a spoiler alert. I learned my leason though. There is always going to be that one person in the comments, so dont read them. Maybe you can delete it.

  19. Kailani says:

    Great verbal comeuppances delivered by Edith and Tom, but Mary still got off too easy. Way too easy. I could Tom more with Edith, than I ever could with Mary. (not icked out by either.)

    Once I heard about Bertie’s prim and proper mom, I knew no chance for Edith, long term. Sad, but she needs someone more autonomous and cultural and modern.

  20. Eagle Queen says:

    Lady Mary is the Dowager Countess 40+ years ago. That’s why they “get” each other. The Dowager is the only one who can relate. Mary is my favorite character. Smart, stubborn, haughty, with a hidden vulnerability that you only see if you’re paying attention. Henry is a godsend.

    • Bonnie says:

      Mary, vulnerable? The flip-flops of emotional scenes left me just not believing anything, especially after what she did to Edith (that’s the Mary we know and love!). Her new-found humility fell with a thud in each scene. She just had gotten too damn good at misery-loves-company with a touch of snob. Even that cemetary scene…….nice try.

  21. Morisot says:

    The side-by-side photos of Mary and Edith above (hope you all are seeing them) are making me laugh. I keep hearing “Dunh, Dunh, Duuunh!” every time I look. And I’m thinking SNL or Jimmy Fallon’s Downton spoof.

  22. leo21 says:

    It was hard to see Mary get her man after her behavior. And I don’t like that there’s been no attempt to really clue her in on the hell Edith has been in, losing the love of her life and not being able to claim her child. It goes to show what a crappy sister she has been to Edith. I hope to God Bertie comes around.

  23. Dee Emm says:

    I’ve been hoping all along that the man Edith loved so much, who left her his business and was killed in Germany – and the biological father of Marigold – would re-appear, having been lost, debilitated in Germany for a couple of years. Sort of like Dallas shower dream, but much better and more believable.

  24. I liked all of this episode except for Mary’s marriage to Henry. I never liked the guy nor did I ever like their relationship. Something about him just rubbed me the wrong way. I had always harbored hope that Tom and Mary would marry even though I remember reading long ago that the writers were going to avoid that route. I still hoped. I just don’t like Henry, I would’ve preferred Gillingham or Blake over Tolbert if Tom and Mary didn’t make it. I have never been a fan of Mary’s not since the beginning the only reasons I tolerated her were because Matthew and Tom made her tolerable. But even with not preferring Mary I hate the Tolbert marriage. ~shakes head~ what a disappointing end or almost end to Downton.

  25. pdxreader says:

    I want a spinoff on Mrs. Patmore’s house of ill repute!

  26. GiGi says:

    This episode was the first one of the entire final season to have some teeth in it but they ruined it with another Mary gets the prize moment. I guess reality is that good guys (women) do finish last. I do not like the hateful Carson this season. He was haughty in past seasons. This season he is as much a bully as Mary.

  27. I wish that Thomas finds peace..maybe even get a permanent job at Downton and maybe even fall in love.

  28. June Sullivan says:

    What is the expression used for Bertie’s Mom, how she feels about his inheriting the title, estate etc. Was it kakahoot? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.