The Crawleys’ civil war over the local hospital finally became interesting on Sunday’s Downton Abbey. Too bad it had to happen at Robert’s expense.
During a particularly tense — even for Downton — dinner debate about town vs. government control of the facility, Robert lost control of his own facilities, spewing blood all over Cora’s face. (The table, too, but Cora’s blood-spattered mug is definitely the image that’ll haunt my nightmares tonight.)
After alluding to a health crisis for Robert in previous episodes, the head of the Crawley family suffered a burst ulcer and was immediately rushed (somewhat ironically) to the hospital, where he survived an emergency surgery.
MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER | Is there anything Tom Branson can’t do? He drives cars, he crushes single fatherhood and he can get away with saying anything to Mary’s face without consequence. A highlight of the episode for me was when he called her and Henry out for not owning up to their feelings for each other. (“Why can’t you just say, ‘I’d love to spend more time with you. When can we do it?'”) To be honest, I’m surprised he’s still single.
‘DOGS OF WAR’ | Unprovoked outbursts of loyalty might get you far at Downton — see Exhibit D(aisy) — but there’s apparently no place for such nonsense at Chez Violet. After Denker called Dr. Clarkson a “traitor” for siding against the Dowager Countess in the never-ending hospital war, she was immediately fired. But if her not-so-veiled threat against Spratt is any indication (“If I am sacked, I’m taking you with me”), she won’t be going quietly.
BOOK CLUB | Thomas’ thirst for Andy remains immeasurable, but even he knew to give the aspiring pig farmer some space after receiving an awkward “thanks, but no thanks” response to his invitation for a trip into the village. A follow-up conversation with Anna and Bates revealed that Andy is fully aware of what Thomas is after; he just doesn’t want to “give any wrong ideas.” (Jimmy? Is that you?) Things were looking up by the end of the episode, though, as Thomas is now Andy’s secret reading tutor. [Insert clever joke about how Andy can earn some extra credit here.]
Odds and Ends:
* Did Mary’s episode-ending inquisition (“Is there any talk in the servants’ hall about Miss Marigold?”) take anyone else by surprise? I kind of forgot that her genealogy isn’t public knowledge.
* I know it’s a common occurrence for new couples, but did anyone else’s heart break for Mrs. Hughes when Carson passive-aggressively dumped all over her cooking? (“This plate’s cold, which is a pity” and “This knife could do with sharpening.”) Why do you have to be like that, Carson? Unlike the plate, I was finally warming up to you!
* After working up the nerve to face Peter Coyle in court, Baxter was told that he re-entered a guilty plea and that she no longer needs to testify. Yay?
* And I don’t have too much to say about Edith and her new man, except that I love them together. Between her relationship and her female-led magazine, Edith is really owning this season.
Your thoughts on this week’s messy Downton? Drop ’em in a comment below.