Downton diary: episode 8

Downton Abbey. Image: ITV.
Downton Abbey. Image: ITV.
Downton Abbey. Image: ITV.

Series 4 of Downton Abbey ends on a note as light and cheerful as the garden bazaar it spends so much time preparing. We no longer face questions of death or grieving, or whether Mary will ever move on with her life. It’s become quite clear that she will move on. The only question is with whom: Tony Gillingham or Charles Blake.

The end of the series also sees a sort of resolution for Anna and Bates. Anna finally confides in Lady Mary about her attacker, and Mary miraculously manages to fix the whole situation. However, shocking news from Gillingham reveals some slightly shady dealings. At this point in the series, we’re well aware that Bates is capable of, and inclined towards, murder. We’re simply unsure whether he actually committed it. What Bates fails to recognise is that murdering someone and lying to his wife about it won’t exactly fix his marriage. We certainly see more issues on the horizon for Mr and Mrs Bates.

Edith’s dilemma is left fairly unresolved for the time being. Both Lady Rosamund and Lady Grantham suggest a sabbatical to Switzerland so she can give up her baby there. At first Edith agrees, but we see the seeds of hesitation forming already. In a world that’s gradually becoming more forward thinking, we wonder if Downton will ever be a place where she could keep her baby.

Rose’s rebellious plans are foiled to her dismay. Oddly, she and Jack Ross become immediately engaged, despite his seeming hesitant last week. We know Rose doesn’t quite love him and simply wants to cause a stir. On the other hand, it seems like Mr Ross actually loves her. When Mary speaks to him he easily agrees to end the engagement. Though Rose is disappointed, it’s not exactly for admirable reasons. She’ll undoubtedly have new rebellions to entertain her moving forward.

Best Line

“What kind of ménage has that turned into while I’ve been away?”

Lord Grantham asks on seeing Mary with her two suitors. Each one has now confessed his love and been rejected. Yet each is quite persistent. On some level we think that if Mary and Gillingham were to be together, they would’ve done so already; they’ve been doing this dance for essentially the whole series. However, when Mary rejected Mr Blake, she seemed more at ease than in her rejection of Gillingham. Lord Gillingham is the obvious choice to join the Crawley family. Yet it’s rare that any member of Downton ever pursues the obvious choice.

Best Character

Daisy. A lovesick Daisy finally frees herself from Alfred. Actually, we lose a bit of respect for Alfred when Ivy rejects his proposal and he suddenly realises that Daisy’s the one for him. We witness a level of self-respect that Daisy has never had before. She finally seems to be really developing as a character.

How much are we over Matthew?

This week we realise that Mrs Crawley isn’t over Matthew, Mary is more than she admits, and we as viewers are.  Although Mary continually claims she’s not on the market, these words simply don’t ring true. She resists, but she has developed genuine feelings for both Gillingham and Blake. We certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see some of engagement in next month’s Christmas Special.


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