And we’re back! To the sad, sad world of Downton Abbey! It's Episode 4 of Season 4 and as always SPOILER ALERT. As it was last episode, we begin with a lone dark figure. This time, that figure is Mr. not Mrs. Bates, emerging from his cabin alone. Whyyyy?! In her own chamber, Anna is also all in black and sad. Not much time has passed, as she is putting makeup on her still-injured face.
There’s a new lady’s maid (thank god) who seems strangely un-evil. Her lack of badness seems odd to the estranged Bates’ as well. There is nothing so powerful as a common enemy to bring people together so maybe their mutual dislike of Thomas will mend what is broken? Anna says an old saying that sounds like gibberish. I paused and watched again and still: gibberish. If I could figure out that old saying, I would be master of the universe, I am sure.
Downstairs, the troops are going to help Alfred be an amazing cook.
Baxter is the new lady’s maid. She’s not only nice, but she’s aware of the crazy American Orange Juice With Breakfast Tradition. Best lady's maid ever!!
Back at the Crawley house, Isobel is having tea with her paramour, the Doctor. Things are heating up!
In the library, Mary the Stone Cold Landlord is really coming into her own, getting ready to evict a tenant right after his dad dies. She was born for this job. As punishment for being a better lord than him, her dad shows her the paper announcing the Pirate’s engagement to Mabel: “Speaking of moving on…” Classic Robert. Mary’s pained face as she walks away is reminiscent of the days when Matthew was getting hitched to the Spanish Flu Girl. Dear Mary: You don’t get dibs on everyone and then tell them you don’t want them and then be soooo sad when they pick someone else.
Downstairs, everyone is so amazed by an electric sewing machine. Daisy, who is a pro at electric mixers, seems to think it’s going to “sew your fingers to the table.” Really? Are we still on this?
“Mrs. Patmore is not what you’d call a futurist,” says Futurist Thomas, drinking tea with his pinky high in the air.
Anna is becoming the Duchess of Dark Corners. Hughes keeps telling her to tell the truth. Luckily, Bates went to prison and is a world class eavesdropper so he knows that something is up. He probably knows exactly what the something is now that Hughes mentioned there’s not going to be a baby…
Isobel and the Doctor a.k.a. Bennifer interview a potential gardener at the Crawley House. The Doctor calls Isobel out on her lame “I-don’t-belong-nobody-loves-me” pity party. A new romance dynamic is developing between these two, wherein the Doctor brings Isobel down a peg when she needs it (Peg is the gardener's name!).
At a funeral, Robert is wearing his I-Just-Buried-Your-Dad-Now-Here-Go-Your-Hopes-And-Dreams Top Hat.
In the kitchen, Daisy is teaching her true love, the Tall Chef of Downton, how to cook things. Maybe Alfred will finally see her adoration and take her with him to London so they can be a celebrity chef couple??
Upstairs, Edith hasn’t heard from Michael in awhile. Uh oh. You give away the milk for free, as they say, and no one wants to buy the cow! I really hope that isn’t what’s happening here. No one buys cows anyway. People are always just getting glasses of milk.
In the library, Mary is crying over the Pirate. Really?! He said he would wait for you for years. Mean Mary cheers herself up the best way she know how, by being nasty to Edith. When Edith says, “I am surprised. I thought he was rather keen on you.” Mary replies: “Not for the first time you’ve got the wrong end of the stick.” Ouch.
Mary decides they should have a party. Sweet. Sounds like a fun party. Everybody's in such a great mood.
The old ladies meet in purple to discuss gardener matters. If we were wondering where Mary got her snide passive aggressive nastiness, look no further than Grandma Violet who says to Isabelle: “I wonder your halo doesn’t grow heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara round the clock.”
In the kitchen, Alfred is accepted to the test at the Ritz thanks to Daisy’s loving teaching methods!
Oh my god, we get to go to the nursery!! Baby Sybbie is playing with her dad and knocking over bricks! Babies babies babies! More babies!!
In the kitchen, Alfred has made the best savories in the world and everyone applauds.
As usual, everyone’s going to London.
In the staff dining area, Thomas is doing his sneaky sneak thing on Baxter. What is their connection? Please tell me she’s his mother or sister! A humanizing influence on the Bad Guy Downstairs.
In Mary’s room, Mary is trying hard to get Anna out from under her rain cloud. You guys, you know what Anna needs? Therapy. Are there any like psychoanalysts in London? Is that a thing yet?
Downstairs, the plot to get Patmore to use every single new-fangled device thickens when her apron has a rip! She’s going to have to learn to love that infernal devil sewing machine before this episode is out! Mark my words!
Edith and Alfred head to London to seek their fortunes. Where is Michael?? Will Alfred be a Word Class Chef or too scared of London to get out of the train??
Back at Downton, Robert is making deals with the guy who he just kicked off his farm because his dead-beat dad died. Robert is a softy when it comes to white men he’s not related to. Iron Fisted Mary is not going to like this arrangement at all. Also, Robert shouldn’t be lending money, gambling money, investing money or even having money. The only safe thing for him to do with money is pretend it doesn’t exist.
Mrs. Hughes and Carson a.k.a. Brangelina hatch a plot to get Sad Panda Molesley back in the house. What a great/terrible idea!
At a meal that looks too casual to be anything other than lunch, Violet goes on a strange tangent about the horrors of poets. Robert breaks the news to the family that he’s letting the broke farmer back into his farm. Everyone’s on board except for Mary, obviously. Mary has the perfect temperament to be a mogul (a frozen black wasteland as a soul). I bet before long the whole property will be full of sweatshops and oil refineries.
In the shoe shining area, Bates doesn’t let on that he kind of knows what’s up with Anna Banana. What’s his play here? Get her into a good program? Maybe a discussion group? Call up Olivia Benson’s great-great grandma and Law & Order: SVU Downton the Rapist? Whatever he does, please let’s avoid murder.
At the table, Baxter works her black electrical magic on Patmore’s apron. After Patmore leaves, Thomas lights an evil cigarette and tells Baxter to get everyone to trust her so he can know all the secrets. What secrets?! And who is Baxter?! New theory: Baxter is a gypsy. Or a witch. Or an immortal goddess from the underworld.
Downstairs, Cora blows Patmore’s mind by saying they are bringing in a refrigerator. Two contraptions in one episode?! The woman’s going to have an aneurism.
In London, Edith is not there for Michael!! She's going to the doctor! Is Edith pregnant?? OMG. The Scandal!
Also in London, Alfred is choking on all the soup questions at his Master Chef Test.
Back at Downton, Mary gets an unexpected guest named Evelyn Napier. Now that Matty is out of the picture, these suitors are just jumping out of the woodwork.
Speaking of suitors, in the kitchen, it looks like Ivy will turn Jim Jam into a Man With Goals just by the force of her…charms? Her? I mean, is she funny? (There are certain jokes I won’t stop using and this is one of them #sorrynotsorry).
In the library, Evelyn woos Mary by talking about real estate issues.
In the Confessional, Bates gives Hughes an ultimatum. Tell him what’s up or he’s out! (Where are you going to go Bates where they hire limp valets?)
Back at Violet’s, something weird happens that I can’t identify, but it seems to involve Molesley 2.0, the new gardener.
In the Confessional, Hughes is refusing to tell Bates who the Rapist is, which is good because he does seem to have murder on his mind. Bates also needs therapy. Besides this, he has PTSD. And he needs to talk about prison.
In the library, we get a nice appearance by Isis! Dogs and babies? Cutest episode ever! Wait, bad news. Tom wants to go to America? What, so he can drink orange juice all day? No! Don’t do it! Baby Sybbie is too cute with her little British accent!
In Carson’s office, Molesley is being a jerk about being potentially offered Alfred’s job. Oh, Moseley. You’re a drunk, you’re bad at your job and you’re kind of a pompous ass. You’re perfect. Never change.
In the shoe shining room, the only place they ever hang anymore, Bates finally confronts Anna about what happened. Even though she doesn’t quite tell him the whole truth, it’s good to see them hugging it out, even though it’s a bit weird that this makes her more holy to him, but I’m not even going to try to understand the dark cave that is Bates’ consciousness.
At staff breakfast, Alfred finds out he didn’t get into the fancy cooking school and Jimmy’s pretty stoked about it. Less stoked is Molesley, who will probably be shoveling asphalt until his dying day.
At Violet’s, I guess the thing that happened is something got stolen so of course she is accusing Lil Molesley.
Downstairs, everyone is happy for terrible reasons: Anna is moving back in with her husband and Daisy has more time with the Gangle Master. However, everybody better watch out. Bates knows who the Rapist is and “Nothing is over. Nothing is done with.” Menacing music. Fade to black.
Tied for 5. The Babies George and Sybbie and the Dog Isis: Duh.
4. Thomas: Occasionally, I give him props for his extreme evil act. I like how now he literally always lights a cigarette before he does something sneaky. Way to be consistent, buddy!
3. Patmore: Oh, poor Patmore. Will this barrage of new fangled electric things never cease? As if a toaster and mixers and a sewing machine and a refrigerator aren’t enough! What’s next? An electric robot that cooks everything for you?? (Actually, can someone get on that? I would love a robot Patmore for my home.)
2. Tom: I like that Tom actually spends time not only playing bricks and hurricanes with his daughter but that he cares about her future enough to get her out of the way of the Crawleys. On the other hand, never leave us, Tom!!
1. Hughes: Hughes is the Downton Olivia Pope. Solving problems, keeping secrets when she needs to and revealing secrets when she needs to. Good work telling Bates 89% of the story and bringing him and Anna back together, Hughesie!