An aside: Cora never eats breakfast with her family. Should we be concerned? Eating disorder? Is she the one who takes care of the kids off screen? Is she keeping watch over her coats to make sure no servants touch them with their grimy little fingers? Or does she just hate everyone too much to sit next to them at this point?
Downstairs, the Sergeant is looking for Ms. Baxter. Seriously, why is everyone in this house not better at covering up their crimes? Anna and Bates are excited it's not them for once.
Thomas is annoyed at Mrs. Patmore for receiving the visitor 'cause that's kind of his gig. Mr. Carson is still off naked somewhere with Mrs. Hughes so Patmore steps in as Thomas' resident bully. You're totally going to get fired, nanny nanny boo boo! Thomas needs an "It Gets Better" campaign so badly.
Upstairs, Cora is drinking tea in bed (so maybe she is anorexic, but probably just lazy). She's complaining to Baxter about how the Dowager Countess is bringing some friend as backup for their upcoming brawl at dinner. Hey, life could be worse, Cora; Baxter could ask to borrow something. We know how you feel about that. But anyway, still all this hot and bother over this dumb hospital stuff?? Just merge! Or don't! Who cares!
Elsewhere, Branson tells Mary he's a capitalist now and wants his life to be more than just Downton. Um, okay, then why did you move back? Mary is supportive with a single caveat: no more Miss Buntings (the annoying, self-righteous teacher from last season, if you don't remember). Here, here!!!
Downstairs, the Sergeant spills the latest criminal intrigue: he wants Baxter to testify against a purported "handsome devil" who makes women steal for him and then take the fall, while he walks free. He's the reason Baxter was in jail that one time. Baxter is super spooked and doesn't want to get involved. Molesley throws out a platitude: "All that's needed for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing." Baxter shoots him a withering You're so bloody simple! look and storms out.
Upstairs, Cora is annoyed because the Dowager's plus one wants to bring a plus one. It's a man so I bet you it's a new love interest for Mary because this show is not progressive enough to leave her as a badass single woman.
In Mary's room, she and Anna talk about some new maids who aren't as cool as past maids. Then, talk turns to how Anna is thickening up with pregnancy. Bates assumes she's just fat because she likes pie. Then, Bates bursts in and completely ruins the vibe, which is what he does best.
Across town, the Dowager and her friend talk about the hospital and I stare off into space while humming to myself until the scene is over.
Back at Downton, Thomas is in charge and everyone has to do that annoying stand-up-really-suddenly-and-scrape-the-chair-against-the-floor thing in deference. Thomas off-handedly mentions something about properties on the estate and Daisy starts droning on about how excited she is that her father-in-law is getting the Drews' farm. When someone finally breaks it to her that she's been hallucinating this whole time, she gets very angry and clutches a water pitcher really hard. And because no scene with Thomas is complete without cute Andy spurning his advances, that happens too.
On a road surrounded by sheep, Edith is driving (yes! driving!) her aunt Rosamund. The car has a huge steering wheel. Rosamund tells Edith about this funky college for clever, but poor girls. She's a trustee and thinks Edith should be one too because there's a hot dude who works there and he's around Edith's age. First the newspaper helper and now this guy? When it rains, it pours! Get it, Edith!
Back at the house, Molesley stops Cora on the stairs to talk about Baxter. Has he not gotten the memo? Cora is NOT IN THE MOOD to hear servant sob stories this season or let anyone borrow or touch her things, geez!
Downstairs, Daisy tries to murder potatoes with a spoon and then rants about how let down she is that Cora lied to her. Mrs. Patmore brings things back to reality and emphasizes that Daisy fabricated this whole thing and is maybe addicted to psychedelic shrooms or something? Daisy continues to murder the innocent potatoes.
Upstairs, the visitors arrive and are announced. Mary is shocked to find that the Dowager's plus one's plus one is that sexy guy she went hunting with during last season's finale. Didn't I tell you?? They're totally going to get married because anything else wouldn't be predictable enough.
Branson talks to Mary's future husband about cars and doesn't realize that this is an A and B conversation and he should C his way out of it.
By the fireplace, the Dowager grills her friend about her nephew's prospects. 40 men would have to die before he becomes an Earl. Ouch. Too bad the Titanic is already underwater; could've treated all 40 of them to a cruise.
Robert calls his mom and her friend out for being snobs. Glass houses, dude, glass houses. Then the Dowager puts her son in his place and wins my heart for the 7000th time.
Robert: No one has sharper eyes than a loving son.
The Dowager: You read that somewhere.
Robert: Why do you never think I can make anything up?
Because you suck at business, aren't very bright and helped kill Sybil. That's why!
Downstairs, Anna is having a contraction or something.
In the dining room, the old people fight over the usual, while Mary becomes the first person to ever flirt using the words "guinea pigs."
After dinner, it's Mary's future husband's turn to flirt. "Telephone me. We'll have lunch or a drink.........or something." Mmmhmmmmm.
A few yards away, Cora and some others discuss how embarrassing all the fuss over the hospital is. This is true, but what's even more embarrassing is that the Downton writers are wasting the show's final episodes on such a dull storyline.
After everyone leaves, Robert clutches his side. This happened in the last episode, but I didn't mention it because I don't care about Robert. But yeah, I guess he's going to die. We all know dogs go to heaven, so Isis is accounted for. Will Robert be reunited with her or travel somewhere a bit warmer?
Outside, Baxter and Thomas are both having existential crises like they're sophomore English majors high for the first time. Thomas wishes he was popular and straight like Baxter. Baxter wishes she was like Thomas (minus the gay part).
"You don't care what people say, while I tremble at the mere idea of public ridicule." Scratch "blogger" from the list of pursuits Baxter might entertain after Robert dies and the family sells Downton. Thomas explains that he actually does care what people say and walks off like this:
Later, the Sergeant is back to convince Baxter to testify. She's like, Pass! Then he guilt trips her by bringing up other victims who are now prostitutes or dead. Baxter changes her tune to Ugh, fiiiine.
The treasurer of the funky girls school arrives at Downton with his wife (sorry, Edith), who happens to be Gwen, a maid from season 1! She greets her former bestie Anna, but snubs Thomas (bad move).
Now that she has money, she's trying to downplay her time as a maid by not mentioning it at all. The rich people assemble to grill Gwen about who she is and why she came up with the school idea.
Gwen: You see, I never had any higher education and so...
Mary: Who did? All we were taught was French, prejudice and dance steps.
I never thought I'd say this, but Mary is quickly becoming my favorite (again, sorry, Edith).
Downstairs, Daisy predicts that no one will recognize Gwen because "they don't look us in the face." Mrs. Patmore rewards her right answer by calling her Karl Marx and ordering her to get back to work.
Upstairs, Branson bonds with Gwen over marrying up and out of facelessness. Thomas looks on, full of dejected rage (which would totally be the name of his first fragrance, if he was a pop star).
After sitting down to dinner, Gwen preaches about educating women. Everyone laughs about how they wish Carson was present to say sexist things. Thomas sees his chance: "You recall Mr Carson, madam, surely?" Gwen's cover is blown to bits.
Gwen explains how Sybil helped her get a secretary job. Everyone mournfully thinks about how good the show was before Robert killed Sybil with his bad decision making skills.
After dinner, Gwen goes downstairs to hang with her former coworkers. Daisy jumps out of nowhere in front of Branson and plays her favorite broken record: MY FATHER-IN-LAW! IT'S NOT FAIR! MY DEAD HUSBAND WHO I DIDN'T EVEN LIKE! RICH PEOPLE SUCK! Branson is like Um, woah. I'll see what I can do. Now please stop talking.
A few paces away, Robert corners Thomas and makes him feel bad about being evil sometimes.
Upstairs, Mary talks to Anna about how remembering Sybil makes her reevaluate being a mean snob all the time. All the talk of Sybil brings back the ghost of pregnancy problems past and Anna has a crazy cramp. They decide to hightail it to the London doctor.
Outside, Bates asks 1001 questions, including "So you're not hiding anything?" Before he can question her about being in love with someone else, like he did last episode, Mary and Anna get in the car and drive off. Bates watches them go and thinks solemnly, Damn it, I have to kill again.
Back inside, Bates continues being weird:
Andy: What's Lady Mary's emergency?
Baxter: It's none of our business.
Bates: Very true, Miss Baxter. For once I agree with you.
Um, why the 'tude with teary-eyed puppy Baxter? What has she ever done?
Then Bates continues attacking people by asking Ugh, Daisy, what exactly is your problem?
Daisy explains that she's "had enough" and will confront Cora for "cheating" her father-in-law out of the farm. She slams spoons next to place settings really hard so everyone knows she means business.
Upstairs, Cora convinces everyone to give the farm to Daisy's father-in-law because it's what Sybil would do (also, this is the only way to get Daisy to stop stalking her).
Downstairs, everyone tells Daisy what she's about to do is social suicide. Daisy doesn't give a you-know-what, yanks off her apron and storms upstairs to execute Cora or whatever.
Upstairs, Cora runs into Daisy and is like Really, girl? Daisy plays her broken record yet again. I'M UPSET! Yeah, we know.
Robert interrupts and tells Daisy to make sure to tell her father-in-law the good news. Daisy makes this face and then runs downstairs:
Robert comments on how weird Daisy is and then grabs his side again. One step closer to the grave.
In London, the doctor announces that he prevented Anna's miscarriage. Mary celebrates by making plans to go on a date with her future husband.
Back at Downton, Robert tells Thomas how excited he is that Carson is coming back to fire him. Maybe the pain in Robert's side is a side effect of whatever poison Thomas is slipping into his tea? When Robert keels over, Thomas will do a tap routine over his corpse, while singing "He Had It Coming." Now that would be a proper end to this series!
Back in London, Mary tells her future husband that she works, despite her ovaries. He doesn't set himself on fire and run around the room engulfed in flames so that's a plus.
At the farm that used to belong to Marigold's kidnapper, Daisy's father-in-law tells her how excited he is to know where he will "lay his bones." Yay?
Back at Downton, Bates grills Anna, who has just returned. She finally tells him, Hey, stop brainstorming ways to kill me. I'm not cheating, just pregnant, silly! Bates is moderately pleased.
The Carsons return and everyone applauds them for being brave enough to have sex with each other.
Upstairs, all the rich people plan to take a field trip to the servants' hall to welcome the newlyweds.
The Dowager: I haven't been into the kitchens for at least 20 years!
Isobel: Have you got your passport?
Isn't it fun when they're not talking about that boring hospital?
Downstairs, the Dowager is like Ew.
Edith announces that she plans to hire a female co-editor for the magazine. Mary says something along the lines of Right on, sister!
Rosamund: That was nice of you, to praise Edith's plan.
Mary: A monkey will type out the Bible if you leave it long enough.
Okay, it's official now. Mary is my favorite.
Everyone complains about how annoying it is that they have to call Mrs. Hughes Mrs. Carson now.
Major foreshadowing moment:
Rosamund: Mama's slipped away. She was tired, so I told her to go.
Robert: Quite right.
Rosamund: I'm afraid she won't give up about the hospital.
Robert: I shan't think that at her funeral.
Rosamund: Who says she won't be at yours?
Mr. Carson announces that no one has to calls Mrs. Hughes Mrs. Carson. Everyone reacts like they just got out of jury duty for the rest of their lives. Nothing makes sense.
Everyone is standing around having a very bridled version of fun. Except for Thomas, of course, who looks like this all by himself in a corner:
Carson heads to his old room to say goodbye to his single bed. We know how much Carson hates change (almost as much as he hates women's civil rights).
After every episode, it's only right to reward characters who've impressed and diss the ones that haven't, so here goes:
PIECE OF COAL: Bates: What are you good for? Absolutely nothing (but you're pretty good at bullying your wife).
HONORABLE MENTION: Gwen: Good for you, I guess.
BRONZE: Thomas: Kudos to him for his remarkable restraint that holds him back from killing those who are rude and merciless to him (everyone, but Mary).
SILVER: Sybil: Sure, she's dead, but her memory was strong enough to get Daisy's annoying father-in-law a farm, convince Mary to be nicer and set Gwen up with a pretty cush life. Way to go, Sybil's ghost!
GOLD: Mary: She saved Anna's baby, became the first person in history to turn the term "guinea pigs" into something sexy, lined up a pretty cute new husband, and was nice to Edith for no reason. And that Bible-typing monkey comment? Come on. The clear winner this week.
Until next week!
Previous Season 6 recaps:
‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6 Episode 3 Recap: Chapel of Love
'Downton Abbey' Season 6 Episode 2: All That She Wants Is Another Baby