'Downton Abbey' Season 6 Episode 7 Recap: Off to the Races

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It’s been a week since Carson bullied Mrs. Hughes so hard that she's probably considering poisoning his food and bullied Thomas so hard that he sobbed in a rocking chair in the dark all by himself. Will they join forces and take him out at long last? Will a boa constrictor do their dirty work for them, like I hoped for last week? Or will one of Carson's organs self-implode since all the cool old white dudes' innards are doing that these days? Only one way to find out! On with the show!

Mary's one-dimensional future husband is racing cars again. He loses. Edith's curse is working.

In the Downton dining room, Robert is out of bed and sitting in a chair (hurrah for those of you who don't hate him for killing Sybil!). He's received an invite from Mary's future hubby to watch him race because that's all he does, other than not make any money.

In the kitchen, Daisy is no longer Gremlin-level jealous of Mrs. Patmore. Instead, she's excited about Patmore's new bed and breakfast, which will keep her too busy to ever get close to having sex with Daisy's father-in-law, hence the pleasant, non-Gremlin attitude.

Mrs. Hughes comes in to complain about having to make dinner for Carson again. Just slip in some arsenic and be done with it!


Over at the Dowager's bachelorette pad, she and Isobel are having some serious girl talk about whether Isobel should attend Lord Merton's evil son's wedding. Then they speak of the hospital drama in the past tense! It's finally over!!!! Excuse me while I process this:

Phew! Man, I feel great! So does the Dowager cause she's decided If you can't beat 'em, go on a long vacation so you don't have to see their stupid faces every day. Hear, hear!

In the Downton servants' hall, everyone does that annoying stand-up-really-suddenly-and-scrape-the-chair-really-harshly-to-show-subservience-to-reigning-jerkface-Carson thing. That can't be good for the floors or the chairs. And don't get me started on the noise pollution! (I'm old and hate loud noises, especially when they're in honor of sexist, homophobic picky eaters).

Andy briefly flirts with Daisy. There is 0.00% chance the Downton writers can make me care about this pairing. Also, hey, Daisy loves books. Why doesn't she teach him how to stop being dyslexic? That'll free Thomas up to focus on someone who isn't disgusted by his very being. Just a thought!

In the hallway, Carson fires Thomas without actually firing him again. The sky is blue. And that murderous boa constrictor I keep willing into existence really needs to slither faster and take care of this Carson problem once and for all. I hope Boa complains about how Carson would've tasted better if his skin was crispier and he had been served with lemon and some horseradish on a plate that was just the right temperature, not too hot, not too cold.

Upstairs, Robert is like Wahhhh, let me go to the race, Cora, pleasepleaseplease! Cora is like Did you guys hear something?

Outside, Thomas is smoking a sad cigarette. Mrs. Hughes comes outside and says Sorry my husband's homophobia is driving you to suicide. Maybe people won't hate you so much at your next job? So motivational! She should speak at commencement ceremonies!

Across town, the Dowager wages war on Lord Merton's soon-to-be daughter-in-law. In about two minutes, she eviscerates her with a multi-pronged attack: first she calls out her fake nice BS: "Nobody's always friendly." Then she declares that her fiance should have been "called out and shot" for the way he spoke to Isobel last season. Then she calls her out for only wanting Isobel around to care for Lord Merton in his old age so she won't have to. Then she pinpoints exactly what this young woman is after: the estate. "I expect they'll have to drag you out as you break your fingernails catching at the door case." Then she serves up a cute cherry-on-top diss: "You're a cruel, little Miss, aren't you?" Brava!!! This is how it's done, people.

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Back in the servants' hall, everyone is making plans for when the family is away next week, except for Thomas of course.

Thomas: Everyone has something to do on their free days, except me.

Carson: We know what you've got to do, Mr Barrow.

Okay, that's it. This boa is a no-show so I'm going to have to take care of this myself.
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Upstairs, Cora complains about having to go on this car racing road trip. She doesn't understand why Mary is getting her future husband's hopes up; he's just a driver, after all. Robert responds, It's the sex appeal, duh! Huh. For once, Robert is right.

In Mary's room, she's still trying to look past her crush's whole car obsession thing. Anna combs her hair and says Dealbreaker!

Downstairs, Baxter and Molesley do what they're best at: having a needy, please reassure me-athon:

Person A: I'm so dumb.

Person B: No, you're not! I'm the dumb one!

Person A: No way! You're so smart. I'm ugly though.

Person B: No, you're not! I am!

tina fey eyeroll gif

Andy visits Daisy's father-in-law and is still dyslexic.

At the Dowager's pad, she's like Peace out, sucka! in Isobel's face. France, here she comes!

Across town, Mrs. Patmore shows Mrs. Hughes her new Airbnb or whatever. Then she teases a scheme she has up her sleeve in regards to Carson's dinner. LET IT BE POISON!

In London, Edith drops in on her OMG-we-were-born-in-the-same-year! new female editor. Said editor wants to hire some advice columnist 'cause she's "funny." Her evidence: a sample column that reads: "Your husband is losing interest? Well, here's step one. Take a look in the mirror."

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Edith doesn't mind putting that hilarious bit of woman-blaming into a women's magazine and invites Ms. Editor to come to the races and meet the fam.

Later on at Rosamund's house, the Crawley clan reminisce about how awesome it's been to be rich for so long. Good times. Then Mary's soon-to-be husband shows up.

Mary: It's a bit obvious. Dropping in uninvited after dinner.

I Forget His Name: I hope it is obvious. Obvious that I want to be a part of this family.

Mary: Don't I have a say in the matter?

Give the coy act a rest, Mary. We all know you'll soon arrive at Eh, I guess we might as well marry each other.

The next day at the races, everyone oohs and aahs over Edith's editor being a woman. And Mary gets a bit TMI about her bowels: "My digestive system has packed up completely!"

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Back in Yorkshire, a bunch of the servants are kicking it after Molesley and Daisy's exams. Mrs. Patmore forgot the lemonade (day ruined!), but then Thomas shows up with it (day saved!).

In a shameless move to rev up the dyslexia storyline, the Downton writers create a scenario where Andy is peer pressured to read one of the exam questions aloud ('cause that's a totally plausible situation that happens all the time). Needless to say, it doesn't go well. Thomas reads the exam question for him because he's a gay saint. Andy comes out as a non-reader and tells everyone that Thomas has been giving him reading lessons. Now can everyone start being nice to Thomas?! Thank you.

The schoolteacher offers to help Andy learn how to read. Thomas is stoked.

Thomas: "We can go on with..."

Random teacher: "Mr Barrow, it might be better if you step back now."

It never ends...


Back at Downton, Carson and Mrs. Hughes are home alone. When the cats are away, the mice will...sit on one of the couches for the first time ever, which is really super sad if you think about it. Thomas interrupts and wants in on the fun:

Thomas: Can anyone join in?

Carson: No, Mr Barrow, they cannot.

WHAT IS HIS PROBLEM?! The next time I see Carson in the hallway:

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Back at the race, cars zoom all around and everyone pretends to care. Mary sums up the way I feel about the majority of this season's storylines: "It feels as if we're trapped in some witch's curse for all eternity."

And then there's a big car crash! Everyone rushes over to see who's dead. Mary is running on pure adrenaline and PTSD. At the scene, Mary's future husband is battling flames to get his friend out from under the burning car. No dice. He is dragged away, screaming.

Mary and Edith arrive and keep asking who's dead. Edith's new boyfriend reaaaaally draaaaags iiiit ouuuut before saying Oh, it's only Mary's future husband.......'s bestie! Mary and Edith are like Phew! Yay! Anyway!

Later, Mary's beau is distraught and covered in ash. He tells Mary he feels bad because he talked smack about his dead bestie's driving skills and that's probably why he crashed. Mary is like Nah, he's just bad at driving like my dead husband.

Then Mary tells him Rosamund isn't cancelling dinner because no one really knows or cares about dead bestie. Mary leaves without touching her future husband cause he's really dirty and she's wearing a pristine eggshell number.

Back at Downton, the teacher has come to tell Molesley that he's surprisingly smart, despite the fact that he can't ever do anything right, and offers him a teaching position. Molesley a.k.a. Piglet has difficulty processing all his emotions:


Everyone moves to another room to celebrate Molesley's ascendance out of service. Thomas sits alone, watching the merriment from another room. *lip tremble*

In the Carson cottage, Mrs. Hughes fakes an injury so she can get out of making dinner for her ungrateful, hateful husband. You see, a normal, empathetic person would be concerned about said injury and ask if they can do anything to help. Carson is not a normal, empathetic person: "But how are you going to cook?"

Mrs. Hughes is like I'm not, jerkface. You are! And then starts ordering him around the kitchen. Yay, passive aggressive lessons in humility!

Back in London, the family is having a gloomy, awkward dinner. Robert breaks the silence with this: "It was a bloody awful business. A bloody, bloody awful business." Everyone thinks of that bloody, bloody Sunday when he puked blood on everyone and everything. Aunt Rosamund tries to lighten the mood by calling out his overuse of the word, to which Robert gets crazy aggro and tells her to shut up. The men in this show, I swear...

Later, Mary's future husband calls. He wants to take the "future" out of his title and just be her husband for real. She is not having it and breaks up with him over the phone (so modern!), while Branson creepily eavesdrops.

After she hangs up, Branson takes Mary by the shoulders and stops just short of shaking her while screaming But he's really cute and likes cars like me and I really need another dude in the family that isn't Edith's boring to an Olympic degree boyfriend so just marry him, damn it, marry him for me!!!!

At the Carson cottage, Carson sucks at cooking and Mrs. Hughes is nice about it because she's not a sociopath.

In the Downton kitchen, Mrs. Patmore gives Daisy a lesson: Stop being a jealous little Gremlin over your father-in-law because love isn't finite and just 'cause he's probably going to take my virginity doesn't mean he loves you any less. We cool?

Back at the cottage, Carson falls asleep at the table because being a woman is hard. But he better wake up 'cause there are dishes that need to be washed. Muahaha.

In London, Olympic Bore proposes to Edith because they've hung out, like, 5 times so it's long overdue by the Crawley standards. Edith is like Probably yes, but can I bring Marigold? He's like Who? Edith replies, You know, that random orphaned child we creepily watched sleep the other night. I'm definitely not her mom, but I think she's kinda cute so can we keep her? He's like Ummm you're being really weird, but okay. It's not like rich people ever hang out with their children anyway. 

Then Edith says she'll have to give him a definite answer later and expresses some accurate self-awareness for once: "I'm sorry to be a killjoy, but I must." It's as though she's read all my recaps that make fun of her for being an amalgamation of Jan Brady and Debbie Downer!

debbie downer gif

Over at Mrs. Patmore's Airbnb, things are going really well. But when she leaves to get to work, some random dude in a bush takes notes about her. Maybe her landlord doesn't allow sublets?

At Downton, the family returns from London to find that the Dowager has sent Isobel with news of her sojourn and Spratt with a super secret present. The family goes down to the servants' hall to find out what it is. Please let it be a puppy. Please let it be a puppy.

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robert downton abbey puppy gif

Robert names her Tia'a.

Edith: "I thought we always had names from ancient Egypt."

Robert: "Tia'a was a wife of Amenhotep II and the mother of Thutmose IV. Don't you know anything?"

Rude! Someone take back the puppy!

And scene!

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: Carson: I should just rename this award The Carson Medal of Dishonor.

HONORABLE MENTION: Molesley: Congrats to him for being able to read...unlike some people.

BRONZE: Thomas: He's still hanging in there. Someone make out with him or give him a piggy back ride, for Christ's sake!

SILVER: Mrs. Patmore: Her Airbnb is bringing in the bucks and she even found time to come up with a feminist reckoning strategy to make Carson shut up about how much he hates everything women cook for him. Well done!

GOLD: The Dowager: The classy south of France solo trip and that smackdown she delivered to Lord Merton's future daughter-in-law were enough to get her to #1, but the puppy really sealed the deal. She spoils us with her greatness.

Until next week!

Previous Season 6 recaps:

'Downton Abbey' Season 6 Episode 6 Recap: I Get So Lonely

'Downton Abbey' Season 6 Episode 5 Recap: Sunday Bloody Sunday

'Downton Abbey' Season 6 Episode 4 Recap: I Will Remember You

‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6 Episode 3 Recap: Chapel of Love

'Downton Abbey' Season 6 Episode 2: All That She Wants Is Another Baby


‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6 Premiere Recap: Let’s Talk About Sex