Before we start, let’s all praise the the holy trinity of O’Brien’s bangs, Mary’s Eyebrows, and the patron saints of moving the plot along, because Bates is finally out of prison! It’s the event we’ve been waiting for forever! Our first shot of post-prison Bates shows him looking particularly dapper if not a little jowly and we can all see that the love between him and Anna is strong and true. Yay for them. They are so perfect. And so boring.
I hate to say it, but boring prison storyline has been replaced with the boring mismanagement of money storyline this episode. At least we have Edith looking adorable over breaky.
Matthew is trying to talk to Lord “let’s run Downton together, and by together I mean I do it” Grantham about money and they keep bringing up “Poor Old Jarvis,” who is the estate manager or something like that. My takeaway from this conversation is that Poor Old Jarvis would make a great name for a cat. Let’s all keep that in mind the next time we get a new cat. Or, it could be an arbitrary nickname for your current cat.
Over at Crawley house, the Dowager is paying Isobel a visit to tell her that Ethel is notorious in the village and has surrounded Downton in a “miasma of scandal.” Good word usage Granny! The point of the meeting is to tell her that even though she didn’t walk out on the mourning luncheon, she still doesn’t approve of gossip about the fam. Of course she manages to joke about the fact that Ethel is a prostitute while doing this and Cousin Crawley is appalled.
See, that is what being appalled looks like.
Back on the beautiful Downton grounds, Cora and Lord G are walking around arm and arm, and they see the nurse pushing Baby Sybil in a pram from afar. As if it is a stranger and they are in a public park, Cora says, “poor little girl.” Poor little girl, you guys??? Cora has gone from being in a deep and awful mourning for her daughter and extremely angry with her husband to totally hunky dory. I’m not into it. Poor little girl?!? They’re her grandparents and her mother is dead! I know, I know, emotions are so middle class, but I just can’t understand this emotionless upper class sometimes.
In between, we see the men talking with Poor Old Jarvis and the only interesting thing about it is that the bookshelf in the library is a secret door. Because Downton Abbey is a magical, perfect place. Save Downton if only for the novelty of that bookshelf door, Poor Old Jarvis!
Moving on, the downstairs youngins are going on a group hang to a movie which Mrs. Hughes approves of. Oh I just love her so, and her mother hen ways.
First the Dowager tries to make Isobel feel bad about hiring Ethel, now, she’s trying to make Edith feel bad for wanting to write for that horrid newspaper. But she tells Edith that she will support her decision in front of Lord G if Edith does her a favor. Now that’s the kind of language Edith understands! Side note, those are some beautiful tea cups and saucers. Anthropolgie, please take note.
Mary visits doting father Tom with the baby in the nursery. Tom asks Mary to be Sybil’s godmother and says that his “rough diamond” brother is going to be the godfather. It’s all very sweet but in true television show fashion, baby Sybil looks like she is at least 8 months old instead of like, a week. Although with all the time confusion that comes with the Downton plot lines, maybe 8 months has passed? Who can really say. But I’m sure we can all agree that that is one big baby.
Here we have Anna and Bates being in love on the beautiful green and romantic Downton grounds. It’s images like this that explain why we all lust after this show! Bates still doesn’t know what’s going on now that Thomas has his old job, but Lord G would never kick him out. For now he gets to relax in one of his cottages and read books. Sounds like a vacation even better than a VIking River Cruise!
Downstairs O’Brien is getting really bold with her evil schemes. She tells Thomas that him and James make a cozy couple! So blunt and bold that even Thomas is a little confused by it.
Over dinner, Edith announces that she will be going to London to meet with the newspaper editor of that horrible paper who is offering her the job. She won’t make a decision until she get’s a chance to meet him. Granny is super supportive about it and everyone is shocked and confused. Cousin Isobel asks if someone “changed her pills,” but then Granny can’t help herself and says “Perhaps Edith isn’t cut out for the domestic life.” And this is Edith’s face:
Okay, you guys, this is when the ep takes a turn for the drams. O’Brein’s subliminal messages finally seem to be working, and after thinking about it for like 30 seconds in his bedroom, Thomas decides to sneak into sleeping James’s room and kiss him while he is asleep! Cue extremely suspenseful music and me watching with my hands over my face.
OH EM EFFING GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
Alfred walks in right when Thomas is making his move and afterward Alfred seems very frightened by it all.
Poor, poor evil Thomas. He would never had made a move if it weren’t for O’Brien’s evil schemes. OMG O’Brien’s done it again! But Thomas has yet to connect her to the scandal! The next morning everyone is acting supes weird and all I can say is “shut up, Moseley.”
Edith has finally made it to London, and did anyone else think the editor of that dreadful newspaper looks like a young Sir Anthony? Or, slightly younger at least? Foreshadowing, perhaps?
Upstairs, after dinner, investments and productivity. So boring! Also, it seems like Cora is totally recovered from Sybil’s death. The family has been informed that Tom’s brother is coming for the Catholic christening. Lord G. suspects that the Dowager is down with Edith being a “modern lady writer” only because it benefits Granny in some way. He’s really knows his mother!
Back in London, Edith accepts her writing job while almost simultaneously telling the editor about being jilted at the altar. If only she had been alive for the oversharing days of the internet! Can someone please write an IHTM “I was jilted at the altar” from the point of view of Edith? Cause I would totally read AND comment on that shizz. Anyway, their banter, his looking like Sir Anthony’s son if he’d ever had one (or maybe younger brother?) and her oversharing is leading me to predict a romance. Yay!
Tom’s brother shows up and he doesn’t want to have dinner upstairs, because he’s self-conscious about eating with a bunch of richies. Tom says that his mother-in-law has been kind enough to invite him to dine so “get a move on!” Honestly, I really like how Tom handled it. But more importantly, did anyone else think the brother looks like Ron Swanson?
Mary appears to be out of mourning clothes here, so how much time has gone by? Somebody google the mourning rules of 1920s England and get back to me please. Matthew’s still talking about money management while trying to be romantic, which is weird. Come on, poor old Jarvis! Oh wait, he quit when I wasn't paying attention. Poor old Jarvis quits you guys, because he’s too old.
Downstairs, O’Brien is taking her final evil step of getting alfred to tell on Thomas. She’s involving her own nephew in the drams! So cunning! “Report him as you should, and then stand back and enjoy his fall.”
Granny’s favor is finally revealed! She made Edith secretly place an ad for Ethel to find a new job. Here’s the old Edith we all love to hate! Throwing Ethel under the bus just so she can have her family's approval. Grow a spine, girl!
It actually seems like the Dowager is thinking of Ethel’s best interest rather than her own. The idea is that no one respects her in the village because they know her history, but now that she has Isobel as a respectable reference, she could get a job somewhere else and go back to living normally (just minus her son I guess) and the Crawley’s wouldn’t be associated with a scandal anymore. But will it work? It seems like Cousin Crawley begrudgingly understands the idea, but is mad about the Dowager and Edith going behind her back. Which is understandable. Also, did Isobel stop working with prostitutes after hiring Ethel? Where did that story line go?
Let’s all purse our lips and bob our heads like Maggie Smith now, shall we?
Sidenote, what’s the deal with all of Moseley's lurking this episode?
Back downstairs, Alfred is really talking to Carson. OMG Thomas was doing what?! “The world can be a shocking place Alfred, but you are a man now and you must learn to take it on the chin,” says Carson. So what is he going to do about it?
Back at Crawley house, Isobel attempts to talk to Ethel about leaving but can’t bring herself to say it. I think Isobel really likes Ethel and might see her as a friend.
But, in the end, the Dowager comes through again by suggesting that Tom replace Jarvis! So smart! And then “if he’s the agent we can call him Branson again.” Thank heaven indeed.
Finally Baby Sybil is christened and the entire family attends.
Okay, second half of this doubly whammy ,extra long, technically finale, because next week is the Christmas special episode. It looks like O’Brien has officially won, and that is the power of new bangs, m’ladies. Carson agrees to give Thomas a good reference if he resigns quietly, sighting Bates’s return as the reason. But Thomas has a small victory at the end of their conversation by standing up for himself saying, “I’m not foul, I may be different from you, but I'm not foul.” Pretty brave for 1920, I think. If only Thomas could be Oscar Wilde’s new valet when he moves on from Downton! But Oscar Wilde died in 1900. Oh well.
Oh great, a sports event will be happening now. It’s “The House” vs “The Town” in a cricket match. Once again Moseley is making a fool of himself moving on from skulking to bragging. His father runs the match or something like that, so he feels the need to act like a total know it all.
It appears that Shrimpie’s 18 year old daughter, the Dowager’s great niece, will be staying with her. Exciting? Perhaps. I just like hearing Maggie Smith say “Shrimpie.” Also, I am so loving Cora’s dress and long white gloves right now.
Mary tells Matthew in bed, “you can kiss me, but that’s it.” She’s obviously hiding some sort of secret about her uterus and she better spit it out soon because her uterus is all of our business!
O’Brien convinced James to make Carson give Thomas a bad reference or else everyone will think he is gay too. Mr. “I’ve never been called a liberal in my life” Carson doesn’t know what to do. This has officially sealed my dislike for James, but let’s not forget that O’Brien planted the seed and put him up to it. O’Brien is the ultimate evil genius!
Rose, the great niece, has arrived looking quite beautiful and she seems to get a kick out of the Dowager. You can tell right away though, that she is not like Mary and Edith and seems rather wild!
Thomas has been told the shocking news about his bad reference and is crying in front of Carson. So devastating that his final undoing is just because he is gay and not because he is a meanie coward. In this moment, for the first time, he thinks that someone might have put James up to it, but still doesn’t think it was O’Brien.
Let’s all find relief from this tragedy by gazing at Mary’s hair piece for a second, shall we?
Edith, Rose and Matthew have made a trip to London. Edith, so she can meet with the editor, Rose, because she wants to “plan a surprise for Mummy” (yeah right), and Matthew to run “errands.” You mean “penis errands,” right Matthew? At her meeting with the editor, he tells Edith that she looks very pretty and hopes he's not sounding unprofessional. Um, actually it’s very unprofessional to tell your colleague that she looks pretty, Young Sir Anthony. You’re being unprofessional. Sounds like you want to run some penis errands of your own.
Back at Downton, Christ Figure Bates has noticed that something is fishy about the Thomas situation and will try and save Thomas, even though Thomas has always been a complete asshole towards him.
Uh oh, Rose just got into a taxi all by herself! Look at her outfit! Is this 1920’s London or Hipster Brooklyn? Honestly, I can’t even tell right now!
When Rose doesn’t show up for dinner, her taxi driver returns (because she left her scarf in the cab - this is so not Brooklyn) and tells Rosamund, Edith and Matthew where he dropped her off. It’s a jazz club! And they all show up to find her! You guys, this place looks like so much fun. I wish Edith would realize that she could live a little more. But she does not approve either.
Matthew “I’m on the side of the downtrodden” Crawley, asks Rose to dance, and on the dance floor tells her that he will convince Aunt Rosamund to stay quiet if she promises not to do anything like this ever again.
It turns out that Matthew really is in London for penis issues. And as he’s walking out of the doctor’s office, we see Mary walking in under a pseudonym! They finally have lunch to talk about each other’s reproductive issues in a very British manner, in that they are very vague about it. The gist is that Mary has some sort of problem that a small operation was able to fix and now they should be able to “make babies” (Matthew actually says “make babies”) like normal people. Hooray for working reproductive organs! And keeping secrets in a marriage! Since I’ve already brought up Ron Swanson, let’s just add this screenshot too.
Edith and Rose arrive back from London and Edith says that Rose has read too many novels about young women admired for their feistiness. What happened to feisty modern Edith? Is she condemning the reading of novels now? Annoying. The Dowager eavesdrops on their conversation. Granny knows something is up.
Bates is home for like 5 minutes and figures all the downstairs drama out immediately. He let’s Lord Grantham know about the scandal and that James is forcing Carson to dismiss Thomas without a reference. Bates also tells Lord G. that O’Brien put James up to it, and is really the one to blame. Just like everyone else, Lord G. doesn’t care that Thomas is gay and says “If I’d shouted blue murder every time some tried to kiss me at eton, I’d had gone hoarse in a month.” So he’s okay with the gay thing and just hates feminism, Catholics and Irish people I guess.
The Dowager makes up some kind of story about sending Rose to Scotland and I’m assuming that’s the end of that. Why did they bring in this character for the season finale? My guess is it’s the only way they could think of to film a jazz club scene. Except for her adorable clothes, that whole plot line was dumb.
Meanwhile, Lord G. seems to have completely lost it and sounds like he’s talking about pyramid schemes as a way to save downton. We also see Edith doing some good old fashioned 1920’s googling, by calling the Daily Telegraph information desk to find out some personal information about the editor. Because that’s what you do when you have a crush on someone. You stalk them through whatever technology is available at the time.
Bates invites O’Brien over to their new cottage and threatens her with a secret to get James to withdraw his demands about Thomas. And O’Brien brings up Oscar Wilde, just like I just did! But in a homophobic mean kind of way, so not just like me. Bates’s threat might work for the time being, but will O’Brien then make it her life’s mission to get revenge on Bates? I think a person should really only have to deal with someone like that once a lifetime.
Moseley keeps bragging about cricket this entire episode and at one point says “cherish the ball, don’t crush it.” And that’s the point when I said, alone in my living room, “that’s what she said.”
The Dowager settles big problems once again! She contacts Mrs. Bryant who Charlie now lives with and let’s her know she knows what is going on. Mrs. Bryant agrees to pretend that Ethel was Charlie’s old Nanny if Ethel gets a job nearby. So, thanks to the Dowager, and not Isobel, Ethel will get to see Charlie and not be known as a prostitute anymore!
Oh great, the 1920’s Google search had Edith find out that the editor is actually married. She is so furious that he flirted with her as a married man that she withdraws her acceptance of the position. However there is a twist, and it’s not good. Apparently the editor is married, but his wife is a lunatic. Is she locked in the attic? Is this Jane Eyre? Is Edith really the most unlucky person in the entire world? I absolutely love her outfit here though, I must say.
Hooray for the cricket whites and wicker chairs! I want to go to there!
Besides that part where Alfred calls the police on Thomas because being gay is criminal in 1920’s England and Alfred’s kind of a cowardly dick (he is so related to O’Brien), everything seemed to wrap up extra happily in this finale! Thomas is staying on, and will most likely be Bates’s superior now, and almost comes off as a hero, especially since he is the star cricket player. I guess everyone else has forgotten that Thomas kidnapped a dog one time, purposefully blew up his hand in the war, and tried to make money off of rationed items. Whatevs!
Tom has given up being a revolutionary (thank god) and has agreed to live with the family at Downton while Sybie grows up, and to replace poor old Jarvis. Weren’t we afraid he was going to burn the place down just a couple of weeks ago?
Lord G has finally come around to co deciding on Downton issues with Matthew and Tom, and Mary is going to be knocked up by the Christmas Special. Don’t you think? (Oh wait, they say it in the preview. I hate that!) I guess I was wrong about Rose and she will be back next episode as it looks like the Crawley’s go to Scotland! Seems like the only one with a dud plotline is Edith once again.
Is it all too good to be true? Will the Christmas Special next week be full of tragedy? I can’t wait to find out.