Why voluntary (and really all) single motherhood is the last feminist frontier.
Morning all! Yesterday I took over Alisande’s Downton duties for one night only.
Most of this recap was written with the help of my friends Malbec and San Miguel, so please excuse any factual inaccuracies - and feel free to correct me in the comments.
First up, the main storylines of the week still revolve around the shocker death of poor old Sybil, and the spiritual fate of her daughter, Baby Sybil.
Sybil’s widow Tom wants the baby to be christened a Catholic you see, just like him.
Lord Grantham, predictably, is having none of it. Neither is Carson, who looked like he was about to spontaneously combust every time Tom said the word Catholic.
In the end, Lady Mary wins the argument for Tom, by pointing out that Sybil had explicitly said she wanted the baby christened a Catholic on her deathbed.
In fact it proved quite an emasculating week all round for Lord Grantham, who was horrified to discover that Fallen Woman Ethel™ was serving his mother, wife and daughters luncheon at Cousin Isobel’s house.
Upon hearing this news, he marched straight over to the village to unsuccessfully haul the ladies back to Downton. Even the magnificent Dowager Countess refused to budge, although her reasons were more pudding than morality based.
To add insult to injury, Mrs Patmore had agreed to risk Carson’s ire and help Fallen Woman Ethel prepare the food, despite the possibility that prostitution may or may not have been catching in the 1920s.
Presumably she felt that her own personal fortitude was sufficient enough to prevent her descent into immorality, and – worse – frolicking. ‘Do I look like a frocliker?’ She snapped.
The end result was a proficient salmon mousse for lunch, and a bad day all round for Lord G.
Adding to his current de-testicling, the fragrant Lady Grantham is still refusing to perform her wifely duties, so grief-stricken is she over the death of her youngest daughter, which she still blames on her husband.
This gave the Dowager Countess, whose only real gig in this episode was as a bon mot generator and marriage councilor, a chance to meddle.
Aware that Cora’s insistence on blaming Lord G for Sybil’s death was tearing their marriage apart, she instructed poor Dr Clarkson, who spent most of the last episode being told he was a shit doctor, to tell the Granthams that no action would have saved their daughter’s life.
Clarkson may have been reluctant to lie, but one particularly steely death stare from Maggie Smith was enough for him to chuck his integrity in the bin, and tell the Granthams what they so desperately needed to hear.
And their marriage is saved – hurrah!
Talking of plot points that go nowhere before being wrapped up suddenly and neatly, Bates is free! His evil dead ex wife’s friend agreed to testify on his behalf! He had to threaten his cell mate to get her to do so…because….actually I’m not sure why.
But never mind, it worked!
Which means that next week, we won’t have the requisite Bates In Prison scenes, where his cellmates or the prison guards invariably set him up, before he figures out what’s going on and sorts it out.
Next week – Bates is back at Downton – Tom and Miss O’Brien invariably collude to set him up, before he figures out what’s going on and sorts it out.
In other news – Daisy’s offered a farm by the nice Mr Mason. I’ve got no idea who Mr Mason is and why he wants to leave all his worldly possessions to our favourite assistant cook, but it does mean that she has to decide if she wants to leave service and Mrs Patmore for good (sob! Don’t split up the dream team!).
Finally, the love hexagon involving Daisy who loves Alfred who loves Ivy who loves Jimmy who loves…Evil Thomas? Himself? Mr Carson? continues apace.
This is starting to exasperate both myself and the increasingly fabulous Mrs Patmore, who puts the young 'uns straight: ‘you know the trouble with you lot? You’re all in love with the wrong people.’
Mrs Patmore is so wise, and speaks only sense. I heart her.
What did you think? Mrs Patmore for president? Is Daisy about to flounce into the sunset after having her heart broken by Alfred? Did you spot the foreshadowing when Tom handed Baby Sybil over to Mary and Matthew?
Let me know what you think below or on Twitter @rebecca_hol.