Anna and Mr. Bates: 50 Post-Rape Dates
In the last episode, Anna, still suffering from the PTSD of her very violent rape, moved back into Downton. Every day, Mr. Bates takes a solitary walk from the cottage they used to share and waits for her to come downstairs to the kitchens, if only to remind her that he still loves her.
Mr. Bates is no fool. He has a pretty shrewd guess regarding what's happened to Anna. He's decided to watch her like a hawk for any inkling of what has gone wrong. His patience pays off when he overhears Mrs. Hughes insisting that Anna should simply tell Mr. Bates what happened.
Bates corners Mrs. Hughes, telling her what he overheard and gives an ultimatum: Either she tells him what happened to his wife or he's leaving Downton for good. Mrs. Hughes is backed against the wall, torn between betraying Anna's heart-breaking secret or letting Mr. Bates leave which would break what spirit Anna has left. Mrs. Hughes decides to tell him the truth, although she literally swears on her mother's grave that it wasn't the man who actually did it. Mr. Bates is certain that it was Mr. Green, Lord Gillingham's valet.
Mr. Bates' intuition is spot on. He knows what happened to his wife and he knows who did it. He just wants to be certain.
When Mr. Bates' suspicions are confirmed, he breaks down and cries. This man has been through a murder trial, his own near-hanging and only once have we ever seen him near tears - when he made a bad attempt at straightening his bad leg with a metal contraption that left him raw, bleeding and scarred. But this is one burden too many and, as is often the case, it's the trials and pain of those we love that hurt more than our own.
The scene where he reassures Anna that he loves her more than ever left me weeping with relief right along with Anna. Anna has been avoiding her husband because she feels dirty and ashamed of having been raped. That the lovely, brave Anna has been put this trial-by-fire is hideous.
Anna has convinced us, Mrs. Hughes and even herself, that her biggest fear was that Mr. Bates would kill the man who raped her. She's right to fear this and right to worry that if caught, Mr. Bates could be hanged. But the truth is another matter. Anna has been terribly afraid of her husband's rejection. He had no choice but to find out the truth and confront her with it to prove that he loves her and will never see her rape as reason not to. Her husband gives he the gift of the the exact words she needs to hear.
You are not spoiled. You are made higher to me and holier because of the suffering you have been put through. You are my wife and I have never been prouder, not loved you more, than I love you at this moment.
Anna's relief that her husband still loves her is greater than but nearly equal to the fact that he has believed Mrs. Hughes story which Anna quickly cosigns: that she was raped by a stranger who broke into the kitchens.
In a scene that is downright scary for it's repressed rage and psycho killer music playing in the background, Mr. Bates let's Mrs. Hughes know that he doesn't believe their stranger rape concoction. He'll let Anna believe that, so as not to add to her already heavy burden. But if Mr. Bates has anything to say about it, it's going to be 1-8-7 on Mr. Green as soon as he can find the raping bastard.
I want to be sad, but I can only be glad that Mr. Green is going to get his comeuppance. I only hope that Bates doesn't get caught.
For all Mr. Bates' murderous intentions towards his wife's rapist, we see Mr. & Mrs. Bates exchange a smile the way they used to as they pass each other in the hall, on the way to carrying out their respective house duties. Anna informs Mrs. Hughes that she doesn't find fault with her for telling and that she's moving back into the cottage.
"We're going to try to put this whole thing behind us."
I only wish Julian Fellowes would have had that thought before he subjected us to this vile rape story arc.
Miss Baxter & Thomas Barrow: Downton's Changing
Elsewhere downstairs, we have a new lady's maid who comes complete with her own attitude and a new sewing machine. It seems every Senior Lady's Maid must be something of a "B" which also includes their names: O'Brien, Braithwaite and now Miss Baxter.
Cora is amazed by the inclusion of orange juice with her morning meal and the fact that she has a lady maid who hasn't disappeared before she could be served her luxurious breakfast in bed, the grace note to her own luxurious life. Cora's reveling in the fact that the new Lady's Maid seems to be a keeper and that life is back as it should be - her own personal maid to wait on her hand and foot. None of this sharing a battered Anna and busy Mrs. Hughes with her daughters.
Mr. Bates wonders what Baxter sees in Thomas Barrow which leads to some indecipherable quote from Anna. No amount of reviewing got me to understand what she said. I had to look it up and it appears she said, "There nowt as queer as folk," which my to my untrained ear sounded like, "There's not a weird fog." Oh well, now that mystery has been cleared up, back to Baxter.
Thomas Barrow, as usual, is up to something but he's reduced to merely spying on everyone at the present. His reasons are a bit complex and very shrewd, even for Thomas. His instincts about Nanny West and getting her sacked taught Barrow a valuable lesson- If there's something to know about the house or your job, know it first. There's nothing definite, but even he can sniff the winds of change at Downton. Thomas wants to use every bit of information he can to look out for his own skin.
Thomas capitalized on the good feeling he invoked in Her Ladyship by exposing Nanny West and referred Baxter as Lady's Maid. He instructs Baxter to keep Cora happy at all costs and to keep the other servants amiable as part of his plan to get as much dirt on everyone as he can, upstairs and down. Barrow recognizes that he has missed his opportunity to be likeable so he's leaving himself free to be as nasty as ever and let someone else keep the wheels of flattery greased.
However the new Lady's Maid knows how to keep her feelings to herself. Her initial attitude of shy deference and concern towards Cora is only an act. Baxter will spy for Thomas and be as nice as she can, but she is only ensuring her position and her future at Downton. Thomas tells her that she can get into Her Ladyship's good graces by complimenting Baby Lady Sibby but Baxter is already aware of this and using it to her advantage.
You name it, I've said it.
That was unexpected and a bit different from the sinister approach of the last two lady's maids, but nonetheless effective. She's going to do her job to the last bit but her own feelings she's playing close to the vest. Baxter is not the sly minx that O'Brien was or the sexy conniving vixen that defined Braithwaite. This one may be capable of turning the tables on Thomas if he crosses her, so he'd better watch his back.
Iron Chef: Downton Edition
Mrs. Patmore has never met a modern convenience or new recipe that she doesn't despise on sight. There's no school like the old school and yet the world is changing, as we're constantly reminded by everyone from Lord Grantham to Footman Barrow. Mrs. Patmore objects to Baxter's sewing machine and wants it out of sight and out of mind, just like the dreaded mixer which she eventually broke down and learned to use.
The lofty housekeeper authority of Mrs. Hughes is not enough to reconcile Mrs. Patmore to having the old icebox replaced with a modern refrigerator. This assay into modernity requires no less than a visit by Cora to the kitchens. Mrs. Patmore is in yet another minor tizzy admonishing the housemaids that the already spotless kitchen must be impeccable when Her Ladyship arrives. A new refrigerator and her Ladyship's coming downstairs. And oh Lord, her spare apron is in the wash and the one she's wearing is torn.
Team Barrow & Baxter come to rescue with the dreaded sewing machine and the torn apron crisis is averted, giving Mrs. Patmore the opportunity to come to terms with two modern conveniences all in the same day. Still, she wants to know: What's wrong with having blocks of ice delivered? What's next on the delivery chopping block? Groceries? Newspapers? Isn't it all a bit much, Your Ladyship?
Cora has unusual sympathy for Mrs. Patmore. Out of all the downstairs servants, the family seem to cater to her caprices more than any other. It's one thing to discard Lady's Maids as if they were last year's petticoats but good cooks are harder to come by and they will put up with and bestow their upstairs version of paternalistic love on Mrs. Patmore if that's what it takes to keep her. It's often remarked by the upstairs folk that they need to get to the table before "Mrs. Patmore blows a gasket." Not only is Mrs. Patmore a good cook, but her never-say-die attitude of delivering remarkable meals on time holds this household together in the way of any and every family.
There's enough of a story arc in the Eternal Love Quadrangle to finally distinguish which footman is which. Thank goodness.
Alfred - aka Tall Ginger Footman aka O'Brien's nephew - wants to learn cooking and become a world-class chef. He gets a chance for a trial at the Ritz and asks permission to improve his lot in life. Even Carson is impressed with Alfred's ambition. Carson agrees to let Mrs. Patmore assign Daisy the task of teaching Alfred the finer points of cooking.
Ah, so it's Alfred that Daisy has a crush on, even though both Alfred and Jimmy have their eye on Ivy. Poor Daisy.
Daisy wants to help Alfred but she also feels like she's giving him the knowledge he needs to leave her. Mrs. Patmore gives her the good old fashioned version of "If you love it, let it go and it comes back to you, then it's yours," speech and Daisy resigns herself to just having the chance to be close to the man she likes. Jimmy makes several obviously jealous remarks about Alfred's chance at becoming a chef and spouts off about his own ambitions which basically amount to the career of a gigolo. Stay away from jazz and liquor, kid.
With the help of the kitchen maids, Alfred turns out some dazzling savories that leave even the upstairs folk acknowledging his presence and wishing him well. We're taken to the vintage kitchens of the Ritz Hotel where we get a lesson in the history of cold potato soup and Alfred does well in the trials. Sadly, a final letter lets him know that he just barely missed it. Carson, of all people, tells Alfred not to give up and that it's alright to fail once, but to make sure it doesn't happen again. Well done, Carson. Alfred will be a chef one day. Poor Daisy.
Crowley House Employment Agency: Finding a job for everyone but Mosley
There are two types of employers. There's the Dowager who feels that it's her responsibility to employ as many people as possible and make sure they're all taken care of. Then there's Carson who feels it's his job to keep a lean crew and work them all double hard.
The Dowager, having helped Mosley as far and as much as she can, has left him to the tender mercies of Carson. Carson offers Mosley the job of replacing Alfred and is completely unsympathetic with Mosley's idea that the position is beneath him. Mosley, instead of jumping at the chance for employment, takes too long to in accepting and only accepts the job after we learn that Alfred isn't going to train at the Ritz. Carson takes a cruel pleasure in telling Mosley it's too late and Mosley shuffles off, always a day late and a shilling short.
Mrs. Crowley is feeling alone and very sorry for herself. Her son is dead. She feels like an appendage to the Crowley family, but not a real member. The Doctor becomes frustrated with Lady's Crowley's pity party and digs up yet another man for her to find employment for.
This give Mrs. Crowley an excuse to visit her Downton BFF, the Dowager. After a few of her patented zingy one-liners, Violet agrees to employ this latest urchin as an under-gardener. Who is promptly embroiled in suspicion as having stolen a valuable paper knife, a present from Violet's dead husband.
Oh noes. The Doctor and Mrs. Crowley convince the Dowager not to fire poor Pegg or to cast aspersions on his character with the other staff until it can be proven that the knife wasn't merely lost or taken by someone else. In the meantime, young Pegg is not to be left alone in the house and they'll all keep an eye on him.
Honestly, I can't wait to find out what happened to the paper knife, but there is no way that naive, plant-watering young man took it unless he thought it was a tool for pruning ferns.
Downton Abbey: The Eternal Estate Taxes Quadrangle
Lord Grantham and Mr. Drew
Lady Mary and Tom Branson
We get a glimpse of the Crowley babies. Tom is playing with Lady Sibby and Master George and Lady Mary joins them to visit with her son, taking an interest in him at last, now that seeing him isn't yet another reminder of her grief over her dead husband.
Lady Mary is definitely on the tail end of mourning in lively purple, which is a proper mourning color. A new suitor turns up and tells her that she's looking lovely. It's even Lady Mary who suggests throwing a birthday party for her father. Honestly, my first thought was, Who's going to get raped during this one? But Mary insists that this is going to be a small party so hopefully there won't be time for another housemaid or ex-chauffeur to be raped.
At any rate, Lady Mary is back to herself and she's ready to evict the first tenants in the Crowley Family effort to run Downton more like a business than their own personal bank. Mr. Drew the Elder has died and it's as good a time as any to move the rest of the family out as well. After all, they've allowed this family to stay in residence despite the fact that they haven't paid their rent in years. They left the tenant in peace during his final days and Lord Grantham himself attended the funeral. What more do these peasants want?
Well, as it turns out, the Drews want to stay on. Mr. Drew the Younger presents himself, literally hat-in-hand to Lord Grantham to plead their case. He's been away and had no idea that his family home was in danger. He can raise most of the money for the arrears and will work hard to get the rest. Not to mention, his family have been in that house and on the Downton plantation since before Napoleon was a pup on Elba Island. Isn't there any way they can have time to get it together and stay in their family home?
This harkens to a time where the common folk could appeal to actual people, not a mortgage company, and work out their issues. Mr. Drew is able to appeal to Lord Grantham's sense of decency and history. Not to mention that once they put out the Drews, they will still have to expend the capital to hire folks to farm the land anyway.
Lord Grantham loans Mr. Drew the final 50 pounds sterling to get the Drew family over the hump and appoints Lady Mary the task of telling Mr. Drew that they can stay. It's a good lesson for Lady Mary. It's one thing to sit in the house and order a family off the place through legal agents. It's another to meet them and deal with them as people and partners in the fight to keep Downton Abbey safe for her family and heir.
The issue of the farmers versus the aristocracy brings out all of Tom's issues about which side he truly belongs on. He spends all his time with the upper crust folk and he's never quite comfortable with the fact that he's betraying all of his socialist ideals. He also doesn't want the local folk snubbing his daughter once she grows up as less than a lady because of her father's station before he married up. He's considering moving to America where she won't have to grow up between two worlds. In the meantime, Tom and the rest of the family firmly take Robert's side in letting the Drews stay and Mary resigns herself to not being able to evict them.
Lady Mary is in an oddly stubborn phase where she refuses to show that she is surprised or doesn't know anything. Informed by Mr. Drew that Lord Grantham loaned him the last of the money needed to stay on the farm, she claims absent-mindedness rather than saying outright that she hadn't been told. And when informed that her rebound suitor has sealed his engagement with someone else, she claims to be glad and walks away with a straight back but a stricken face. It's a stark reminder that Lady Mary has lost the one person who allowed her to show any vulnerability. Here's hoping she will find someone again.
Lady Edith: Several Not-So Subtle Pregnancy hints. Say it isn't so!
Lady Edith is watching the mail and not getting anything from Michael-aka Shady Boyfriend. Edith makes the mistake of mentioning that Lady Mary's rebound beau has announced his engagement to someone else. Lady Mary, back to her acerbic self, makes short work of Edith's nosy prying.
It's not the first time you've got the wrong end of the stick.
Ouch. If you only knew, Lady Mary. That Parthian Shaft (the penis jokes just keep coming...I mean rolling, don't they?) hits home. Edith, newly devirginized, looks hurt...and worried.
Cora questions Edith about the mail "Are you expecting something?" Edith startles and then says, no, not really, she just hasn't heard from Shady Boyfriend in a while. Followed by Edith going up to London in a decidedly not form-fitting outfit covered by a baggy coat.
If Lady Mary's reputation was at stake for merely being alone with a man in her bedroom, an unplanned pregnancy could only destroy Lady Edith.
Please tell me that Edith is not pregnant. Someone. Anyone. Please confirm that Edith is not pregnant. This cannot be happening.