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Heartbreak and Hope: Downton Abbey: Season 4, Episode 3 Recap

January 22, 2014

Spoiler alert! Welcome to blogger Amie Simon's recap of Downton Abbey season 4, episode 3.

After last week’s horrific assault on Anna, I’m sure all of you were on edge and wondering what other terrible things might happen in the world of Downton this week. Episode three was all about heartbreak and hope, as romances past, present, and future were explored both upstairs and down.

We open on poor, battered Anna downstairs, still suffering from the aftermath of her attack. Oh, Anna! Our hearts are breaking for you. It’s clear Bates—and really, everyone in the entire house—knows something is up, but because Anna refuses to tell him, he’s confused and thinks the problem might be him.

Meanwhile, the house party guests are all departing at once: the Duchess gives Branson some sage advice about moving on; the young Mr. Bullock makes a move on Rose; Lord Gillingham looks positively devastated to be leaving Lady Mary; twitchy Mr. Green can’t wait to get the heck out of there (OH I WONDER WHY); and Robert actually thanks Gregson for coming. Whoa.

After they leave, Mary is all business, setting off for London with Branson to meet with the estate lawyers and discuss Death Tax options. Lord Grantham tries to bring her down, but she’s large and in charge. Troubled young Rose suggests she go with them, and surprisingly everyone says yes. Lady Grantham asks if Mary will see Gillingham there, to which Mary replies, “Don’t be transparent mama, it doesn’t suit you.” HAHA.

And then we finally learn whose room Edna was sneaking into last episode: Branson’s! Oh, no! Oh, Tom. WHYYYYYYYYY. She puts on her best pout and claims Branson used her while he was drunk, telling him she won’t be cast aside, and that if she is pregnant, he better marry her. Pregnant! What. She almost screws it up by bringing up Sybil, but you can tell Tom’s falling for it because he’s so honorable.

Down in the kitchen, Jimmy’s coif is looking lecherous again as he sweeps Ivy into a dance. Enter Alfred, just in time to interrupt their kiss, and seething with jealousy. Daisy then lashes out at Ivy for causing the man she’s in love with pain by criticizing her … baking. Later, Daisy’s jealously gets the best of her when she sends Alfred to catch the two of them canoodling.

Cut to Carson and Hughes having a drink in her quarters and discussing Carson’s past love, Alice. It’s so nice to see the softer side of stoic Carson! But just then, Anna interrupts to ask Mrs. Hughes about her moving back into the house (noooo!). As they talk, she starts to crack, saying, “I can’t let him touch me… I’m not good enough for him. Not now. I think that somehow I must have made it happen.” And, “I can’t let him touch me because I’m soiled.”

Hughes tries in vain to convince her to go to the police. But Anna is convinced Bates would kill Green and go to prison, so she won’t. OMG. It’s so awful. I can’t take it.

Mary arrives in London to find Lord Gillingham at Aunt Rosamund’s. Mary brings up his fiancée, but he says, “Don’t punish me for wanting to see you again.” Man, this guy is BOLD. And then the whole party decides to go to a club for some entertainment! YAY JAZZ DANCE PARTY! I love it.

Back at Downton, Alfred has discovered a chef’s apprenticeship program and is going through cookbooks to see where he has gaps, asking Patmore and Daisy to help him go over a few things. Enter, Jimmy. And whoa. Wait. WHAT IS GOING ON WITH JIMMY’S HAIR? How can he even see? I don’t even know what happens with him in this scene because I’m too distracted by it.

Back to the JAZZ DANCE PARTY: Whoa-oh. Rose’s date is DRRRRUNK … and really obnoxious … and he almost pukes on Rose. Luckily the handsome jazz singer swoops in to save Rose the embarrassment of being alone on the dance floor. A shocked Rosamund sends Branson in to rescue her from the spectacle of dancing with an entertainer. Although the problem is more because he’s a “black band leader.”

Lady Mary and Rose return to Downton, and Mary looks after Anna suspiciously. Bates approaches her about London but she is still standing so far away from him! He requests a kiss, and begs her to tell him what’s happened, but she resists. Carson interrupts to say that Lord Gillingham has arrived from London, and a panicked Anna asks, “Is his valet with him?” Augh. I hate this!

After an urging from Mary to tell whatever secret is bothering him to someone, Branson spills the beans about Edna to Mrs. Hughes, to which she says “Well, this is a sordid tale.” Talk about the understatement of the year. But Mrs. Hughes is wise, wiser than Branson at least, and sets out to uncover the truth.

An intimate moment between Tony and a surprised Mary in the study reveals his intentions: he’s madly in love with Lady Mary and proposes! Lord Gillingham has been stricken by love at first sight. Worst. Timing. Ever. And just when I’m not sure about this guy, he delivers the most romantic dialog of all time:

“I never met Matthew, but I’m sure he was a splendid chap. But he’s dead, and I’m alive. We’re good together, Mary, and we could so happy if you’d let us … You fill my brain. I see when you I close my eyes. I can’t stop thinking about you … where you are, what you’re doing. You take as long as you need. Two years, three—just so long as I know that you’re going to marry me in the end.” * swoon *

Back to Mrs. Hughes’ quarters, where she summons Edna in to meet with her and Branson. It’s so interesting to see Edna think quickly and play all the angles! She declares that she won’t let them “gang up on her and pay her off.” To which Hughes replies, “Edna’s not pregnant. Do you think she would have let herself get pregnant if she was sure of you? And she knew how to prevent it too.” BAM! Hughes reveals a book she found in Edna’s room on birth control methods! And when Edna pushes, Hughes gets all medieval on her, telling her that if she breathes a word of her and Branson’s dalliance to anyone, she’ll make sure she never gets a job anywhere, ever. Haha! Ding-dong, the witch is dead. On her way out, she gets dressed down again by Thomas:

“Well if we’re playing the truth game, then you’re a manipulative little witch and I’m glad your schemes have come to nothing.” YAY!

Cut to more romance: Edith and Michael Gregson alone in his house! So scandalous! Watching Edith (even as glam as she is now) try to flirt is pretty hilarious. But what’s this? Gregson doesn’t know how long he’ll be in Germany, so he gives Edith some papers to sign so she’ll have “authority over his affairs” while he’s gone. Red flag! Red flag! This can only mean trouble, right? They seal the deal by embracing … all night. Aunt Rosamund’s maid catches Edith sneaking back in at 6am.

A frustrated Bates can’t take any more and spills his troubles with Anna to Lord Grantham. For once in his life, Robert gives some good advice to someone else, telling Bates, “You must wait until things become clear, and they will.” Oh yes, they will. But let’s hope Bates can check his prison temper when they do.

Before he leaves Downton, Gillingham tries to convince Mary to love him one last time. Conflicted and still grieving, Mary tells him she’s not ready … but also begs him not to rush into another marriage. Still, she says, “It’s no good, Tony. I can’t. I’m not free of him.” A heartbroken Tony asks her one favor, to kiss him. OHMYGOD, MARY. HE IS THE PERFECT MAN! JUST MARRY HIM RIGHT NOW.

Back in London, Edith gets reprimanded by her aunt for staying out all night. Rosamund tells her that she’s “gambling with your future, my dear.” While I’m not sure I agree because Gregson does seem sincere, we all know Edith has never been lucky in love—and the whole paper signing thing seems like a set up for tragedy to befall Michael in Germany, doesn’t it?

The episode ends with Mary and Branson driving off to settle some estate business, with Tom all smiles and relief now that Edna has left, and Mary left to contemplate whether she’s made a mistake letting Tony go. So much drama!

The suspense of whether Mary will change her mind and run after Tony will kill me until next week! Also, will Rose meet up again with her handsome jazz singer? Will Gregson make it back from Germany? Will the Dowager be able to accept any more change? And who is the mysterious Lady’s Maid candidate that Thomas knows? We can only hope it’s someone whose bangs can live up to O’Brien’s legacy.



Best zing from the Dowager:
“If we all had perfect morals, what would the poor churchman find to do?”

Most hurtful comment:
Aunt Rosamund to Edith: “You’re trusting this man with your name and reputation. As you trusted Sir Anthony Strallan?” OUCH.

Most romantic line:
Tony to Mary: “I’ll never love again as I love you in this moment, and I must have something to remember.”

Most heartbreaking line:
Branson, to Edna: “I am full of regrets. There is nothing but regret in me”

Best line from Mary all episode:
“Honestly, papa: Edith’s about as mysterious as a bucket.”