Downton Abbey recap, Season 6, Episode 2

Edith has gone back on her intention of moving to London. She is still arguing with her belligerent editor over the phone from Downton Abbey. When she decides to take a trip to London to deal with the issue, she does not even stay in her own flat. Her aunt asks her why, but even Edith does not seem sure why she is not living in London. It apparently has something to do with never having lived alone? If anyone is a candidate for happily living alone, it is Edith. And, besides, Edith, with her connections at the paper, would find plenty of friends and dinners to attend whenever she wanted. What does she gain from living at Downton Abbey? She is merely under the watch of Mary and her cruel judgments, putting Marigold in danger of seeing the Drewes again, particularly Mrs. Drewe, who did not want to give up the child. Speaking of which…

While Edith is in London, Mary, who does not know Marigold’s true identity, takes the children down to the Drewes’ farm to see the pigs. Edith feels that Mary would use the secret as a weapon, which, yes, I think that is true, but she will find out eventually. While they are at the farm, Mrs. Drewe has a weepy meeting with Marigold that shows that she is not over her obsession with the child. Lady Grantham watches the exchange warily, clearly wishing that they had not brought Marigold anywhere near the woman. Why couldn’t they have invented some sort of illness for Marigold, any excuse at all, to keep her away from the Drewes’ farm? It seems silly to say, “Lady Mary wishes for it to be done, and so it shall” when so much is at stake. Lord Grantham speaks to Mr. Drewe about his wife, but he says that he has it under control, so there is not much more that Lord Grantham is willing to do.

Meanwhile, Daisy is fretting over her speech last week to Mr. Mason’s new landowners. Molesley (who should really get more to do on this show) gets her a copy of past examinations to prepare her for her own, which at least temporarily makes her happy, but she is troubled by her father-in-law’s fate. She wishes that Lady Grantham could do something about it and decides that she has to speak with her about it. It would be better, she reasons, to know that she did everything she could. Lady Grantham thinks that, perhaps, there is a chance that she could have an idea for Mr. Mason, and I have a feeling that things are about to work out too conveniently, given the trouble with the Drewes.

Anna is the queen of drama. Can’t the woman get a single break? She is crying in private about her inability to have a child, and Bates wisely tells her that she should share her problems with him. Lady Mary, in a moment of kindness, brings Anna to London to see a specialist, the same one she saw when she was having difficulties before she had George. The doctor knows what the problem is and seems to have a solution, which I hope bodes well for Anna. She certainly is a great deal happier after the visit to London.

Given his past in the house, Thomas is somewhat of an outcast. He is continuing to see his redundancy and feels hostility from the rest of the house, so he interviews for a new position. It does not go well. Not only would he have to fill various roles (chauffeur and valet and footman), the man who is interviewing him seems to sense that Thomas prefers men and is prejudiced against him for it. Poor Thomas. I would never have thought, during the first season, that there would come a time when I would feel bad for Thomas. So does Baxter, but he does not want her pity or sympathy, so he is simultaneously hated and ostracizing himself.

Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson are having more problems with their wedding planning, but this time it is about location. Lady Mary is insistent that the reception should take place at Downton Abbey. Mrs. Hughes feels that, since it is her wedding day, it should take place somewhere else. She rightly feels that Downton is just the place she works and not who she is. However, Carson has always had a soft spot for Lady Mary and does not want to go against her wishes. This is not resolved by the end of the episode, and I do hope Mrs. Hughes wins. After all, if it were held at Downton Abbey, I doubt that Lady Mary would be doing any of the work setting up the reception. She is saying that they can use the space, but not that they won’t have to do all of the work of getting it ready for the reception.

The Dowager Countess and Isobel are still fighting over the hospital. Each are trying to gain votes to their own side, and despite my deep admiration of Dame Maggie Smith, I feel that Isobel is bound to win this fight. It is all about change and progress, and this series has always been on the side of change.

Lady Mary is taking her role as the new agent, and her first course of action is to enter one of Downton Abbey’s prized pigs into a local competition. Hence the visit to the Drewes’ farm described earlier. During the showing of the pigs, Mrs. Drewe arrives and lurks in a most sinister way. When Lady Mary wins, everyone is distracted and Marigold disappears. It does not take Mr. Drewe long to realize what has happened. He drives with Lord and Lady Grantham and Lady Edith to his farm (leaving Lady Mary, poor thing, to be miffed about having to find her own way home). Just as Mr. Drewe suspected, he finds his wife with Marigold in one of the more chilling scenes of the series. I can sympathize with Mrs. Drewe (having the daughter that she always wanted, and then having her taken away by wealthy, entitled people), but the scene was presented in an extremely creepy way. Mr. Drewe takes the child from his wife and brings her back to her family, agreeing that he should find a new place as soon as possible.

I do wish that this season had brought new storylines. Instead, we get a rehash of the secret daughter drama and more Anna troubles. It would be a better solution, since the Drewes have otherwise been such good tenants, for Edith to finally move to London with Marigold. But then Mr. Mason needs a place, so it seems that the Drewes must go. Given the difficulty Mr. Mason is having, would it really be that easy for Mr. Drewe to relocate his family? And London really is the best place for Lady Edith and Marigold, which makes the resolution all the more frustrating. I had high expectations since this will be the last season, but everything has a very Cold Comfort Farm feel to it. Lady Edith, if you are unhappy, do something about it. That is all.

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