This was quite a good episode with plenty of action, definitely the most enjoyable so far this season. I cannot quite see how everything will wrap up neatly before the finale, but on with the recap.
First, let’s get the Lady Mary storyline out of the way. She is still tactfully pursuing Henry. He is also pursuing her by asking her entire family to watch him race. Mary does not mind him doing so, but she is apprehensive about the car race. Robert and Cora talk about whether Henry is really a good match for Mary. The consensus seems to be that he is not an obvious choice for her, that he is kind of her opposite. I think that she seems to enjoy running the estate herself, so that type of man, one who wouldn’t want to take control away from her and wouldn’t think he knows how to run a grand estate, might be best for her. Anyway, when has Lady Mary ever gone for the suitable and obvious choice? When Evelyn Napier visited, she spent the entire time flirting with Mr. Pamuk. When Tony Gillingham was around (who, like Evelyn Napier, would have been very attractive on paper), she was more attracted to Charles Blake. Speaking of, I wonder what happened to Charles Blake? Is he the only man in England who met Lady Mary and failed to be pulled in by her charms? As I remember, Mary was quite keen on him at one point. Perhaps the actor could not come back this season? Since there are not many episodes left, unless things progress at an astonishing rate with a new suitor, Mary will end up with Henry or she will end up alone.
Lady Edith invites Bertie and her new editor (whose name escapes me) to watch the car race. The new editor and Tom have a nice chat. When the race starts, Mary can barely watch. There is a very big setup here, which foreshadows disaster, and it comes when there is a crash. Henry is involved, and Mary assumes the worst as she runs to the scene. Although Henry is unhurt, his best friend died. Later, Henry blames himself for constantly pushing his friend, but a very emotional Mary tells him that they both pushed each other and that it was not his fault. The family, including the editor and Bertie, go back to Aunt Rosamund’s house for a very subdued dinner. After the family disperses to various locations, Henry calls on the phone for Mary. Because of the accident, Henry realizes he wants a more serious relationship with Mary. However, the accident has had the opposite effect on Mary. She decides that she cannot go through that again and breaks up with him. Tom overhears and tries to convince Mary that she is wrong, but Lady Mary is never wrong and so she storms off to bed.
Meanwhile, Bertie and Edith are getting cozy together after dinner. She has her shoes off and feet up on the sofa while Bertie has his arm around her. Edith remarks that she feels so comfortable and how lovely it all is. Bertie tells her how mad he is about her, and Edith remarks that she never thought she was the sort of woman men would be mad about. Bertie takes that moment to propose! Edith’s first question is whether he would be willing to take in her ward (*ahem* really, Edith?). He seems surprised by the question, but willing to take her in, though he wants children of his own. Is Edith really not going to tell him the truth about Marigold? That was the opportune moment. Edith missed it. She says that she needs a bit of time to think about her answer because she was so surprised by the proposal.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Daisy and Molesley are going to be taking their exams. During a picnic lunch, it comes out that Andy can’t read, and the schoolmaster offers to teach him instead of Thomas. This gives Thomas one less kind deed, which he seems sad about. The schoolmaster later arrives with the results for Molesley, and he wants to offer him a job teaching at the school! He says that Molesley knows more than some fellows who went to Oxford and Cambridge. Molesley reflects that he was never going to be a butler or a valet. Besides, there aren’t many jobs left of that sort (as Thomas well knows), so he feels extremely lucky. Between this and Mrs. Patmore’s new bed and breakfast, it seems like the downstairs folks are getting a way out before the end.
Thomas continues to mope around, constantly being threatened by Carson telling him he needs to find other work. The funny thing is that Thomas has become extremely fond of everyone he works with, but he has not been shown much affection in his life, so he doesn’t quite know how to show it in return. He doesn’t like being an outsider, and he is trying, but not many people are willing to give him another chance. I do hope he gets the chance to redeem himself before the end of the series.
Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes have devised a method for making Mr. Carson more grateful for the work his wife does. Mrs. Hughes pretends to have hurt her wrist. As a result, Carson has to cook dinner and clean up the dishes after. The meal is a bit of a disaster for him, and Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes laugh about it later. I enjoyed this, too, even if it does seem like a passive aggressive way of enlightening Carson.
Finally, Violet visits Lord Merton’s soon-to-be daughter-in-law. Apparently, the woman wants Isobel to marry Lord Merton so that she can be a caretaker for him. She doesn’t want want to worry about caring for him as he gets older and his health deteriorates. I honestly did not know what to make of this particular plot twist, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Violet is still upset about the hospital mess, so she is going to France to calm herself so she doesn’t say something she’ll regret. She has a parting gift. Her butler, Spratt, has arrived with whatever it is, but he seems reluctant to bring it up to the drawing room. The whole family goes downstairs to find out what it is. A puppy! Lord Grantham is very pleased. He names the puppy Tio, going along with the Egyptian theme of naming his dogs. It was such a nice ending to a very good episode.