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'Downton Abbey' recap: Season 4, Part 6, A little (pig-related) romance

World War I (1914-1918)Downton Abbey (tv program)Maggie Smith

All it takes is a little swine emergency for Mary to claim herself a third suitor. 

It's about a year after Matthew's death, and, yeah, it's a bit jarring to see Mary pursued by three men so soon. But it's also a bit fun. Well, Lord Gillingham is fun. Evelyn Napier's a bit blah.

He's nice enough, but in a total friend-zone sort of way. 

Now enter Charles Blake, who, in the course of this episode, goes from considering Mary "aloof" (super-mean, early-20th-century wise) to crushing on her. 

The pigs have arrived! Could you tell when the pigs arrived in this episode? Because several people said it at different times. With everyone away for various reasons (we'll get to those -- it was a very busy episode), Mary and Charles take a long after-dinner walk to check on Downton's new pig pen. 

Things have already gone badly. Charles notices a pig that's close to death! The water trough has been knocked over! We must get them water and make them drink it slowly! 

Dude knows his pigs. 

Charles, in his judge-an-aristocrat-by-her-cover ways, assumes Mary will hightail it back to the estate. But Mary, being Mary, literally gets in the thick of it. They labor for hours to get these darn pigs healthy.

It's all sort of cute in the end (cue the requisite Mary fall in the mud!). They both lighten up with each other, enough to throw mud in each other's faces and laugh.

Could it be? I'm kind of liking these two together. 

Back at the house, Mary continues to shatter rich-people stereotypes (or something) by making herself and Charles scrambled eggs in -- scandal!! -- the servant's kitchen. 

Even a bad joke can't ruin this moment: "You saved our bacon," Mary tells Charles. "Literally."

Thank you, thank you. She'll be at Downton all week. 

What could make this situation more dramatic? Let's bring back Lord Gillingham, shall we? Now we suuddenly have Evelyn telling Mary that Charles likes her now and it has "increased the competition." We also have Charles loosening up, and bonding with Tony Gillingham over not just serving in World War I together -- but how they both really, really love them some Mary.

This surely won't get complicated at all, will it? 

BATES' KNOWING LOOK

With the arrival of Gillingham (he's just stopping by while on his travels -- *COUGHsureCOUGH*), comes ... dun-dun-dun, Gllingham's Valet From Satan. 

This was tense and horrible to watch. Mrs. Hughes gives the valet some death staggers, Anna is forced to pretend like he has done nothing ... so sad. Anna even has to sit next to him at the dinner table. 

But there were two awesome scenes here.

1. Mrs. Hughes' confrontation. Seriously, Mrs. Hughes is great this season. She corners Mr. Green in a room and lays down the law in now-patented Mrs. Hughes Scary-Good Manner. 

"If you value your life I should stop playing the joker and keep to the shadows," Mrs. Hughes tells him.

2. Later, at the table, Green is talking to Baxter about seeing Dame Nellie sing, and Green let it slip that he left the performance to go downstairs.

Bates looks up. Slowly. He stares. His eyes start to penetrate Green's direction.

He knows. 

What do you think will be his next move?

EDITH'S DECISION

This was a big episode for our Lady Edith of the Perpetually Forlorn. She still hasn't heard from Gregson (no one has -- investigators have found that he checked into his hotel, went out for the night and vanished), and she stlll won't tell her mother she's pregnant.

Instead she goes to see Aunt Rosamund in London and has made the descision to have an abortion (she finds the name of a doctor in a magazine at the train station).

Rosamund is sad, but doesn't exactly push hard to make her change her mind. Sure, she reminds Edith that if Gregson turns up and Edith keeps it a secret, that "Your whole life will be based on a lie." But Edith has made up her mind. 

Rosamund does go with her to the tucked-away Early 20th Century In The Shadows Abortion Place. While waiting for the doctor, Edith tells Rosamund that she perhaps cannot bear to ever go back to Downton, to see the nursery and Mary and Branson's children. Edith walks up to the room after hearing a woman cry, then backs away slowly when the nurse tells her it will just be a moment.

"I'm afraid this is a mistake," she says simply and leaves.

We leave this episode without a plan revealed for Edith. It's pretty clear Rosamund will be involved somehow, right?

MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM EPISODE 6

Bon voyage, Robert: Where's Lord Grantham throughout the drams? At the beginning of the episode, Cora's mom sends him a telegram asking him to come to America to help Cora's brother, who's in trouble with the government. We learn more when Cora's mom (Shirley MacLaine) and brother (played by Paul Giamatti), come to visit in the season finale). 

A touching moment: Mrs. Hughes helps get Bates to remain at Downton, instead of going with Robert to do his valet duties, by telling Mary what happened to Anna. Mary urges her father to take Thomas instead, but doesn't spill the beans of excacty what went down.

Very true: Mary on why Thomas should go with Robert: "It'll be an adventure! All those handsome stewards strutting down the boat deck."

Sickly Dowager: I let out a sad gasp when the Dowager Countess got sick (Never. Leave. This. Show. Maggie Smith). And it was pretty hilarious to see Isobel solely help her recover from bronchitis. 

Best sick DC quotes: "Why is this food so horrible?": "She doesn't know what she's saying" -- Isobel

And

DC on Isobel: "This one talks to much. She's like a drunk vicar."

Political Branson is back: Branson decides to go see a liberal MP speak (and meets a cute lady in the process), but when he asks Mary if she wants to go, she responds, "I'd rather go to the stake."

Most annoying way to say you're concerned about someone: Rosamund to Edith: "You seem so pre-occupe lately."

Best way to sum up the Rose and Jack Ross romance:

As they go boating.

Rose: Vive le difference!

Jack: Will Lord Grantham enjoy the difference?

Most annoying continual storyline: The Alfred-Daisy-Ivy triangle. Must we watch another situation where Alfred comes to visit and Daisy snipes at Ivy? 

Pretty much: Carson to Mrs. Hughes: "You're quite the plotter when you want to be."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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World War I (1914-1918)Downton Abbey (tv program)Maggie Smith
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