While Edith is away, the Crawleys will still play. Not to say that they aren't worried about Lady Edith, but, you know, there are two dinner parties to be had!

The first gathering sets up the storylines running throughout tonight's episode. Before dinner, Cora learns the truth about Marigold after Mrs. Drewe comes to visit and (rightfully) complain about being used.


It's kind of odd we don't actually get to see that conversation, but we see the aftermath.

Cora confrontation! "Did you both know?" Cora asks Rosamund and Violet.

They mumble responses and clearly feel guilty about everything. If you're keeping track, "everything" means "first urging Edith to get an abortion, getting Marigold adopted by a random Swiss family, making a farming family adopt the baby and then telling Edith to make Marigold leave the Drewes to go to a random school in Europe."

Just those things, basically.

Cora's fair question: "You never thought to involve me? Her mother?"

Cora's the only one who really makes sense here, especially when she decides to go to London and -- how novel! -- actually ask Edith what SHE wants.

But first, the dinner party. The Sinderbys arrive and take their "Lady Sinderby is lovely but Lord Sinderby is cold and upset Rose isn't Jewish" roles. Cora and Robert again reiterate that they are cool with the Jewish thing.

Fresh from a talk in which Charles Blake pretty much tells Tony Gillingham to move on from Mary to Mabel Lane Fox, Gillingham and Fox flirt during dinner, waiting for him to let go of Mary who, again, HAS NO INTEREST IN HIM AND HAS MADE IT CLEAR.

And -- awww! -- Isobel announces that she has accepted Lord Merton's marriage proposal.

They keep the whole Edith-has-run-away thing a secret, but Rose spills the beans to Atticus to wonders if they could possibly call the publishing company Edith inherited from Gregson. Maybe, just maybe, she's there?! Really, no one had thought of that?

Cora agrees to go in the morning to track down her daughter (and granddaughter she has never met). But not before she throws some major shade the dowager countess' way.

"How will you imagine I'll ever trust you again?" Cora asks her.

The dowager calls that remark "the most honest thing she's ever said to me."

Cora in charge


Rosamund and Cora arrive at Edith's publishing company and confront her in the lobby (water-cooler fodder!). Edith agrees to meet them both at a tea room down the road, and it's sad to hear Cora ask to see Marigold and Edith turn her down right away.

So what's Edith's plan? She says she's considering going to America, dropping her title and inventing a dead husband. That way she can move to, say Detroit or Chicago and live in anonymity.

Spoiler alert, Edith: Do not pick Detroit.

But, Edith says, she'd like to raise Marigold English. Cora has a simple plan: Bring Marigold home to Downton and raise her in the "Downton nursery"

I would like to work at the Downton nursery, BTW. What's the retirement plan like?

She says they'll tell the family that the Drewes can no longer afford to take care of Marigold. We'll forget that the Drewes have multiple children, but sure, Marigold has pushed them over the edge or something.

Edith agrees with the plan, as long as no one knows the truth -- especially her father and Mary. They decide to ask Mr. Drewe to pick up Marigold at the train station in Downton, the ladies will arrive separately, they'll tell the family about it and then Edith will go fetch Marigold.

The plan pretty much works, except Cora and Edith did not expect to see Anna and Mary at the train station. They force Mr. Drewe into the compartment with Marigold, and agree to pay his fare so Mary can't see them all together.

I'm tired just writing all of this.

Later, Edith and Cora tell the family of the Drewes Are Poor And Marigold Shouldn't Be an Orphan and Should be Raised with "Strangers" idea. They're all skeptical.

Robert arrives with his sick dog, Isis, who we learn has cancer and he seems so distracted by that that he can't give the Marigold situation his full attention. He leaves the matter up to Cora. It's official: They'll offer Marigold a home.

Any bets on how long before the family figures things out?

The dinner party of hate

The second party of the episode is not as pleasant as the first. It's officially thrown together to join the Mertons and Crawleys in the bond of later-life matrimony.

Don't know about everyone else, but I forgot how closely tied the Mertons have been to the Crawleys. Lord Merton is Lady Mary's godfather?! Sure.

I had also forgotten about how Lord Merton's son, Larry Grey, had wanted to get with Sybil, insulted Tom and his Irishness and is generally a jerkface. In fact, the Downton Abbey Wiki says, "Larry Grey is the elder son of Lord Merton and is a d---head."


Atticus is also at the dinner party, which opens the floor to Larry going on a rant about how people shouldn't get married if they're different in any way. Different ages? Different nationalities? Different religious groups? Nope, don't speak to one another.

Larry then directs his venom at Isobel, calling her a decent middle-class woman but not one who should marry his dad and take his mother's place because she'll fail. And, and, and, SHE'S POORER THAN US!!

Then he moves on to the Crawley family, calling out their "eccentric" choice in in-laws (namely that they "already boast a chauffeur and soon you can claim a Jew").

Tom yells that Larry is a "bastard," in the understatement of the season. Isobel looks crushed. Lord Merton, clearly embarrassed and ashamed, yells for his son to leave at once. Larry gets up to wait outside in the car.

The other not-quite-as-bad-but-still-awful Merton son, Tim, turns to Mrs. Crawley and says, "What did you imagine? That we would welcome you with open arms?"

I mean, maybe not. But this display is the extreme opposite of what normal human beings do.

The party, uh, sort of dissolves after that. Atticus takes Rose to a private hallway and asks her to marry him, because it's the appropriate time to do that. She says yes!

And Lord Merton tries to change the mood by saying, "We'll laugh about this one day." Which will never happen.

Isobel doesn't know quite what to say. She does know that she can't really respond right now about whether this will change hr mind about marriage.

And we're left with this from Lord Merton: "The boys take after their mother in every possible way."

I'd really like to see some kind of flashback involving the deceased Lady Merton. Did she poison her staff? Kill puppies? Was she best friends with Mrs. O'Brien?

Sensitive dowager countess moment

We finally learn just why Violet has been upset about Lord Merton courting Isobel. Over some tea, Mary accuses her grandmother of resenting Isobel's soon-to-be change in social position.


"If you must know, I've gotten used to having a companion. Someone to talk things over with."

Later: "Isobel and I have a lot in common and I shall miss that."

Aw, a dowager with a heart of gold.

Bye, Tony

We also finally see Gillingham give up on Mary after refusing to believe that she really doesn't want to marry him ... because they had sex and such.

Charles Blake has done everything he can (well, mostly force Mabel Lane Fox on him) to get Gillingham to move on. He even tells Gillingham that this is not what Mary wants, to which Gillingham responds, "I'm not convinced."

Ugh. In desperation mode, Blake invites Mary to the "cinema," though he pronounces it "KIN-ema." Hilarious and posh! With the film about to end, Blake takes Mary out of the theater and kisses her just as Gillingham and Mabel Lane Fox walk out.

"If you only would have just told me to go..." Gillingham says when he spots them.


To Robert's regret, Gillingham is now out of the picture. So where does that leave Mary and Charles Blake? Blake tells her that he's about to leave to go to Poland on some government duty and that he'll likely be gone for months or a year and that "you'll be married by then." And they leave it at that.

Poland sounds likes a safe place to go in 1924. Nothing bad will happen there.

But it's all a little confusing. Now that Gillingham is politely out of the picture, why isn't Mary going for Blake? Would she if he wasn't going to Poland? What about their oddly romantic fight in the mud with the pigs from last season?

Mary made him eggs!

More highlights from Episode 7

The education of Daisy Mason: 
Suddenly, Daisy now is fully up on current events since Miss Bunting, you know, taught her about math and such. She expresses to Mrs. Patmore that she's worried about the prime minister's policies failing and that there's no point in her bettering herself. It's as though Daisy's on "The McLaughlin Group." So the staff conspires to get her father-in-law, Mr. Mason, to convince Daisy to keep her studies up. This is a somewhat odd storyline, no?

Real estate boom:  First, Patmore buys a home. Then, Carson and Mrs. Hughes start to think about it. Now the Bateses discuss their past dream of selling their place in London and opening some sort of hotel. Where's a Re/Max agent when you need one?

Men, according to the dowager: "[Robert's] a man. Men don't have rights," the dowager tells Rosamund after her daughter asks her if he has a right to know about Marigold being Edith's daughter.

Most Mary-like reaction to Edith being missing: "Edith's gone away. So what?"

Most Mary-like reaction to whether Marigold should come to live at Downton: "Can't we just give [the Drewes] some money?"

Most dowager-like scolding of Mary's treatment of Edith: "A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears."

Hint the Green thing isn't going away: No investigators at Downton this week, but we do see Baxter apologizing to the Bates that she had to talk to the police (but she doesn't explain to them why). Then we see Mrs. Hughes ask Mary if she still had Mr. Bates' train ticket that now proves his innocence and Mary reveals that she burned it.

Most laughable question: "Is our life overcomplicated?" -- Mr. Bates to Mrs. Bates.

Storyline that refuses to end: Will Branson leave Downton or not? In this episode, he tells Robert that he's probably taking off to Boston with Sybbie, but there's really no official decision announced. And Sybbie makes a good point when her dad asks her if she'd want to go on a journey across the sea and she says, "Why?"

Robert phrase I want to incorporate into my everyday vocabulary: He calls Marigold coming to Downton "absolutely crackers."

Weirdest way to end an episode: With Isis the dog about the die, Cora tells Robert to place the dog between them in bed and that she hopes that when she dies she will die surrounded by that much love. Uh, OK.