With the exception of Isobel Crawley, most everyone on tonight's episode either gave or got bad news.

Really, no one has been in really good spirits so far this season. Is the dog happy at least?


But hey, there was a fashion show! And we did finally get to meet Mary's socialite nemesis, Mabel Lane Fox! And, as her name pretty much suggests, she was awful.

Let's get right to the big bombshells.

Mary makes a break for it

Poor Lord Gillingham. It's not like we really enjoy him all that much, but he's not a terrible guy. Well, until tonight.

Mary's just not feeling it, so when she goes to London to attend a fashion show, she decides to break the news to him in person. At a park. In front of a Peter Pan statue. I guess that's the way you cushioned the blow in 1924.

Gillingham's not having it, and basically says that if a woman of Mary's social class sleeps with a man then it's expected that she will marry him. For her part, Mary seems taken aback but keeps her cool, even when he desperately asks if all of this is because he's a bad lover.


Mary's all, "Dude, get it together." But Gillingham is just treating this as a minor setback. "It's something we just have to get through together!" he yells. Gillingham, when your girlfriend loses her job you "have to get through" it together, not when she says she doesn't want to marry you.

But the trip to London wasn't an entire bust. During the risque fashion show (a lady wearing a blazer and tie!), Mary spots Charles Blake, her other would-be suitor, who introduces her to Mabel Lane Fox. Reminder: MLF was once engaged to Gillingham -- until her pursued Mary and called off the engagement.

"It's not often you meet the woman you're jilted for," MLF coolly says as she meets Mary. Can we have more of these interactions this season?

Post-fashion show but pre-attempt-at-Gillingham-break-up, Mary dines with Charles, who feigns surprise when Mary tells him that she's turning Gillingham down.

"I wish I could work you out," Charles playfully says. Don't we all.

Merton goes for it

Though it had been all quiet on the Downton front last episode when it came to Merton wooing Isobel, he finally decides to make his move.


It's a very cute proposal, even though he says he would like to get on one knee but then he wouldn't be able to get back up.

Oh, Lord Merton! You're so old and playful about it!

Not-so surprisingly, Isobel is about to turn him down, until Merton, expecting this, eloquently explains that he's not doing this just because he's lonely or that it's expected that he should have a wife, but because he was genuinely fallen in love with her.

You can basically see Isobel's heart melting, and she agrees to think about it, which in Isobel Crawley language means "YES YES YES."

The Dowager seems not too pleased with the news. However her mind is occupied by other issues (see next).

Princess search

Rose is still busy reinventing herself as the Mother Teresa of Downton, and Isobel and the dowager surprise her with a visit to her "poor Russians" as the Crawleys decide to call them.

(Side note: I don't know what other space was available for Russian Revolution refugees in 1924 London, but surely they could have found a better place than the dark, dingy basement of a church.)

Anyway, the dowager and Isobel quickly find Russian Anthony Hopkins Prince Kuragin to catch up The dowager asks about the princess again and Prince Kuragin says they were arrested together but when he left prison he was told that she had been exiled somewhere a year earlier. 

Isobel says that he must have hope, which leads to my favorite interaction of the episode:

Dowager: "Hope is a tease designed to prevent us accepting reality."

Isobel: "Oh, you only say that to sound clever."

Dowager: "I know. You should try it."

Return of Shrimpy!

Everyone's favorite Crawley Extended Family Member, Shrimpy, returns to visit his daughter, Rose. Reminder: Shrimpy is married to Robert's cousin, Susan. Reminder: Susan is an awful person. Like, the worst.

On the same page? Good.

Shimpy's foreign office stint in India is coming to an end (good timing) and he has arrived to tell the Crawleys and his daughter that he and Susan have decided to divorce. He knows that means he will lose his career, but he rather be happy than be with Susan and who can blame him? Again, she's awful.

There's a particularly touching moment where Rose asks her father if he will support her when she meets the man she wants to marry, even if he isn't of her social status. She says she will marry for love. He promises to give her a "blank check" on that matter, so she can be happy where he never was.

Later, Shrimpy looks into the Princess Kuragin matter and suspects that she's likely in Hong Kong. So, there's that.

Also, I'm assuming that we're going to have to see Susan sometime this season. Start preparing yourself now.

Thomas is doing something awful to himself

Thomas returns from "visiting his sick father" and says his dad has recovered, though Thomas is the one who looks sick.

Baxter suspects something's not right, especially after she overhears Thomas crying in pain behind his closed bedroom door. She tries to barge in to help and spots a box with a syringe and other medicine as she's pushed out by Thomas.

Later, she opens a magazine that belongs to Thomas and turns to a page with an advertisement screaming "Choose Your Own Path!" It's still not explicitly said what's going on with him, but there are clues -- a bandage around his wrist, giants bags under his eyes, him stealing a spoon. It appears like we went to get treatment and is now treating himself.

Is it heroin? Is it for him to "choose the path" to heterosexuality?

By the way, he's a screen grab I found of the advertisement. It really does appear to be a 1920s ex-gay therapy.

A little bit of Green development

Yeah, the police are not letting this one go. The investigator returns to Downton to ask about why Anna was spotted by a plainclothes policeman at the site of Green's murder in London. Mrs. Hughes explains that Anna was in London with Mary. True. But then she was spotted looking around the spot right where he was murdered.

Dun dun dun. Anna is solidly a suspect now.

Will this plotline be resolved this season?

Worst dinner ever

Bricker is back at Downton to further investigate the painting further flirt with Cora, so there's a little dinner party to set up yet another showdown between Bunting and Robert. 

Though she promises Tom that she'll be good, it lasts all of a few minutes until she pushes Robert's button by a) assuming that he doesn't approve of Daisy learning things and b) accusing him of not knowing Daisy's name.

This all leads to an awkward display of Patmore and Daisy being called up to the dining room and being put on the spot. Mrs. Patmore denies that Daisy's lessons are really disrupting the work downstairs and Daisy gives an impassioned speech about how much Bunting's lessons have opened her eyes to the world.

After Robert says he's happy that Daisy has gained so much from the lessons, Bunting is all, "Are you!?"



Which leads to Robert throwing his napkin across the table, telling her she's banished from the house and storming out of dinner.

Carson calls it "The Battle Little Minx" after Mrs. Hughes calls it "The Battle of Little Bighorn."

Edith further slips into sadness

Shockingly, Edith's not doing well with the "leave Marigold alone" plan. She looks even more miserable than normal, and spends most of the days pretty much stalking the Drewe family and watching Marigold leave the schoolroom.

It doesn't help her state of mind that she learns from Michael Gregson's office that there could be some definitive news on her lost love. It seems likely that Gregson got caught up in a brawl with brownshirts (Nazis) in Germany. Now she's expecting the worse while not being able to see her daughter.

Mrs. Drewe shuts the door on her when she visits, and Mr. Drewe says that his wife thinks Edith is making Marigold feel unsettled.

I think we're in for Edith taking some drastic measures here.

More highlights from Episode 4

War memorial plotline: After Robert spies Patmore crying next to the war memorial being built, he presses Carson on if she's OK. Later, Patmore meets with Robert and tells the story of her nephew, his being shot for "cowardice," him being shell-shocked which led to the so-called "cowardice" and how he deserves to be on a memorial. Robert agrees, Carson looks hurt when Patmore implies that he doesn't care.

Bricker flirtation of the night: "I think everything about Downton is beautiful, including its mistress."

Weirdest thought when breaking up with someone: "I want him to be the godfather of children, but not their father." -- Mary

Most annoying plotline: Molesley wanting to be first footman, then upset he has a lot of duties as first footman, then asks to not be first footman. I know it was designed as comic relief, but ... no.

Question that could be asked every episode: "Edith, darling, why so glum?"

Place I wouldn't mind living in: The proposed "Pips Corner" housing development that someone wants to build on Downton land. Robert wants to turn them down, but it does sound cute and quaint, right?

Most dismissive: Robert calls Prince Kuragin, "Prince Thingamajig."

Good to know: Mary explains that "midday is more appropriate for bad news."