Hello and welcome back to Downton Abbey all my lovely fellow Downtonians! It truly has been too long of a wait for this show to return. So much happened last season. If you need a refresher, please check out my recap from last season’s finale here. My heart is still broken as Matthew Crawley is no longer on among the living (so long, you beautiful man).
After much debate and consultation, I have decided to recap this show as it airs on the UK. That means all you lovely American readers and fans of the shows, if you do not wish to be spoiled and wish to find out what happens in January when Downton Abbey returns to PBS, I suggest you stop reading now.
For those of you have seen the episode, grab yourselves a cup of tea and some scones, and let’s review what happened on the Season Four premiere!
Six months on, Lady Mary mourns Matthew, and feels little attraction to baby George. The poor woman just can’t seem to get past her grief. Everyone in the family tiptoes around her so they won’t upset her or cause her anymore pain. The Earl especially seems hell bent on just letting her be.
Speaking of her father, the Earl and Branson dispute the management of the estate and struggle to pay death duties. Tom feels that Mary should have a say on what goes on as she is George’s guardian but the Earl has other ideas. Looks like he might seize this misfortune as a way to revert to the old ways, something that Tom is afraid of.
The servants, meanwhile, get quite the shock first thing in the morning as Miss O’Brien suddenly leaves to serve Lady Flintshire, on her way to India. Everyone thinks Alfred knew about her wanting to leave and question him but he denies knowing about his aunt’s desires. This puts the staff and the family in a lurch as they scramble to take care of her Ladyship Cora along with doing their own duties.
Lady Rose, who has come to stay with family, takes upon herself to find a replacement. Needing a maid in a hurry, Cora hires former maid Edna, who has trained as a ladies’ maid, on the strength of the reference which Tom persuaded Mrs Hughes to give her; Carson and Mrs Hughes see trouble ahead, and warn Tom to keep his distance (For those who need reminding, she tried to make Branson feel bad about his position and tried to win him over).
Elsewhere, Mr Molesley, still looking like a frightened rabbit, loses his job due to the death of Matthew; the Dowager Countess tries to help him by letting him serve at a luncheon for a friend who needs a butler, but her own butler, fearing he is to be replaced, sabotages his efforts, making him appear clumsy and inexperienced. Molesley ends the episode pondering his self worth.
Edith, on the other hand, spends most of her time these days, in London, seeing her old friend/paramour Gregson. Things seem to be getting serious with the pair of them as he tells her he’s looking into getting a divorce from his wife on the grounds of lunacy. The only problem is that he would have to become a German citizen, which causes him to propose to Edith that she come to Germany with him. Given that the year is 1922, this can only lead to doom considering what is set to happen in about 10 years.
The servants are excited by Valentine’s Day. Poor Daisy gets her hopes up about her Valentine being Jimmy or Alfred when Mrs. Patmore breaks the news to her that she gave Daisy a card so she wouldn’t feel left out. Mrs Patmore, turns out, has her own worries as she struggles to deal with an electric whisk, which ends up causing her grief as she feels like if she doesn’t master it, she will be left behind by the others.
Elsewhere around the house, Thomas and Nanny West don’t seem to like one another. Thomas’ problem with Nanny West turns out to be real, at least in her regard towards the children. He tells Lady Cora that the nanny neglects the children, which Cora later witnesses as Nanny West ignores Sybie for George and calls her a half breed. Cora wastes no time to sack her on the spot.
Back to Lady Mary and her woes, it turns out that the Earl is the only one who doesn’t want Mary to move on. Tom asks Carson to talk to Mary to bring her out of her shell, to help him implement the changes Matthew started; he does, but she regards it as impertinence and lashes out at him.
Violet takes matters into her own hands later on when she too has a sit down and tells her that she needs to get back to the living. After that talk, Mary later apologizes to Carson, and has a good cry in his arms, finally letting go of her grief.
The episode ends with her joining the tenants’ luncheon, no longer dressed in black, ready to tackle the problems of the estate.
Quotes of the episode:
“My dear, I’m not really very interested in whether you behaved badly or well. I’m not your governess, I’m your grandmother. The difference is I love you.” -The Dowager Duchess
“You see, when your only child dies, then you’re not a mother anymore. You’re not anything really. And that’s what I’m trying to get used to.” – Cousin Isobel
That’s all until next week! Join us here at PopWrapped as my fellow Downtonian, Mata Lauano, takes over recapping duties.
Until then, mind your manners,
The Dowager Duchess of PopWrapped,