What better way to kick off Superbowl Sunday than by reading my delayed reaction to last week’s shocking episode of Downton Abbey?  I guess it’s nice to know you can end the day by watching tonight’s new episode of Downton instead of the last quarter of Super Bowl 50.  I mean, any good Anglophile will want to watch Coldplay rock out at halftime, but that’s about as much football and commercials as we all need, I’d say.  (I just had the image of Lord Grantham and Mr. Carson watching football together.  It’s hilarious.  Thomas Barrow and Tom Branson doing the same thing? Much more believable.)

Back to the episode, let’s get the biggest thing on the table first.  That would of course be Robert coughing blood up all over it from his burst ulcer while the future prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, sat and watched.  Is that the first time we’ve ever seen blood on this show?  Even when Mr. Pamuk died in Mary’s bed, Sybil passed away during childbirth and all those poor folks succumbed to the Spanish flu, this was still the most graphic scene in the history of Downton.   Funny thing is, if it had happened on The Walking Dead, we’d scoff at a little blood spatter; here it was so shocking and unexpected that I wish I’d been recording my reaction.  I’m pretty sure I gasped and covered my mouth.  

So, Robert had a gastric procedure to repair the ulcer and survived, and now we have to wonder if this sudden dilemma that hit so close to home will convince the Dowager Countess to let medical progress into her beloved village hospital.  It’s hard to say; that woman is about as stubborn as they come, even if her son’s life hangs in the balance. Her ladies’ maid knows what I mean, as Denker may have actually lost her job for real this week, for daring to call Dr. Clarkson as traitor for siding against her boss in the ongoing hospital saga.  The doctor wrote a strongly worded letter to Lady G and she reacted accordingly, sacking Denker immediately.  The old bird (Denker, that is) swears Spratt will go down with her. Can we be done with this low-stakes stuff, please?  it’s the last season, and we don’t need to focus on people who’ve only shown up in the latter part of the series.

That is, unless they are Mary’s suitor.  I kind of love that Henry Talbot gives as good as he gets with her.  She’s had bits of that before, but never to this degree.  Well, maybe with Matthew. (RIP, Matthew!)  What I love even more is how Tom is pushing the two to just admit they like each other and get on with it.  Can we please find this man an eligible lady who’s not completely awful like the last chick?  I know no one will ever be Sybil, but he’s too awesome to grow old and die alone.

Edith has a man, as she and Bertie finally kissed (rather passionately, all things considered) and admitted their feelings.  Between her love life, her daughter, her London flat and her magazine, Edith is really winning right now, even if Mary would never admit it.  Speaking of which, has Mary finally overheard something about Marigold that will make her dig deeper and discover that she is actually Edith’s child?  Probably, because Mary can’t stand not knowing things.  But can she surprise us for once and not be a complete bitch to her only living sister when she finds out what’s she’s been through? Not bloody likely.

When it comes to downstairs, things are a bit less exciting.  You still have Barrow pining for Andy, who is like Jimmy 2.0, but it turns out he can’t read and apparently you need to be able to do that to be a pig farmer.  Guess who’s going to teach him???  Baxter’s big confrontation with the dastardly Peter Coyle flamed out when she got all dressed up for court and then didn’t have to testify after all.  And Carson continues to torpedo any and all good will we had for him by passive-aggressively criticizing Mrs. Hughes’ cooking and just generally not respecting his new bride nearly as much as he did before they were married.  What gives with that?

It looks like I’ve got a lot of questions.  Well, Downton only has a few more episode to answer them.  Let’s hope they do so to my satisfaction!


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