Lady Mary Crawley rolled around in a pig trough. I think that’s the headline here. She got down and dirty and helped Charles Blake save a whole bunch of pigs from certain dehydration, ruining one of her finest evening frocks in the process. And then she scrambled both of them some eggs and made a joke about “saving bacon”. It’s entirely possible she was replaced by a pod person for a little while there. This all served to change Charles’ opinion of her, so now he joins the line of admirers behind Evelyn Napier (who is stuck in the friend zone) and his apparent brother in arms from WWI, Tony Gillingham, who just happens to be rolling through Yorkshire under the pretense that he’s going fishing.
With Gillingham comes the abhorrent Mr. Green, of course, and the timing couldn’t be worse. Robert has been called to America to help Cora’s brother (who we’re pretty sure is involved in the Teapot Dome Scandal, right?) and as his valet, Bates would be joining him, but Anna doesn’t want him to go…not that she can tell him exactly why. Mrs. Hughes reveals Anna’s secret to Mary (which version, we’re not privvy to) so that her ladyship will persuade her father to take Thomas instead of Bates with him. Their exchange is amusing enough; Mary tells Robert Thomas will have fun checking out “handsome stewards” on the ship and when Robert is shocked, he asks how she knows about such things. Her reply: “I’ve been married. I know everything.” Robert breaks the news to Bates in a subtle way, which was a refreshing thing to see.
Green smugs into the servants’ dining room and Mrs. Hughes, Anna and Bates are all uncomfortable. But when he starts talking about the fateful night, Anna can’t stand it. Mrs. Hughes, however, is the one who drops the hammer on the rapist, telling him to “keep to the shadows” and just generally stay away from everyone. He tries to say he and Anna were both drunk that night, but Hughes is having none of it. Because she is awesome. It’s pretty clear Bates has had his suspicions confirmed as to the identity of his wife’s attacker, too, and that guy should really be terrified. For his part in everything, Thomas wants Baxter to get him the intel on why he’s getting to make the trip instead of Bates.
Edith and Rose are off in London during all this hubbub, and Rose is boating with Jack Ross, talking of a marriage he knows can’t happen, but one which she refuses to give up on. Edith is busy confiding in Aunt Rosamund, who’s more supportive of her pregnant niece than I would have given her credit for previously. They go to a back alley abortionist, but Edith can’t go through with it after all, wishing Sybil was around to welcome her baby to the nursery with Sybi and George.
The other major plot (can we skip Alfred, Daisy and Ivy on the set of Downton 90210? OK, good.) is the illness of the Dowager Countess, who comes down with bronchitis bordering on pneumonia, and is nursed by Isobel, who stays by her side non-stop for two days. She even has to cancel on going to some political speech with Tom, who instead meets a nice girl with a cute hat, but has little else to do in the hour. Once Violet comes around and realizes how devoted her friend has been, she eventually must drop the wisecracks and be gracious. The game of gin is just adorable, and furthers my whole Golden Girls agenda from last week.
We only have a couple hours to go in this season, and I think we’ll be meeting Cora’s brother, played by Paul Giamatti in at least one. That’s pretty much a guarantee to liven things up!