“Downton Abbey” Recap: Do You Want To See Lady Mary Showing Off Her Pigs?

Downton conducts its annual baby-stealing championship, and the Dowager and Isobel may have just invented wig snatching.

Fresh off last week’s thrilling installment in the 88-part series Who’s Telling The Papers I’m A Giant Slut Now?, Lady Mary begins action this week by having already forgotten about it.

Who can blame her? I mean, the post is here! THE POST! Mary gets a letter from Rose, Donk gets a letter from Tom, and Edith gets eternal loneliness, so everything is normal. But just as they begin to read aloud from their letters/despair, Carson pops in to announce that he has fully recovered from Mrs. Patmore’s magic sex-ed school bus and can officially resume his most sacred duty, introducing the week’s plot complication.

A gentleman has arrived! “Is he interested in making exaggerated facial expressions about changing gender roles?” Mary asks. Why, yes he is! In fact, he has come to Downton for an urgent man-to-man talk about manly things with whichever man is currently running the estate while also being 100% definitely a man.

Uh oh! Shenanigans! Mary sails into the next room shouting, “TWIST! I’m a lady!” at which point our visitor dutifully throws up in his mouth 177 times. You mean she’s a…g-g-g-GIRL????

Downton Abbey pigs
You see, he was expecting a man because, as we all know, only men can handle the rough-and-tumble world of high-stakes pig beauty pageants. As he explains, “TV isn’t a thing yet, so I just sort of shove a pig onto a street and it’s the entertainment highlight of the year. It’s really masculine. Would you like to participate in spite of being a lady?”

Hmm, this pig beauty pageant could be just the thing to prove that Mary is more than just a headband who’s not great at sex blackmail. She’s in!

Unfortunately, Carson may have returned to work too early post-sexual awakening because he carelessly blabs to Donk that he and Mrs. Hughes still need a location for their wedding reception. Rookie mistake. Ever the generous prince, Donk swiftly proclaims that the search is over! “Obviously, you will host it here in that ratty little one-inch servant’s kitchen while you prepare my nightly roast goose! Please save your applause for the end.” Oh joy. What rapture. Break out the streamers, it’s time to decorate Mrs. Patmore.

Downton Abbey Carson
For some reason, the idea of having her wedding reception in a dank hallway at work doesn’t send Mrs. Hughes right into the sky. Weird. Instead, she thinks it might be fun to spend two seconds of her life away from Downton, while Carson is too busy cutting out pictures of Downton and pasting them into a scrapbook called “True Love” to understand.

Back in the rat-infested garbage hole (a.k.a. perfect wedding venue) that is the downstairs corridor, Thomas is getting worse. Try to contain your shock. Andy insists on remaining heterosexual, like an idiot, which is particularly unbearable because he also keeps leaning over to Thomas and saying things like, “I really want to explore that secluded forest” and “I need help winding my clock.” I mean, come on! What’s a Thomas to do? But then, every time Thomas goes, “FALL IN LOVE WITH ME PLEASE?” Andy just breaks the sound barrier into another room. Almost like he’s not interested.

With Andy not being nearly as gay as advertised and everyone getting fired soon anyway, Thomas decides it’s time to look for a new job. Carson promptly starts doing the Charleston.

Later that very same millisecond, Thomas sets off into the festering maw of a fiery abyss for a job interview with Actual Satan. Actual Satan eats a handful of black widows as he peers at Thomas and, in an excellent impression of everyone you’ve ever loathed, says, “You’re a delicate-looking fellow. What, did the right girl never come along? Mwahahaha. BYE.” And then we pushed him into a volcano.

Downton Abbey Thomas
Thomas goes, “Thank you, because my depression had forgotten what homophobia is. Oh wait, the opposite of that.”

Meanwhile, back on Earth, a hot new pop culture craze is sweeping Downton. It’s called throwing shade about small-town medical care. All the 987-year-old dowagers are doing it. The Dowager and Isobel are drawing ever closer to UFC 282: The Rumble In The Well-Appointed Sitting Room (now that’s something I would pay-per-view) about whether the hospital should be taken over by a larger entity or continue as it is under the control of the Dowager. Guess which side the Dowager is on.

She is, however, struggling to muster support from other powerful figures like Cora. Although, when Dr. Clarkson dares to use the words “powerful” and “Cora” in the same sentence, the Dowager summons the force of the wind to blow him into the sea, bellowing, “I HOPE YOU’RE NOT IMPLYING SHE WOULD BE MORE POWERFUL THAN I!” As if anyone ever could be. Ugh, Dr. Clarkson. Apology-kiss the hem of her robes, and we might spare you from the gallows.

Downton Abbey Dowager Countess
Really, all we learn this week is that someone is definitely getting a throwing star to the esophagus soon, and it’s probably Donk. Or, as Isobel explains, “there’ll be wigs on the green before we’re done.” YES PLEASE. We all knew the Dowager/Isobel saga could only ever end in wig snatching.

Back at the house, Edith and her best friend, Giant Sack of Misery, are still at odds with her editor, presumably because the newspaper isn’t publishing enough articles on sulking in the corner. She must leave for London immediately to remedy this travesty, leading Mary to go, “May I throw your life into a blender while you’re gone?”

You may. As part of Mary’s mission to become a full-blown crazy pig-pageant mom, she’s off to Drewe Farm to make sure her pigs are fat and beautiful enough to crush all those other hideous bacon factories, while also casually stirring up a disaster or two. Oh, did I not mention? She’s bringing Marigold along to throw her at that walking nervous breakdown named Mrs. Drewe just to see what happens. Nothing could go wrong.

Mrs. Drewe simply takes one look at her almost-daughter Marigold, collapses to the ground like she just won first prize at a pig beauty pageant, and floods England with a tidal wave of emotional catastrophe. See? It’s fine.

Another mega-disaster spawned courtesy of Lady Mary, she returns to her bedroom to pat herself on the back only to find Anna performing an interpretive mime about genocide all over the room. Mary goes, “Christ and a half, Anna, what’s wrong now?”

Anna Downer reveals that, it’s official, she can’t have children, so Dr. Mary immediately leaps into action and prescribes 500mgs of “Ew, I’m sure it will be fine.” Then, when that doesn’t work (WHAT?), she offers to take Anna to an actual doctor. Like a loser.

Downton Abbey Mary
Anna is concerned about how she’d pay for a special broken-uterus doctor, but Mary explains that Downton offers a wonderful health benefits package called “remember when you carried a corpse down the stairs? I’ll pay for it.” At which point they both break into fits of nostalgic laughter at the thought of Poor Mr. Pamuk. AH HA HA SWEET MEMORIES. I love that “the time your poisonous vagina killed a Turkish diplomat” is their Paris. Poor, hot Mr. Pamuk.

Unfortunately, Anna proceeds to spoil this hilarious corpse moment by saying the saddest thing I’ve ever heard: “Nobody in my life has ever been kinder to me than you have,” which is so depressing because it’s Lady Mary and she’s not remotely kind in any way. It’s my favorite thing about her.

Thankfully, once they get to London, Dr. Broken Uterus lightens the mood again by informing Anna that she suffers from “cervical incompetence.” OMG Anna, your cervix is so incompetent. It, like, can barely wash a dish. But there’s good news! A surgical procedure now exists to teach Anna’s cervix a trade and give it professional skills, so hope is not lost! Incompetence be damned!

Downton Abbey Mary Anna
Back at Downton, Daisy is eager to get in on this whole “sack of misery” thing (Edith, the trendsetter) by moping all over the tea set about how she destroyed Mr. Mason’s life. Everyone tries to say it isn’t her fault, even though it absolutely is, leaving Daisy to go, “Oh, woe is me. I only wish a contrived and insanely fortunate way of solving this problem would magically pop up right now so that we don’t have to deal with it anymore.”

You’re in luck! Mrs. Drewe is a horrible inconvenience. And what does one do with inconvenient poor people? One makes them pack up their lives and move away, lest any rich people be forced to have an uncomfortable conversation. Everyone’s a winner. Except the poor people.

If Mrs. Drewe is indeed driven away to be detonated in an unpopulated area, that would open up a farm at Downton for Mr. Mason to move into. Daisy goes, “This system is so unfair! The aristocracy manipulates…oh wait, that would actually be great. YAY SYSTEM!”

Trying out that weird “kindness” thing that Anna mentioned, Mary finds Carson to explain that Donk is just the worst person possible and that Carson and Mrs. Hughes must absolutely have their reception upstairs like human beings with dignity. She adds, “And if Mrs. Hughes says no, I’ll kill her in her sleep because you WILL have it at Downton. OR ELSE.” Kindness accomplished! Yay friendship!

Downton Abbey Mary
Sadly for Mrs. Hughes and her life expectancy, she still doesn’t want the reception at Downton. A wedding at Downton would be a Crawley wedding, with lots of ostentatious Crawley things like gold chalices and Lady Mary. She wants to have a Hughes/Carson wedding, with more…mumbling and adorableness.

It’s a touching and completely reasonable reaction, therefore exactly no one understands, especially Carson since he would absolutely be marrying the drawing room if that were legal.

Downton Abbey Hughes Carson
This is the last straw, forcing Mrs. Hughes to transform into Downton’s version of a bridezilla, which basically means raising her voice almost a quarter of a decibel to mildly utter, “I am the bride! The wedding day is mine!” Carson turns immediately into an ice sculpture. Done and done.

To the pig beauty pageant! But this isn’t just any old pig beauty pageant. There’s also a cow! And bowling! Whoa, is this heaven? Am I an emperor? Probably.

Adopting the strategy of “if at first you don’t succeed, and also 586 times after that, flirt flirt again,” Thomas steps up to the bowling booth and offers to show Andy how to properly work his ball, at which point Andy…is already gone. “You’re not a quick learner, are you?” says Mrs. Patmore. Thomas goes, “NOPE” and continues on the road to calamity.

Downton Abbey Thomas
But now it’s time for the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the crowning of Miss Humongous Pig 1925. And the winner is….LADY MARY CRAWLEY, for all the magnificent work she did looking at those pigs once. No one saw it coming.

Especially Mrs. Drewe because she was busy with some very important lurking. After spending all last season watching Edith perfect the art of crazy baby-stealing eyes, Mrs. Drewe is a total pro at it. Way better than Edith ever was.

Yada, yada, yada, now Marigold is missing. Cue the panicked running! Cue the Edith tears! But really, they needn’t bother. We all know exactly where Marigold is, and soon everyone grabs all available torches and pitchforks to mob-caravan over to Drewe Farm, leaving Mary stranded in the middle of the street going, “Room service?…Room service?”

Sure enough, Mrs. Drewe did steal Marigold (you know, like a psychopath), her ironclad defense being “Edith sucks, y’all.” Too bad Mary wasn’t there to back her up. They might have had a case.

Instead, Mr. Drewe reclaims Marigold and returns her to Edith, finally agreeing that it would be really convenient for the Mr. Mason storyline if he and his wife just moved away, so they will.

Downton Abbey Marigold
Mr. Mason, grab those paint samples!

Dowager burn of the week:
“If you can’t say anything helpful, Robert, please be silent.” We’ve been waiting six seasons for that.

Committed TV addict, indoor enthusiast, and side-eye aficionado who loves long-lost evil twins and spies who are terrible at spying.