Car racing is super boring, and then sometimes you die. New NASCAR slogan, anyone? I think it’s catchy. It’s also what I learned from Downton forcing us to spend the month pretending to care about Competitive Car Circle, as if we’re campaigning for president in middle America or something. Unacceptable!
We begin this week with Henry Talbot and his BFF, Charlie Deadsoon, who are preparing for Important Racing Race by driving 784 mph through the countryside while whipping their heads back in a carefree fashion about how fun and safe this is. Charlie Deadsoon goes, “I’m the best at staying alive during car races!” Yep.
Cora is gravely concerned, less because of the inevitable hail of fiery carburetors and more because Mary is a cold, stuck-up princess (we say with love) who could never truly be happy with a common oil-smeared handworker like Henry who’s unable mainline diamonds directly into her femoral vein like a proper husband.
As if the prospect of these caterwauling motorcars weren’t bad enough, the Dowager Countess is abandoning us! She’s still 98% lava about having her hospital kingdom seized by Cora I, Demon Usurper of England, and is now so discombobulated that she has misunderstood the point of herself entirely. Instead of telling Cora exactly where to shove her stupid tiaras, the Dowager is running away to France. Boo! She explains, “While angry, I say things some people find hard to forgive.” Yes. Exactly. More, please. Unless the next episode features the Dowager getting fanned by a series of young French housemen, this is a monumental miscalculation.
The Dowager better not be turning over a new leaf. Not face-stabbing Cora? Willingly associating with the French? I don’t even think I know you anymore! Thankfully, just before departing, she does bestow upon us one final gift to show she’s still our Dowager.
The Dowager embarks on her noble mission to cut a ho, taking exactly one millisecond to brush Evil Fiancée aside with a single pinkie and go, “Who is she?”
You guys, Evil Fiancée actually thought she could out-scheme the Dowager. Pitiful. Next week, she’ll be racing Usain Bolt and challenging Donk to a “managing the money terribly” contest.
As it turns out, Evil Fiancée is a bag of snakes who wants Isobel to take Lord Merton off her hands so that she can rule the estate herself without having to look at an old. The Dowager promptly whips out her to-do list and adds “tornado of knives.” All in a day’s work.
Downstairs, Thomas continues showing the audacity to have a face, so Carson goes, “AHHHH PLEASE LEAVE.”
Fortunately, Mrs. Hughes hasn’t let being married to Carson turn her into a bone-chomping piranha, so she meets Thomas outside to be a glorious ray of light and reassure him that one of these days he’ll meet another actual living gay character. (Tick tock…) She thinks a fresh start in a new house would be good for him, but Thomas knows (depressingly and probably correctly) that as much as Carson is a narrow-minded pile of thumbs, Downton is still better than any other house would be. It’s the only place that has ever felt like home. Also, Andy.
Meanwhile, the family is in London visiting Rosamund for a dinner of throwing piles of gold doubloons in the air while being all kinds of relatable about how much fun it is to have three mansions. So much fun!
Since she’s in London anyway, Even Edith decides to pop into her office to see Lady Editor, who’s busy lady-editing things. She says, “Edith! You haven’t been to work in months!” Making up for lost time, Edith approves a pitch for an advice column from Mrs. Cassandra Fakename in which she’ll give women really helpful guidance like “stop being ugly.” I’d read it.
Daisy is still a student, kind of, and it’s finally time to test her intellectual skills (D+) and also see if Molesley is qualified to say, “Come along now, boys! Spit-spot!” or whatever teachers do in England in 1925.
To celebrate no longer having to endure that one random scene every episode where Molesley goes, “we should study the Prussians tonight,” Mrs. Patmore organizes a lovely picnic for everyone. Andy says, “Hi,” and Daisy goes, “But enough about that, please grab my test and read it aloud to the whole group to show off that literacy you definitely have.” Whoops!
Off to the big car race that everyone survives! It’s a disaster from the first second with the family failing miserably at dressing like common folk. (How many top hats does one wear to an automobile tournament?) The venue is all pavement and advertisements, and Mary and I faint at the sight of this monstrous juxtaposition to the lush countryside horseraces of previous seasons.
Everyone wishes Henry luck and makes a point of saying a heartfelt goodbye forever to Charlie. He goes, “Wait, what?”
Gentlemen, initiate your motorcars! Or whatever. Meanwhile, inside our hearts, Cora and Mary compete to see who can hate this the most. The winner is both of them. “It feels as if we’re trapped in some witch’s curse for all eternity.” Another solid NASCAR slogan.
“When will it be over?” Cora asks, mid-hunger strike.
There’s been a crash! It’s Charlie Deadsoon! His car is instantly engulfed in a blazing inferno. What has the show become this season? Blood spewing? Car explosions? Excuse me, we’re the Downton Abbey audience. We prefer our explosions verbal and over luncheon.
Later, Henry retreats to the harrowing wake-up call zone to blame himself for Charlie’s death. Ever the gem, Mary emotes her way past all the Emmy voters and up to Henry to perform a brilliantly near-tearful monologue of devastation, worry, and “of course it’s your fault, you reckless goon!”
Because of priorities, the dinner gala must go on. Neither rain, nor snow, nor friends dying in explosions will keep the Crawleys from a dinner party. Of course, no one feels much like zinging anyone about hospitals tonight. It’s a somber affair, only interrupted when Henry calls Mary to say that this seems like a good time to make important relationship decisions.
Henry has gone all carpe diem and wants to get married tonight because he’ll probably be on fire tomorrow, while Mary has taken a more “one dead husband is too many dead husbands” lesson from the day’s events. She breaks things off with Henry for fear of having her heart die in a car crash again. Also because of, like, poor.
Mrs. Hughes returns to the cottage that evening to inform Carson that her hand has suddenly been injured in a serious can’t-cook-tonight accident, so he’ll have to make dinner himself. GASP!
As is totally normal, the teacher skips over to Downton in the dead of the night to announce Molesley’s test results in front of all his coworkers, just like how you want to learn life-changing news. Drumroll please. Molesley scored one billion points and is Einstein! Now he can become a substitute teacher! Hooray! Feels!
Mrs. Patmore pops open some “congratulations on the first good thing to happen in your life” wine, and everyone toasts new beginnings while Thomas is left moping in the corner of the shadows, still waiting for the first good thing to happen in his life.
Edith is bowled over by extreme romance, but she won’t give him an official answer yet because she needs more time to stare at a chair significantly while dragging out the Marigold storyline. She does ask if she could bring Marigold to the marriage for…no reason. Bertie goes, “That’s weird.”
Speaking of weird things, some guy is lurking in the bushes and taking notes outside Mrs. Patmore’s B&B. Uh oh, looks like someone’s getting a scathing TripAdvisor review!
Finally, the family learns that the Dowager left for France and didn’t tell them since that would require looking at them. Not worth it. Instead, she left a generous peace offering of IT’S A PUPPY!!!!! Our Dowager knows how to play the game. All is forgiven.
Cora goes, “…………”
Get ready for next week’s episode, “The Affair of the Dog Pee in the Bed.”
Dowager burn of the week:
“I expect they’ll have to drag you out as you break your fingernails catching at the door case.” – How to Ruin Cool Little Misses by The Dowager Countess