The glorious wedding of Mr. Carson, Mrs. Hughes, and Tsunami Of Hideous Dresses went off with only 613 hitches last week (a Downton personal best), so to celebrate, the happy newlyweds are hightailing it out of town for their dream honeymoon at a picturesque resort called literally anywhere that isn’t Downton.
Within four seconds, the house falls to the Germans, burns down, and slips into a black hole. Um, when are you coming back?
Because of wisdom and huh?, Thomas is magically in charge while they’re gone, a reward for his many years of dedicated terribleness, dog stealing, and being the worst possible choice for this job ever. Congratulations, Thomas! You did it!
Obviously, it goes great. As his first order of business, Thomas proudly gets alcohol-poisoned with power and converts Downton to totalitarianism, banning phone calls, visitors, speaking, thoughts, groups, opinions, Mrs. Patmore, and everything. He is positively “the first time Bates got arrested” thrilled that everyone has to stand when he enters the room. Thomas finally found his calling, you guys! He’s the Hepburn of evil dictators!
Downton’s murder recession is particularly unwelcome news for England’s Only Policeman since schlepping to Downton to question the staff about the recent murder is a solid 99% of his workload. Fearing he’ll be out of a job if this keeps up, he reaches into the bag of long-forgotten storylines and pulls out that time Baxter was a jewel thief. Oh yeah.
The cartoonishly wicked supervillain who tricked Baxter into it has finally been arrested for tying a woman to the railroad tracks and twirling his mustache, but since “mustache twirling” doesn’t hold up in court, the police want Baxter to burst into the trial at the last minute and go, “That’s the man right there!” Well, looks like someone has a new reason to stare into the middle distance anxiously before resolving to do the right thing and confront the demons of her past no matter how hard it may seem! It’s like Baxter Christmas!
Having installed a series of troublemaking antennas all over the house the moment Carson left, Thomas diligently overhears one-third of the Drewe Farm conversation and eagerly misinterprets it all the way downstairs to inform Daisy that the family hates her and wants Mr. Mason to starve in a gutter. This forces Daisy to remember what socialism is, sending Mrs. Patmore into a sass spiral: “I wonder if Karl Marx might finish the liver pâté.” BAM!
In That Hospital Whatever news, everyone except the Dowager is human garbage, so it’s the same. Desperate, and with her ranks rapidly dwindling, the Dowager has no choice but to call in her secret weapon, a family of vultures named Lady Shackleton. Sadly, Lady Vulturefamily is a worthless disaster and gives a truly Razzie-worthy performance in that evening’s episode of Hospital Shouting, helping exactly nothing. Does the Dowager have to do everything herself around here?
Trying to redeem herself, Lady Vulturefamily decides that her nephew is Henry Talbot starting today. Henry is the latest in Mary’s long line of completely interchangeable dark-haired hotties, the one who spent last Christmas being “that race car one.” Conveniently, he’s here now to continue saying, “Cars, cars, cars, cars.” Tom counters with, “Cars, cars, cars, cars.” Mary goes, “My husband died in a car accident.”
That’s good enough for the Dowager, who immediately begins picking out wedding invitations. That is, until she learns that Henry is abominably penniless and doesn’t even have a guest yacht or golden shoes. Cancel the ceremony. Totally crushed, the Dowager attempts to console herself with a game of car-themed sexual innuendo. “Mary needs more than a handsome smile and a hand on a gearstick.” Since when? Also, this is the best thing the Dowager has ever said.
Mary is less deterred by the lack of guest yachts than by the car situation, explaining that cars are vicious metal hell buckets and she hates them. Henry goes, “Yeah, but I could wink and teach you about them…in my pants.” Mary loves cars.
It is! Ridiculous Coincidence’s birth name is Gwen. No one recognizes her until she pronounces the word “secretary,” and then we all remember her as that maid from season one who said “secretary” really aggressively a thousand times per day. Oh yes, Gwen. How’s your…hidden typewriter? The long-forgotten-storylines bag strikes again!
Gwen Typewriter neglects to tell the family about her secret identity, so Thomas goes, “OH I GOTS THIS.” Mustering all the jealousy in his arsenal over Gwen’s happy life compared to his horrible one, he springs into the dining room to perform his big dance number, “She Used To Be A Maid Here (Also She Sucks).” Oh, I’ve missed you, Mean Thomas. You’re so much better than Sad Thomas.
Everyone is furious and embarrassed. Nailed it! The family is particular ashamed for not recognizing Gwen, but why would they given the revolving door of wildly forgettable maids this house has seen over the years? I mean, remember Ivy? Of course not. Nobody does.
Returning to history’s fastest pregnancy, Anna is already starting to show. And now the contractions have started. Oops, she just gave birth to triplets. And now she’s pregnant again. She’s also embroiled in an intense showdown with Donk to see who can have the most dramatic abdominal pain to punctuate a scene. What a treat for everyone.
Sure, Donk is dying of increasingly severe stomach foreshadowing with every step, but he’s no match for Anna. While in Mary’s room lifting several large anvils, Anna’s uterus falls out. Clang! If she doesn’t get to Uterus Repair Shop soon, she’ll have another miscarriage. Rushing to her side, Mary goes, “We should come up with an elaborate lie about this for some reason. Also, I’ll take you to London.”
Downstairs, Daisy is spinning in circles of anger-socialism about Drewe Farm, but don’t worry, she has a plan. She’s going to storm upstairs and inform Cora that she’s a disgusting hell crone who should get beheaded in a class revolt. End of plan. Everyone runs after Daisy in slow motion to try to stop her from Thelma and Lousieing her job, but it’s no use. Her mind is made up.
Meanwhile, Cora is upstairs doing everything possible to help Mr. Mason get the farm. Like a monster. She even goes so far as to play the “What would Sybil do?” card. It’s a low blow, but we had to get this storyline resolved somehow. Fine, they’ll generously give the farm to Mr. Mason instead of planting a money tree there, as long as Daisy doesn’t run upstairs and murder everyone in a bloody rampage right now.
Just as Daisy is about to stab Cora through the heart and incite class warfare, Donk blissfully floats up to understand none of this and reveal that the farm is Mr. Mason’s after all! Daisy instantly forgets what socialism is (until next week) and turns to Cora going, “I’ve always loved you. What bag of grenades?”
Anna got to London just in time! Dr. Broken Uterus is able to sew her cervix into a much less incompetent shape, and now everything is perfect, at least for this millisecond. Anna has been through a tremendous ordeal today, so Mary goes, “I know! I’ll go out and get her a date with Henry for me!” You’re welcome, Anna.
Carson and Mrs. Hughes are finally home. PHEW. Please fix the everything. Donk is particularly relieved because now he can retrieve the King of Downstairs crown from Thomas and return sunlight to the kingdom. Thomas goes, “Welp, back to sad now! Do you ever feel like your whole life is a meaningless sham and everyone hates you so you have to go stand outside in the darkness about it?” Sigh.
Of course, it’s unlivable down there, so Dowager Cousteau only pops in long enough to disapprove of Edith and then resurfaces before her oxygen runs out. Close call.
Within sentences, Carson and Mrs. Hughes have already put everyone’s lives back together by announcing that Mrs. Hughes will retain the name Mrs. Hughes for “making Donk less confused” reasons. It’s the happiest Donk has ever been.
But just to make sure we all remember that joy is fleeting and everything must come to an end, Carson slips away to his bedroom to say a touching goodbye to his name card and horrible single bed in preparation for the big move to the marriage cottages.
How will Downton survive without 24-hour Carson patrol? We saw what happened during the honeymoon. Shambles.
Dowager burn of the week, guest-starring Lady Mary:
Rosamund: That was nice of you to praise Edith’s plan.
Mary: A monkey will type out the Bible if you leave it long enough.