“Downton Abbey” Recap: My Room Or Yours?

Carson accuses Thomas of being a predatory gay, and Downton is overrun by a flock of common peasants!

One special Sunday every February, the people of America gather together in their various living rooms, grand ballrooms, and hideous servant hovels to share in our greatest national cultural extravaganza, the sixth episode of Downton Abbey. It’s the Super Bowl for people whose favorite sport is disapproving of everything.

Armed with the traditional game-day snacks of tea, a frown, and silence, let’s begin. Last week, Donk made Downton run red with blood when his hemorrhaging stomach leaped out of his body and onto the dinner table, so in true Downton fashion, he’s already fine. Dr. Clarkson cured his certain death with an aggressive regimen of “sit there,” and Donk will make a full recovery as long as he doesn’t exert himself or do anything ever. I think he’ll manage.

Downton Abbey Robert
With Donk bedridden, exactly nothing is different. That is, except for Mary and Tom sending all of civilization crumbling to the ground.

To raise money for Something Hospitaly, they plan to blast open the doors of Downton, allowing any and all local bumpkins and hillbillies to waddle around the house spoiling everything with their cholera-encrusted hoi polloi hands and putrid farm stink. Heavens. What is the world coming to, when poors can just rub shoulders with specials without even a visa or lice inspection?

As expected, Donk, Carson, and the Dowager immediately join an apocalypse cult and start preparing for the end of days. So. Many. Ruffians. They just can’t understand why anyone would find Downton interesting, apparently forgetting that Donk hosed down Neville Chamberlain with projectile mouth blood yesterday. But honestly, why would people want to poke around someone else’s piddling little glorious 985-room mansion when they could just enjoy their own? What? They don’t? But then where do they keep their golden geese and tiara collections?

Donk is so distressed that he has to make the creepiest joke in the whole wide world, that the open house would only be entertaining if it included seeing Lady Mary in the bath. Carson goes, “Ew…she’s your daughter,” and no one feels safe anymore.

Downton Abbey Carson
Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. The only option left is to make Donk go night-night forever. Fortunately, Carson brought a secret flask of breakfast wine that should pair very dangerously with Donk’s festering bloody stomach. Drink up, bud.

TWIST! In the greatest shock since Edith smiled, Donk turns it down. Huh? He explains that according to experimental new medical findings, aggressive alcoholism might not be that good for you, so he must cut down his daily intake of breakfast wine by at least two bottles. Another piece of civilization lost forever.

In Thomas news, he’s taking a break from lurking in the shadows like a lonely vampire to give Little George piggyback rides through the halls and be the most adorable thing ever. Aww. Thomas has a special rapport with children because they’re not homophobic sasquatches. Carson goes, “Did someone say my name? Also Thomas, please stop returning laughter to the house so I can fire you.”

Downton Abbey Thomas
Because of inexplicability, firing Thomas will solve all of Downton’s nonspecific financial woes, so Carson pulls Thomas aside to say, “You’re not a creature of today.” Thomas briefly tries to explain about pots, kettles, and blackness, but it’s no use. He and depression link arms and skip off through a swamp together. Sadly ever after.

Desperate to hang onto one last thing that isn’t horrible, Thomas makes plans to meet Andy for a hot and heavy reading lesson, which unfortunately is not a euphemism for anything.

Downton Abbey Thomas Andy
But just to make sure this becomes a scandal, they meet at Overheard Whispering Corridor to go, “My room or yours? Other things that could imply sex. Is that a book spine in your pocket, or are you just massively illiterate?”

Like a pro, Mrs. Patmore eavesdrops all over this conversation. Sadly, we must deduct 1500 cool points from her for reporting it to Mr. Carson as wickedly suspicious behavior. Hey, whose side are you on? Of course, later that night, Carson heads upstairs to fetch his spare excuse to catch Andy leaving Thomas’s room and quickly manages to catch Andy leaving Thomas’s room. So this won’t go great. Thanks a lot, Mrs. Patmore.

Dowager emergency! Call the fire department! Bring in the SWAT team! Put on the hazmat suits and get to the bomb shelter! The new hospital board wants to fire the Dowager Countess for opposing the merger, replacing her with Cora. Um, excuse me? No. No no no no no.

Downton Abbey Dowager Countess
No. You don’t fire the Dowager. She fires you. Dear. I’m sure our Dowager will take this news really well. Minimal arson.

Cora, however, has grown accustomed to having fingers, so she decides not to inform the Dowager about this plan, instead allowing the Dowager one last day to waltz around the house organizing ribbon-cutting ceremonies to celebrate her own greatness. Endorsed. The delay gives Donk the opportunity he needs to remind us that he’s terrible and explain that Cora shouldn’t take the job because she’s a ramshackle old crone with a tiny, weak lady mind who’s good at resting and nothing. Husband of the year.

Downton Abbey Cora
Remembering his creepily obsequious and obsessive relationship with Donk, Carson declares that he must do everything Donk does, including giving up wine and saying awful things to his wife. Healthy. In the latest stop on his “I’m The Devil Now” concert tour, he turns to Mrs. Hughes and goes, “Everything you do is disgusting. The bed is wrong, the coffee is wrong, the food is wrong, and I hate you.” Husband of the millennium.

In other random affairs, Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason are a thing now because the show must end with every character paired up except Thomas. Duh. Also, Johnny Graduation Cap wants Molesley to become a teacher, and Lord Merton’s weird daughter-in-law went, “I’m here.” The end.

Anna’s joyous pregnancy is going off without a hitch and…HA! Don’t be silly. It’s Anna. She’s already having sinister pregnancy pains because of course she is. Mary quickly grabs her priorities and plans to rush Anna to London to make sure everything is OK with Henry Talbot’s gearstick. I mean, Anna’s health. Because Anna is probably dying, Mary orders her to get straight to work packing all the necessary dresses and headbands, “medium smart.” Just like Mary.

Medium Smart wafts downstairs to announce the thrilling news of Anna’s pregnancy emergency, which means it’s time to PAR-TAY in LON-DON. She invites Tom because he’s been really boring lately and doesn’t invite Edith because she’s a hideous goblin. Our Mary, the charmer.

Anna is fine! Dr. London Things diagnoses her with “just leave” and prescribes stretching out her uterus while wiping it with a warm towel. Mary goes, “Gross,” and forgets Anna forever, runway strutting off to Jazz Modern Singles Cocktail Club to meet up with Henry, Other Car Boy, That Guy Named Evelyn, and Nameless Trash Ladies.

Downton Abbey Mary
Bad news. They’re all big old duds who only talk about race cars and being widowed. Mary begins throwing crates of tomatoes at everyone until Henry interrupts to invite her and Tom to another car thing.

Tom goes, “Oh boy! Oh boy! Can we, ma? Can we????” while Mary dutifully rolls her eyes into space. That’s good enough for Henry, who has already learned that “eye roll to space” is Mary for “you’re hot, but my husband died in a car crash.” He invites Mary to get caught in a conveniently romantic rainstorm with him, and right on cue, an instant hurricane forces them to take cover in a falling-in-love alleyway. So that happens. Sort of. Henry falls in love. Mary says, “You’re not great, but whatever.”

Downton Abbey Mary Henry
She returns home to a raised eyebrow in a Tom Branson costume who really, really, really wants her to fall in love with race car. I mean Henry. The whole idea makes Mary so uncomfortable that she willingly changes the subject to Edith and continues fishing for information about Marigold. Tom goes, “I can’t tell you, but Edith + Marigold + secret + baby.” For some reason, Mary still can’t crack this impenetrable cipher. Medium smart.

Speaking of people who will soon find out about Marigold at a dramatically significant moment, Bertie is visiting. “He’s boring to an Olympic degree,” Mary observes. Welcome to the family!

As we first glimpse Bertie, he’s trekking uphill while collapsing under the weight of all life’s ills, so he’s Edith’s soul mate. Upon arrival, the two explore the house, with Edith showing off all her crying corners and mysterious children and Bertie showing off every possible fact about aristocratic open houses. Lucky he’s here right now!

Mary details the planned open-house tour route, which will take guests through the great hall, into the small library, then through the big library, the super big library, and the extremely massive library, past the diamond waterfall, into the chalice penthouse, through the king’s storeroom, stopping at the shrine of the silver monkey, down into the servant-flogging dungeon, up through the impertinence-exclaiming ballroom, and out. It’s a fine plan, but Bertie explains that the poors might get lost or try to steal Carson’s eyebrows as a souvenir, so they’ll need tour guides.

For full comedic effect, he assigns that job to Cora, Mary, and Edith. Well played.

Downton Abbey Edith
They know exactly zero facts about this house and can answer none of the questions from the mealy-faced rabble, and it’s the most I’ve ever liked any of them.

Q: Who painted these paintings?
A: I want to say…Mitch?

Q: Why is it called Downton Abbey?
A: So that rubes call it Downtown Abbey and we can make fun of them.

Q: Who built this house?
A: Splendid. You’re welcome.

Q: Who is that creepy little girl in that painting?
A: Probably Edith. Also, that’s a boy.

Cora, Edith, and Mary failing to improvise facts about Downton probably should have been the whole episode, but an equally exciting show is brewing. The hospital board finally gave the Dowager the axe, making this a deliciously inopportune time for her to charge into Downton with all her battering rams and bazookas, shooing peasants out of the way with a wave of her regal arm.

Betrayal! Humiliation! From Cora of all people! Whom she has treated like a daughter sort of! The Dowager’s performance is well worth the ticket price as she smelts Cora in the face for her vicious coup and inability to understand that the Dowager is more important than anything anyone has ever done or said.

Downton Abbey Dowager Countess
Donk tries to reason with her. Like an idiot. “I AM SICK AND TIRED OF LOGIC,” the Dowager exclaims before rolling off into a sunset made of furious letter-writing, dropping mics like missiles. Cora runs after her wanting to explain. “No, you may not.” DOWAGER OUT.

Congratulations! The open house raised a trillion pounds! Sadly, there’s not much room for celebration because a poor child wandered into Donk’s bedroom. Donk goes, “Can we disinfect this?” The child’s primary responsibility is to be a magical little urchin who provides the specials with perspective about their ridiculous way of life. It works, and they all gather to start Edithing about how their world has become a sad curiosity to be gawked at by the pushy unwashed.

That’s bleak, but not quite bleak enough to end an episode on. Carson, take it away. He tracks down Thomas to accuse him of being Evil Gay Monster who is preying on Poor Sweet Innocent and taking advantage of Andy’s youth to bewitch him with the spells and potions of the sinister art of homosexuality. Uplifting!

Thomas tries to explain that there’s no sex or nudity, just reading, and it’s really disappointing to everyone. Carson won’t hear it, reducing Thomas to a puddle of tears in a rocking chair about how he will always be hated, mistrusted, and driven out of everywhere he tries to make a home.

Downton Abbey Thomas
So I’m sure the next few episodes will be a barrel of laughs.

Dowager burn of the week:
“I do not wish to see her face until I am used to having a traitor in the family.”

Tom (!?!) burn of the week:
“Who is this flexible and reasonable person? I don’t recognize my own dear sister Mary.” Did you guys hear Tom’s funny now?

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