“Downton Abbey” Recap: No Man Is An Island, Not Even Thomas Barrow

Thomas Tragedypants has his most horribly depressing episode ever. Congratulations! A new record!

Six years. Six years we’ve invested in this show. Time that might have been spent ending hunger or learning something sciencey. Instead, we chose to spend it trying to figure out whatever the hell an entail is, entirely unsuccessfully. So now, as we begin the show’s penultimate episode, it’s a chance for Downton to reward that love and dedicati…oh, what’s that? Thomas is attempting suicide? Sigh.

Let’s just get that part out of the way. Start with sadness. That’s what I always say. We can’t really act surprised since Thomas has spent the last two full seasons trudging around Downton being the counterpoint to the happy storylines and looking like the lovechild of a vampire bat and the concept of neglect. This week, it’s more of the same. Oh, Thomas.

Downton Abbey Thomas
Thomas received yet another job rejection letter telling him that he has a stupid face and no future because everyone hates him, which means it’s time for the dead-eyed staring portion of the evening. While Thomas used to lash out when faced with the abject unfairness of his horrific existence, now he’s left with only cold hopelessness that has rendered him entirely empty and increasingly depressed and desperate. Everyone else goes, “That’s probably fine.”

It isn’t. As Baxter and Molesley walk together to the Being Glumly Kindhearted convention, Molesley casually remarks that Thomas just came up to him and said, “Goodbye cruel world,” then walked into the bathroom. But what could it mean???

Baxter goes, “Ugh, you idiot,” and scampers back to the house. She recruits Andy to break down the bathroom door only to discover Thomas lying unconscious in a bathtub full of blood, having slit his wrists. Fortunately, they found him in time, and he’s going to survive.

Downton Abbey Thomas bathtub
Dr. Clarkson prescribes that everyone shrug helplessly and have no idea what to do or say. On it.

The family’s reaction to hearing that Thomas, someone they’ve known for decades, just attempted suicide is basically, “Ew. Wipe it up or something.” So, thanks. At least Mary summons the sheer appropriateness to host The Blame Game and ensure that Donk feels 15% guilty for spending so much time making Thomas hate life. Donk and Carson agree that it would be a little heartless to fire Thomas right after a suicide attempt because he might be a human being. They’ll wait a couple days. Oh wow. Sainthood can’t be far off.

If something good doesn’t happen for Thomas in the Christmas special, we riot. Deal?

Of course, this being Downton, Thomas’s suicide attempt is handled with the sensitivity and gravity it warrants, as the seventh-biggest random subplot in the episode, barely discussed at all. Suicide? Bah. I’m sure it’s nothing. Back to Mrs. Patmore’s B&B.

Admittedly, it is way more fun. Did you hear that Mrs. Patmore is an immoral hussy now? I know. It’s hilarious. Last week’s appearance of Mysterious Note-Taking Man is explained when news breaks that Mrs. Patmore’s first guests were adulterers, and now everyone’s talking about it in the cafeteria. They’re all saying that Mrs. Patmore is a depraved back-alley madam, and her B&B is…wait for it…A HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE.

Downton Abbey Mrs. Patmore
Gasp! Faint! Now, all the guests are cancelling and her livelihood is evaporating, which everyone treats with sympathy and BWAHAHAHAHA. Anna promptly rings the “begin every scene with an aggressive laughing fit” bell, then runs to tell Mary, Bates, that puppy, Sybil’s ghost, Gwen’s typewriter, and every single blade of grass. Once Mary is done transfiguring herself into a witch’s cackle, she goes, “I also have hysterical news! Bertie’s cousin died!”

Womp. The Right Honourable Marquess de Coded Gay died suddenly in Tangiers without even having the decency to introduce himself to us. Allegedly, he died of malaria, but we all know he actually got Pamuk-ed by one of those young Moroccan men he enjoyed painting.

Everyone is concerned about what this means for money. I mean Bertie. Finally, Edith reveals that because of don’t-worry-about-it reasons, Bertie is set to inherit the title, castle, crown, scepter, money bin, and whole family of monkey butlers. If Edith marries him, she’ll become something that sounds a lot like “Martianess,” and as Queen of Mars, she’d suddenly be the richest and highest-ranking Crawley of all. Mary immediately throws a wine glass against the wall and starts hitting herself in the head with a lamp.

Downton Abbey Mary
The rest of the family is considerably more thrilled at the prospect of Edith making them super-rich again, as Donk actually yells the words, “Golly gumdrops!” then proceeds to skip around the house going, “He died! He died! He died!” until Bertie’s arrival makes that seem kind of inappropriate.

Cora says hello, and Bertie instantly bursts into tears, delivering a touching tribute to his beloved cousin. “You guys, he was really, really coded gay. You would have liked him at lot. Delicate. Artistic. Other words like that.” RIP. So not a great episode for the gays, coded or otherwise, this week.

Edith says, “I feel like this calls for some fraught meandering through a sadness meadow.” It sure does. Edith is now afraid that Bertie will ditch her for a more suitable Queen of Mars if he finds out about Marigold, especially after she learns of his devoted mother, a spike with a picture of Jesus on it.

Downton Abbey Edith
Yeah, definitely don’t tell him. Because lying always goes so well around here.

On the topic of Secret Trash Bastard, Mary finally figured out the truth, just 85 years after everyone else. Medium smart! The only question left for old Nancy Drew is when she should use this information to ruin Edith’s life. Oh Mary, you know there’s no wrong time to ruin Edith’s life.

That’s especially true right now because things are suddenly going worse for Mary than for Edith, and we can’t have that. As if a future of having to address Edith as “my liege” weren’t bad enough, everyone keeps trying to force her to marry Henry even though 1) cars, 2) poor, and 3) being entirely interchangeable with Tony Gillingham. How many times does she have to tell you people?

Tom is the worst. Mostly because of that creepy puppet show about domestic violence he’s performing for the children, who are like, “When are iPads going to be invented again?”

Downton Abbey Punch and Judy
But also because he secretly invites Henry to Downton to have 1800 different fights with Mary about whether she’s refusing him because he’s a penniless Dickensian orphan with only a bowl of slop to his name. Mary goes, “Ugh. See above list. That’s reason #2. Please be invisible by morning.” Henry obliges. Mary is furious that he did exactly what she asked.

At breakfast, Bertie announces, “I keep proposing and Edith keeps going, ‘I’m weird,’ so…SHE SAID YES…maybe?”

See Mary? Whenever you’re unsure about when exactly to ruin Edith’s life, fate provides. Mary benevolently congratulates Edith on her pending nuptials by hitting her in the face with a shrug emoji, extinguishing 30 cigarettes into her eggs, then going, “I wish you all the best in…MARIGOLD IS EDITH’S DAUGHTER. BLAMO!” Finally.

Downton Abbey Mary
While Edith frantically searches the floor for her face, Bertie bursts into a hundred emotions again and runs out. Mary casually flips through the paper going, “Naaaailed it.”

What’s the problem? Why all the shouting? Tom apparently just discovered that Mary is the vindictive underworld goddess of chaos and unhappiness (breaking news…), but Bertie seems to be the only one who realizes that Edith’s attempt to trick him into a marriage of lies is the worse offense here. Bertie immediately escapes Downton, declaring that they must wait to work this out until the Christmas special. Edith says, “My life was about to be perfectly wonderful, and now I’ve thrown it all away.” That’s going on the headstone.

Edith runs up to her bedroom to pack a suitcase full of frowns and move to the bottom of a ditch forever, so Medium Smart confidently waltzes after her going, “I’m the hero of this tale!” Nope.

Ah, the much-anticipated Mary/Edith rumble, centuries in the making. We always knew that this could only ever end in leaning across a bed full of hats and yelling, “BITCH!”

Downton Abbey Edith
After all those years working at the Silent Moping Factory, it’s finally time for Edith to dump a gallon of truth tea all over Mary, screaming, “I know you to be a nasty, jealous, scheming bitch!” Mary goes, “Well, duh.” Your point is…?

Everyone is being super mean to Mary simply because she viciously ruined one measly little sister’s entire future, and it’s really unfair. There’s only one person left who truly understands her struggle now, Thomas. She heads down to his bedroom to interrupt his recuperation by going, “Suicide, schmuicide. Let’s talk about me.” Mary and Thomas bond over how they’ve both done terrible things and should probably stop, but also…Edith. Thomas goes, “I know…Bates.” They get each other. But really, the scene is stolen by George, who brings Thomas a get-well-soon orange, and it’s just the sweetest thing ever to happen.

Downton Abbey George orange
There are other characters on this show! Once the Crawleys are done inventing laughing gas about Mrs. Patmore’s misfortune, they decide they could also maybe help her. At the revelation that the family knows who she is, Mrs. Patmore instantly disintegrates into an apron of tears.

Rosamund Kardashian suggests that they have tea at the B&B and then get caught by the paparazzi, turning it into the trendy place to go. Everyone thinks it’s a wonderful plan except Carson, so it’s a wonderful plan.

Operation Enduring Kardashian goes off splendidly. Donk, Cora, and Rosamund all rub their stomachs exaggeratedly while making “mmmmm” sounds, and Donk proceeds to eat 100,000 scones, apparently hoping for an ulcer-spew repeat. Well, it would make headlines. But this works too. Reputation solved!

Downton Abbey Patmore photo
In other news, Molesley’s teaching career is going terribly. He starts with such enthusiasm, all full of lesson plans and zero murder fantasies, but within 11 seconds, those snot-nosed demons have him pulling all the fire alarms and jumping into a lake. Fortunately, he has seen Dead Poets Society, so he shows up the next day covered in inspiring speeches and instantly changes all of their lives. The students all burst into applause and carry him through town on their shoulders shouting, “MOLES-LEY! MOLES-LEY!”

Meanwhile, Edith is in London distracting herself with work. As it turns out, Mrs. Cassandra Fakename is already the most successful writer in the history of magazines, so it’s time to meet face-to-face. After much build-up and elaborate plans to simultaneously say “bananas” for no apparent reason, we discover that Mrs. Cassandra Fakename is the secret identity of none other than our very own Spratt. YESSSS. We’re going to need to hear a lot more about this, especially from the Dowager. Bananas.

Speaking of the Dowager, she’s the only one who can rescue the romantic Hindenburg that is the Crawley family. Left with no choice, Tom projects the Dowager-Signal into the night sky (a silhouette of a cane and a frown), instantly summoning the Dowager back from France to boil Mary in a stew of her own terrible decision-making.

Mary rolls her eyes and goes, “But she’s just so Edith.” The Dowager completely understands, so they move on to discussing Henry. Unfortunately, the Dowager left her zinger notebook and “get some sense, child!” cane back in France, so she’s forced to take the compassionate route. It’s very upsetting. She starts spewing all this garbage about love being more important than money (where am I?), and then pulls out her most unexpected and dangerous weapon of all, a hug.

Downton Abbey Dowager hug
I know. The enchanted Dowager Hug had been prophesied for centuries, but we all thought it was a myth. It possesses many mystical properties, including the power to control the weather, stop war, start war, pause war, turn water into breakfast wine, and force bitchy granddaughters to just shut up and get married already.

Mary goes, “Alright, fine. I love him. Whatever.”

To demonstrate that she still has a heart beneath all the pointy parts, Mary visits Matthew’s grave to say, “Henry’s hair is way less floppy than yours, and he’s worse than you in every way. But no one will leave me alone about it, so I’m just going to marry him. Hope that’s cool.”

Downton Abbey Mary grave
Apparently, Henry was just hiding in the bushes the whole time because he pops up instantly, going, “I ALREADY HAVE A MARRIAGE LICENSE AND WE’RE GETTING MARRIED THIS MINUTE. I mean…hi.” Mary doesn’t immediately shrug herself to dust out of disagreeability, so it’s true love.

Wedding! Edith shows up at the very last second to say, “I’m being the bigger person” in an effort to half-reconcile with Mary about how they definitely hate each other, but there will also come a time when the world is nothing but a hellish wasteland and everyone is gone except them. So, they better not kill each other quite yet. Sisterhood!

You know what we really need on this show? Another goddamn wedding ceremony. Mary and Henry are united in matrimony, and it’s fine. They promise to love, honor, and ruin Edith’s life as many times as possible forever and ever, so Mary is suddenly much more content than she was before.

Downton Abbey Mary Henry
Henry is smiling, Donk is smiling, the Dowager is smiling, Mary is smiling (sort of), and Edith is brooding next to a crypt. Order restored.

Donk burn of the week:
“Poor old Edith, who couldn’t even make her dolls do what she wanted.”

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