It’s official. You can’t say you’ve lived until you’ve seen Donk sandblast the entire family with a Category 20 hurricane of vomited stomach blood. Truly magical. It makes the six endless years we spent enduring all the Mr. Green murders and melted imposter-cousins almost worth it, just for this one projectile blood spew. Thank you, Downton. You’re forgiven.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We begin this week with Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes discovering that married life is a hellish nightmare of passive-aggression and disappointment. Hooray! As part of her “wifely duties,” Mrs. Hughes announces that she will shun the famous refinement of Le Cordon Patmore to make dinner for Carson herself that evening. Once Carson is done weeping into a pork chop about it, it’s the late 1960s.
In upstairs news, the family is three glasses of wine into breakfast, so it’s still early. Getting breakfast drunk is their only remaining defense against the Dowager Countess, whose latest plot to win the hospital involves inventing a summoning elixir to lure future prime minister Neville Chamberlain to dinner, hoping he’ll advocate a policy of Dowager appeasement.
Meanwhile, Baxter has received an urgent letter from her dear friend sadness. It’s time to throw on her best wearily morose facial expression, gather her courage, and deliver a passionate courthouse monologue of pain as she confronts the poltergeist who…OH WAIT NEVER MIND. Baxter arrives at the trial only to learn that meh, they don’t need her and this storyline was nothing. We all go, “Why…?”
Since it’s a day of the week, Thomas invites Andy to head down to the village with him, which is what all the kids are calling it these days.
It seems the point of Andy is to be yet another footman with Daisy Fever. Oh joy. That’s why he volunteers to help Mr. Mason move into the cozy, smoldering remains of Mrs. Drewe’s emotional apocalypse and celebrate this plotline getting resolved.
Much like Edith’s life, it’s a festive affair until Lady Mary arrives. She rolls up to bring Mr. Mason a generous housewarming present of “you’re old and terrible,” questioning whether he can handle the job because of his withered ancient powder bones. Welcome to the neighborhood! That’s when Super Andy puts on his cape and saves the day by proclaiming, “I love Daisy! I mean, I love pigs! They’re so…snouty! I’ll help him!”
Realizing that she hasn’t ruined anything in almost hours, Denker decides that she hates Dr. Clarkson starting now. OK? Dr. Clarkson agreed with Isobel about the hospital, and since that’s definitely worth getting fired over, Denker promptly unleashes a nuclear meltdown of sidewalk shouting right into him. You know, like a lunatic woman.
Dr. Clarkson has no choice but to call an Impertinence Code Blue, sending the Dowager an emergency sternly-worded letter about Denker’s horrific everything.
Yippee! Spratt is already releasing a thousand doves and setting off the confetti cannons when Denker seeps downstairs to reveal that Spratt’s first name is Septimus. Septimus. Armed with this blackmail (and that whole harboring-convicts thing), she threatens to ruin Spratt if he doesn’t convince the Dowager to un-fire her. Sigh. We were so close. Denker’s intense terribleness lives to infect another day.
In the world of Lady Mary, Henry Talbot has invited her to sit in a pool of sludge and watch paint dry. I mean, watch a car thing. It sounds abysmal, but once Mary remembers Henry’s gearstick, she’s all about it. There’s our girl. Of course, she could never actually marry Henry because he’s barely a 7 and she’s a 250. Come on, he’s probably never even sex-murdered a Turkish gentleman. Still, she’ll see where this goes. Gearstick.
So, the car thing happens. Mary hates it so much that she turns to liquid and evaporates halfway through, like a hero, muttering, “how fast” with a level of enthusiasm usually only reserved for Edith’s stupid trash face.
Lady Mary has never been to a pub before because she’s not a vile unwashed brute. She sits there, daydreaming of setting herself on fire, until the conversation turns to her favorite subject, Lady Mary. Mary charitably informs Henry how excellent she is at breaking off engagements while being super beautiful (it’s one of her top-three hobbies), until Tom finally bangs on the table going, “AAAAHHH! Just do each other!!!!” Also a good point.
Edith has a date! Mary goes, “I think you mean eye infection.” No, she means date. Edith is meeting Bertie for a casual glass of modern independence, but first she must hire a new lady editor for her lady pamphlet for ladies. A lady walks in and goes, “I’m…” and Edith says, “You had me at I’m! You’re hired!” Done and done.
With that settled, Edith can get her Bertie on. Sadly, Bertie skips right through a discussion of his employer, who spends his days painting young men and being someone we need to hear a lot more about, instead spending 50 hours dwelling on his massive obsession with Edith. It’s weird, all this kissing and smiling and incessant fur-caressing. A happy Edith is like a cynical puppy. It just doesn’t make sense.
Downstairs, Carson tracks down Mrs. Hughes to ask, “May I make you feel like a speck of unlovable nothing again?” You certainly may! Prince Carson publicly announces that Mrs. Hughes sucks at life and needs remedial lessons in how not to be a massive disappointment to him. And that was the last they ever saw of Mr. Carson.
Remember last week when Donk gave Thomas that big speech about how kind and generous Carson is? Yeah, Carson neither. Oh, Downton characterization. Suddenly, Thomas is the nice one, which is reinforced when he finds Andy sitting in an abyss of despair with The Big Book of Pig Pigging going, “This book is red.” Thomas goes, “Oh hi, you’re illiterate” and resolves to help him, almost like a human person. The Andy Cure is very powerful medicine.
Later, when Thomas hears an entire museum of statues breaking in Andy’s bedroom, he bursts in at light speed to see if he’s needed.
TO THE NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN DINNER! In anticipation of his arrival, the Dowager is casually covering a large pit with palm fronds, while downstairs the famous soothsayer Mrs. Patmore is winking at us and saying, “I bet Mr. Chamberlain is going to be prime minister some day. I sure hope he doesn’t cede the Sudetenland!” Yes, thank you.
Once Neville Chamberlain’s mustache arrives for dinner, followed some minutes later by the rest of him, it is immediately wrenched into a barrage of hospital gunfire. Thankfully, Chamberlain is spared the burden of having to care about this hospital (lucky boy) because it’s time for the curtain to rise on tonight’s big show. Right on cue, Donk stands up and goes, “I don’t feel so…” and then this happens.
They call an ambulance. Mrs. Patmore makes coffee. The big two. Phew. Now everything will be fine. Carson also helps a ton by adding, “Life is short, death is sure, and Mrs. Hughes is terrible.” Fantastic.
Of course, Donk almost dying of projectile dinner-blood brings everyone together as they all forget about their petty squabbles over silly little things like the hospital and Edith. That is, until Mary decides to behave super normally and lurk in the shadows behind Cora and the Dowager to overhear them say, “Marigold, secrets, Edith, baby.” BUT WHAT COULD IT ALL MEAN???? Instantly forgetting that Donk is anything, Mary begins a new mission to find out that thing everyone else already knows.
Chamberlain has just been standing in the hallway this whole time going, “Well, that was gross” and waiting for Tom to ask how the Dowager blackmailed him into visiting Hotel Blood Dinner.
Eventually, after exhausting the house’s entire supply of silent handwringing, word comes that Donk is going to be just fine. He had an emergency Donkectomy, and now he’s resting. Everyone is relieved, even Thomas, who has somehow managed to care about a personal-best two people tonight. His heart grew three sizes that day. At least until he remembers how awful it is to be gay in 1925 again.
Dowager burn of the week:
“It is not your place even to have opinions of my acquaintances, let alone express them!”
Lady Mary burn of the week:
Tom: We’re all members of the bright young things.
Mary: I don’t know about bright.