I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this captivating episode. All its conflicts seem to have derived from the notion of ‘truth’: truth telling, truth hiding, truth seeking. I’m beginning to sense that Julian Fellowes is telling us that, Happiness is … not having had to hide any secrets and having no reasons to. But then, where’s the drama?
But first, the race to Mary’s heart is clearly a tight one between two rivals, Tony Gillingham and Charles Blake, the pig expert. You can add in Napier, standing afar and looking aloof, only sending out helpless vibes. Bravo to Mary for being true to her feelings, at least for now, as she declares in no obscure terms: ‘I’m not on the market, Tony. I’m not free.’ And later to Charles with a similar message in the bazaar. Didn’t you hear, guys? Sure, but they are not the type to give up easily, ‘not without a fight’.
I like the changed man Molesley has become. He’s not afraid to show his fondness for Baxter, who remains aloof and full of secret past and present agendas. But Molesley is, well, Molesley, oblivious, self-deprecating, ‘felt fragile his whole life’, but true. In response to Baxter declining his offer of a cup of coffee, his reply is one of the lines that made me LOL in this episode:
“It’s just coffee. You won’t have to surrender any of your independence.”
Molesley could well pull Baxter out of Thomas’s grasp: “I wish you’d give us credits for making our own minds about you.” Well done.
Serendipity is the word for Tom and Sarah Bunting with their accidental encounters. So now he finds out she’s a school teacher, and, quite a progressive and opinionated woman too, definitely not a fan of the aristocracy. But Tom revealing his past life as a chauffeur and now fixing her stranded car on a country road add a lot of credits, a true spokesman for the Crawleys. And for a line like this one, you have to give the man extra kudos, speaking like a fine political candidate: ‘I don’t believe in types. I believe in people.’ Will they be a good match? That fully depends on matchmaker Julian Fellowes.
Rosamund is so supportive of Edith. Is this even within her nature? Going to Switzerland to learn French as a guise, bringing Edith with her for a few months so she can give the baby up for adoption after its birth. Violet is always on top of things. Even she has to agree with Rosamund this time, giving her approval after finding out the plan.
Julian Fellowes is busy with another prospective match-making, and that’s Isobel and Lord Merton. I’m most amused by Violet’s surprised glances back and forth following the fond conversations between the two. They take a stroll after the luncheon. Conversation goes well until Lord Merton asks about Matthew unaware. Now that only gives him opportunity to send flowers the next day to amend his ‘tactlessness’.
And then there’s the mirage of Rose and Ross, about to set an engagement date. Mary aptly steps in to stop a ‘guess-who’s-coming-to-dinner’ prank Rose has intended maliciously on her mother. So this is not so much about equality or free love, but using the race card for one’s private end. Jack Ross’s mother suspects her motive too. She apparently has raised a good son, who for consideration of Rose, decides to end the relationship. However, ‘in a better world’, the card Rose plays just might be a joker, with no face value… in a better world. Maybe it’s Rose who needs to go to Switzerland to learn French, or about herself, anything.
The Daisy-Ivy-Alfred conflict comes to a very moving conclusion. Kudos to Julian Fellowes. Alfred proposes to Ivy, who courteously declines. Daisy comes to realization upon the wise counsel of Mr. Mason, good man, and brings a basket of gift to Alfred to say goodbye and wish him well. They part as ‘friends forever’. One reason I’m drawn to Downton is that it seeks to portray something that might have slowly become archaic nowadays, but definitely needs to preserve: True friendship without romantic mash-up. Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson in a previous episode, and now Daisy and Alfred. I don’t know what the future holds, but for now, they are perfect as they are.
I love these Downton outdoor events, the tea party, cricket game, and now the bazaar. Cora can manage full well in Robert’s absence. It is a success and fun to watch. Important events take place, such as Robert and Thomas’ unannounced return, a huge surprise and delight, and a most touching reunion of Robert and Cora, thanks to the timely cue of the warm Downton music.
The most important twist is Tony Gillingham coming to the bazaar to tell Mary of the news that his valet Green has died in a traffic accident in Piccadilly, just one day after Mary asks him to sack Green. Accident? or Bates’s revenge? Again, we’re kept in the dark, knowing only that Bates has taken a day’s leave ‘to York’ while Anna goes to London with Mary. Can’t read any clue from his face either, unlike his stabbing look at Green in Episode 6. His answer to Anna’s query is both puzzling and chilling: ‘You know me, when I do a thing, I like to have a very good reason for doing it.’ Again, the suspense lies in the fact that we don’t know the truth, at least, not yet.
But that sharp stare from the last episode is replaced by three curious and fond gazes here in Episode 7. In the last scene, Isobel, Edith, and Rose together lean forward to watch Mary walk away with her two suitors Tony and Charles. Well synchronized, girls. What a fun closing shot.
As we come near to the end of another Season, I eagerly want to find out the final resolutions of the story lines, yet at the same time, I’m beginning to feel a parting sadness. You too?
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