Downton Abbey Season 4: Episode 7 (PBS)

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.

A touching reunion copy 1I 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?

***

PREVIOUSLY ON DOWNTON ABBEY Season 4:

Episode 6

Episode 5

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Opening Special

***

Published by

Arti

If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

20 thoughts on “Downton Abbey Season 4: Episode 7 (PBS)”

  1. Yes Yes….me too!! I don’t want it to end. But the seasons are so short! 😦 Sherlock Holmes was only 3 episodes….granted they were an hour and a half each but still! Left me wanting more. Lovely review and spot on! It is fun to speculate what will happen next…..I don’t think we will know what happened to Mr Green, who will Mary choose? And I do hope Thomas is put in his place once and for all…gee whiz! 🙂

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      1. Not for the Downton Withdrawal Syndrome I don’t 😦 …but I still have to watch Season 3. So I have that to look forward to. I also watch other shows on Sunday nights like The Good Wife. Thank goodness for DVR! 😉

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    1. Ellen,

      You can always go to your DVD’s to renew your experience. That’s a consolation. But of course, we want to know what will happen ahead, don’t we? 😉

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  2. I liked that closing shot as well. Very well done, and the whole bazaar sequence was great. Carson overseeing everything as only he can, Mary and Violet relaxing, everyone having a little fun… I liked Molseley a lot in this one as well, and his burgoening relationship (?) with Baxter. Nice that he put Thomas in his place! Robert returning was also nice.

    They might be going a little overboard with the Mary suitors, but it’s entertaining so I’m enjoying it.

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    1. Greg,

      Yes, I think Julian Fellowes is masterfully leading us to resolution after resolution. I really like this one with Daisy / Ivy / Alfred. I think that’s a satisfying closure for everyone, including us the audience. Who will Mary choose? Honestly I don’t like either of them. Looking forward to the Finale. Hope all’s well …

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  3. I was very happy with this episode. A little intrigue with Bates (that’s nervy, going to London the same day as Mary and Anna — if he did — and where did he get a car to run Green down — if he did? A bit of lovely resolution. I was quite impressed with Mary’s talk with Jack Ross — he seemed to think that her issue was racial but I think she very graciously put him to truth with her acknowledgment that it just wasn’t the time. And of course, spite is no reason to embark on any relationship!

    And of course Violet got off some nice zingers with her comment on Gillingham being a poor excuse for a finance. The Rosamund-Edith relationship is interesting and sweet. I’m glad Edith has someone in her corner. And again, impressed with Violet’s compassion.

    I was glad Daisy visited Mr. Mason — I’ve missed him and their relationship. He was so kind. And Baxter/Molesley has shown new sides to both their characters. Although I don’t want the season to end, I will say that if it had ended with this episode, I would have been quite (not completely, but quite) satisfied.

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    1. Jeanie,

      “I will say that if it had ended with this episode, I would have been quite (not completely, but quite) satisfied.” Now, that’s a huge compliment to Julian Fellowes. And you know what, I tend to have a similar feeling… I can see JF is nicely tying up loose ends, and gratifying us with some good resolutions. I really like the Daily/Ivy/Alfred conclusion. And, will James even be needed in next Season? And O what a great beginning of a new story line for Isobel if she does go along with this fella… but, I kinda doubt it. Nice flowers though.

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    2. I think that Mr. Bates was perhaps the one who PUSHED Mr. Green in front of the bus…..not behind the wheel of a car to run him down. He fell in the street in front of a trolley or something is what Mary said..I think? If there were a crowd of people and he was standing on the street, Bates could have easily pushed him into the street with his cane without anyone seeing him. And yes…it was indeed nervy. But we could be completely wrong and Mr. Bates paid someone else to kill Mr. Green while his alibi was York for the day, like he said. (I just love mysteries…LOL)

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      1. Courtney,

        Yes, I think that was what Tony told Mary at the bazaar. I tend to think Blake had a hand in this pushing business too. We just might be given the answer in the last summing up episode this Sunday. Come to think of it, we’re probably the remaining few who rely on PBS to tell us. UK viewers know the answer already, so are those who have the DVD’s. I enjoy this waiting though, and like you, the suspense. 😉

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  4. I am not much in favor with Sarah Bunting as a new partner for Tom; she reminds me too much of Edna, with a bigger smile and more opinions. Nor do I care for either of Mary’s “suitors” ; I think Tony had an ulterior motive in offering to give Charles a ride since he views him as competition for Mary, even though Mary told him bluntly she is not available. Some explanation must be given for Bates’ trip and Green’s death or else Anna will go on suffering wondering if Bates had anything to do with his death. If Isobel is to have a romance hopefully it would be with the doctor and not the new fellow who sent the flowers. I loved Violet’s looks as she compared the size of Isobel’s flowers to hers.

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    1. Gloria,

      Thanks for stopping by the pond and throwing in your two pebbles. I like ripples. And yes, I agree with you regarding Sarah Bunting, she does look a little bit like Edna. But, since she has a relatively admirable profession, and progressive enough to go to a political meeting, even drives a car on a lonely country road, and being so opinionated about things, in particular, her … ah… bias against the aristocracy, I have a feeling that she is the match that Julian Fellowes has for Tom. That’s me speaking w/o any prior knowledge of the last episode. Same with Mary’s two suitors, not my faves either. And agree, Bates and Anna must clear things out soon. I await eagerly. 😉

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  5. Just like you I took noticed of Molesley’s line “It’s just coffee…” and thought it was noteworthy. I also do not like Sarah Bunting as a significant other for Tom – I feel he can do much better or maybe it is because she does not look “sympathique” to me (a hard to translate French expression?.) I will miss the show. Last year I read many books about that time period, but I don’t think I’ll do it again this year – books like “The Glitter and the Gold” by Consuelo Vanderbilt and “Gilded Prostitution Status, Money and Transatlantic Marriages 1870-1914” by Maureen E Montgomery among others.

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    1. VB,

      I’m beginning to like Molesley more. He sure has evolved into a ‘better man’ through all the disappointments he has faced in his career. So, hopefully he has found someone whom he loves, and who, in turn, loves him as well. As for Sarah Bunting, not ‘sympathique’ enough… not caring, or understanding enough? She does sound a bit arrogant and self-absorbed, so, who knows, maybe Tom is the right person to show her the errors in her POV, since he too had come from a working class and gone through a change of view towards, not all, but one aristocratic family. One is enough.

      After the first couple Seasons of Downton, I too went on a ‘WWI binge’ of books, TV series and movies. Click on the link to see my post on the titles I’d gone through. This time, I’ve something else to interest me… closer to WWII and European as well. I’ve a couple of works by Stefan Zweig. Have you read him? Still have to finish reading The Monuments Men. Also, just discovered The Bletchley Circle (S2 coming to PBS in April), so will start with S1.

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  6. I agree that Molesley was the best part of this episode. His “I wish you’d give us credits for making our own minds about you” was perfect. And I like the fact that it looks like Baxter may be prepared to be brave. I didn’t like the implication that Bates pushed Green, though of course that’s what we are expected to think. But as you know I don’t like that sub-plot. Why would lovely Anna be with a man prepared to enact revenge?

    A new series of the Bletchley Circle! That would be great. Must look out for it here.

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    1. WG,

      I think you’re right in saying we as viewers are being misled to think Bates actually had killed Green, a suspenseful device well placed in there by Julian Fellowes. You’re right, JF most likely would not have put a murderer in the Downton household, and definitely not Bates. Anna and Bates are too good an image to tarnish.

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