‘Downton Abbey’ recap: Season 4, Episode 6

Credit: PBS
Credit: PBS

The racist is pro-choice, the vicar is drunken, the pigs are in danger, and Bates has crazy-eyes. Your recap below.

Mary and Napier. Mary and Blake. Mary and Gillingham. There’s something about Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery). If every man who visits falls for her, it’s probable that most men in general fall for her, so why do we never see her fend off Mr. Mosley? You know that’s a daily occurrence.

She and Blake, one of the government assessors visiting the estate, have passed the last two episodes bickering glibly and tossing erudite insults, like Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, so we knew they’d eventually fall in love and handle wild animals. Instead of a leopard, though, they worry over pigs, Downton’s latest investment and attempt at solvency, which have just arrived. But when they check on the swine, they discover the water trough kicked over and at least one of the animals almost dead from dehydration.

Blake, with alarm, fetches water, and is surprised and pleased to see Mary roll up her sleeves and grab buckets herself.  After the crisis is under control, Blake accidentally splatters mud onto an already disheveled Mary, who then smears the same across his face.

Then, back at the Abbey, Mary fixes them scrambled eggs and says, “You saved our bacon — literally.” Bravo to the show for realistically portraying the cultural injustices set upon pigs in inter-war-era England’s class structure: sleeping outside and eating in separate quarters. The war didn’t change everything.

Rowing for two

In another rom-com down the road, Rose pursues Mr. Ross, the dashing and definitely black leader of a London jazz outfit. She paddles on a lake with him, shouting, “Vive la différence!” And then he goes, “Different strokes!” And she’s all, “Oreos!” And then they both break into “Ebony and Ivory” by Stevie Wonder. They only actually shouted the French adage but my point remains: she’s unafraid. Because she lives in England, not Alabama.

Sadly, Lady Edith’s rom-com is not as cheery — and just when we were enjoying hating her for being such a racist cow last episode. But now she’s pregnant from the night she slept with Michael Gregson, who traveled to Munich in order to divorce his medically insane wife, but then went missing upon arrival; scratch rom-com, this one’s more of a soap opera.

Edith (Laura Carmichael) sees no choice but to abort the fetus. She confesses to Aunt Rosalind, who exhibits uncharacteristic restraint and support, and demands to accompany Edith. But once there — a place she found in “a magazine in the ladies’ waiting room at Kings Cross” — Edith changes her mind. She chooses to keep the baby, in spite of thereby insuring her status as an outcast and a stain upon the family. In other words, stay tuned to find out how the writers devise a way for her to lose the baby in a more convenient and socially acceptable way.

Crazy eyes

This time, when Gillingham visits, he brought his creepy valet, Mr. Green. Although Mary now also knows about Anna’s attack, Mrs. Hughes is still the only one besides Anna (Joanne Froggatt) abreast of the attacker’s identity. But Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) is hot on his heels, noting Anna’s obvious alarm upon seeing the valet at the servants’ table. That, and also Green basically admits it, saying he hadn’t liked the opera singer and so took refuge downstairs instead. It was after this piece of information that Bates’s eyes turned to slivers, suggesting he was either trying to launch a Mary-Blake style romance, or was imagining different ways to dispose of Mr. Green’s body.

What else? Maggie Smith contracted bronchitis, which nearly became pneumonia, but Mrs. Crawley came to the rescue, nursing the Dowager Countess back to health and driving her mad along the way: “I need a new nurse. This one talks too much. She’s like a drunken vicar.” And Branson (Allen Leech) wins the award for best rom-com pick-up line: When he meets a woman at a political lecture by sitting in the empty chair next to her, and she smiles flirtatiously, he announces, “I’m a socialist!” Which, little-known fact, is also how Noam Chomsky pulled birds.

Episode grade: B+

Follow Jane Borden on Twitter @JaneBorden



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.