Recap: Downton Abbey, “Episode Eight” (5×08)

Tonight was a night of hope and revelation, and of new beginnings both happy and sad. Life and work continue at Downton. Preparations are underway for Rose’s wedding.

Upstairs, Rose is showing off her clothes for her honeymoon. Susan and Shrimpy are coming in to town – and they’re all going to pretend they’re a happy couple. Rose is doing everything she can to appease Atticus’s father, Lord Sinderby. As Violet says, “Love may not conquer all – but it can conquer a whole lot.”

The children are all playing in the library – Robert on the floor with Sibby, Edith holding Marigold in her lap. Tom’s cousin is expanding from cars into farm machinery and wants Tom to come in with him on his endeavor…in Massachusetts. It is so beautiful to see Edith happy with Marigold and so obvious that Robert is going to figure it out. There’s “something about Marigold” that Robert can’t quite put his finger on. I wonder.

Downstairs, Mrs. Padmore has made a gorgeous cake and is fretting about the transport and time in London. Scandalously, there won’t be a permanent housekeeper at Grantham House in London moving forward. Another casualty of the times. And Mr. and Mrs. Bates have to deal with the London Inspector again. *eye roll* Could Mrs. Bates stop by Scotland Yard? kthanksbye.

They all pack up and travel to London. Downstairs, Denker tells anyone who will listen that she knows all about St. James’ Square. She’s sniffing around the new footman, clearly looking for prey. She drags him down to a club where he clearly didn’t have the best of times the first time. After being subjected to it twice, and to they hysterical image of Denker drunk downstairs at Grantham House, Thomas steps in to protect the young footman. It seems, she gets paid with free drinks to bring easy marks in to gamble. Thomas makes sure that’ll never happen again.

Upstairs, Rose’s mother Susan is as pinched and terrible as ever. Upon having dinner with her daughter’s soon-to-be-in-laws for the first time, she asks, “Do you find it difficult these days to get staff?” “Not really. But then again, we’re Jewish so we pay well.” HA.

Atticus’s stag party is beautiful to behold. I have an idea of what my husband’s bachelor party looked like and it most certainly didn’t involve a dozen men in tuxedos. But then again, it also didn’t include a set up. A tart makes her way briefly into Atticus’s room, just in time for a snapshot. The photos, delivered to Rose at lunch with Mary, Tom and Edith, are much more scandalous than the encounter itself. Mary, never ruffled, is the picture of English grace as she helps Rose pull herself together and reach out to Atticus. Tom wonders aloud if this could have been a set up.

Rose confronts Atticus and it’s a comfort to see that she believes him. The question quickly turns to who set them up. Atticus accuses his father and while he’s certainly not interested in the wedding, he’d never have done something like this. It takes Shrimpy only knowing that it happened to put the pieces together. It was Susan. Furious, Shrimpy makes it very clear that if she does anything else to jeopardize the wedding, Rose will know what she’s done.

DAMN LADY SINDEBY IS AWESOME. Susan tried to ruin the wedding at the last minute with news of her divorce and in response, Lady Sindeby threatened to leave Lord Sindeby if he stopped the wedding. Susan pouts. “Am I supposed to just be a good loser?” “It’s much too late for that.” With that, Rose and Atticus are married. The costuming – both at the courthouse and at the blessing – were amazing.

Lane Fox and Tony Gillingham came to the wedding. Mary honestly and truly wishes them well – and snags the most awkward invite to a wedding of all time. It is an afternoon of reconciliation. Even Lord Sinderby has to concede. “Well well, the thing is done. Let us go forward in hope.” But prejudice isn’t going to vanish, simply because Rose and Atticus love each other.

Ancient Lady to Cora and Robert: How are two bearing up? I do feel for you. It must be very trying. But I do admire you for putting on a brave face.

Cora: I wonder if you remember that my father was Jewish.

Ancient Lady: Oh… I’m afraid I…that is… how interesting.

Baxter joins Mosley for some sightseeing in London and Daisy tags along. A small taste of culture has made Daisy feel discontented, as if her old life was a prison that she had to return to. And just like that, Daisy gives her notice. Mrs. Padmore can’t help from crying. And by the time they return back to the abbey, she’s changed her mind and isn’t leaving until after her exams.

The war memorial is unveiled and with it, a plaque for Mrs. Padmore’s nephew. Robert decided that in addition to purchasing a stone for Isis, he would get one for Mrs. Padmore’s nephew as well. It’s a beautiful reminder of the changing understanding of the psychological toll of war.

Robert’s figured out what has been catching his eye about Marigold – he reminds him of Michael Gregson. It’s an unusual sensation for Robert to find a secret in the house that he’s actually privy to. It is surprising to Robert, and to the audience, that he’s positioning himself to love this new grandchild, bastard or not.

Odds & Ends 

– Anna’s tricked into standing for a line up and just like that, the British Justice System is again between Mr. and Mrs. Bates.

– Prince Kuragin wants to spend his final years with Violet as a friend, as a lover. “Don’t proclaim your intransigance as if it were a virtue.”

– Things are looking like they’re not going to work out for Isabelle and Lord Merton.

– Robert is selling a painting to pay for the improvements on the estate. “Every time I look at it, I’m reminded I didn’t trust you. And I’m so angry with myself that I want to be rid of it.” Awww.

– It’s beautiful to watch Mary struggle to let Tom go. She lost Sybil and Matthew and now she’s losing Tom too. She’ll be stuck with Edith. Is there anything worse?

– No character does more to make Mary Crawley a rounded, beautiful human being more than Carson. His love for her is so genuine and honest and it serves her so well.