Recap: Downton Abbey, “Episode Seven” (5×07)

When a plan falls apart on Downton Abbey, it really falls apart. The plan to keep Edith’s baby secret, Isabel’s marriage plans, Mary’s plan to keep her men dangling, Rose’s plan for a smooth love life, Daisy’s plan for her education, Anna and Bates’s plan for… well anything, nothing is ever easy.

Violet meets Rosamund at the train. “If anything happens to Edith and Cora finds out that we knew all along she would never forgive us. And I can’t say that I blame her.” It seems like it may be too late. Mrs. Drew is being led to the sitting room…

Cora is, understandably, furious with Violet and Rosamond. The truth comes out and there plan to take Edith’s daughter away is clearly the reason why she has fled to London.

Declining participation in a rescue mission to London, Violet promises she’ll have a horrible day worrying without going, trust her. Cora is quick to point out that it seems unlikely that she’ll ever trust her again.

Cora and Rosamund show up at Edith’s office and make a fuss until she acquiesces to tea. Cora has a plan. The Drews will decide they can’t possibly raise their friend’s daughter anymore and Edith, because she’s grown so fond of the child, will adopt her to the Downton nursery. No one has to know outside of who already does. Mary catches them on the platform and Mr. Drew sneaks to the next station – with Anna noticing him in first class with Marigold. Edith asks and even with Robert distracted by Isis (awww, puppy cancer), it is settled.

Tony, Charles and Lane Fox are walking the grounds and Charles is trying to get Tony to finally let Mary go. “You’re muddling her instinct, which is to hold every man in thrall,  with her wish, which is to break up.” Tony’s just not convinced. Charles wishes he would be, for everyone’s sake. Here, here. Even Lane’s mother is trying, “Happiness is a matter of choice. Some people choose to be happy. And others select a course that only leads to frustration and disappointment.” Come on, Tony.

But Charles finally has a plan to get Tony to give up – and to get Mary to force him to let her go. Charles calls Mary, tells her they’re going to the cinema and a strategically placed kiss finally separates Mary and Tony back to their own corners.

Lord and Lady Sinderby come to Downton, just in time for drama and mayhem. Atticus and Rose are adorable together and it’s clear things are going well. Robert and Lady Sinderby discuss the tolerance challenges the family faces. Lord Sinderby is poking Cora to get a feel for her, to ask her if her mother ever considered converting, if it was hard to grow up with a different religion than her father, if she was ever ashamed. Her reply, gentle as silk, reminded him that her family never changed their name.

Robert suggests Rose check in with her parents about her growing interest in Atticus. “Daddy won’t push me on it and Mummy hates everyone, so what’s the difference?” “It’s best not to pretend it will be plain sailing.”

The Merton sons are TERRIBLE. They can’t help but be enormous snobs and explain how Isabel and their father are bound for a failed marriage before it ever starts. Tom shares some colorful language at the table and the dinner turns for the worst. Isabel can’t even begin to talk about it, she’s so humiliated. Lord Merton promises that it doesn’t change the way he feels but the future looks murky.

Atticus and Rose, already having to defend themselves, finally make it official with an honest-to-goodness proposal. It’s a stark contrast to the scene with the Mertons, and a welcome one.

Odds & Ends

– Anna and Bates are happy. This can’t go well. They’re planning their future. Doom is imminent.

– Carson is also thinking about the future, and trying to get Mrs. Hughes on board with his plan to buy a place in the country.

– Spratt remains cranky about Denker and threatens to quit but Violet knows that if he meant it he would have done it quietly for a good reference.

– “A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears.”

– Daisy has become disenfranchised by the Labour Government and can’t understand the point of bettering herself. A trip to the farm was a beautiful opportunity to see Molesley, Baxter and Daisy outside of the walls of Downton.

– Hearing Violet articulate her loneliness ahead of Isabel’s marriage was heartbreaking.

– Tom has reached out to a cousin in Boston for advice. His path seems clearer than ever, though it is much smoother paved than I’d have imagined it. Seeing Tom with Sybil was a beautiful way for us to see that they’ll both be fine when they leave.