So much excitement and drama on Sunday night’s episode of Downton as we come up to the penultimate episode of the series. Marriage proposals, puppies, picnics and unfortunately tragedy was on the menu. Lord Grantham and Tom are just giddy at the prospect of watching Henry race at Brooklands. Lord Grantham, because he is bored out of his mind, and Tom because he finally has a new male friend to talk about cars with. Even Bertie Pelham has been invited! Of course, Lady Mary is on the fence about the whole thing. She’s nervous because of the danger and whether or not Henry Talbot is the right man for her. She even solicits Anna’s advice who is totally uncomfortable with the giving her opinion. Mary presses her and Anna admits that she’s not sure that Henry and Mary are a perfect match. Even Robert and Cora are not sure that Mary and Henry are right for each other. Robert points out that Henry might have more sex appeal than Tony Gillingham, he’s lacking in things like money and job skills.
Isobel is shocked to have received an invitation to the wedding of Lord Merton’s son, Larry and Miss Cruikshank. Violet senses something crooked is going on and visits Miss Cruikshank to investigate. Miss Cruikshank is outgunned, outclassed and outmatched in this chess match. The upshot is that Miss Cruikshank wants Isobel and Lord Merton to get back together because she has no interest in being a companion to an old man. “You want a free nurse to take a tiresome old man off your hands. You’re a cool little miss, aren’t you? I’d feel sorry for Larry if I didn’t dislike him so much.” When Miss Cruikshank suggests that the Dowager should leave because if she doesn’t, the two might feel awkward when they next meet, which they “are bound to do.” “I think not, Miss Cruikshank,” Violet counters. “Not if I see you first.” Violet advises Isobel to reconsider the match with Lord Merton. If Isobel marries Merton, she’s practically guaranteed no contact with his son since Larry’s new wife won’t want anything to do with them. So it’s a win-win situation for everyone! Isobel doesn’t agree but she won’t have Violet to advise her further since the Dowager is off on a cruise aboard the SS Paris because she wants a vacation that will “make her eager to come home. A month among the French should do it.” Apparently she’s still not over the whole hospital debacle.