So much drama last night. This episode had everything—scandal, hearts were broken, an epic fight, truth telling, a near tragedy and a wedding in this next to last episode. Edith still doesn’t know what to do about Bertie Pelham. She loves him but she’s afraid to tell him about Marigold. Cora tries to convince her that a marriage can’t start with a huge, whopping great lie but Edith is unconvinced. She’s come so close to happiness before with Michael Gregson that she’s afraid to have it snatched away from her. Oh Edith, I feel for you, I really do but your mother and Aunt Rosamund are right. Especially since everyone at Downton knows that Marigold is Edith’s child. How would Bertie feel if Tom drank too much Jameson one night and spilled the beans?
While out walking, Mary and Tom discover that Bertie’s cousin, the Marquess of Hexham has died. Mary believes that Bertie will now be out of a job and unable to marry Edith. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that Bertie is the new Marquess of Hexham! Which means that if he and Edith get married, Edith will outrank them all. Mary refuses to believe that Bertie will still want to marry Edith now that he’s inherited not only the title but Brancaster Castle. She’s in quite the snit in this episode and her mood worsens when Henry Talbot just happens to be in the neighborhood while doing some car things in Durham. Cora invites him to stay and Henry takes the opportunity to press his case. He blows it, though, when he accuses Mary of not wanting to marry him because he has no money.
Mary storms off in a huff and is no happier the next morning when she realizes that Henry has left. Bertie, it turns out, does still want to marry Edith so that she can help him become the Marquess he wants to be. Edith tries to tell Bertie about Marigold but can’t bring herself to say the words. When Bertie and Edith (reluctantly, she never actually said yes) announce their engagement, Mary spitefully tells Bertie that he’s such a good egg for accepting Marigold, leading Edith to admit the truth—that Marigold is her daughter. Oh Mary, that was very badly done. Even Tom, who has to be one of the kindest people on the planet, is disappointed in Mary. He tells her so and also accuses her of being a bully and a coward when Mary tries to lamely excuse her behavior by claiming she thought that Bertie knew about Marigold. Bertie and Edith have a sad and tense conversation. Bertie wants to know if she would have married him in a lie. Edith says probably not but they will never know. Bertie sadly tells Edith that if only she had trusted him. Yes, Edith why didn’t you trust the lovely man who stayed up all night helping you put out your magazine?
After being shamed by Tom, Mary slinks upstairs to Edith’s room to kind of apologize for her behavior, but Edith is not having it. She finally calls Mary out on her behavior. “I know you. I know you to be a nasty, scheming bitch.” When Mary tries to interrupt her with a “listen, you pathetic,” Edith just yells “You’re a bitch.” It wasn’t quite on the same level as the Krystal/Alexis cat fights on Dynasty but it was satisfying nonetheless. Edith takes her bag and storms off to London but not before telling Mary that she’s wrong about Henry, they deserve each other.
Isobel has a little tête a tête with Amelia Cruikshanks where she basically tells her that she has no intention of raising Lord Merton’s hopes unless she hears from his son’s lips that he accepts their relationship. Tom rides to the rescue again by writing to the Dowager, who returns home from the South of France to discover that Sprat is nowhere to be found. Little does she know that he’s in London revealing to Edith and her editor that he’s the advice columnist, which is totally bananas. The Dowager gives Mary a good talking-to and the flood-gates open. Mary admits that she’s afraid of being a crash widow but really the whole idea of loving again scares her. The Dowager convinces Mary to given Henry a chance and before you know it, Mary is visiting Matthew’s grave to ask his forgiveness in a poignant scene made even more so by the arrival of Isobel, who gives her blessing. Mary summons Henry, who conveniently has a special license in his pocket, and the wedding is on. In the space of 3 days, a wedding has been planned, a dress bought, invitations sent out and Henry and Mary are standing in front of the minister saying ‘I do.’ That had to be the fastest wedding planned in the history of historical drama. Even Edith turns up to wish her sister well. After all, in years to come, they will only have their memories and each other to share them with, which should overcome their mutual dislike.
Things are not much better downstairs, initially. Sgt. Wilson stops by to tell Mrs. Patmore that it turns out she hosted a couple of adulterers at her guest house, and the gossip is that she’s been running a house of ill-repute, which everyone at Downton finds hilarious. Unfortunately she may have to testify in court unless the couple settle their differences. The scandal is ruining her business, all her bookings have cancelled. Rosamund suggests that the family stop by the cottage to take tea and show their support for Mrs. Patmore. Carson, who is even more of a pill than usual, is appalled. But Robert insists that since Mrs. Patmore has been loyal to the family, it is the least they can do for her. They even invite the paparazzi to record the event ,which goes off without a hitch, saving Mrs. Patmore’s bacon.
After getting another rejection letter, Barrow hits rock bottom and tries to take his own life. Only the timely intervention of Baxter and Andy saves him before it is too late. While Barrow is laid up with what the rest of the servants think is a bad cold, Lord Grantham informs Carson that he can stay for the foreseeable future. Carson admits that he misjudged Barrow. He thought that he didn’t have a heart, but he was wrong. Lady Mary brings George by to see him where the two bond over their nasty dispositions. Daisy passed her exams with flying colors and Moseley, after a rocky start, manages to charm the children in the village school after he reveals that he’s a servant. And that continuing his education has given him a fresh start as a teacher. It was actually a sweet scene and it was nice to see Moseley appreciated by the students.
March 6th is the season finale of Downton. I will be sad to see this show end but hope it will go out with a bang!