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Worldly Distractions: Downton Abbey 5.6 - Episode Six






Gooooooood evening Freejinger! As we settle into the end of the season (will there be a Series Six? Probably), there is a faint hint that we just might get a bit of plot to chew on. The question is, which person will the drama hit first? Let's find out.


Lady Edith gets a telegram, which is presumably Michael inviting her to his sex chalet in Switzerland. She opens it over breakfast and finds out (we learn from Robert telling Cora) that her editor is coming up with news. Dammit, stop dangling us like this, Fellowes. The servants gossip downstairs about it. Mrs Patmore mentions that she's going to see her cottage, in order to decide whether or not to buy it. Carson, still butthurt, is of course morbidly curious. To soothe his wounded ego,

Mary is a total bitch about her sister's dead boyfriend. Mr Blake and Lord Gillingham have joined in a horse race, and Mary wants to register, but of course Robert thinks it's "fast". We also learn that Gillingham hasn't given up on Mary just yet.

Shrimpy thinks he has a lead on the missing Princess, so the DC is going to visit the Prince to give him an update. Alone. Danker (?), the DC's new maid, is a little bit lost at her job, and rather contemptuous of Spratt. She and the DC of course become blood sisters immediately.

Thomas is increasingly ill, to the point where the entire staff expresses concern. At lunch, everyone is tense, awaiting the telegram. They talk about buildings and stuff, but no one's heart is in it. Rose is still hot for Atticus Aldrich, and they're also going to the race, so everyone decides to bring the kids and make a family outing. Robert decides to horn in on Edith's telegram-bearing visitor, because women can't bear bad news alone and such. Meanwhile, Bates goes around the house, looking for something - but what? Well, we know what, since the scary rapist music is playing the whole time.

Danker continues to be abrasive around the old lady, which is not great for her career prospects. The editor arrives. Meanwhile, both Carson and Daisy join the cottage expedition, and Daisy is more into her studies than ever. The DC arrives at the Prince's dingy apartment in a sketchy neighbourhood, where the Prince is feeling sorry for himself and the DC is quite uncomfortable. We learn that the Princess managed to get out of Russia and may have been headed for Hong Kong, but no one knows for sure. Rather than celebrate, the Prince goes over their Sordid Past together, which the DC dismisses as a "historical detail". He says that he loves her better (well who wouldn't, it's Her Maggisty), and wants to run away with her if his wife turns out to be dead. The DC refuses, they sigh about their shared natures, and it's all terribly poignant.

The Sergeant returns with more Bates drama, and Jesus Christ this is terribly tiresome. Now they want to talk to Baxter. I assume they'll get through everyone in the house by Series 7. It's confirmed that Gregson was killed during the Beer Hall Putsch, by Herr Hitler's thugs. Hitler's in jail for the next five years, though, so it's all okay and everything's going to be sunny forever. Meanwhile, Edith has inherited Gregson's publishing company, which she is totally equipped to run, I'm sure.

Edith has gone for a walk, and of course wound up at Marigold's house, where she is refused entry. Mr Drew knows exactly what's up with "Marigold's father", and offers his condolences. Spratt runs to the DC, flustered and yelling that Danker is ruining everything to do with laundry.  Danker claims that Spratt has no idea what a lady's maid does. Meanwhile, Isobel's romance with Merton is hot and heavy, and she should have some news by Saturday.

The Bateses discuss the Gregson disaster. Bates tells Anna that he found "a cunning piece of equipment", which actually belongs to Mary but he assumes is meant to "prevent a Baby Bates". He's outraged because he was under the impression she wanted a baby, and they argue for a while. Molesley, touchingly, offers to lend Daisy one of his history books, which she accepts rather reluctantly. Mrs Patmore then rails against her for her rudeness, pointing out that he's one of the few nice people in the house.

Cora and Robert argue about sleeping arrangements, Bricker, and all the FISTICUFFS last week. She challenges him to prove that he never let a flirtation get out of hand. Robert is, of course, stymied (remember Jane?). Looks like the quarrel is over for now, thank god. The police arrive and interrogate Baxter about her criminal past, which is news to Mrs Hughes. Under the threat of returning to prison, Baxter fesses up that there may have been issues while Green was staying there, and a trip to London. It turns out that a mysterious letter clued the cops in to the London journey (it was Thomas, wasn't it?) Mrs Hughes lets Baxter's past go, since Her Ladyship knows already.

More building drama, during which we notice that Isis is ill. Well, yeah, it's about time, the dog's been around since 1912. Still, a dog dying is always terribly heartbreaking and all that. I'm surprised she survived twelve years with Thomas, to be honest.

Thomas takes Baxter aside and unveils his paraphernalia of groovy-looking drugs. For the first time perhaps ever, he admits that he needs help, since he's getting sicker and sicker. They go straight to the doctor. Baxter knows full well what he's been doing, by the way - she hasn't known him since childhood for nothing.

In even more shocking news, MARY GETS A BOB. What the fuck you guys I can't even compute I don't understand this. Is it appropriate to mention that she looks like Posh Spice now?

Turns out Thomas has been injecting saline - he just got infected from a contaminated needle. Turns out he was in London for electroshock therapy, pills, the whole nine yards, in order to cure his gayness. The doctor tells him that there is no cure, and he should have "a life as good as you're able" while dealing with his "burden". On the way out, Baxter calls him brave. Yeah, I'm snickering too.

Rose manages to get Atticus invited to dinner, which is bound to get everyone aflutter. Robert decides to summon the vet. Mrs Patmore looks over the cottage, of which she has a very favourable impression. Carson is downright delightful during the visit - and when she's gone, admits he envies her a little.

Atticus arrives, but is quickly outshone by the Great Bob. She looks the perfect flapper with her new style and short dress, though the DC claims she looks just like a man and Robert says it's just what he expected. Edith takes her to task for intruding on her moment of grief, Mary calls her a spoilsport. They decide to go ahead with the race anyway, since no one cares about Edith. Edith storms upstairs for a tray in her room rather than having to face the family.

Bates and Anna argue about the contraceptive, and finally the truth about the murder comes out. Anna is horrified that Bates has known about the rape all along. However, it turns out that Bates didn't actually kill him, as he feared being executed and leaving Anna alone. He never used the ticket, and if Anna hadn't thrown it out, there would have been proof of his innocence. Wow, that is incredibly tragic. Despite their awful situation, and the danger threatening Bates, Anna is just grateful he's innocent after all. But then the question remains - who did kill him? (Can we pin it on Thomas this time, too?)

Molesley and Daisy strike up a conversation, during which Molesley reveals that he was a promising student but couldn't stay in school past the age of twelve. He wants to help Daisy improve her education - and therefore help someone rise above their situation.

Anna tells Mrs Hughes the whole story about Bates, but unfortunately the ticket has long since been lost. However, the look on Mrs Hughes' face suggests there's more going on. I don't see how, since in my memory she burned the ticket, but we'll see. At any rate, it's been a good twist, despite the tedious police procedure.

Race day arrives, and the Crawleys father, along with Miss Mabel Laine Fox (finally, a first name!) and Blake and Gillingham. Mary is all dressed up in riding gear, which shocks Robert for about five seconds. Gillingham and Miss Fox flirt outrageously, which means that Blake will be free to get into Mary's riding breeches quite soon.

Tom has skipped out on the race, and Edith has also stayed home. She tells him that she's leaving Downton - now. In fact, she plans to be gone before the family returns. Tom begs her to think it over, and invites her to tell him what's going on. She tells him that he's a good man. With a sisterly kiss, she bids him goodbye.

Edith goes to the Drews and fesses up all about Marigold, which Mrs Drew refuses to believe. It turns out that Mr Drew forged a note from the "dying father" that gave them their shaky claim to Marigold. Mrs Drew is devastated, but can do nothing about it, and wails as Edith takes the baby away. However, as they're leaving, she hands Marigold her favourite teddy bear, saying that she won't sleep without it. She then tells Marigold a very heartfelt goodbye. It's pretty damn heartbreaking - one of the most effective scenes so far.

Posh Spice Mary mounts her horse, though she won't go as far as riding astride. She and Miss Fox exchange a whole bunch of barbs about Tony, though it's essentially good-natured. Sybbie watches her aunt in the race from Robert's shoulders. Isobel thinks Mary's brave, the DC thinks she's crazy. There's more hinting about Merton. Hey, I wonder if anyone's going to break their neck? I mean, the show's practically 2000s-Gone With the Wind already.

The Crawleys meet the Aldrich parents, and promptly invite them to dinner. The DC even approves, until she hears about the family's Judaism. "There's always something, isn't there?" she sighs. Isobel maintains it's fine, as Rose won't be expected to convert or anything (um, HA HA).

The family comes home to find Edith gone, and are understandably quite worried, even though most of the time they barely know she exists. Carson, thinking about their retirement, has to ask Mrs Hughes a very important question. You see, he wants to go in on a property together. All very properly, of course. She suggests he go ring the gong. Considering how roundabout this family is, I assume that's a yes?

Smart Granny has headed straight for the Drews, who tell her all they know. Edith turns up in London, where she and the baby move into a hotel. She tells Mary that they'll have a jolly celebration with ice cream and champagne, and the end credits come up.

Next week: Sarah's back, Isobel has an announcement, the Aldrich family comes for dinner, Mary gets into a sexy situation. Ooh la la.

First of all, HOW MUCH did you love Mary's new haircut. Seriously, the bob does suit her something fierce. It was wise of them to put her love drama mostly aside for a week. I assume next week will be All About Edith, with a healthy dose of the Bateses for a chaser. It was good to finally get some actual movement in both storylines this week. And I'm so glad that it turned out Bates didn't kill Green - it was a very welcome twist. All in all, the episode delivered a good amount of the drama we've been craving, and it was very much appreciated. Now watch as next week is all about stocks, gardening and the Dowager Countess's hangups!

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