Downton Abbey began its final ever season last Sunday with a bumper episode. There was blackmail, conversations about sex and whispers about staff cuts.
Carson and Mrs Hughes debated the nature of their impending marriage (i.e. would there be any sexy stuff…), while Lady Mary’s week in sin with Tony Gillingham came back to haunt her when a chambermaid who witnessed their dirty deeds turned up at Downton asking for money to keep her mouth shut.
The Dowager Countess went to war with Isobel over the running of the village hospital, while Lady Edith pondered a life in London, Anna worried whether she’d ever be able to have a child and the Crawleys’ aristocratic acquaintances the Darnleys declared bankruptcy and sold off their country pile.
And finally – FINALLY – Anna and Bates got a little piece of happiness when Willis turned up to inform all at the Abbey that the Green case was closed: the true murderer had been identified and jailed. The Bates’ won’t face any more time behind bars (unless they get caught up in another crime…)
So what’s going to happen during this week’s episode? Time to make some spurious suggestions…
They might be poised to say ‘I do’, but Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson are struggling to get matters sorted within the constraints of polite society. After decades of discussing staff rotas and silver polish suppliers, the pair are struggling a tad with the transition. Last week’s conversation about bedroom antics was a right kerfuffle, and Mrs Patmore has refused to be their go-between any longer. It’s between the two of them now, and strong drink is clearly the only way forward…
With her magazine editor refusing to play ball in London, Edith needs to do 9 to 5 and that means she’s in need of childcare. As ever, Mary is being unhelpful so Edith decides to drop in on the Drewes and ask them to keep an eye on Marigold. They were so accommodating last time, after all. And they are kind of staff seeing as they rent land off the estate. It’s a no brainer, right?
How Mary has changed in recent years. There was a time when we thought her life would consist purely of glamorous parties, society dinners and being waited on hand and foot. But after that roll in the mud with pig expert Charles Blake her outlook has transformed. She wears ties and unflattering brown outfits now, she knows the difference between a Gloucester Old Spot, a Tamworth and a Saddleback and she can hold her own in an event full of pig farmers. Violet must be so proud.
Daisy might have kept her job but she’s in a state of panic after her quick temper effectively got Mr Mason kicked off his farm. If she’s going to support him in his old age, a kitchen maid’s salary will never do. She’ll have to quit Mrs Patmore’s kitchen and enrol in the local school full time. Who cares if the rest of the pupils are under the age of 10?
Rumours continue to circulate about the Abbey’s impending staff cuts, and Thomas Barrow is convinced he’s going to be first for the chop. It wouldn’t be a surprising turn of events; he has got himself in a number of sackable scrapes in the past… Proactive as ever, Thomas is assessing his options for life after the Abbey. First off, he’s doing the rounds of the local aristocracy handing out copies of his CV and badmouthing his current colleagues. Obviously. It’s a dog-eat-dog world for an under butler.
Downton Abbey continues on Sunday at 9:00pm on ITV