Downton Abbey series 6 episode 2 recap: The politics of wedding planning, pigs and posh doctors

The pigs make a reappearance, Hughes and Carson bicker and Anna visits a posh doctor while the Drewes' agreement with the Crawleys takes an unfortunate turn

Old storylines rear their muck-covered heads this week. The pigs are back and with them the Drewes. And, Carson realises that, while the sexy stuff might be sorted, his impending nuptials are going to be far from plain sailing…


The wedding night is all in order (though presumably never ever to be spoken of again) and Carson and Mrs Hughes have picked a date for their much-anticipated ‘I do’s. But the duo are yet to decide on a reception venue. Robert suggests they blow up a few balloons in the Servant’s Hall, but Hughes is keen to escape her work place for their day in the lime light, suggesting the hugely sophisticated school house instead. 

Meanwhile Mary is championing women’s rights, leaving poor farmer Finch flabbergasted when he comes to meet Downton’s agent and finds himself face-to-face with a Lady. “It’s a changing world,” he stutters before propositioning her to produce a pair of prize porkers for a local Fat Stock Show. She smirks and says she’ll see what her pig man can do. 

Downstairs, Mrs Patmore shocks Daisy when she admits she’s considering purchasing horseradish in a jar and Thomas wanders around the hallways highlighting the uselessness of an under butler.

Robert arranges a meeting with Violet, Isobel and Clarkson to try and sort out this whole hospital business before blood is spilled. Code for: before he gets fatally caught between his wife and mother. But it seems the battle is too far advanced and no one is willing to retreat. 

Mr Moseley heads into the village to speak to the new schoolmaster about furthering Daisy’s education. He returns with a pile of practise exam papers but the kitchen maid is more concerned about Mr Mason, who is facing destitution after her hot-headed outburst at Mallerton – and maths takes a backseat. 

Upstairs, Lady Edith simply can’t get her Editor under control. It would appear the idea of a geographically distant female boss repulses him so she decides she simply must go to London to confront him face-to-face. The telephone is for making dinner arrangements after all, not raising one’s voice. 

Mary almost immediately announces plans to take George and Marigold to inspect Mr Drewe’s pigs in the morning to pick Fat Stock for the Show. Edith barely conceals her panic at her “charming bastard” coming into such close contact with her former-foster parents. But once plans are made they cannot be unmade and so she heads off to the Big Smoke nonetheless. 

The farm trip almost goes off without a hitch, with Cora keeping an eye on Marigold in Edith’s stead, until Mrs Drewe appears unannounced in the pig barn. She clearly, and unsurprisingly, still harbours feelings for the child she looked after from birth. Cora and Mr Drewe exchange panicked looks while Mary attempts to care less. 

At the Abbey, Anna is snivelling over the shoes again. Must be something in the polish. She’s told Mary about her struggles to conceive and the conversation has sprung fresh tears. “You’re married, that means you never have to cry alone again,” says Bates, while a thousand Downton fans ponder this pessimistic and worrying definition of matrimony. 

Never one to give in easily, Mary decides to launch an investigation into Anna’s woes. She books an appointment with her own fancy baby doctor and the pair head off to London under the pretence of purchasing new hats. Anna frets about the cost of such medical extravagance, but Mary replies, “You’ve certainly earned it for keeping my secrets” before giggling about the night Anna dragged Pamuk’s lifeless body out of her bedroom. Glad to see his untimely death has become something of an in-joke at the Abbey.

The trip produces good news. Anna has a condition which is causing her to miscarry, but it’s perfectly treatable. She must just return to the posh doc if and when Bates next gets a bun in her oven. 

Back in Yorkshire, Thomas interviews for an Assistant Butler job at a local hall and discovers Downton is rather more behind the times than they realised while Mary meddles further in Carson and Hughes’ affairs, suggesting, in a demanding kind of way, that they simply must have their reception in Downton’s Grand Hall. Carson obviously can’t say no to his beloved Mary and Hughes is visibly annoyed. She is the bride and it is, after all, her wedding. “The wedding day is mine,” she spits, mid pout. Carson is so perturbed he doesn’t know what to do with his face. 

Cora is still concerned about Mrs Drewe and Marigold so Robert pops down to their farm to suggest it might be time to move on. A century or two is enough on one piece of land, surely? Drewe insists he can keep his emotional wife under control – and therefore his home – and the matter is shelved just in time for the Fat Stock Show. 

Luckily, the muddy affair takes everyone’s minds off their woes. The staff play skittles while Mary makes a convincing pig breeder in a brown dress and frumpy tie. Her porkers take first place and the whole gang shout “Hurrah!” 

All is well, until Mrs Hughes notices that little Marigold has gone missing. Mrs Margie Drewe, who was there for a jolly day out too, has also disappeared. And Mr Drewe suspects he knows what’s happened. 

A tearful Edith heads over to the farm with Robert and Cora where Marigold is found, safe, sound and being sung to by Margie. The child is returned to Edith and Mr Drewe concedes that perhaps it is time to leave the Abbey’s estate after all. 

The family will help in any way they can, but “it’s a poor return for what you and Mrs Drewe have done for us”, says Robert, in the understatement of the century.

This unfortunate turn of events might have a silver lining though. We’re speculating here, but could Daisy’s Mr Mason just have found a handy new home?


Downton Abbey continues on Sundays at 9:00pm on ITV

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