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Photo: PBS

Welcome back to another Downton Abbey recap! Before we begin on Episode 5 of Season 4, please be advised a red level spoiler alert is, as always, in effect.

We open with a gleeful Daisy, so glad she still gets to remain in the presence of her truest love, Alfred. She can’t help it. She is even especially treating him by giving him the first piece of toast. Ahh, love. Even when it’s unrequited, what could possibly go wrong?

In Mary’s chambers, a note has come from Evelyn (I’m not necessarily making fun of his girlie name, guys, so don’t get mad at me). He’s coming for a visit! Which is less romantic and more business. I mean, he definitely thinks it’s romantic, but Mary doesn’t have time for romance! She has a village to run!

At breakfast, still no news from Michael. Has he hit it and quit it in the style of Tom Branson?! In other news, some American uncle is getting into trouble, the family’s getting into pig farming and there’s Rose (remember when she was interesting?).

In the kitchen, Alfred appears to have lost the joy he once felt for cooking. Super Sad True Love Story (between him and cooking).

At Violet’s, she’s on the warpath against Lil Molesley who is also called Peg (adorable!) because he’s allegedly stolen a very “valuable” letter opener. He is clearly not the thief. She probable dropped her stupid letter opener behind one of her many pieces of furniture.

Out on the farm, Mary and Tom discuss pigs and America (same thing, amiright?), while Mary wears a very stylish sweater.

Downstairs, Thomas is pumping Baxter for info on the Rose Birthday Surprise (I hope to god it’s the jazz singer).

Oh no! Red alert at Isobel’s house! Peg has been sacked! But he isn’t the thief!

In Hughes’ office a.k.a. the Confessional, it is clear that Rose is in fact bringing the band to Downton. That’s gonna go well. Robert could barely stand the Australian opera singer; how the hell is he going to be okay with the African-American Jazz Singer who has the hots for his relative?! Fun birthday!

By the stairs, Thomas puffs away at his cigarette and tries to intimidate Hughes. Good luck with that, Thomas. Hughes is an angel and thus impervious to your smoke in her face.

Isobel confronts Violet at her house and it appears another valuable item has gone missing. Is it possible that Violet is suffering from dementia? Because Peg is perfect! During the conversation, the non letter opener shows up. See? Peg is innocent! Free Peg!

Back at home, Michael has definitely been kidnapped by the Nazis or has become one. It’s like Rolfe in The Sound of Music all over again.

Out of nowhere, Alfred is back into the class at the Ritz. Oh, Daisy! Your poor broken unfixable heart! She might be projecting her disappointment a bit onto Ivy, but, I mean, Ivy’s kind of a dud so project away, poor sweet Daisy!

In the drawing room, Alfred gives a stirring* (*not too stirring! Emotions are prohibited! This isn’t America for heaven’s sake!) speech about how great the Crawleys and Carson are. The dog sits by.

Downstairs, Carson has finally run out of good will for Moseley which means…new cute footman?!

In a sneaky hall, Thomas gets Baxter to dig deeper into The Birthday Mystery! What is their connection? Will we ever know? More importantly, will it live up to the hype?

In their cottage, Anna and Bates come to the realization that all they need to fix all their problems is a proper Date Night.

Alfred the Fool says good bye to Daisy and heads off to make his fortune as a Number One Chef.

At Violet’s, Isobel isn’t taking the firing of Peg laying down. Instead, she tricks her way into the sitting room and goes full detective on the place and finds the letter opener in a chair cushion. Free Peg!

Speaking of not laying down (gravel), Molesley returns to Downton to try and get the footman job. Oops. Too bad, Carson is also not laying down.

Back at Violet’s, Isobel brings her almost boyfriend the Doctor to confront Violet on her vile mistreatment of Peg. But before she can, it turns out Violet is a Robert-level softie and has already hired Peg back. Peg for life!

The Family Bates is going to a hotel for dinner. Only, what’s this? A snobby host is pretending like they didn’t make a reservation? Dude, don’t mess with Bates. He’s been to prison. He’s a stone cold killer. That smirk means someone’s going to pay. It turns out, sadly for all of us, that Bates will not be murdering the rude host with his cane, as Lady Grantham is actually at the hotel and comes to their rescue. It’s just like Pretty Woman.

An evening letter comes for Edith and, as I suspected, she is pregnant! You know why? Because in Downton Abbey, no woman fornicating outside of wedlock goes unpunished. Let Pamuk be a lesson to you! And Edna! And that other maid who got knocked up! Never have sex until there’s a ring on your finger. Not even once. Poor doomed Edith.

In the Confessional, Molesley comes in on Patmore and Hughes having tea and tries a different angle: totally humiliating himself. Just kidding. Same angle. Always the same angle with Molesley.

Under the moon, Jimmy and Ivy share a romantic kiss. Ivy knows the lessons of Downton though so, when Jim Jam starts to put his hand up her dress, she is a lady and runs off into the night.

At dinner, Bates admits he really would like to murder someone. No one is surprised.

In the kitchen, the Downstairs Ladies Club gathers to discuss Jimmy’s bad behavior. When Ivy brings up Alfred though…whooo boy! Daisy let’s her have it! And even Hughes thinks Ivy deserves a good Daisy tongue lashing, which you know means she really, really deserves it. I mean, her?

In Cora’s chamber, she does a little gossiping about the state of the Bates marriage to her daughter, within earshot of the potentially dangerous Baxter. Who are you, Baxter?!

In the library, Edith is crying. In comes Daddy Dearest saying, “Edith? My most darling girl, what’s the matter?” Not spoken: the asterisk and the footnote: “And by ‘most darling,’ of course I mean third most darling, or possible sixth, after your sisters, including your dead one, my wife, my granddaughter and my mother, though, now that I think of it, Rose is quite growing on me so probably seventh most darling girl.”

Of course, Edith knows he’s lying, but doesn’t press him too much on the matter. Bigger things are happening. Michael has probably been kidnapped by Zombie Nazis or has become one, and Edith has a little bun in the oven. Another Downton half-orphan baby?!

In Thomas’s underground lair, Baxter is fighting back against her evil master, albeit barely.

With seemingly no care for their lives, this week’s visitors drive up to Downton. Thank god it’s a bit of an overcast day. Immediately, things get political when Evelyn’s boss turns out to be a goddamn socialist. Where’s Branson?! He can finally have a real friend! Because Mary sure isn’t going to be his friend. Her nastiness is quite unparalleled to anyone who doesn’t fall in line with exactly what she wants when she wants it. But it is known that her nastiness is her most attractive quality to a certain type of masochistic man. So maybe it’s a love match?

In the staff dining area, apparently Molesley’s overwhelming pathetic-ness worked on Hughes and she has decided to help Sad Panda out a little by making him a server to the servers. Oh, snap. Hughes’ technique of reducing Moseley to the lowliest possible position in the house works on Carson and, within two seconds, Molesley is a footman. Let the high jinks ensue!

Exit Panda, excited. Enter Rose, eagerly.

Rose gives a speech to the staff about the exciting excitement of a real live band from London, coming tonight! But…surprise! They are already here! And again, as I predicted with my amazing predicting brain, it’s the African-American Jazz Singer. Okay, is this a British guy putting on an American accent? I think that might be what’s happening, but no matter, all the Americans on this show sound a bit weird and anyway the staff is properly horrified and intrigued to see a real live black person in the Abbey, possibly more excited than they were about the original band concept. It’s going to be a lovely day!

In the nursery, all the bereft talk about their dead loves. Then Isobel says: “Aren’t we the lucky ones?” and the babies enter and we are all the lucky ones.

Downstairs, Carson asks the Jazz Singer if he’s ever thought about visiting Africa. “I’m no more African than you!” he says, and then: “My people came over in the 1790s. We won’t go into why or how…” A discussion of slavery and how no one in that room at least is to blame for it. Here’s what I’ll say: I don’t care that the Jazz Singer is a terrible singer. He’s very cute and I thrill to imagine Lord Grantham’s face when he sees him kissing Rose.

At dinner, Mary and Evelyn’s boss are becoming truer loves by the minute, passing insults back and forth like a romantic game of hot potato.

Molesley, it turns out, is actually named Joseph, but, luckily for everyone, Carson gives us the green light to continue calling him Molesley.

Branson and Isobel discuss the idea of immigration. Violet and Robert discuss the idea of Isobel running on indignation. Oh man, I really truly cannot wait to see their faces when they meet the Jazz Singer and realize that he and Rose are meant for each other.

Oh, and it is a wonderful as expected. First of all, the Jazz Singer is singing about kissing a man so is he a gay black American?! And second, Robert just stands there like a post and Edith says: “Who is this singer and how did he get here?”

But they all get over it more quickly than expected, except for Edith who is apparently racist? So maybe Michael is in fact a Nazi?

Everyone dances, even the poors, who only get to experience the music through the basement ceiling. Evelyn and his boss discuss how much Evelyn’s boss “dislikes” Mary. He’ll be proposing before the week is over. Just wait until they take a horse ride together.

In the marital bedroom (have they always slept in the same room?), Cora and Robert talk about the bad uncle who is in trouble in America or whatever.

Mary walks down the stairs and sees Rose full on making out with the Jazz Singer! What will she do? Will she turn them all in? Will she fall in love with Evelyn’s boss? And who is Baxter?!

Tune in next week when surely, hopefully, we will find the answer to at least one of these questions.

 

Character Ranking:

5. Peg: Way to not be a thief, Lil Molesley! I love your name. I love your style. We may never see you again, but thanks for the laughs.

4. Carson: I admire your stance against Molesley, even though Hughes used her wiles to get you to back down. It was good while it lasted, friend.

3. The Jazz Singer: I have a feeling I better learn your name soon, as you are definitely going to be a regular around the Abbey, what with your American-ness and your ability to make Rose an interesting character again. Plus, you’re the cutest of the new batch of fellows. Keep it up.

2. Daisy: I salute your well-deserved tirade against Ivy Egg. You are so much better than her. So much.

1. Rose: I never thought I would put Rose all the way up here, but she had some serious cajones to bring the Jazz Band to Downton and, even though it was partially a good surprise, it was clearly also to make out with the Jazz Singer. I’ve been there, girl. Setting up some elaborate rationalization to see your crush? Classic. I salute you.

  • Damiana

    Who is Richard? Didn’t you mean Robert, in discussing Isobel at the dinner table? Where is your anger against Jimmy for being such a horndog w/Ivy? I mean, I know Ivy earned Daisy’s ire, but she didn’t deserve Jimmy to go all frat boy on her! What next – is he going to slip her a mickey in her morning tea??

Author

Lizzy Acker

Lizzy Acker’s work has been published in Nano Fiction, Fanzine, Joyland, Eleven Eleven and elsewhere. She has read with Bang Out, RADAR, Quiet Lightening and others. Her first book, Monster Party, was released in December of 2010 by Small Desk Press.

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