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Downton Abbey Review: Episode Six

(Episode 5.06)

TV Reviews Downton Abbey
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<i>Downton Abbey</i> Review: Episode Six

Is #TeamMrsDrewe a thing? Can we make it a thing?

I know we were probably supposed to feel so triumphant for Edith, who finally got the courage to resume custody of Marigold and leave Downton. But I felt terrible for Mrs. Drewe, who has raised this child since birth, and for Marigold who is being torn away from the only mother she has ever known (a real toddler would have been screaming).

What spurned Edith’s actions was the news that Mr. Gregson had, in fact, died in Germany but he left her his publishing company, so now Edith has the financial means to support her daughter. But in true Grantham fashion no one has that much sympathy for Edith, because everyone has assumed Gregson has been dead all this time anyway. Mary is truly the worst. “Of course it’s terrible, but what did she think he was doing, living in a tree?” she says to Anna.

Mary learns that both Tony and Charles are coming to Downton to compete in a point-to-point horse race, and decides she wants to look ravishing. She doesn’t want Lord Gillingham anymore, but she still wants him to want her. She goes and gets her hair cut in a short flapper style. This is the last straw for Edith. “I’m amazed that even you would choose the day after I learn the man I love is dead to try a new fashion,” she tells her sister. I know I’ve complained about her a lot, but I was a little #TeamEdith in that scene.

Thomas enlists Baxter’s help because his health is rapidly deteriorating. She takes him to Dr. Clarkson who informs him he’s just been injecting himself with saline, which is harmless. But the saline and the needles weren’t sterile and that’s what’s caused his infection. Thomas confesses that he hoped the treatment who make him more like other men. “There’s no drug, no electroshock therapy that will achieve what you want,” he tells Thomas.

Violet tells Prince Kuragin that Shrimpy knows Princess Kuragin made it safely out of Russia, and is most likely in Hong Kong, and they should have her confirmed whereabouts soon. It seems that the Prince and Violet were once hot and heavy for each other. “I wanted you from the moment I first saw you,” the Prince tells her. He suggests they run away with each other now, to which Violet responds, “There’s no one left to run away from.” The Prince tells her he loved Violet more than he loved his wife. She won’t hear of it because she thinks they were both in happy marriages. But the Prince knows Violet would never even admit if her marriage was unhappy. “You think to be unhappy in a marriage is ill bred,” he tells her.

Mr. Bates finds Lady Mary’s contraceptives in Anna’s things, and thinks Anna doesn’t want to have a child with him because she thinks he’s a murder. This finally inspires the married couple to have an actual conversation. Mr. Bates tells her he knows it was Mr. Green who raped her, and that he knows Anna thinks he killed Mr. Green. Mr. Bates tells Anna he didn’t kill him, although he wanted to. Mr. Bates had an un-torn round trip ticket to London in his suit pocket that could prove his innocence. It was in the coat Anna donated. “I gave away proof of my husband’s innocence,” she laments. The whole story line continues to be ridiculous, and is proof that the show simply didn’t know what to do with Anna and Bates once they got together. Bates got so distracted that he never really learned whose contraceptives Anna had, so Mary’s secret remains safe.

But what will Edith do now that she’s on her own? Will she assume a new identity? Will any of the Granthams even bother to come looking for her, or will they be too wrapped up in Mary’s dating life?

Other thoughts on episode six:

• Want to know how much poor Edith is forgotten? The official PBS press website didn’t even have any photos of her from this episode. I mean the woman leaves Downton with her illegitimate daughter and she still gets no respect at all.

• Mr. Carson asked Mrs. Hughes if she would like to buy some property with, him which is about as shocking as if he asked her to have a one night stand. I really need to start writing fan fiction about those two.

• Mary may have thought he was dead, but I still was hoping for a big twist with Gregson—like he faked his own death or something.

• Violet’s reaction to Mary’s new hairstyle: “I thought it was a man wearing your clothes.”

• Was anyone else expecting a big, tragic accident during the horse race? I kept thinking of this scene from Gone With the Wind.


Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.