Hello! (Or should I say PIP PIP CHEERIO now that we’re well-English, kind of?) I hope that you have taken a moment to read the part of the title that says SPOILER-FILLED, because even though I haven’t yet decided how many spoilers will be included in the body of this post, I can only assume there will be many. And to avoid instances of WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SPOILER ALERT?! I have decided to cover my bases.
(If you didn’t watch the episode, this is the part where you avert your eyes.)
We’ve got VISITORS up in Downton this week, y’all; there’s everyone from the singer Dame Nellie Melba, to Lady Edith’s weird boyfriend, to an old friend of the family called Lord Gillingham, who JUST so happens to be super hot AND appears to be into Lady Mary. He also brings up dead Matthew by accident within like thirty seconds of their conversation and shit gets awkward yet again. (#NEVERFORGET) But whatever, ’cause he and Mary agree to go horseback riding together the next day, and it’s obvious from their interactions that there’s a serious romantic interest at play, even though Mary’s got that complicated widow thing going on, and Lord Gillingham’s got a sub-par fiancee. The Matthew memories continue throughout the episode, to the point that Mary dances with Lord Gillingham, sees that Matthew’s gramophone is playing (THANKS FOR DIGGING IT OUT, ROSE…) and runs off to her bedroom to be alone.
Meanwhile, Isobel Crawley’s having an equally difficult time moving on from Matthew’s death, especially now that the Mr. Grigg project has been completed. She feels guilty having a fun time since her only son is dead (understandable), and it’s a mega-bummer.
And in Lady Edith land, her weird boyfriend tries to make the most of the visit to Downton by getting in good with Lord Grantham. But guess what? Lord Grantham is not having any of it, and he largely ignores Gregson as a result. Fortunately there’s a dickhead card shark called Samson on the guest list, too, and after Lord Grantham loses a shit ton of money gambling against him, Gregson saves the day by winning it all back. Et voila! We have ourselves a new champion of Lord Grantham’s heart. Godspeed, Lady Edith. Germany awaits or something.
In other semi-romance news, Braithwaite WILL NOT LET IT GO with Branson, and there’s lots more inappropriate hallway flirting. (GO AWAY, BRAITHWAITE.) Branson makes his stance pretty clear, saying that while he’s not her ENEMY, he’s also not trying to hit that. This, mind you, is while he’s sober, which doesn’t last long thanks to an awkward social setting in which he feels like a fish out of water. Braithwaite seizes the opportunity and sneaks into Branson’s room post-booze, and I can only assume shit goes super awry in episodes to come.
So all of that (give or take) comprised the softer side of last night’s episode. The real height of the action came from a REALLY disturbing encounter between Lord Gillingham’s valet Mr. Green and Anna; the two playfully flirted for the majority of the episode, and though Mr. Bates isn’t a fan, as Anna’s husband it’s to be expected. During the guest singer’s performance, though, Anna pops downstairs and is unwittingly followed by the footman, who then forces himself on her, which eventually leads to full-on rape. One of the most unsettling aspects of the way the scene unfolds is that the camera cuts back and forth from the violence downstairs to the smiling faces of literally everyone else in the house watching the performance upstairs. It’s really horrible.
Mrs. Hughes later finds Anna downstairs cowering in a corner, bruised and completely terrified. Anna asks Mrs. Hughes to bring her a new dress, and also urges her not to speak to anyone about the incident, especially not Mr. Bates as she’s sure he’d kill Mr. Green and wind up back in jail with a death sentence. Bates runs into Anna in the hallway after the wardrobe change, and she explains away the bruise and the outfit by saying she fainted, hit her head and stained her dress. Mr. Green, meanwhile, smugly passes by the two of them, knowing full well that Anna hasn’t told (and won’t) Mr. Bates what happened. Bates tries to comfort Anna by reaching out to touch her, and she immediately recoils and makes up an excuse about how she’d like to walk home alone. It’s really, really sad. So we’ll definitely be seeing the fallout from that in future episodes, I’m sure, though hopefully this will be the most traumatic bit for the rest of the season, ’cause that shit’s #HEAVY.
What’d you think of the episode? TELL US ALL YOUR #FEELS in the comments and/or on Twitter, yeah? SEE YOU NEXT TIME!