Were we supposed to have some big emotional reaction to Anna being arrested? This is, after all, the cliffhanger episode that ends the season before the Christmas episode, which will air next Sunday. But the whole thing still seems too ridiculous to me. Mrs. Hughes worries that trouble follows the couple. And it does. But I contend that trouble follows them because no one knew what to do with Mr. Bates and Anna once they were married.
While Anna is busy being incarcerated, Rose, who has totally grown on me, is marrying Atticus. Rose’s mother, Susan, and Atticus’ father, Lord Sinderby, compete to see who can be the most abhorrent parent. Susan wins when she sets up Atticus to make it look like he slept with a prostitute the night of his bachelor party. When that doesn’t break up the happy couple, Susan announces that she and Shrimpie are getting a divorce moments before Rose walks down the aisle. But nothing she does works, and Atticus and Rose happily tie the knot. “Am I expected to be just a good loser,” Susan wonders. “It’s far too late for that my dear, far too late,” Violet tells her. Frankly I’m rooting for Shrimpie and Lady Sinderby to run away together.
Robert can’t quite figure out why Marigold looks so familiar (a little slow on the uptake, that Robert). Edith misses Marigold while she is in London and wonders if Mary and Tom miss their children too. Mary responds that, of course, she doesn’t.
She’s too busy worry about how pretty she is, how all the men in England adore her, how fabulous her clothes are, and she spends at least 50 percent of her time thinking of mean things to say to Edith. (Okay she doesn’t really say that, but you get the gist). Rose announces she plans to hand her children over to the nanny, the second they’re born. Only Tom is like “Um you guys, the way we raise our kids is a little strange. I mean they don’t even eat dinner with us and we never see them.”
Violet’s new maid Miss Denker is capital T, Trouble. She convinces the footman just hired for the week in London to accompany her to an underground club where he loses a bunch of money gambling and she gets to drink for free because she brought in a new mark. Thomas starts using his powers for good, and helps the poor guy out.
Tom gets a letter from his cousin, who’s asking Tom to join him in his business in Boston. Tom decides he will leave by Christmas. Daisy toys with the idea of leaving Downton as well to start a new life in London, but decides she’ll finish her studies first.
Tony and Mabel come to the wedding reception. Mary basically tells him she used him for sex, and he was what she needed at the time—and didn’t it all work out well, because now Tony and Mabel are engaged.
Prince Kuragin makes another play for Violet. “I wish to spend my final years with you—as a friend, as a lover,” he tells her. I’ll say this for the Prince—the man has got some serious game. Violet reminds him that his wife is only missing, not dead, and they cannot start a relationship. Meanwhile, Isobel wonders if she’ll continue her relationship with Lord Merton.
The war memorial is finally revealed. Robert has a special plaque made for Mrs. Pattmore’s nephew, which make her even more teary than usual.
Robert finally realizes that Marigold looks like Michael Gregson and tells Cora that he will accept his granddaughter. He’s also quite pleased with himself for finally being in on one of Downton’s secrets.
Other thoughts on episode eight:
• How awful is that wedding cake going to taste? Mrs. Pattmore had it made at least a week in advance, and it traveled all the way from Downton to London. There were no preservatives back then.
• “Why does she have to carry on as if she invented motherhood?” Mary is THE WORST.
• “I wonder if you remember that my father was Jewish.” I love how Cora kills with kindness.
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.