Downton Abbey Review: "Series Six, Episode Two"

(Episode 6.02)

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<i>Downton Abbey</i> Review: "Series Six, Episode Two"


Until I watched this week’s episode, I had forgotten how much I was on Mrs. Drewe’s side. She is the one who took Marigold in when Edith couldn’t admit she had a baby. She’s the one still grieving that Marigold has been taken away from her.

And now she’s the one being forced to move away from Downton. When Mrs. Drewe takes Marigold without telling anyone, Mr. Drewe and Robert agree that the only solution is for the Drewe family to move. All of the Crawleys feel bad about this, of course. But it basically comes down to the fact that the Crawleys are rich and in charge, and the Drewes are poor and their tenants. And that’s that. Mr. Drewe even seems to believe it’s his fault for not being able to control his wife, and for forgetting that emotions would get in the way of the plan he hatched with Edith.

The whole Drewe situation came to a crisis point because Mary insisted on bringing George and Marigold to see the Drewe’s pigs, and Edith couldn’t come up with a reason why Marigold shouldn’t go. Robert wonders why Edith doesn’t just tell Mary the truth. “She thinks Mary will use it as a weapon. She may be right.” Cora tells him. I do love when everyone acknowledges how downright awful Mary can be.

Last week, Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson were talking about sex. Now they’ve moved on to where they will have their wedding reception. Ostensibly, this should be an easier topic for the pair to handle. Mary insists that Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson have their wedding reception at Downton. “Your reception will be in the Great Hall if it’s the last thing I do,” Mary tells Mr. Carson. But Mrs. Hughes doesn’t want to have her wedding reception where she works. She wants a party that represents them and is their own. “It’s not us. It’s not who we are. It may be where we work, but it’s not who we are,” she tells him. Poor Mr. Carson is torn between two women he adores.

Just when I was screaming “Go to a doctor Anna” at my TV, Mary offers to take Anna to the same doctor who helped Mary when she was having trouble conceiving. Not that Anna doesn’t have good reason to always see the glass as half-full, but she really is turning into Debbie Downer. She tells Mary she appreciates her offer to take her to the doctor and she’ll go, but “it won’t work.” The doctor tells Anna that she is suffering from cervical incompetence. The condition can be treated and he’ll come to her house to perform the procedure when Anna is about 12 weeks pregnant. She leaves the doctor’s office full of hope. But, of course, Anna isn’t telling Mr. Bates any of this, because these two are all about keeping secrets from each other. All I know is that this season better end with Anna and Mr. Bates having a baby.

Fearing that the staff at Downton will be reduced at any moment, Thomas goes on a job interview. He soon learns the effects of downsizing. The job would entail being a valet, an under butler, and a chauffeur. “Goodness, this is a job for a one man band,” Thomas says. The man interviewing Thomas wonders why he isn’t married and says he’s a “delicate looking fellow.” The series seems poised to tackle the discrimination Thomas will most likely suffer because of his (never discussed) sexual orientation. Thomas is also trying to become friends with Andrew, the new staff member who wants nothing to do with him.

Meanwhile, Edith is fighting with the editor of her magazine, who doesn’t like any ideas Edith has, and certainly doesn’t like reporting to a woman. It has yet to occur to Edith that it is within her purview to fire the editor, and find someone who is more willing to work with her. Mary’s encounter with a man surprised to see her in a position of power goes much better (but then everything for Mary always seems to go much better). Downton’s agent can’t quite believe Tom’s replacement is a woman, but he still asks her to contribute some pigs to the Fat Stock Show.

Daisy remains weepy that she is responsible for her father-in-law losing his home. She appeals to Cora who doesn’t think she can help Mr. Mason keep his current home, but may be able to help him find a new one. The fight for the hospital continues with both Isobel and Violet vying for Cora’s vote. Cora sides with Isobel, and is for a merger. Robert thinks he can stay out of the whole mess, which seems highly unlikely.
Once again, these episodes feel more like visits with old friends I’m happy to see, even if I find their stories a little repetitive and boring.

Stray observations:

“You’re married, that means you never have to cry alone again.” Okay then Mr. Bates.

“We’ll be doing it your way for the next 30 years, but the wedding day is mine.” It kind of bugged me that Mr. Carson didn’t even attempt to argue Mrs. Hughes’ point here.

Nice to see Mr. Pamuk, responsible for one of the show’s most iconic moments, brought up again.

Mary’s pigs win first prize at the Fat Stock show. Say it with me now, “Everybody loves Mary.”

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.

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