Lady Mary’s “sketching” trip with Lady Portsmouth aka Lord Gillingham is almost over. The police are nosing around the Abbey again, pursuing the lead of the surprise witness for Green. Things are looking tense for Bates. Mrs. Patmore has some family problems to deal with, since her hometown doesn’t want to include her nephew’s name in their memorial. If you remember, it turned out a few seasons ago that said nephew was a war deserter. So Mrs. Patmore is asking Mrs. Hughes to request Carson if they can include him in their memorial instead. Spratt tries to rat on Mary (Spratt the Rat. Haha.) after seeing her leave the Liverpool Hotel with Gillingham, but luckily for Mary, her granny is a BOSS and throws Spratt off. The Lady Edith situation is escalating quickly, with Mrs. Farmer finally having enough, enough I say! Bricker continues to turn it up for Lady Cora, and Rose goes on with her thing with the Russians, where we find out that the Dowager has a past!

Things are getting in-te-res-ting! It looks like my boy Blake is back in with a chance.  Mary’s expression as she and Gillingham prepare to have breakfast at the hotel is the most telling ever.

I've made a huge mistake.
I’ve made a huge mistake.

Did Lady Mary and Gillingham really have to leave the hotel together? They were seriously just asking for trouble there. I love the Dowager’s conversation with Mary. Her words are just typically witty and sharp, combining just the right amount of righteous ladylike shock with enough practicality. I really don’t sympathize with Mary here and her “dilemma”. Look, you’re rich, not bad-looking, and 1.5 handsome men are after you, boohoo. We get a shot of her supposed “sketches” here, and three thoughts came to mind: first, wasn’t she supposed to have been on a trip around the countryside? Why then does she have drawings of dress designs? Second, I would so make a crap post-Edwardian lady. Apparently a lady has to at least know how to draw (meh), sing (definitely not) and play an instrument (no no no). I would probably have to be stuck with needlework or embroidery. We had to submit a project in sewing class once, and my needlework, if I may so myself, was pretty awesome. Lastly, those drop-waist style dresses would be MOST unnflattering on me. They only seem to work on Audrey Hepburn-esque figures.

As for the Green witness, all I could think of was, how evil was this man? How can he cause so much trouble for Bates even after he’s dead?

The flirtation between Bricker and Cora feels to me like getting hit by a train. Not that I hate it, just that I didn’t get enough backstory there. I thought in the last episode that they knew each other previously, but it doesn’t look like it. In any case, it’s good for the Earl to get a little kick in the pants. He’s so busy turning into a grumpy old man and he’s taking Cora for granted. She’s an angel, man!

Mary and Branson’s conversation was a very nice change of pace. I love Allen Leech’s shocked expression when Mary almost described her trip with Gillingham. They have a nice brother and sister dynamic that’s really believable.

Awk-ward! I have my hands in my ears, I can’t hear you LA LA LA LA LA LA.

Poor Lady Edith! When oh when will she get a break? I love that she got to shut Mary up with her snark (“You can show her your sketches.”) But baby-crazy Mrs. Farmer is about to make a whole lot of trouble for her.

Miss Bunting is at Downton again, and in the space of a few minutes manages to offend the visitors. I’m trying to understand her utter lack of likeability and rudeness. Well-drawn characters are flawed, but there has to be something there that makes you like them too – even the villains. I think her goal in life is to irritate everyone she meets, and in that she succeeds. Heck, even Barrow is a more sympathetic character than her. Just go away.

I have no thoughts yet on the whole thing with the Russians and the Dowager’s past.  But if it means we get more Violet stories, more gold one-liners and repartee between her and Isobel (“Have you made plans to see your admirer again? *snark*”), then I’m all for it.

Next week: Ooh, Miss Lane Fox. Catfight!