In the second to last episode, Thomas gets in more hot water, Bates is free and more turmoil hits the estate of Downton Abbey. Can you handle it?

Downton Abbey is coming to a close and while PBS in North America has lumped episodes together, it seems like the end of the series is ending too soon. In the series’ two-hour, sixth episode (episode 7 and 8 in the UK) the storyline gets a bit rushed. But where some things get resolved (Bates is finally free!) other Downton issues get heated (Thomas’ gay love for Jimmy, Mary’s secret procedure and Edith’s love life).

Finally, Anna can breathe a sigh of relief as her beloved husband, Bates, is released from prison and comes home to take back his job as Robert’s valet, which rattles Thomas’ chain. Since Thomas has been doing his job, it’s going to force the perpetual schemer back in action.

In terms of scheming, O’Brien hasn’t let us down. The plan she’s been cooking up between Thomas and Jimmy, telling Thomas that Jimmy has the hots for him, finally comes to a full boil. Thomas takes the bate and goes into Jimmy’s room while he’s sleeping and leans in to kiss him just as Alfred walks into the room. Jimmy freaks out and wakes Mr. Carson. Annoyed (he is ever anything else?), Carson tells everyone to get back to their rooms.

Puzzled and frazzled by what he saw, the impressionable Alfred takes another cue from his aunt, O’Brien, to report the illegal act he witnessed. At that point we realize that almost everyone downstairs knows that Thomas is gay but now out in the open, Carson is forced to fire Thomas. Carson does take some surprising care by letting Thomas know that he’ll give him a reference and will ensure Jimmy doesn’t press charges.

Not satisfied enough with Thomas’ termination, O’Brien further pushes Jimmy to press charges or everyone will think he’s gay. Jimmy then forces Carson’s hand (not a good decision) to give him a bad reference or he’ll have to report the crime to the police.

Little does Thomas know that his old foe, Bates, is about to become his hero. When Bates finds out that O’Brien is behind the mess Bates begs Thomas to give him something he can use against her. He then invites O’Brien to his and Anna’s little cottage for tea and lightly whispers in her ear, “Her Ladyship’s soap.” We later find out that Bates and Anna don’t really know what it means, it reminds O’Brien that she was responsible for Cora slipping out of the bathtub causing her to lose her baby boy. It was a bold gesture of goodwill given to Thomas from Bates and makes me wonder why Bates would go through all of this for the man who undermines him at every turn.

Just when all seemed OK with Thomas, Alfred takes matters in his own hands. At the annual Cricket tournament the cops come answering a call about the injustice. But Lord Grantham and Carson fend off the police and in a weird movie, sets Thomas up as second-in-command to Carson and promotes Jimmy to first footman in order to keep everyone calm and happy. This means that Thomas is Bates’ superior. Uh oh, will Bates regret his actions?

Meanwhile, Matthew’s plans to save Downton are still met with resistance but the Dowager Countess recommends Branson become the estate manager, which ultimately keeps him and  baby Sybbie around for good. Smooth move on the Countess’ part.

Also, Matthew visits a doctor in London to find out if he’s the reason he and Mary haven’t gotten pregnant but finds out he is fine. As he leaves the office, he runs into Mary who has been secretly visiting the doctor. Apparently, she had minor surgery to help her conceive. Will we ever know what has been going on with Mary? What procedure did she get?

In Edith news, she realizes that her editor is in love with her. But is anything ever easy for Edith when it comes to love? She finds out that he’s actually married. He tells her that his wife is in a mental institution and unable to legally give him a divorce, which is an unfortunate circumstance for them both. I wonder where this story will go.

In other news during this mega long episode, in a plan to rid Ethel from Isobel’s employ, the Countess finds a job opening for the former prostitute near her son. It’s a sad situation, but Ethel is relieved she’ll be near her boy and his grandparents.

Stay tuned for next week’s final episode, the Downton Abbey Christmas special which will jump a year ahead and see some more twists and turns for the Crawley family and the people downstairs.




—Toni-Marie Ippolito






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