"Sometimes, I don't think God wants me to be happy."
Poor Lady Edith. On Sunday's Downton Abbey, the second Crawley daughter is still dealing with the dilemma of becoming an unwed mother in 1920s polite society. On top of that, the man she had intended to marry is MIA. What's a semi-liberated but tradition-bound lady to do?
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The problem is that Edith (Laura Carmichael) is having difficulty reconciling her need to keep her family's name untarnished with her more tender motherly instincts, which first appeared when she decided not to have an abortion. She eventually agrees to her Aunt Rosamund's (Samantha Bond) scheme -- taking a sabbatical to Switzerland on the pretense of improving her French, when in fact she'll give birth and then adopt her child out to a Swiss couple -- but it's clear she still has reservations about not being a part of the child's life.
We're reminded of a similar case in a previous season with housemaid Ethel Parks (Amy Nuttall), who first resorted to prostitution for income to raise her child alone but eventually gave up her son to be reared by his wealthy grandparents. It seems like lying about the child's parentage and then relinquishing him/her are the only viable options during this time if one wanted the child to grow up without scandal. We wonder, however, if Lady Edith told her parents the truth, if they would choose their reputation over their own flesh and blood. The old-school Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) might, but he has surprised us before when he enouraged Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) to weather the Pamuk scandal if it meant she could marry her true love.
Check out the rest of our thoughts on the episode:
Bates' day off Since Bates (Brendan Coyle) suspects Green (Nigel Harman) of raping Anna (Joanne Froggatt), he gathers more information about where Green stays while in London. Clearly our favorite stoic valet is planning some sort of payback, and on his day off travels to York... or so he says. We later learn that on that same day in London, Green was found dead of apparently getting hit by a vehicle after accidentally falling into its path. But did he stumble or was he pushed by a vengeful Bates? Lady Mary has her doubts about Bates' innocence but keeps mum for now. As viewers, we of course sympathize with Anna's traumatic experience, but it's not clear if we're also supposed to condone murder. We're relieved Anna is spared the constant threat of Green though.
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Mary's unruly "desire" Widowhood is catnip to suitors apparently, so much so that the Crawleys have dubbed "desire" to be a collective noun for a group of suitors. Mary's desire is a rather tenacious lot, ranging from the already engaged Gillingham (Tom Cullen) to the business-minded Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden). "I'm not on the market. I'm not free," Mary doth protest unconvincingly as she strings everybody along. Give your boys a break, Mary, and maybe share with poor Edith.
The stinkin' Rose Mary learns of the engagement between her young cousin Rose (Lily James) and American singer Jack Ross (Gary Carr) and goes to London to convince Jack to break off the engagement. She's not necessarily against the interracial romance, but she has reservations about how society would treat the couple and how genuine Rose's feelings are, suspecting that Rose wants to defy her mother with this relationship. Sadly, Jack has already come to the same conclusions and breaks it off with Rose. We just wish Rose would learn from this experience, but even though Mary advises her to complicate her life "for the right reasons," we doubt Rose understands that she had played with Jack's heart to spite her mother.
Daisy's growth spurt Although we've felt for assistant cook Daisy (Sophie McShera) and her unrequited love for Alfred (Matt Milne), we've felt that she could have cultivated a better relationship with him if she weren't so angry and eaten up with jealousy the whole time. When Alfred comes to town for a funeral, Daisy initially tries to avoid him and more heartbreak, but eventually realizes that she has to have closure and brings him a peace offering care basket. "I loved you, Alfred. I won't deny it... but it won't come back," she says. "Friends forever." Like Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol), we became verklempt and proud of the former scullery maid who's come so far.
What did you think of the episode? Will Lady Edith go through with the plan? Did Bates kill Green? What do you think will happen in the finale?
Downton Abbey airs Sundays on PBS' Masterpiece. Check local listings for times.