By Julia Park Tracey
There’s plenty to weep about this week, and Julian Fellowes has set us all on edge, anticipating the series finale coming down the pike, er, racecourse. This episode was all about the thrill and danger of motor racing, and the racing scenes at England’s Brooklands were meticulously reproduced. It rather felt like a live version of the 1950s card game, Mille Bornes, with vintage cars, spinouts, overheating radiators and – yes, it’s true, a horrible crash. #weep
Mary’s almost worst fears came true; the race did prove deadly, but not for Henry. His best friend Charlie died in the wreck, though, and he’s heartbroken with grief and survivor’s guilt. Mary is honest enough to admit she was selfishly glad it wasn’t Henry, and ashamed of her feelings. She shows more brute emotion this week than she has for the previous several episodes put together. So, at least this week, she bleeds a little. I was worried she had only ice water inside. Luckily, I can start to love her again, now that she’s shown she has a live beating heart under those impeccable clothes. #weep
What we liked:
Sisterly love—Edith runs with Mary to the scene of the accident, offering a solid sisterly support in Mary’s shock; their barbs were minimal this week. Could the two sisters become friends before the end of the series? Make it so!
Puppy love—As a parting gift, nay, peace offering to Robert and Cora (mostly Robert), Violet sends Spratt with a puppy to replace Isis. The new dog is named for another Egyptian goddess. (And dammit, what is the dog’s name? I’ve seen it as Tio, Teo and Tiaa. Send in the goddesses!) Better take a mop upstairs, Lord Grantham. Little piddles are coming.
Testing Miss Daisy—Daisy takes her exams, and it looks good for her. Andy is caught out, unable to read, and admits it to Daisy, Mrs. Patmore, and Molesley, but the Professor rescues the lad and promises to teach Andy after school until the boy can read. Molesley also takes his exam, and not only passes, but he gets a job offer from the teacher and will soon leave service. Unfortunately, that leaves Barrows with one less way to be useful. #weep
Mrs. Hughes finally gave Mr. Carson a taste of his own medicine. Rather than poisoning him with a tiny glass of his own port, she faked a hand injury and made him cook her supper, including dessert, and even saved the washing up for him. Smart lady. He is apparently chastened and will shut the hell up about her housekeeping skills going forward.
What we loved:
Violet decamps to the Mediterranean and South of France with Denker at hand; Spratt is allowed to stay home and continue mounting stamps in his albums. Violet isn’t over her anger about the hospital coup, but she’s wise enough to know when to hold her tongue or be forever sorry. As a parting gift to Isobel, Violet visits Miss Cruikshank and learns that the little minx wants Isobel to marry Lord Dickie and nurse him in his golden years. She and the loathsome son, Larry, are vipers in the grass. Violet calls Cruikshank on it and shows herself out. #teamviolet
Bertie asks Edith to marry him, and it’s so lovely that Edith might be happy at last… There’s only one hitch—Marigold. Bertie says he doesn’t mind having her along, but he doesn’t know she’s Edith’s illegitimate daughter, and that was an indelible stain in 1926. Edith needs to think it over, and we long to hear her answer. The sight of Edith in Bertie’s arms on the sofa was so right. Say yes, Edith! #teamedith
What we didn’t like:
Barrows, who is becoming more fragile and loveable with every week. He is reaping what he sowed for all those years, but he is a lonely, sad man, and I fear for his future. Will Fellowes use him to make a statement about how far gays have come in the past century? I’m hoping for the best, but I fear the worst. There’s a poignant moment when Mrs. Hughes talks to him in the side yard where it just feels so hopeless for the guy. #weep
Mary says no to Henry—no more romance. Her heart can’t take it. Despite Tom’s urging from the sidelines, and the horror of the day’s events, Mary breaks it off with Henry over the phone (the Post-It breakup hadn’t been invented yet). Mary, take a chance. You’ve already got a darling son, a lovely home, control of the estate, and your future sealed up. Why not take a fling at life? With only one more episode plus the Christmas special, there’s not much time, girlfriend. #teammary
Sneaky snooper in the bushes, spying on Mrs. Patmore’s new little cottage inn, and snapping photos. Something troublesome this way comes, and we’ll have to wait to find out.
So many loose ends to tie up. Will he bring it all together? Will everyone end happily? Will even Barrow find bliss? I don’t think I can stand the suspense. Till next week. #pinkiesup!