Downton Abbey Season Six, Episode Six: The Calm and the Storm

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It’s a sunny day in the village, and Molesly is in the square handing out fliers. We pan to a notice board and see a poster there, announcing that Downton Abbey will be open to the public this Saturday.

Robert is in bed, surrounded Dr. Clarkson, Cora, Mary, and Tom. They are discussing the open house, Robert wondering why anyone would want to come at all. Mary says people just want to see a different way of life. Mary and Tom have made the decision. The Open House is happening. The money raised will go to support the hospital.

Carson doesn’t like the idea either, mainly because he thinks people are going to come in and steal things. Bates also doesn’t understand why anyone would come, but Anna does. Carson is afraid this will lead to public envy, which will result in guillotines in Trafalgar Square, an attitude that annoys Mrs. Hughes. Daisy, of course, thinks the house should be open to the public all the time. Thomas asks why the Crawleys should have all of these things anyway and Carson pointedly asks him how his job search is going.

Violet and Isobel are having lunch, and Violet is dubious of the idea, wondering why anyone would want to pay to see what she thinks is just a normal house. Isobel says it’s simple curiosity, a concept which Violet mocks. She expresses concern about Robert’s health, but Isobel says he’s doing fine. Violet feels that the fact that Robert was saved at their local hospital means more people will be on her side against the merger. Isobel points out that it would have been the same result even after the changeover. Violet asks about Lord Merton, who is Isobel’s ally. She asks if Isobel is weakening in her resolve not to marry him, and Isobel says no, but it’s not a very adamant no.

In the library, Edith has had a phone call. It was Bertie Pelham, wanting to meet. Cora tells her to invite him to Downton for the weekend, and Edith agrees.

At Yew Tree Farm, Daisy hangs up a picture of poor, dead William. Mr. Mason hands her a note to give to Mrs. Patmore, whom he’s gotten very chummy with, much to Daisy’s chagrin. Daisy insists there’s no need for a thank you note, but Mason insists she take it anyway.

Carson brings lunch in to a bedridden Robert, along with something else, a flask of wine. Robert really wants to drink it, but decides his health is too important and he has to face the fact that he can’t drink anymore. They talk about reductions in the household, both agreeing that Thomas’ position is the obvious choice to be cut. Could they do anything to speed along the process of him finding another job?

In the kitchen, Mrs. Patmore finds Mason’s note in the trash bin. Daisy protests that it must have fallen in by accident. Patmore wants to know why it’s already been opened.

In their cottage, Bates and Anna are settling in for the evening. Anna has not been feeling well, and both are concerned about the pregnancy. Bates insists she go back to Dr. Ryder. He also insists on paying for it. Anna says she’ll talk to Mary about it in the morning.

The next morning, Carson and Hughes are walking to the house. Carson wants to have breakfast in their cottage sometimes, but wonders if Hughes is up to it and if maybe she should ask Patmore for advice. You can tell Hughes kind of wants to strangle Carson, but she agrees. He also wants Hughes to ask for help cleaning and making the bed.

Anna talks to Mary about her problem, and Mary agrees that she needs to go see Dr. Ryder right away. This works out because Mary wants to go to London anyway.

Isobel and Dr. Clarkson have summoned Cora to Isobel’s house. They have news. The merger is definitely going forward. Dr. Clarkson is remaining in his position, with Isobel staying on as almanor. However, they want Violet to step down as President, to be replaced by Cora. All agree this is a delicate situation which must be managed carefully. Cora says she needs to talk to Robert about it, but Clarkson says they have to respond quickly.

Mary is on the phone planning a surprise appearance to see Henry Talbot while she’s in London. She pretends it’s just to have dinner with Evelyn Napier, but Tom sees through her. She invites Tom to come along, and he agrees.

Mary comes upon Thomas in the hallway, carrying George on his back. George says he’s trying to cheer Thomas up, and Thomas does not deny that he needs cheering.

Robert is reading the paper in his room when Mary comes in to say goodbye. She asks about Thomas, and is told his position is going to be eliminated. Mary tells him it is a shame, because he’s so good with the children. They both hope he’ll find another job.

Bates sees Mary, Tom, and Anna off. He thanks Mary, but tells her he wants the bill sent to him. In the car, Mary says she has no intention of doing this, but Tom says they need to allow Bates his pride. Mary seems annoyed by this thought.

Carson is having an official meeting with Thomas, telling him his position will soon be gone. He is very brusque and unkind about it. Thomas is, naturally, upset by this, especially when Carson tells him he’s “not a creature of today.” When Thomas asks if Carson is, he replies he cannot imagine the house operating without a butler.

When Hughes comes in, Carson expresses a desire that they have a quite dinner at their cottage, nothing fancy. Patmore can instruct Hughes on how to make something simple. Hughes is annoyed, but agrees.

At the schoolhouse, Molesly is finalizing arrangements for Daisy’s exams. The schoolmaster has had the idea that since Molesly has been so good at helping Daisy, that maybe he’d like to assist at the school. He will give Molesly his own exam to see if it’s a good idea. Molesly is taken aback, but eagerly agrees.

Violet visits Robert in his sickbed. He tells her he’s doing much better. She also protests the Open House, but wonders if, as the President of the hospital board, she should be involved somehow. Robert says no. She also expresses the hope that Roberts’s ordeal will stop the planned merger. She says she will be “magnanimous in victory.” Robert and Cora share a look. There’s definitely going to be trouble.

Molesly tells Baxter about the schoolmaster’s idea, and she encourages him to do it. In the hallway, Thomas and Andy make oblique plans to meet in Thomas’ room later for a reading lesson. Mrs. Patmore overhears and gets a worried look on her face.

In London, Mary is getting ready for dinner when Anna comes in. Everything is fine with the baby, her pains are just normal. They talk about how Thomas is good with the children, and Mary says Marigold seems to be fitting in very well. Anna almost blurts out that it’s because they are cousins, but stops herself just in time. Still, Mary’s curiosity is piqued.

Robert and Cora discuss the plan to make Cora the hospital president. She really wants to do it, especially as the president’s role is going to be expanded to be involved more in the day-to-day operations. But there’s the problem of Violet and how she will react. It’s not going to be pretty.

Mary and Tom arrive at the restaurant, Mary telling Tom that if he knows anything about Marigold and didn’t tell her that she’s going to feel it was a betrayal. They find they are having dinner with a large group of people, all single and in their thirties. Talbot is pleasantly surprised to see Mary. They settle in. Talbot asks Tom to go to his next race and Mary as well, but she says she’ll tell him closer to the time.

Carson and Hughes have dinner in their cottage, and it is, again, terrible. Carson gives her suggestions, but she doesn’t have any of the ingredients on hand. When Hughes asks what they are drinking, Carson announces that he doesn’t think they should drink any more, since His Lordship can’t.

Mary’s dinner wraps up and everyone says goodbye. Talbot suggests that he will walk Tom and Mary home, but Tom begs off leaving the time for Talbot and Mary to be alone.

As they walk, Talbot tells her he really wants her to come to his race, mainly so he can spend time with her, even though he knows she’s not interested in racing. She tells him (finally!) that her problem is that her husband died in a car crash. Talbot knows this, but hopes he can be the one to redeem cars for her. It starts to rain, and the two duck into a covered alleyway. Talbot seizes the moment and kisses her, which she returns. He tells her he knows he has limited prospects, but he’s falling in love with her. Mary says this is moving a little too fast, and they run off together through the rain.

Mary returns to Rosamunde’s, where Tom is waiting up for her. She wants to know why Tom is playing cupid, and he says it’s because he likes Talbot and thinks they will be a good match. They talk about Edith, and Pelham’s impending visit. Mary says Edith was stupid to take on Marigold, since what man is going to get involved with a single woman with a child (forgetting, perhaps, that she herself is a single woman with a child?)

The next day, Bertie Pelham is walking on the road to Downton, when Edith meets him halfway in the car. She apologizes that car problems kept her from meeting him at the station. He greets her with a kiss.

Lord Merton and a young woman arrive at Isobel’s. The young woman is Miss Crookshank, who is engaged to be married to Merton’s son, Larry. She tells Isobel she’s in favor of her match with Merton and will work on getting Larry’s approval. Isobel seems dubious, but doesn’t protest that much. They talk about the changes in the hospital and she asks Merton not to say anything to Violet until she gets official notification.

Bertie Pelham and Edith meet in the hallway ready to go down to dinner. But first, Edith takes him to see Marigold.

Hughes is telling Patmore about her frustrations with Carson, when Mr. Mason arrives with a basket of vegetables to thank Patmore. Daisy protests that it’s silly, he’s already said thank you and the kitchen gardens provide everything that they need. Patmore expresses her gratitude over Daisy’s bratty objections.

At dinner, Pelham is giving the family advice on how to run the open house. He says they will need people to act as tour guides and suggests Cora, Mary and Edith. They seem grateful for his advice and decide to follow it.

At Servants’ dinner, Carson drills them on their responsibilities for the next day.

After dinner, Tom and Mary discuss London. Mary says she’s thinking about going to the race, not only to see Talbot, but because she might need to give cars another chance.

In bed, Robert and Cora discuss Bertie Pelham. They like him, but wonder about his prospects. They eventually decide that as long as he makes Edith happy, that’s good enough for them. They worry about what will happen when Edith finally tells him the truth about Marigold, as she must.

Carson is leaving his old room when he sees Andy leaving Thomas’. He asks him what is going on, and Andy says he was only borrowing a book, which he forgot inside, and will get in the morning (nice save, Andy). Carson is, of course, suspicious of this story.

The next morning, the house is opened. It seems like the entire village has come out. Pelham and Tom wrangle the crowds outside, forming them into groups of ten.

Cora, Mary, and Edith lead the tours. They know a lot about the house, but not nearly enough, and there are questions they can’t answer. They are in the middle of a tour when Violet comes in looking for Cora. When she finds her, she reveals she’s finally had her letter removing her from the board. She yells at Cora in front of everyone.

Downstairs, Molesly meets Baxter as they pass. She’s bothered by something, and it’s that she’s had a letter from Peter Coyle, who wants her to come visit him in jail. Molesly says she should just burn the letter and ignore the request entirely.

In Robert’s room, Violet is going on about Cora’s betrayal. Robert protests that it’s not Cora’s fault. Violet is still angry, especially considering how the local hospital saved Robert’s life. He protests that he would have been saved even under the new plan and she should be logical. She responds “I am sick and tired of being logical! If I have to decide between principle and logic, I’ll take principle every time!”

As Violet leaves, a young boy enters. He’s heard the whole thing and wonders why the old lady is so mad. They commiserate about mothers. The boy wants to know why they live in a house that is so big, and Robert doesn’t really have an answer. Molesly comes in and shoos the boy away. He asks if they should search him, but Robert responds “he was more of a philosopher than a thief.”

Downstairs, Hughes and Patmore discuss Patmore’s house, which is finished and ready for visitors. Her niece is going to manage it for her, and Hughes is amazed to find out that there’s been a phone installed to take reservations. Carson interrupts them and Patmore asks if she can have a word with him. She tells him she’s concerned about the exchange she witnessed between Thomas and Andy. She’s afraid Thomas is taking advantage of the boy.

Violet leaves Downton and Merton catches her to introduce his daughter-in-law. She asks Violet to put in a good word for her with Isobel. Cora hurries out to intercept Violet, but Violet won’t speak to her.

Molesly finds Baxter sewing in the dining room. He asks her if she’s thrown away the letter, but she hasn’t yet because she’s not sure what she wants to do.

Carson comes in to talk to Thomas and tells him to stay away from Andy. Thomas asks him to take his word for the fact that there is nothing going on that Carson wouldn’t approve of, but doesn’t betray Andy’s secret. Carson is unmoved and can’t bring himself to trust Thomas.

Meeting and the end of the day, the family discusses the fact that the open house brought in a lot of money. Tom wonders if they should do it more often, not for charity, but for the estate, since it’s not supporting itself yet. Robert doesn’t like the idea, and neither does Edith. The public’s interest seems to indicate that theirs is a way of life that is coming to an end, but Mary won’t hear of that and is determined to keep it going.

In the dark of the dining room, Thomas sits, thinking about his problems, and weeps.

Downton Abbey airs every Sunday night at 9:00 on KIXE Channel 9.

Chad Grayson
Chad Grayson has been a gas station attendant, sold video games over the phone, and even was the person who cuts the mold off the cheese in the cheese factory, but spent most of his career as a middle school Language Arts and History teacher. He is now a full-time stay at home dad and writer. You can find him on twitter at @chadgrayson and on his blog at cegrayson.wordpress.com.
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6 Responses

  1. Melanie says:

    Ah, Thomas! I have had a soft spot for him for awhile now…watching him go to war, then defend Jimmy from the bullies a few seasons ago. I hope he can find some happiness somewhere.

    On another note though, I really do hope Mrs. Hughes will let Carson have it for being so demanding!

  2. EasternCounty says:

    Yep, Carson needs to learn that Mrs. Hughes is not a Downton staff member when they are at home.  It’s going to take cannon rather than a fly swatter to get through to him, I imagine.  And Thomas; what a dreadful time to be a homosexual.  It’s bad enough in the 2000’s but in the 1920’s, it must have been unbearable.  If Moseley leaves for the school position, perhaps Thomas can stay, but with so much animosity from Carson and Robert, he may not want to even if offered.

  3. EasternCounty says:

    Carson and Daisy both need to straighten up and fly right.

  4. K. Beck says:

    Thomas has made his own problems. Let us not forget he blew off his own hand in order to get out of the service during the war. He seems a bit schizoid to me. Totally conniving one minute, nice the next. Then it usually turns out he is only nice because he can gain some information about the person to whom he is being nice to use against that person…conniving again. He did redeem himself, somewhat, during the fire. I thought Robert softened a bit toward him, but that seems to be gone now.

    Did Mrs. Hughes REALLY think Mr. Carson would be any different “at home” than he is at Downton?…how bad marriages are made. I agree she is going to have to stand up to him or be trampled forever. He seems to be pretty malleable when approached from a logical standpoint.

    Go Daisy! Her execution is lacking, but then how would she know how to do anything outside of cooking and taking orders from Mrs. Patmore, being locked in a kitchen from sunup to sundown most of her whole life?

    I can see why she doesn’t want the staff at Downton showing up at Mr. Mason’s house. She probably relishes time away from Downton and doesn’t want it following her to the farm. For sure she doesn’t want Mrs. Patmore telling her what to do at the farm! Shades of Mrs. Hughes & Mr. Carson!

    Why didn’t Andy ask Molesly for help learning to read since Molesly helped Daisy? Too bad Molesly didn’t pick up on the fact that Andy can’t read instead of  Thomas.

     

    • Melanie says:

      Very true about Thomas, many times he has been his own worse enemy. Now that you mention it Moseley would have been a much more realistic and logical choice to help Andy–even Daisy could have for that matter.

      • EasternCounty says:

        True, but Andy has been trying to keep his illiteracy a secret, and only Thomas noticed it.  Andy didn’t seek him — any anyone else — out; so Moseley nor Daisy were in no position to help.  Now Thomas, in trying to keep Andy’s illiteracy a secret, is making himself a target yet again.