Downton Abbey Season Six, Episode Five: Bad Harvest, Bad Harvest!


It is a bright morning, and Mr. Mason and Daisy are busy moving things in to Yew Tree Farm. Meanwhile, Tom and Mary are walking in the fields. Mary wonders what Tom will do now, and he mentions working in the repair shop, which he’s thinking of moving so it will be closer to the village.

Later, in the kitchens, Patmore and Daisy discuss Mason’s move. They’ll bring a picnic lunch to him on the day he moves in fully. Andy volunteers to come with them and help out with the move, and the two are grateful for the extra pair of hands.

In the library, Edith has had a letter. Bertie Pelham is returning to London and wants to meet with her there. Robert seems to approve. Violet comes in with news: health minister Neville Chamberlain is coming for an inspection tour of the north, and she wants to invite him to dinner at Downton. She wants him on her side in the hospital argument, because one word from him could stop the planned merger. Robert protests that surely it’s too late for him to change his schedule, but she tells him that her late husband was his wife’s godfather, which should count for something. Robert is dubious, but says they’ll extend the invitation.

Hughes and Patmore are talking in the kitchen. Carson wants them to have dinner at their own house. Patmore says she’ll prepare a basket of lamb chops and vegetables for Hughes to cook.

At lunch, Robert tells Mary that Henry Talbot has called. He wants her to go with him to check out a racing car he’s thinking of buying. Tom says he’ll go with her. Cora tells everyone that Dr. Clarkson seems to have switched sides in the hospital conflict, and Robert tells them about Violet’s plan to involve Chamberlain. Cora hopes he won’t be able to come.

In the servants’ dining room, Baxter has had a letter from Sgt Willis, finalizing plans for her to testify against Peter Coyle. She’s nervous, but intends to go through with it. Molesly tells her he’ll go with her to lend her support. Anna and Bates come in and they tell them what is going on. They express their support and hope for the best.

Thomas finds Andy, who appears to be thumbing through a magazine. Thomas invites him to go into town with him, but Andy begs off, clearly uncomfortable at the thought.

Isobel, Merton, and Clarkson come for tea. Clarkson tells Cora and Robert that he has indeed changed his mind. Isobel, has had a message from Violet, who says that Chamberlain is definitely available for dinner. Robert says his mother must have blackmailed him to get him to come. Cora prepares for war.

The Bates and Andy are downstairs, when Bates asks him if Thomas is getting on his nerves. Andy says no, but he knows Thomas is gay, which he doesn’t mind, but doesn’t want to give him the wrong idea.

Carson and Hughes have dinner in their cottage, Hughes has taken great care with the preparations, but the food is clearly awful, and Carson is barely able to be polite about it.

At the Dower House, Denker is going on to Spratt about how angry she is at Clarkson’s betrayal of her ladyship and she wants to give him a piece of her mind. Spratt tells her to stay out of it and let it go, but she seems unwilling to do so.

At breakfast, Edith is getting ready to go to London to interview editors (all of whom are women) and meet with a friend. Mary is suddenly worried about Yew Tree Farm, and if Mason will be physically able to handle the labor involved in caring for the pigs. She and Tom decide to visit Mason, before they go to meet Talbot.

Patmore and Hughes are preparing Mason’s picnic. Hughes tells her Carson didn’t like her cooking, and they laugh about it. Willis comes in to collect Baxter, and he and Baxter, with Molesly in tow, head off to go to court.

Tom and Mary are checking out places to put the new repair shop. He asks her if she’s serious about Talbot, and she says she likes him, but the difference in their stations makes a match unlikely. Tom reminds her that he and Sybil were separated by class, but they were in their own way equally matched. Mary seems touched by this.

Denker finds Clarkson in the village and castigates him for changing his position. He is taken aback and offended, and says she hasn’t heard the last of it.

At court, Baxter finds out that Peter Coyle has seen her name on the witness list, and changed his plea to guilty. She won’t have to testify.

At Yew Tree Farm, Daisy, Patmore, Andy and Mason are having their picnic when Tom and Mary come in. They ask if Mason can handle the work, and Andy interjects, saying he’ll help him. Tom and Mary seem satisfied by this and leave. Andy says it’s true, he wants to learn to be a farmer, and Mason is grateful.

In London, Edith and Bertie Pelham are discussing his work, and she invites him to her flat later to have a drink.

With Mary and Tom watching, Henry Talbot races, and wins. Mary seems a little uncomfortable. (And is no one going to mention that her husband died in a CAR ACCIDENT? No?) Afterward, the three agree to meet for drinks.

Mason shows his guests the pigs, and gives some books to Andy to study if he’s really interested. He also expresses his desire for Daisy to move in with him.

At the magazine, Edith has one more editor to interview. It is a Miss Edmonds, and the two seem to hit it off very well, discussing the fact that they were both born in 1892. They decide that would make a good feature: Victorian babies who grew up into modern young women.

Isobel and Violet are having tea as Violet reads a letter. It’s from Dr. Clarkson, informing her of Denker’s behavior. Violet is outraged, and brings Denker in to fire her on the spot. Denker protests that she was only sticking up for her ladyship, but Violet is unmoved.

In the pub, Tom, Mary, and Talbot are having drinks. Mary and Talbot are making up excuses to meet each other again, and Tom basically says they should just get over themselves and admit they like each other.

In the servants’ dining room, Andy is looking through Mason’s books when Thomas comes in. Thomas asks which one he’ll start with, and Andy replies, “The red one,” Thomas asks about the author, but instead of answering Andy just hands him to the book to look for himself.

Edith is showing Bertie Pelham her flat. She tells him she sees herself spending more and more time there because she’d like a place away from Downton, where Mary seems to rule supreme. The two get ready to go to dinner, and as Pelham helps her into her coat, he kisses her. She kisses him back. Pelham confesses his love for her, and she says, for now, they should just leave it at dinner and dancing.

Patmore, Daisy, and Hughes are in the kitchen, discussing Mason’s plans when Carson comes in. He asks Patmore if she will kindly give Hughes cooking lessons.

At the Dower House, Denker tells Spratt what has happened, but he seems unmoved, indeed gleeful to be getting rid of her. She asks him to put in a good word for her, but he says he won’t. She goes off to bed in a huff.

In their bedroom, Cora and Robert discuss how neither of them wants to have this dinner with Chamberlain. Indeed, Robert is still not feeling well. But they are committed, so they shall.

Thomas hears a loud noise coming from Andy’s room. He investigates to find that Andy has thrown a book at the lamp because he can’t read. Thomas promises to help Andy learn. Andy protests that he hasn’t actually been that nice to Thomas, but Thomas says it’s all right, he still wants to help.

The next morning at the Dower House, Denker reminds Spratt that she knows he sheltered his fugitive nephew and if the police were to find out, Spratt could go to jail. She won’t say anything if Spratt can find a way to save her job. Trapped, Spratt says he’ll do so.

On their way to work, Bates and Anna discuss Mary, and her relationship with Talbot. Bates says he just wants Mary to be happy as he is happy. Anna joins him in heir quiet celebration, but shouts “Bad Harvest, Bad Harvest!” an old tradition meant to ward off the jealousy of the gods when things were going well. Bates joins her in the shout.

Spratt comes in to tell Denker that he’s done it. Her Ladyship will give her one more chance. He tells her that he doesn’t want to hear another mention of his nephew. Denker says that depends on whether or not she ever needs to mention it again.

Before dinner drinks at Downton, Robert’s stomach is bothering him again. Violet prevails upon Carson to change the seating arrangements at dinner. Edith fills Tom in on her trip to London (mentioning the editor, but leaving out the kiss), Mary and Tom talk about Talbot. Chamberlain arrives and is greeted by all. He is almost immediately cornered by Violet and Isobel, but Tom saves him. They are called in to dinner.

At dinner, there is, of course, a fierce argument. Violet finds herself alone against Cora, Isobel, and Dr. Clarkson. Chamberlain is surprised at the fight, and Robert is upset by it. He says he’s not feeling well, and gets up to leave, when he PROJECTILE VOMITS BLOOD ALL OVER THE TABLE! Clarkson tends to him, saying his ulcer has burst. When Cora comes to his side he says, between gouts of blood, “If this is the end, just know that I have loved you very much.” Clarkson says they need to get him to the hospital right away, and Carson calls for the ambulance.

As the ambulance arrives, Chamberlain says goodbye to Cora and Violet. As he leaves, they set a temporary truce. Violet mentions being sorry about her involvement with the Marigold affair, and Mary overhears this. Edith, Mary, and Cora go off to the hospital with the ambulance.

As he waits for his car, Tom asks Chamberlain about how Violet was able to get him to come. He says he was indeed blackmailed, Violet threatening to expose his involvement in a prank he helped pull as a young man. He asks Tom to let him know how things turn out.

The servants are in the hall, waiting for news, when Edith calls. Robert has had an operation, but should recover. Everyone is relieved.

Mary and Edith return to Downton, and Mary and Tom have a talk about how they’ll have to be fully in charge of the estate from now on, because Robert must be kept away from all stress. As she gets ready for bed, Mary asks Anna what the servants say about Marigold. Anna says they just talk about what a lucky girl she is. As Anna leaves, Mary considers this, clearly figuring things out.

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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