Downton Abbey
Episode #4.6

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B | 85 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
In A Pig's Sty
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Our technological snapshot du episode comes in the form of a close-up on a Western Union telegraph, which a uniformed courier is bicycling up to the Abbey. Inside, breakfast has just been cleared and the servants bustle about, but someone who's not rushing to attend to his duties is Bates, who instead comes in to see Mrs. Hughes and somewhat disbelievingly announces that Lord Grantham is going to America. Mrs. Hughes is like whaaaa, but Bates lets us know that whatever was in the telegram is causing his Lordship to leave today, as something's happened to Harold. Mrs. Hughes realizes that Bates will have to go too, but he urgently says he can't leave Anna at this point in time. Anyone keeping count of how many times Mrs. Hughes has been caught between a rock and a hard place this season?

And her job isn't going to be made any easier by the temper Lord Grantham is in, as he fairly barks at Cora -- who's in bed with her breakfast -- that he doesn't know how Harold can put him in this position, and on top of that he doesn't understand why Martha insists on him coming. Cora points out that she obviously thinks it will make a difference to Harold's fate, and Lord Grantham, I know it's not your home country, but given that you negotiated Branson out of a dark hole it's hard for you to claim you couldn't possibly be of any use. Lord Grantham snits that he knows "plenty of relatives of English earls who belong in jail," and if that's true maybe you can take the trip as research for a chapter of your tell-all book. Cora merely regards her husband with sympathy and he seethes, "I suppose we've made the decision." You're a good man, Lord Grantham, but you'll never stand a chance against your wife.

Mary is also still eating, but it's Mrs. Hughes who's in to see her as Mary tells her she can't stop her father from going. Mrs. Hughes knows that, but she wonders if Mary might intervene to stop him from taking Bates, as his absence would be very tough on Anna at the moment. Mary is like, look, we love all of you but we do need you to do your jobs, and when Mrs. Hughes brings up a special circumstance, Mary replies that she'll have to know what it is in order to help. I guess the oath on her mother's grave was permanently broken the last time Mrs. Hughes blabbed, right?

Downstairs, Bates tells Anna he won't go, but Anna won't hear of it. I was going to wonder if she'd put on the same brave face if she knew what was coming later, but given that she starts crying as soon as she leaves the room, I'd put a small amount of money on "no."

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Downton Abbey

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