'Downton Abbey' Season 4 Recap: Everyone's Got a Secret

downton abbey season 4 episode 4There are a lot of secrets being kept in this episode of Downton Abbey -- well, secrets being kept and other secrets being exposed. Edith is keeping a secret. Cora's new maid apparently has some secrets. Anna's horrible secret and the way Mrs. Hughes handles it is a major plot point this week. Lord Grantham makes a secret deal with a tenant. And yet, overall the Downton machine keeps humming along. Do secrets keep life running smoothly, or do they jam up the works? I think we see a little bit of both happening at Downton.

SPOILER ALERT, Y'ALL! Spoilers ahead.

Cora has a new lady's maid, and she's perfect ... or is she? I was impressed with the orange juice bit. She's extremely good at what she does and she even seems kind. But apparently she has secrets Thomas is exploiting. Did you get the sense that she's made mistakes she regrets but is basically a decent person? That was my impression -- but who knows, she could turn out to be as devious as Thomas is. 

So, Gillingham is engaged. And in true Downton fashion, Lady Mary barely has time to wipe away her tears over her letter of congratulations (so polite!) before a new suitor appears. And you know what? Every woman's life should be like that. Seriously, she wakes up broken-hearted, and next thing you know, Mr. Handsome Napier shows up and is all, "Oh hi Mary, remember me? I'm a dashing young suitable mate." Everyone keeps complaining that there are no men left from the war, but you'd think they were growing on trees the way eligible bachelors keep dropping in on Downton.

I know Daisy doesn't agree with me, but I was rooting for Alfred to get into culinary school. I love him for trying, and I hope he goes for it again. Can't help noticing the sexism in that story line, though: Women like Mrs. Patmore and Daisy become household cooks, while men become chefs. I know there were male cooks in great houses like Downton in those days, but still. Couldn't Daisy go to culinary school, too? She's a better cook than Alfred.

Okay, what's this about Tom wanting to leave Downton and live in America? It took me three seasons to realize I had a crush on him, and now he's leaving -- and taking that adorable toddler with him? NOOOO!!!

Did you catch Edith going to the doctor in London? Yeah, she's in the family way. And no word from Michael. Ruh-roh.

Oh my God, we're finally done with the Anna-Bates tension! What a relief. I hated that. Please, Anna and Bates, let's never fight again. Didn't you love what Bates told her?

Anna started in on her shame being exposed. "But I am spoiled for you!" And he wisely replies, "You are not spoiled for me!" Aww, Bates is the best. "You are made higher and holier to me because of the suffering you've been put through." (Derr, that's a little weird, but it comes from a loving place.) "You're my wife, and I've never been prouder nor loved you more than I love you now at this moment." Nailed it, Bates! You win sensitive, supportive husband of the year. You are exactly the husband Anna so well deserves. Now what's this about seeking revenge?

See, this is what I love about Bates. He's kind and loving and decent. And then he's got this dark side. I'm glad the writers are letting us see his shadow side again because otherwise he'd be a total bore. Don't you think his duality really comes from the same place of deep feeling?

What do you think about Baxter -- basically decent or will she turn out to be vindictive and scary like her predecessors?

 

Image via Masterpiece Theater

recaps, television

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Emma Graham

You do realize that women couldn't become famous chefs back then right? Yes, it is sexism, but the show can't rewrite history.

nonmember avatar ago

So happy about Anna and Bates although I'm afraidwhat he's going to do! I excited to see how baxter will play out but more excited to see what happens to Edith. Girl can't get a break!

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