'Downton Abbey' Season 4 Recap: Edna's Wicked Scheme Starts in the Bedroom

edna braithwaiteThe theme of this week's episode of Downton Abbey was regret. Oh, so much regret happening in this episode! Some of it predictable -- but a few surprises, too. Of course, the consequences of your regret really seem to depend on where you are in the social latter.

I'm still upset about last week's episode and what happened with Anna. But there was a bit of comeuppance for a couple characters in this episode; Not that they make up for last week, but it's a bit of a relief. And did I mention scandal? There's a bit of that broiling, too. SPOILER ALERT! Don't keep reading if you hate SPOILERS! 


Okay, first of all, that witch, Edna! Ooh, she's so awful, seducing Tom and then trying to blackmail him into marrying her. I mean, he was kind of dumb about the whole thing, you have to admit. Whiskey, loneliness, and lust did him in, really? But still, what a horrible mess he almost got himself into. I thought the way Mrs. Hughes handled it was brilliant -- and in typical Downton fashion, almost too swift and tidy. But hey, at least she took care of it. Poor woman, though. She's always cleaning up everyone's shit. Doesn't she get tired of it?

I have to admit, I'm going to miss Braithwaite. Didn't they get rid of her a little too soon?

So that's one regrettable scandal. Next? Rose's flirtation with that drunken cad, John Brooks -- which resulted in lounge singer Jack Ross rescuing from his gross, grabby clutches. How typical that it's more socially acceptable to dance with a smashed asshole than to dance with a black man with gentlemanly manners. I regret everyone who regrets Rose dancing with Jack, and I hope they do it again. So there.

Then there's Lady Mary and Tony Gillingham. I liked him, but what an impossible dilemma he put her in. I think she's ready to date a bit, but she's definitely not ready to accept a marriage proposal. Too much pressure! Do you think he'll really marry Mabel, though?

Here's what no one should regret (yet): Edith sleeping with Michael. At least someone is getting some mutually-satisfying action. Go Edith! And didn't you love the walk of shame she did up Rosamund's stairs? Ooh, too bad Rosamund found out, though. She was laying on the "you'll regret that" bit on so thick, I have to think Edith really may end up regretting it. I've caught wind of what happens next, and I'm just trying to forget it, but hmm ... Didn't you LOVE Edith's jewelry, by the way? This arm band is to die for.

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And finally, the sad storyline of Anna and Bates. I hate that she's sort of transferred her feelings from the rape to her sweet husband. She says she "feels dirty" and "soiled" like maybe she did something to bring it on -- that's heartbreaking. Bates is the innocent second victim in this crime. And while I can see why she won't tell him, I still wish she would. I hate seeing double the punishment. 

I liked the advice Grantham gave Bates, though. 

There is no such thing as a marriage between two intelligent people that doesn't sometimes have to negotiate thin ice. I know. You must wait until things become clear, and they will. The damage cannot be irreparable when a man and a woman live each other as much as you do.

I so dearly hope he's right! Mary is correct when she tells Tom that confiding your troubles with someone always makes things better. Maybe that's a hint that Anna will unburden herself to Bates eventually.

Do you think Mary really will regret turning down Gillingham? Will Anna ever tell Bates what happened?


Image via Masterpiece Theater 

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