The pigs arrived at Downton and the pig man was on everyone’s mind during episode six of this season’s DOWNTON ABBEY. That is, when romance wasn’t blooming or tragedy didn’t rear its ugly head.
“And you have a good pig man?” “Shall I fetch the pig man?” Both good questions, and the answer is simple, It’s important to have a good pig man.
Mary and Mr. Blake’s Rom-Com
Mary and Mr. Blake realized the importance of the pig man when during a post-dinner walk they discovered the animals were dehydrated from lack of water. A bucket brigade became a necessity after the water trough was kicked over.
Lady Mary had gotten a surprising answer from Anna, to the question of whether or not she was aloof, a word used to describe her by Blake in discussion with Napier.
“Do you want the truth or shall I answer like a lady’s maid?” was all she had to say to make Mary bristle.
She might as well have said, “Aloof, I’ll show you who isn’t aloof,” when she joined Blake in hauling buckets of water to the pigs to keep them alive and well.
Both Charles and Mary demonstrated to each other that when push came to shove, they knew how to “get down in the mud” to accomplish a task.
Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
Mary had to be certain the business decision to diversify and begin pig farming didn’t go up in smoke before it began, and Blake showed the other side to his nerdy business-minded self. Ending up covered in mud and playfully flinging it at each other? Might as well have come straight from the latest Jennifer Aniston film, but that wasn’t the end of it.
Mary made scrambled eggs and poured wine for the two of them after the chores were over as the morning dawned. Seeing each other in a different light was inevitable, but will it mean Mary can ignore her lingering feelings for Lord Gillingham?
Lord Gillingham Returns and So Does His Valet
Gillingham, a/k/a Tony Foyle can see that he’s lost ground to Blake. Let’s face it, getting down and dirty in pig mud will win out over mere good looks and devotion anytime, right? Well, at least for a woman like Mary.
She and Matthew went the equivalent of 10 rounds in a boxing ring before she fell in love. She likes to test her men and there’s no need to do that with Gillingham, or Evelyn Napier for that matter. With the three suitors in residence, Mary took on the role of Scarlett O’Hara at the pre-war party at Tara.
Mr. Green, Gillingham’s valet appeared in the kitchen and Anna almost fainted. Unfortunately she had to sit there and eat across the table from him to keep Mr. Bates from guessing he was the rapist. Mrs. Hughes had already ripped Green a new one when she got him alone as he was polishing his lordship’s shoes. Like the weasel he is, Green made the rape sound like consensual sex, telling Hughes that he and Anna were both drunk.
Emboldened by his ability to keep Anna quiet at the table, he revealed that the opera singer was so awful that fateful night, he left and came down to the kitchen to get away from it all. Bates’ eyes were riveted on Green and it’s all but a done deal that it will be the last time Mr. Green is seen in them parts.
Aunt Rosamund Steps Up For Edith
In what can only be described as a touching sequence, Edith bared her soul and told her secret to her aunt, revealing that she was going for an abortion. Rosamund fell in step with her, after questioning her decision. When the two got to the doctor’s office a change of heart sent Edith running. For a detailed look at Edith exercising a woman’s right to choose, see earlier review of DOWNTON ABBEY.
Lady Rose Is the Aggressor
Wheedling her way to London with Edith, Rose wasted no time contacting Jack Ross who promptly took her out boating. It is Rose who asked to be kissed, daring him to do so by questioning whether or not he was interested. Well, as she reminded cousin Cora prior to her departure to the big city:
“Cousin Robert put me in charge of fun.”
Mr. Bates Is Spared the U.S. Trip
Speaking of cousin Robert, off he went to America to stand up for his brother-in-law in front of the U.S. Senate, as if his mere presence as a lord of the realm would matter in the Teapot Dome Scandal mess he was in.
Bates had the guts to ask out of the trip to stay near his still traumatized wife, and of course he went to who else… Mrs. Hughes for help. To get him out of it, Hughes had to seek Lady Mary’s assistance in her plan. In doing so she was forced to tell her Anna’s story. Hughes knew that Mary would be the best person to get her father to switch valets from Bates to Barrow. Thomas had stood in for Bates during the latter’s imprisonment, so it wasn’t like the two had no relationship together. It worked and Thomas gleefully packed, crowing about it to Jimmy.
Jimmy, Ivy, Daisy and Alfred
What a four-corner situation this is. Daisy still pines for Alfred, who was to stop by on his way home to see his family. Ivy has warmed to Alfred after Jimmy tried to get to third base with her one night. Alfred is still smitten with Ivy to the chagrin of Daisy. The visit was short, after Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes convinced Mr. Carson to sidetrack Alfred. What are we to make of this never ending story?
Tom Begins to Live Again
Becoming confidantes with Isobel Crawley has been helpful to Tom’s mood and she asked him to accompany her to a political meeting. When she had to cancel to attend to a gravely ill Dowager Countess, Tom was convinced by Mary to attend and not abandon that side of himself that still has some interest in current affairs of the political kind.
He met a charming woman at the event with whom he exchanged pleasantries and some political views. When she asked more than a few personal questions he hightailed it out of there, but feeling quite good about himself.
Is America off the table for him and Sybie? The way things change like the wind at Downton, you can’t count that out.
The Dowager Countess vs. Isobel
Down for the count with bronchitis and a high fever, Violet needed ’round the clock nursing and Isobel told the doctor she would be assuming the responsibility. She convinced Cora and Mary it is best for her to be on duty with her nurse training background. Seems that her feelings for Violet might not have changed but, she believes she owes a great debt of gratitude to the Crawleys:
“The family took me in and kept me close when my link to them was gone. I own them a great deal,” she told the doctor.
When the worst of it passed, Violet had to be told that it was Isobel who nursed her for 48 hours straight. Did it make a difference in their relationship? If a good old game of gin rummy can be said to be a cure for what ails them, then it appears a breakthrough occurred.
Next week, Edith returns to Downton and Bates plots his next move.
PBS airs DOWNTON ABBEY on Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT Image credit: PBS