TV Review: Downton Abbey Series 6 Episode 2

Wedding preparations, missing children and pigs.

This week’s instalment of Downton Abbey certainly didn’t disappoint, although it was relatively slow to open, with Carson and Hughes having a pre-marital tiff over the location of their wedding, having moved on a step now from setting the date. He wanted the splendour of Downton Abbey whilst she argued her case for the local church hall, which are frankly both better than Lord Grantham’s suggestion of the servants’ hall. Welcome to (pre) married life, you two. Providing some comical relief was the disagreement between Violet and Isobel about the way in which the local hospital should be run, which was clearly not serious and if anything, provided a charming depth to their friendship, as fraught as it may be with minor squabbles.

In London, Edith veered the closest she’s been to relocating to Gregson’s flat also having a heated row with her editor, whom she believes doesn’t like her because she is a woman. Feminism at its finest in only 1925. Also striking a blow for girl power was Lady Mary, who since the departure of Branson,  is the new estate manager, who showed that she was willing to take on the duties by demonstrating her farmer skills at the Malton Fatstock show where the Downton pigs won Best in the Show. They’ve obviously perked up since their famous arrival two series ago when their near-death antics left Lady Mary covered in mud from head to toe.

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The Bates’ misery made for tormenting viewing, although John Bates’ declaration of them being one person who shares their problems showed the bittersweet solidarity that makes their relationship so enchanting to watch, despite their never ending barrage of difficulties. However, here’s hoping that another one of their problems may have been resolved with Anna’s visit to Doctor Ryder finding a potential solution to her fertility issues (fingers crossed for a Baby Bates before the season finishes!), after having accepted Lady Mary’s help. “We’ve had our moments, haven’t we m’Lady”, Anna sighed. “We certainly have”, was Lady Mary’s response, showing the tenderly close bond between the family and their servants.

Uncomfortable to watch was Thomas’ growing belief that footman Andrew may have romantic feelings for him. Love him or hate him, it has to be admitted that Thomas has had a raw deal when it comes to love, which could lead him to see romantic intent when it isn’t unquestionably there. Obvious to the viewer but not to Thomas himself were several occasions where Andrew curtly rebuffed his conversations and overtures. Nevertheless, he snapped “Doesn’t it occur to you that I may be right?”, at Mrs. Patmore when she gently counselled him to avoid Andrew. Here’s hoping it doesn’t backfire and that he gets his happy ending!

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Even more poignant was Margie Drewe’s desperately emotive love for Marigold, which she must agonisingly keep hidden. The complexity of trying to keep her feelings concealed came to a fearful climax where she spirited Marigold away from the pig fayre. No doubt the first thought on the others’ minds was that she had wandered off or been abducted by an unknown. However, the scene Drewe walked in on, of Margie gently rocking Marigold on her lap, was a cruel parody of what could have been, and what depths Margie would go to so as to be with the child she loves. The only possible conclusion, as decided by Lord Grantham and Drewe, was for him and his family to renounce their tenancy and start afresh elsewhere. Hopefully next week will fare a little better for the Crawleys and their world, as a wedding, a lunch date and more delightful Isobel and Violet bickering is said to be in store for the next episode; I for one can’t wait.

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