TV Review: Downton Abbey Series 6 Episode 6

It was open day at the Abbey in this week’s Downton as the house was available for the public to view for the first time, an initiative which divided opinions amongst the Crawleys.

Relegated to his sickbed, Robert got little say in the matter, although he was staunchly set against it as (unsurprisingly) were Carson and the Dowager Countess. Elsewhere on the estate, in Mr. Mason’s new/the Drewes’ old farmhouse, Daisy poignantly placed a photo of William on the wall, a physical reminder of the bond between her and Mr. Mason. After all the preparation she has done over the past episodes and series, it turns out that not only will Daisy be taking exams, but also Mr. Molesley,  under the guise of becoming a teaching assistant of sorts. This is definitely a step up from the beginning of the episode where he was relegated to handing out flyers. Baxter’s steady support for this step in his education proved tender to watch. Carson could really do with picking up some tips on how to compliment from them or any couple, really. His latest suggestions to his new bride include hiring a maid and a hall boy, as well as comparing her cooking to Mrs. Patmore’s. No “husband of the year” award for him, then.

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After six episodes, the conclusion to the hospital saga was that it would be conjoined with the hospital in York. The main shock however, was that Violet was to be pushed off her perch as hospital president and to be replaced by none other than her daughter in law Cora. “She can step down”, Dr. Clarkson helpfully added, wrongly thinking she would go quietly. This was followed by a rather awkward exchange between Cora, Robert and Violet in which she was the only one aware of the situation, mentioning her position as president a great many times, oblivious to her son and daughter in law’s reactions. Awkward. When she realised her fate, it led to Violet shaking with anger as she screeched at Cora in the entrance hall, stormed off and refused to speak to her following that. Just another afternoon with the in-laws!

On a happier note, the love lives of the singleton Crawley girls may finally have taken a turn for the better, as they both shared reunions with their respective beaux. After a London dinner where Lady Mary called long-suffering friend Evelyn Napier a “darling” (you could almost hear his heart break), she and Henry shared a kiss whilst sheltering from the rain. “Goodness”, she breathed, proceeding to knock down his insistence that his prospects are modest, which led him to admit that he was falling in love with her. Back up in Yorkshire, Edith drove to meet Bertie Pelham as he was lost in the unchartered territory of the Downton driveway, greeting him with a kiss. Their blossoming romance became even more profound when she took him the night nursery to see Marigold who was sleeping peacefully with Sybbie and George, although he remained happily oblivious as to her true identity. Having possibly finally guessed this episode was Mary, no doubt aided by Anna’s slip up as she referred to the three children as “they”, implying a sense of connection between them all. Here’s hoping revealing the truth will forge a sisterly bond between the two!

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The big day of opening Downton to the public finally arrived, with Cora and the girls stepping in as last minute tour guides. The only problem was that not one of them knew what they were talking about. Edith’s waffling about a “lovely big building” sounded as though she were trying to hit a word count on an essay and Lady Grantham admitted point blank that she had no idea about some of the house’s intricate detail. The information they did give, however, such as the history of the library and portraits I know to be true as I visited Highclere Castle only a year ago on a guided tour virtually identical to the one in tonight’s episode. Whatever doubts Lord Grantham and Crason may have had about it, it turned out to be a money maker, although the unanimous decision was not for it to happen on a regular basis. A last minute shock was Thomas who up until then had showed his caring side with Master George, sobbing in the darkened kitchens. He’s never had an easy time, but faced with potentially losing his job and Andy’s friendship, not much is going his way at the moment. It’ll be a long wait until next Sunday night to find out what is really going on but, as always, it will be worth it.

All images sourced from Pinterest.

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