Romance, secrets and hospital drama are abundant in the latest episode of Downton Abbey series 6. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the episode.
Since Downton Abbey series 5 ended with a proposal of marriage between the slowest burn couple on the show, we’ve been eagerly awaiting their nuptials. Sure, we momentarily doubted Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes would make it down the aisle after a few bumps in the road during the first couple of episodes, but things worked out for the best in the end. And the after-party was enough to tempt Branson back from America, for good this time, and the Mary and Branson shippers rejoiced.
We may have been amongst those clasping our faces with glee.
And to save any confusion, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes will continue to go by the same names. Which makes our job easier!
Tom Branson wasn’t the only surprise return to Downton; Rose Leslie reprised her role as Gwen, a housemaid who left Downton all the way back in series 1 to become a secretary. The only mention of her since then was in series 4, when she sent a letter to inform the rest of the downstairs staff of her marriage, but she’s come much further since then.
Now Mrs. Harding, she’s part of the world upstairs, though Barrow attempts to “out” her past to the Crawley family. Unfortunately for him, the family isn’t that fussed about her remarkable Cinderella story. Even Lady Mary thawed when Gwen mentioned it was thanks to Lady Sybil (we’re still not over it) that she managed to even get this far.
Elsewhere, the hospital tug-of-war continued between the Dowager Countess and Isobel, Edith got rid of her troublesome editor and gained a suitor, Anna is pregnant once more and on her way to carrying a child to full term, and Lady Mary’s romantic prospect from the end of series 5 is back.
Have we mentioned how awkward it is that Henry Talbot is a race car driver? If we were Lady Mary, we’re not sure we’d like that reminder of our first husband’s untimely demise.
Tonight on ‘Downton Abbey’…
“Violet invites Neville Chamberlain, minister of health, to dine at Downton Abbey as part of her scheme to quash plans for the takeover of the hospital. The evening proves distressing for everyone,” the synopsis from ITV reads. “Mrs Patmore, Daisy and Andy help Mr Mason to move into Yew Tree Farm and Andy finds an unexpected confidant in Thomas.”
“Mary and Tom go to watch Henry Talbot test drive a new car, but Mary is not convinced she has met her match,” it continues. “Edith has a date with Bertie Pelham in London. Denker is in trouble with Violet and Spratt is forced to help her. Mrs Hughes is finding it difficult to please Mr Carson and Mary senses she has been kept in the dark about a family secret.”
It was only a matter of time before Mary got suspicious about Edith and Marigold — well, more than she already was, at least. We’re surprised the secret didn’t come out sooner, and we’re not sure if we’re alone in thinking it would have been better out a long time ago (scandal be damned). We can’t imagine Mary will be too impressed when she learns the truth about why the Drewes were evicted from Yew Tree Farm.
Other threads that have been subtly and not-so-subtly woven throughout series 6 will also continue in episode 5 — from Andy and Thomas’ not-quite-friendship, to Denker and Spratt going in and out of the Dowager Countess’ good graces.
We also have some images from ITV to whet our appetite before we can feast our eyes on the full episode.
The images don’t give away much, like usual, but it’s always nice to see an even spread of upstairs and downstairs characters in the promotional material. Hopefully they’ll get equal screen time in the episode itself — we love Downton best when the focus is spent on the all of the core characters, no matter their station.