“I’m not unhappy. I’m just not quite ready to be happy.” — Lady Mary
Things are heating up.
Edith is still anxiously awaiting the mail. Still no word from Michael. Robert has some sort of correspondence from Cora’s brother, “Uncle Harold,” about his business problems.
Anna catches Bates looking deep in thought. She doesn’t want him worrying about her. “Your husband is a brooder,” he tells her. “And brooders brood.”
Rose has a surprise planned for Robert’s birthday celebration. Rose tells Mrs. Hughes that she is bringing in a band for that evening’s festivities. Apparently, this is borderline scandalous.
Barrow is snooping around looking to uncover secrets, pumping Baxter for information.
Cora finds Edith just getting off the phone, in tears. She tells her that “Michael has vanished into thin air.” Cora assures her it’s probably just a failure of communication. (She would probably would be less sanguine if she knew her daughter had slept with him and was possibly pregnant.)
Alfred gets a letter — he’s been accepted at The Ritz after all! Someone else has dropped out and he is getting the spot. Daisy is devastated. Ivy tells her she’s sorry, and Daisy blames her for driving him to leave by carrying on with Jimmy and rejecting him.
Footman Jimmy and Ivy are going to see Rudolph Valentino movie The Sheik the following night. Anna suggests to Bates that they, too, go on a date.
Anna and Bates are talking. She tells him that she knows it can’t be the way it once was. But she wants to create some new memories, so that it’s not as if “all of their happiness was before.”
Bates: “I am happy whenever I look at you.” Anna cries. “But you’re not, are you? Everything is shadowed.”
The servants wish Alfred goodbye and good luck. Daisy is not there. He seeks her out, and she barely looks at him. He says, “Daisy, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you. You’re a good person and you’re going to make some man very happy one day. But I’m afraid it was never going to be me.” She looks up, wishes him good luck. “I mean it. You work hard, and you deserve it.”
Mary is getting dressed for the evening ahead. She knows Anna is going on a date for her husband, and tells her not to rush back. She doesn’t mind getting herself ready for bed alone. The theme of the family members kindly boosting their servants is seen a lot in this episode, and it brings me back to the warmth of the first season, when Robert was the benevolent “father” figure to all. And speaking of Robert, he wished Bates a good evening and says he is glad all is well between them again.
Bates and Anna arrive at the swanky hotel restaurant. The maitre d’ does not want to seat them. He claims to have lost their reservation. “We are very full tonight. The Countess of Grantham has a large party with her. Among our patrons are some of the greatest names in Yorkshire society.” Just then, Cora appears behind him and greets Anna and Bates as if they are friends, not servants. She asks if they are dining there tonight, and they tell her they were “but there seems to be a mix up with the table.” Cora turns to the maitre’d and says pointedly, “Well I’m sure it can be sorted out.” It is. The maitre d’ is instantly deferential to Bates and Anna. “Please excuse the little hiccup earlier. It will be the last.”
Back at the house, Bates hands Edith a letter from the evening post. It’s a letter from the doctor she visited last week in London. She’s pregnant. Robert sees her distraught reaction to the letter. “Is anything the matter?” She chokes back tears. “Not at all.”
Jimmy and Ivy are sitting outside under the full moon. He kisses her, but when he tries to push it further she pulls away. He freaks out on her: “I’ve been good to you. I’ve been polite; I’ve taken you to the theater and the cinema. I’ve never been that nice to any girl before.” Ivy retorts, “Am I supposed to feel lucky?” “It’s dishonest to grab a bloke for everything he’s got and offer nothing in return. I don’t think that’s playing the game.” Ivy:” Well, I’m not playing you’re game.”
She storms off.
At dinner, Anna chokes up. She says she was a fool to think she could leave it all behind. He says every time her remembers what she’s been through, “I want to murder.” She assures him she’s not a victim. “That’s not who I am.” He assures her he does not see her as a victim. He says he sees her as the woman he should have protected. “I’m the failure here, not you.” Cora comes over to the table and offers them a ride home. (She’s wearing a fabulous art deco necklace. It’s basically all I can focus on in the scene.) Cora says the three of them leaving together should ensure them a table at the restaurant for the rest of their lives.
Ivy reports to Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore that Jimmy was a jerk on their date, “He asked for things no man should want before they’re married.” She concedes that Alfred would never have been so disrespectful. Daisy tells her it’s a little late for her good opinion of Alfred. “What was that all about?” Ivy says.
Mrs. Hughes: “I’d say it was about the fact that you had it coming.”
Later, getting ready for bed, Cora confides in Mary that she thinks something is wrong between Anna and Bates. Baxter overhears this. She runs and reports this to Barrow, but tells him she doesn’t like telling tales. “You knew the conditions when you came here,” he says. But now Baxter likes and respects Cora. He tells her, “You have to decide where your first loyalties are.”
Edith is hysterically crying in the drawing room (library?) Robert comforts her. He offers to send someone out to find Michael. Edith says there is a detective in Munich now working with the German police to try to find him. She’s afraid he’s imprisoned or dead.
Mr. Napier and Mr. Blake arrive. Mary is appalled to find, when talking to Mr. Blake, that he is not the least bit concerned about the future of the aristocracy. She tells him he must “try to be witty tonight” for her father’s birthday. “After that, we’ll lower our expectations.”
Before dinner, Isobel visits the nursery to see baby George. She has a poignant conversation with Mary and Branson, and they all share memories of when they got engages and the power of their true loves. The ones they loved are now gone, but the point is made that it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. “Well,” says Isobel. “Aren’t we the lucky ones?”
At dinner, Cora asks Napier if he feels “Mary seems entitled to take charge?” He says, “Well, she’s welcome to take charge of me.” (!!)
After dinner, instead of having the men and women separate as per usual, Rose keeps everyone together and presents the jazz band. It’s the one that played the night out in London, when she danced with the African American singer and scandalized her table of friends and family. Mary tells Napier he’s brought a traitor into their midst. Isobel tells Branson that things can happen at Downton that no one could have imagined even a few years ago, and he should take heart in that. Napier asks Violet if this is her first experience with jazz.
Violet: “Oh, is that what this is? Do you think any of them know what the other is playing?”
Later, Mary catches Rose kissing the bandleader below stairs in the servants’ quarters, and discreetly interrupts them.
Lots brewing, lots to be continued. Until next week!