In last night’s ‘Downton Abbey’, Lady Mary did the unthinkable: got dirty and cooked.

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The Dowager Countess puts on a brave face to send her son off on his trip. Photo: Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited for Masterpiece

When a telegram arrived, Lord Grantham saw he had a duty to go to America to help out Cora’s brother. (Sailing all the way to America is a big deal, I know people who wouldn’t drive 15 minute away to help an in-law.) Obviously, such an esteemed gentleman needs his Valet with him.

But Bates didn’t want to go and leave Anna in the lurch, feeling all emotionally vulnerable and sad-faced. Anna didn’t want that either. So, the task went to Mrs. Hughs to try and figure out a solution. And it was to have Tom go instead. But the rational Lady Mary would not agree to help until she knew the situation. Mrs. Hughes didn’t want to share a secret that wasn’t her. It was then that Mary gave one of her patented cold lines: “I hope we are good employers, but even we expect to get what we pay for.” Mrs. Hughes relented, and Mary was on board.

When Lady Mary then went to her Dad to ask him to take Tom instead of Bates, Lord Grantham also demanded to be told. Once everyone was apprised of the situation, things seemed to be looking upwards… Though Tom was more than happy to agree on the journey, this raised all sorts of questions.

Once Lord Grantham and Barrow are off for their ship, the Dowager Countess is more comfortable admitting that she feels rather sick. This plot line was worrisome, but they did not kill her off. Instead, this was a nice chance for Isobel to spend time helping Violet. In the end, Violet was nursed to health from her bronchitis. Interestingly, none of the rest of the family (Cora, Mary) seem very worried about the sickness. (When you have an older person who gets sick, it seems like a good time to worry.)

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We learned that dear Edith’s one night of bliss has resulted in a pregnancy, and her intended husband is lost in Germany. Edith keeps this information to herself, only sharing the information with Aunt Rosamund once she’s in London and ready to undergo a procedure to no longer be pregnant. In the midst of this, Rose has her own teenager drama, and it’s rewarding to see how Edith shrugs it off in an eye roll of “you are young and stupid.”

When it comes to having the “procedure” Edith seems ready to do it, but after seeing another girl crying, she decides she can’t go through with it.

For more on rebellious Rose, we must talk of music. Because Rose is smitten with Jack Ross, she arranges a “surprise” for Robert’s birthday wherein the band arrives (shocking the downstairs staff because Jack is -gasp- black) to play for them all. During the stay, Lady Mary catches Rose and Jack macking on each other downstairs, and a displeased Mary retreats. (I don’t think Mary was scandalized, but she was not happy to see it happening. It looks like we’ll have more on this next week.)

While in London (Rose always pleads to go there, and annoyingly so) she meets up with Jack and they share a romantic boat ride on whatever river they have there in London. (I’m not a geography major and I’ve never been to Europe… If the Seine is in French…the Thames?)

So far, Rose has only served to be an annoying and spoiled young girl on ‘Downton.’ She’s worse than Ivy.

Mr. Blake and Mary share what is a cliche and forcefully romantic storyline as they go on a stroll to check on the newly delivered pigs, only to discover that no one has cared for them and they are near depleted of all water. Mr. Blake rushes to get water, and Mary (with her new found feeling of responsibility) decides she will help. This is the first and only time we’ve ever seen Lady Mary do anything like this, and it’s shocking. They get covered in mud, and even have a bit of a flirt while flinging it at each other. Has Lady Mary really become that relaxed?

Apparently EVERYONE we know about her is wrong, because the next thing we know she’s scrambling eggs downstairs in the kitchen so they can eat. How did she ever learn that? Again, it’s boggling.

Just to keep things interesting for Mary’s love life, (the engaged) Lord Gillingham arrives. The real trouble here is that Gillingham’s Valet is Mr. Green. And it was he who “attacked” Anna.

During a group dinner (breakfast?) it is revealed that because Mr. Green hated the opera singer from the previous visit, he’d gone downstairs. This makes Mr. Bates eyebrows raise up about one foot. He has a new suspect.

Before we go, I’ll also mention that Alfred is belatedly accepted into his cooking program. This deflates Daisy. When Alfred ends up returning for a visit, it becomes clear that Ivy now likes Alfred over James (who tried to get to second base) and this makes Daisy fume. Hmph!

‘Downton Abbey’ Recap notes:

Is there anyone more reassuring than Cora? I want her to break all bad news to me. When she talks to Edith, it’a always so sweetly and with such acceptance and positivity.

Will Branson find love in his political lady and decide not to move to America?

Is Isis a new dog, or the same one that’s just been MIA for three seasons? A room really isn’t complete without a dog (or cat) in it, so I’m glad to see her/him just the same.

Anyone else think Ivy and Alfred will get engaged?

Will Bates try to murder Mr. Green?

Will Anna ever admit to Lady Mary that her attacker was Mr. Green?

Isn’t it funny how Tom is using Baxter to find out gossip in such a serious way, when there’s never any good gossip that he needs to know. Tom just likes DRAMZ.

Come by next week for another ‘Downton Abbey’ recap. There’s something so cheery and peaceful about each episode, isn’t there? Even when they’re full of tragedy. It’s a paradox that I enjoy. How about you?