There was a lot of forward movement on Downton Abbey Season 4 Episode 7 - and yet nothing felt particularly urgent, which is odd given the gravity of the situations with which some Downtown residents are dealing.
It's as if in these new times, everyone is realizing that the drama they used to approach some of life's disasters in the past is no longer necessary. They've been through a great war and lost so many and so much that a pregnancy here, and a scandalous engagement there, are hardly worth worrying over.
The new attitude is rather refreshing and it's enjoyable seeing characters through this new light.
Mary continues to impress. When once her reactions did tend toward the sensational, now she's pragmatic and it suits her well. For once, I'm not even shocked that suitors are piling up at he door, as she's far more of a catch now than she was when she met Matthew. He would be so proud of the woman she has become, and she wouldn't be who she is now without having loved him.
Gillingham has called off his engagement with the hope of landing Mary, and he's not giving up until she's walking down the aisle with another man -- even then he's pledged he'll likely not let go easily. Still, in the contest so far, Blake is winning in this viewer's eyes. His wit and easy banter with Mary hold up more than Gillingham's persistence.
Mary's interference was interesting in Rose's love life and came from a different angle than initially expected. She did it as much with Rose's future in mind as she did for that of Jack Ross. When Rose defiantly announced her engagement to Mary with the teenage excitement of how it would make her mother's toes curl, Mary realized Rose was probably doing it more to hurt her mum than out of love for Jack, something that would be good for neither Rose nor Jack.
Discovering that Jack truly loved Rose and had no intention of marrying her as long as their union wouldn't be accepted by social circles was as touching as was Mary's wish that times were different so that she could champion his love for her cousin.
Mary was also heavily involved in trying to keep Anna free from the likes of Mr. Green once she learned he was the man who raped her. While she respected Anna's wishes to keep the truth from Gillingham, she didn't allow that to stop her from telling him that he must do away with Green.
Before Gillingham had the chance to let Green go, however, he was killed in a lorry accident in London, which conveniently took place on a day when Bates requested the entire day to visit York. And so our minds wonder, did Bates kill Green making it look accidental or did fate have its way with the vile man? Will we ever know?
The older crowd was nothing short of amazing in many ways. Violet and Isobel were up to their old tricks and together entertained Mary's godfather, Mr. Merton. He appeared to take a fancy to Isobel and unless I have lost any ability to read television emotions, she fancies him back. He even made a horrible social faux pas by mentioning Matthew to her after forgetting she was his mother, but I don't think it mattered.
Violet's investigative skills pulled out of the workings of Edith and Rosamund that something bizarre was going on, and she practically sussed out Edith was pregnant. In the end, she agreed with Rosamund's idea to go to Switzerland to have the baby and give it up for adoption to start life fresh over Edith's choice to trust Downton tenant family the Drewe's to raise it so she could be involved with the baby. Shall we take bets the baby eventually ends up at Downton?
The Daisy/Alfred/Ivy saga has finally come to an end. With the support of Mr. Mason and Mrs. Patmore, Daisy was able to turn a shoulder to Alfred after he realized the horrible mistake he made by being blinded by Ivy and missing all that Daisy offered. She told him she loved him once, but what she had was gone and they'd be friends forever.
Neither she nor we believed that one bit, but she deserves to be a man's number one pick, not ever second best and she's finally come to that realization. If Julian Fellowes fails to deliver to us a beautiful Daisy romance before Downton closes its doors, he's going to have to answer to me.
Finally we had the beautiful friendship that seems to be blossoming between Molesley and Baxter. The two have felt out of sorts all their lives, and offer to each other and understanding and kindness they haven't received from others. With Baxter nearby, Molesley has no problem telling off Thomas Barrow and Baxter felt confident telling him to get his information elsewhere.
All of this happened during one of the more beautifully shot episodes of Downton this season. From the gorgeous walk Isobel took with Mr. Merton through town with the church and graveyard in the background, the glorious hillside where Daisy picnicked with Mr. Mason and the spectacular garden full of brilliant color where Edith and Violet talked about her future -- the green, purple and red simply came alive on the screen.
Isn't it marvelous that so much history and beauty has been maintained that a historical program can be filmed and we can then go for a visit?
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Which of Mary's suitors do you think is most suited for her?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.