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The opening shot of Mary and Matthew told us everything we needed to know at this point in the story. Mary is caring for the wheelchair-bound Matthew in the shadow of Downton Abbey, showing that she loves him more than she could ever love her fiancé, the odious Sir Richard.
The rest of her family is being more obvious in their dislike of Sir Richard (except for the glorious Violet, who states that she does not dislike him, she just doesn’t like him), and they don’t even know that he plans to poach Carson for Mary after they’re married. I’m sure I’m not the only one laughing when he was speaking to Carson about changing jobs and kept referring to his own wealth. Take a look photo below of Carson’s expression when Sir Richard is talking about how rich he is (such vulgarity!).
Sir Richard takes Mary to look at a neighboring estate for sale. Mary unwisely makes a jab at Sir Richard’s lack of aristocratic background, and even though Richard ignores it, you know it will not be forgotten.
Mary’s constant doting on Matthew pushes Richard to approach Cora and talk her into inviting Lavinia to visit. He reminds Cora that if Mary marries Matthew, she’ll never be able to have children, and that’s all it takes for Cora to see his point. When Mary snits about Lavinia’s return, Richard finally threatens her with social ruin if she does not follow through with their marriage plans. I’m suspecting that basing a marriage on blackmail was a bad idea even then. That night with Mr. Pamuk is going to haunt Mary forever!
Let’s not forget the big surprise in the episode; the arrival of Patrick Gordon, the badly burned soldier who tells Edith that he is actually Patrick Crawley, the heir to Lord Grantham who supposedly died on the Titanic. Edith, of course, believes him, and viewers all over the world fantasize about shaking some sense into Edith.
Mr. Gordon tells her that he was rescued and taken to Canada, which is why he now has a Canadian accent. He had amnesia, and took the name Gordon from a gin bottle, but when he regained his memory, he started calling himself Patrick. He asked to come to Downton to recuperate after his burn injury so he could make himself known to the family. Luckily for Edith, her father is less trusting and has Patrick Gordon investigated. The family learns that while there was an unidentified man rescued from the Titanic, he died soon after. It is also revealed that Patrick Crawley worked alongside a man named Peter Gordon. Even after “Patrick Gordon” disappears the next morning and leaves a note for Edith, she still believes and we see her weeping prettily outdoors.
Isabel is back to her old tricks of trying to force Cora to use Downton as Isabel sees fit. I don’t understand why Cora won’t just say no and end the haranguing, but luckily, we have Violet to pull some strings and get Isabel sent away to another job. I loved seeing Cora and Violet gloating together on the carriage ride home from that meeting.
The war finally ends, ushering in a new era. Lord Grantham arranges for everyone (even Daisy!) to gather at the time of the cease-fire to observe a moment of silence. I doubt that being included in that occasion did much to help guilt-ridden Daisy. She can’t let herself accept the she did something good by marrying William and not something terrible, as she is fixated on.
The episode ends with two cliffhangers for next week! Matthew feels something in his legs, but only tells Bates. Bates’s long-running divorce drama ends with the sudden death of his wife, Vera, thus setting us up for a drama of an entirely different sort.
Next week is the season finale! Be sure to tune in!