Downton Abbey Season 6 Episode 6 Recap: They've Sacked The Captain

Photo: Courtesy of Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2015 for MASTERPIECE.
The last time the Crawleys had company over, Lord Grantham managed to spew blood all over the dinner table. A few weeks on, with the man of the house still recovering in bed, they've decided it's a brilliant idea to have an open house for charity, allowing villagers to poke around the Abbey. What could possibly go wrong?

The open house idea gets mixed reviews. Bates finds it pointless, Daisy thinks it's the public's right to come inside, and Carson is certain they'll be invaded by marauders. They've got their own issues to work out, though. Daisy is doing her damndest to cockblock Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason, who seem to have a modest flirtation brewing. She tosses a note from Mason in the trash, tells her boss to leave him alone, and nearly goes into a rage when the kindly farmer brings a basket of fresh produce to the kitchen as a gift for our favorite cook. Chill, Daisy.

Mr. Mason's not the only one who's busy praising Mrs. Patmore lately. Carson can't shut up about how his new wife should be consulting her for recipes. He's also given up alcohol in honor of Lord Grantham's new booze-free diet, so it's just a matter of time before Mrs. Hughes bludgeons him to death with a walking stick.

While Mrs. Patmore's new B&B is just about ready for business, Daisy's exam date is nearing, and Moseley has got a lead on a teaching job, assuming he passes his own exam. Baxter's nemesis, Coyle, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Later, though, he sends her a letter requesting a visit. Moseley thinks it's a bad idea, which means Baxter will probably go ahead and do it anyway.

Per usual, there's more talk about hospitals, and we finally, happily have a resolution. Despite the Dowager Countess' wishes, the hospitals will be merged. To add insult to injury, the hospital board wants to replace her as president, letting daughter-in-law Cora take over. "They've sacked the captain," Cora muses when she hears the news, and we all know there will be hell to pay.

Speaking of medical attention, Anna's pregnancy discomfort prompts her to go back to see her London doctor. Tom scolds Mary into letting Bates pay the bill as a matter of pride, and away they go. Mary is using Anna's health as an excuse to be the surprise guest at Evelyn Napier's dinner with Henry Talbot, with Tom, as ever, playing the role of wingman. After chiding Anna for being late (she almost had to dress herself!), she tries to pump the maid for information about Marigold. Neither Anna nor Tom will bite.

The dinner with a "group of singletons" goes well. Henry is clearly smitten with Mary, and she and Tom get an invitation to watch him and his friend Charlie race at Brooklands. Henry escorts Mary home after she ditches Tom for the night. On cue, thunder rumbles and rain pours, forcing them to seek refuge in a covered alleyway and snog. How convenient. Henry admits that he's falling in love, though Mary is still struggling to get over the whole my-husband-died-in-a-car-accident thing.

Everyone's back at home in time for the open house. Edith's new beau, Bertie Pelham, visits for the weekend and uses his agent expertise to whip the family into shape. Edith is happy, Mary calls his boring, and Lord Grantham is unsure about his prospects. Edith is, he explains to his wife, in line to become one of the "interesting women of the day." We'd take that as a compliment.

The Marigold issue is a concern. Edith takes Bertie to visit the children in the nursery, but hasn't mentioned that Marigold is her actual daughter. Cora thinks she has to if she and Bertie are to get serious. Watch this space.

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Photo: Courtesy of Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2015 for MASTERPIECE.
The open house goes as well as expected. The Crawley ladies prove to be fairly useless at Downton Abbey trivia, a cheeky little boy sneaks into Robert's room, and Violet storms in and confronts Cora about her "betrayal" regarding the hospital job right in front of a group of visitors. "I don't wish to see her face until I am used to having a traitor in the family," she sniffs to her son.

On her way out, she meets Lord Merton and his future daughter-in-law, Miss Cruikshank. She wants to make amends for his son Larry's abhorrent behavior towards Isobel. Will the Merton/Isobel romance get a second chance?

Meanwhile, it seems Thomas has used up all of his second chances. His efforts to teach Andy to read have prompted Mrs. Patmore and Carson to suspect him of having a "private understanding" (wink wink) with the young man. When Carson tells him off, Thomas is offended by the lack of trust. "My word is still not good enough," he says, dismayed. Moments later, we see the underbutler, whose only friend right now seems to be little George, sobbing in the kitchen by himself. We hope Carson gets an especially undercooked piece of lamb tonight.
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