Downton Abbey Season 6 Episode 8 Recap: Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Photo: Courtesy of Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television.
Clutch your pearls, girls. Spratt is Edith's new (female) advice columnist, Cassandra Jones, and Mrs. Patmore has secretly been running a "house of ill repute."

It turns out the reason the cook's new B&B was being watched is because her guests were actually having an adulterous affair. The police are involved, the village's version of TMZ is all over it, and Mrs. Patmore is horrified when bookings are canceled. Everyone else finds it hilarious, except for Carson, who considers it all a "tawdry local brouhaha." Needless to say, he's horrified when Rosamund suggests the family restore Mrs. Patmore's honor by going to her den of hanky-panky for tea.

Other servants are faring better. Daisy has passed every paper with high marks, and Molesley is easing into his teaching gig. It's excruciating at first, but, on Baxter's advice, he opens up to his students about coming from a service background and before long he's transformed into Mr. Chips.

Thomas, however, is still miserable and can't find new employment. Remember when we used to hate him? So much has changed.

Remember when we used to like Mary? We repeat, so much has changed. Now that she's sent Henry packing she's being a right pill, unleashing her vitriol at Edith (typical) and Tom (unacceptable). She openly gloats when she learns that Bertie's cousin, the Marquess of Hexham, has died in Tangiers, presumably making Edith's beau unemployed. Flash-forward to a horrified look on her face when it turns out that the death means that Bertie is the new Marquess of Hexham, and that, as Robert notes, "Edith would outrank us all." How do you like them apples?

But let's not start ordering Louis Vuitton tablecloths just yet. Bertie and Edith aren't yet engaged, and it's all because she's torn about whether or not to confide in him about Marigold's real identity. Cora and Rosamund are adamant that she should, while Robert is worried about jeopardizing her chances of being married to "one of the grandest men in England." Ultimately, Edith gives in to Bertie's persistence without dropping the M-bomb.

Photo: Courtesy of Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television.
Mary's love life is not so rosy, and Tom's fed up with it. He's quick to call her out on her ridiculous treatment of Henry: "'I find him very attractive, I like him a lot,'" he mocks. "What a load of baloney." Per usual everything Tom says is right, but Mary decides to take the opportunity to have a go at him and weasel some information about Marigold out of him. This won't end well.

No doubt encouraged by Tom's matchmaking, Henry turns up unexpectedly at Downton Abbey under the guise of it being on the way back from some imaginary errand. This causes Mary to unleash a cold shoulder that makes Everest look downright tropical. She's simply outraged that Henry is continuing to court her, and once again Tom lets her have it. He tells her to get off her high horse and accuses her of being a snob because Henry's not a marquess like Bertie. It's a common theme, as Harry also hints at Mary being a "grubby little gold-digger."

That brings us to next morning's breakfast. Mary is stunned to learn that Henry has taken her at her word and left. Her ego can't handle that, especially when Bertie announces to the table that he and Edith are engaged. You can see the wheels turning and Mary lets it loose: She drops the M-bomb herself and feigns innocence that she didn't know Edith hadn't told Bertie about her daughter. Oh, what a little witch.

That revelation prompts Bertie to run off. He tells Edith he can't have a marriage without trust, and they say their goodbyes. Meanwhile, Tom is ripping Mary a new one.

"You can't stop ruining things, for Edith, for yourself," he shouts. "You'd pull in the sky if you could, anything to make you feel less frightened and alone. How many lives are you going to ruin just to smother your own misery? You're a coward, Mary. Like all cowards, you're a bully."

Edith finishes the job as she hurriedly packs her bags so she can flee to London, calling Mary a "nasty, jealous, scheming bitch." Ah, sisters.

While all of this is going on, a sulky Thomas is headed to the bathroom. Baxter gets suspicious and races back just in time to find him unconscious and bleeding in the tub, having clearly attempt suicide. He'll pull through, and when Carson breaks the news to Robert, Mary takes the opportunity to shift some blame towards her father for trying to sack the poor guy. Robert's reaction: That was "below the belt." Now everyone hates Mary. At any rate, Thomas will be allowed to stay on a while longer.

Days later, Tom pulls a Hail Mary pass by summoning the Dowager Countess back from her holiday to talk some sense into Mary. She gives her granddaughter a strangely affectionate pep talk about true love and tells her to stop acting so cold. Despite snapping at Anna about knowing her own mind, Mary decides she does want to be with Henry. How about that.

After summoning Henry to come to the house, Mary takes a moment to ask Matthew (or his grave, at least) for forgiveness. Isobel offers his blessing, which is a good thing, as Henry has already taken the liberty of procuring a wedding certificate on the off-chance that he and Mary might wed. Creepy and presumptuous, or romantic? You decide.

The wedding is set for the weekend, and Tom is tapped to be best man, just as he was with Matthew. Mary is swanning around in her meh dress when Edith surfaces. They don't so much as make up as simply acknowledge that they are sisters. As Edith notes, one day they will be the only ones who remember Sybil. As if anyone could forget Sybil.

Mary and Henry have a perfectly pleasant, uneventful wedding, and even a bandaged Thomas is in attendance. As the family heads to the reception, Robert and Cora muse about what the future might hold for Edith. Will she reunite with Bertie? Will she stay single? Will she stop letting the children play in graveyards?

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