‘Downton Abbey’ Season 4 Episode 8 Recap

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As we head towards the end of another season of Downton Abbey, loose ends have to get tied up, and new questions arise for us to wonder about until next season.

It looks like Jack and Rose’s thing is over before it could really take off. Tom has seen them together, and then he does the sort of thing that Tom would do, going and telling Mary about it. We get so much of Tom complaining about how he’s given up his Socialist ways, how he’s sold out, how he isn’t the man he used to be, yet turning in Rose for being with a black man seems a different and more insidious sort of cowardice. Either way, it doesn’t matter, since Jack is already planning on severing ties with Rose. Mary goes to see him to confront him about this and he tells her, and also agrees (as does Jack’s mother) that Rose is really just hanging out with a black guy to piss off her own mom.

The thing that’s so weak about this whole plot, aside from the fact that it feels as if Julian Fellowes simply wanted to unburden himself of the critics that have gone after him for not having a more diverse cast, is that there is really no actual story here. We don’t know anything about Jack, we aren’t given any sort of feeling whether Rose does in fact like him, or if this simply is a way to anger her mom, aside from Rose telling Mary, “I want to see her face crumble when she finds out.” So, yes, maybe Rose was just doing this for more than love; but we aren’t really given much more than that little bit to chew on.

Edith continues to be the most interesting of the clan; still pregnant, and now getting her aunt to act as an accomplice, the two might go to Paris where Edith will have the baby, then give it to the local tenant farmer so she can be around her child instead of never seeing it again. We get the sense that even Edith is tired of all these horrid things befalling her when she finally cries out, asking why God doesn’t even want her to be happy. And while I would have said, “Because you’re awful,” a season ago, I’ve really come around to Edith, and think that she deserves better things.

Meanwhile, Anna tells Mary about Green, and Mary tells Lord Gillingham he has to kick Green to the curb. He does, only to return to Downton to tell Mary that Green has died under somewhat suspicious circumstances. And since this is a drama, “suspicious circumstances” = “Everybody instantly thinks Bates did it,” especially since Anna’s husband was out of town on his day off when Green bit the big one. Nobody has any proof (yet…), but yeah, it is a little suspicious that Green is dead now.

Although we can’t really say we miss the departed rapist, the latest “Did Bates do it?” setup is a little tired after the whole vague affair with his first wife dying. At this point, I just want the show to take some weird twist where we find out that Bates is actually related to Jack the Ripper, and he’s been killing people this entire time, because that is really the only thing that could make him more interesting after all of this.