BWW Recap: Schemes, Revenge & More on DOWNTON ABBEY Season Finale
As the fourth season finale begins, we are informed that eight months have passed. Edith has spent the time away in Geneva, and according to Ivy, appears to be very tired; we know she must have had her baby while away on this trip, and chose to return to Downton without the child. The family is also preparing for Rose's debutante ball, which will take place in London. The family will be staying at the Grantham House in London in anticipation for the ball, minus Tom, who prefers to avoid the pre-ball hubbub; he plans to join the family once the day of the ball has arrived.
Unfortunately, the housekeeper at the London home has fallen ill, so Mrs. Hughes will need to accompany the family to London to keep things in order. She asks Daisy to accompany her to help out.
Edith visits Violet at the Dower home, and reveals to her grandmother that she gave birth to a daughter while in Geneva. She left the baby with a family there, and looks more distraught than ever about the whole situation. Violet's attempts to comfort her fail in the most heartbreaking manner.
Soon afterwards, we finally get a glimpse at the famous Grantham House in London. As the family (apart from Edith, who will join them in a day or so) settles in, Cora pulls Carson aside and asks that he plan an outing for the servants during their stay in London as a thank you for working so hard in preparation for Rose's ball. Rose also begs Cora for permission to go to a nightclub with a friend that evening, which Cora agrees to after Mary urges her to accept that her niece is becoming "a flapper".
Rose and her friend, Madeleine Allsop (Lord Aysgarth's daughter), go to the nightclub as planned. There, they encounter Lord Aysgarth, who is surprisingly sitting with the Prince of Wales and his mistress, Freda Dudley Ward. Rose strikes up a friendship with Freda almost instantly and hits it off with the Prince as well.
Back at Downton, Mr. Barrow expresses to Ivy his resentment towards Tom. He figures that if Tom was still the chauffeur, he would be above him in the ranks, and resents having to serve him. Ivy says that Tom has been nothing but nice to the staff, and doesn't understand where Mr. Barrow is coming from. Barrow leaves the room in a huff.
Tom decides to have his dinner at the village pub, and runs into Sarah Bunting on his walk over. Though a romance has been hinted at during the previous few episodes, Sarah questions why he's been avoiding her. Tom claims that he's been busy, and invites her to have dinner with him at the pub. During the meal, Sarah asks to see the Downton home, and despite initial hesitation, Tom agrees.
Meanwhile, Edith, Mrs. Hughes, and Daisy arrive at the Grantham House in London. Simultaneously, Cora's mother and brother, Martha and Harold Levinson, arrive at the House. Martha is almost offended to discover that the family is out for the day and won't be available to greet her at her arrival. Edith attempts to play host, and listens to her lament about her staff issues- apparently her maid quit just before the trip. It is strongly implied that her maid grew sick of Martha's demanding nature. She and Harold give off the impression that they will certainly be a handful! Along with them is Ethan Slade, Harold's valet, an energetic young man who takes a quick interest in Daisy.
After entering the House, Daisy finds Mrs. Baxter and relays a message to her from Mrs. Barrow; he is anxious to hear the stories she will have for him when he arrives. It seems she is still working in cohoots with Mr. Barrow and delivering any secrets she may overhear to him, but now she seems to be almost afraid of him.
Mary and Charles Blake go to an art exhibit together, where they run into Rose, Freda, and Lord Gillingham. Blake and Lord Gillingham appear antagonistic toward one anther, and it is a tad uncomfortable to see the two both in the same room as Mary. Both assure her that they will be attending the party scheduled for this evening.
At Downton, Tom gives Sarah a tour of the home. Sarah is overwhelmed by the size and majesty of the estate, and asks to see The View from the upstairs balcony. Before Tom can really protest, she runs up the stairs to the bedroom wing, where she is certainly not allowed. Unfortunately for Tom, Mr. Barrow spots them upstairs, which looks incredibly bad on Tom's part. This prompts Tom to hustle Sarah out and drive her home. It is clear Mr. Barrow has found his outlet to get his Revenge on Tom.
Back in London, Daisy has received a letter from Alfred. He has completed his training at the Ritz, and they have hired him as an underchef. Ethan overhears this conversation, and approaches Carson about the subject. He inquires whether or not Daisy and Alfred are in a relationship, which Carson is hilariously offended by. However, he informs Ethan that nothing is going on between Daisy and Alfred.
Mrs. Hughes tells Anna that she is collecting clothing for the Russian refugees, and Anna gives her one of Mr. Bates old overcoats. She innocently took the coat without asking, but assures Mrs. Hughes he will be fine with it. Later on, Mrs. Hughes checks the pockets of the coat and finds a train ticket to London, dated for the day Mr. Green was killed. Mrs. Hughes brings this to Mary's attention, and Mary believes they need to do the right thing and possibly consider suspecting Bates of Mr. Green's murder.
Later on at the party that evening, Rosamund shows up with Sampson, whom everyone is horrified to see. As you will recall, Sampson is the fellow who cheated during the game of cards some of the men played at the last house party at Downton. It is clear no one has his trust. It appears Sampson is an old friend of Lord Asygarth, and as they chat, Sampson reveals that Martha and Harold are incredibly wealthy. This information sparks something in Lord Asygarth, and he schemes with his daughter (Rose's friend Madeleine) about the two of them pursuing Martha and Harold respectively, obviously only after their money.
After the party, Rose and Freda decide to go to the nightclub again, and Sampson tags along. At the club, Freda shows Rose a love letter the Prince of Wales had written for her, and the two gush over it at their table. Rose mentions the letter again with Sampson in earshot; when the women leave the table to dance, Sampson snatches the letter from Freda's purse, and we can only assume his intentions are less than honorable.
At the Crawley home, Isobel is visited by Lord Merton, who asks if she will be attending Rose's debutante ball. Isobel originally tells him that it isn't her place, but a few days later, she changes her mind and decides to go to the ball. She writes Lord Merton and tells him of her decision. It seems a romance could be budding between these two!
The day of Rose's presentation finally arrives. The affair goes over very well; Rose curtsies to the king, and they even have a small back-and-forth about Rose's father. However, afterward, Rose runs into Freda, who tells her that the love letter has been stolen from her purse. Rose immediately assumes Sampson is the culprit.
At the dinner gathering that night, Harold admits to Madeleine that he knows of her and Lord Asygarth's plan to court both himself and his mother for their money. He warns her that her father is wasting his time, for when Martha dies, all her money reverts back to him. Madeleine is embarrassed to have been figured out, and Harold feels sorry for her; he can tell that this scheme was more her father's idea. He invites her to a picnic the next day as an apology of sorts.