Now, this episode is more like it: a wedding, a delightful return of the Prodigal Son-in-Law, a hint that perhaps Anna’s incompetent cervix (!) might be competent, a potentially promising blackmail situation between Spratt and Denker, a seemingly endless supply of lovely cloche hats, a look at 1920s desktop publishing (yes, literally, it’s a desktop) and — except for a tragic misunderstanding involving an embroidered evening coat — general good humor all around. To the quotes!
5) Edith: “I refuse to be defeated by a petulant and overweight tyrant.” The usually droopy middle Crawley daughter grew a spine this episode and edited an entire magazine in something like seven hours, defiantly spent the night alone in her London flat, and met a love interest to boot. Well played, Edith!
4) Tom: “I had to go all the way to Boston to figure something out. I learned that Downton is my home, and you are my family.” Aww. Sort of makes you think of the end of “The Wizard of Oz,” but in tweeds, doesn’t it? (Let’s just ignore the fact that Julian Fellowes has spent, oh, the past two seasons telling us that BRANSON IS LEAVING, only to have him pop right back again.)
3) Mrs. Hughes, to Mary, who has just asked Carson to forgive her for her generally unbearable bossiness over the wedding: “My lady, Mr. Carson would forgive you if you attacked him with a brick.” Thank you, Mrs. Hughes, for giving us that mental picture. And for, incidentally, being a lovely bride. The Tragic Misunderstanding Embroidered Evening Coat looked quite smashing, after all.
2) The Dowager Countess, saying — oh, so many things. Perhaps “I know several couples who are perfectly happy. Haven’t spoken in years.” Or her comments on Spratt’s “great many relations, who seem to get married and buried with numbing regularity.” No, the winner’s got to be the wonderfully arch “A peer in favor of reform? It’s like a turkey in favor of Christmas.”
1) But pride of place this week must go to the blushing groom, Carson, who toasted his bride with these endearing words: “I will not be prolix, but it must be right that I mark that I am the happiest and luckiest of men. That a woman of such grace and charm would entrust her life’s happiness to my unworthy charge passeth all understanding.” Imagine what he might say if he were prolix.