Downton Abbey Series 4 Episode 6 (ITV) Review

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Now that we’re over the tedious secret keeping between Anna, Bates and Mrs Hughes, there’s time to get back to some fun times at Downton Abbey. It’s Lord Grantham’s birthday, and Rose has organised a rather unorthodox surprise for him and the family.

We saw it coming a couple of weeks ago, but the show is now officially tackling racial tensions at the Abbey. There’s no actual unpleasantness, of course, but that may change when anyone other an Mary discovers Rose’s dalliance with singer Jack Ross. Considering the way they reacted to Tom back in the day, I can only imagine what kind of noise Carson would make if he was to get wind of a member of the household making out with a black, American jazz singer on the servant’s dining table. Downton has never known such scandal.

This alone made the episode stronger than the show has been in weeks, but there are still those little inconsequences – such as Violet’s missing letter opener – that have stuck around for far too long. I get that the show has always been a little silly, but that storyline takes the buscuit. At least it forced Violet and Isobel back into their familiar dance of indignation, which is a heck of a lot more fun than the sympathetic conversations they’ve been having since Matthew died.

The episode finally saw Alfred leave for greener pastures, leaving Daisy heartbroken and Jimmy more than a little bit smug. That smugness leads to him chancing a feel up Ivy’s skirt after a romantic date and, just like that, the most lacklustre love square in history is over. I still fancy Thomas’ chances with Jimmy, but the show seems content to make Thomas into a pantomime villain, cackling in doorways and blackmailing lady’s maids, rather than capitalise on any of the character development that went on last year.

What Thomas plans to do with the information he now has on Bates and Anna I dread to think, but there’s is not the only news worth knowing at the Abbey. Edith’s trip to the doctor’s was indeed to have a pregnancy test and she is, unfortunately, with child. This might be happy news if she knew where the father was, and she could organise a quickie wedding before anyone noticed, but he’s currently MIA in Germany. We all thought this might end happily for Edith (for once) but those dreams are slowly fading.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.