Downton Abbey Series 4 Episode 7 (ITV) Review

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As a penultimate episode before the sure-to-be explosive series four finale, this seventh instalment of Downton Abbey worked very well. The storylines are all still very dull and tedious, more so than any other year, but even a storyline about pigs and taxes can turn into a romantic comedy when Lady Mary’s involved. She has no less than three suitors pursuing her right now, and I have absolutely no idea which she will choose after her roll around in the mud with Charles Blake.

But the thing we were all worried about when we saw the previews last week was Violet’s mystery illness. Traditionally, when someone coughs on television it means they’re going to die horribly at any moment but, Downton Abbey being the sly comfy blanket drama it is, her bronchitis is just a way to get her and Isobel back on good terms. I’m not sure why this was necessary given that their natural state is to be at each other’s throats (gently of course), but seeing them play cards at her sick bed was an amusing sight.

Two scandals are brewing at the Abbey with Rose’s dalliance with Jack Ross and Edith’s emotional turmoil over her pregnancy. One is being pigheaded, young and rushing into a union with the most ‘inappropriate’ man Robert and the rest of the Crawley’s could imagine, while the other brings forth a short but genuine conversation about abortion back in the day. Should Edith have gone through with it? The fact that she didn’t makes me uncomfortable about what Downton Abbey could be saying but, as a storyline for Edith, having the baby is probably the best thing. But where is Gregson?

What will surely fill most of the running time of next week’s finale are the return of Mr Green to the Abbey and the spread of the rumour around Anna’s world. First Thomas and his lackey work it out by sifting through overheard conversations and hearsay, then Mrs Hughes informs Mary of the matter so she can stop Robert from taking Bates to America (Thomas goes instead), and now one comment too many at the breakfast table has led Bates to stop being dense and work it out for himself. Will he follow through and murder the man? Or is that job Anna’s? I hope, if he has to die at all, that it’s the latter.

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

Downton Abbey currently airs on ITV in the UK.