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Downton Abbey Recap: The Secret’s Out (Season 4, Episode 4 Recap) Spoilers follow!
By Lily Rothman @lilyrothman
Jan. 26, 2014
Things got better for the Bateses…sort of: Though the episode begins with things much as they have been chez Bates — they’re sad; she’s not living in the cottage; she won’t say why — it doesn’t last. When Mrs. Hughes confronts Anna about being too hard on Mr. Bates (now that she knows she’s not pregnant, why not move on?), he eavesdrops. Later, he threatens to quit unless Mrs. Hughes tell him what she knows. She relents, but says that a stranger broke in and raped Anna; she swears on her mother’s grave that it wasn’t Green, because Anna has told her that Bates will kill Green if he knows. When he brings this information to his wife, she confirms that it wasn’t Green — how could she have sat down to breakfast with him the next morning? — and, while she was worried he would shun her when he knew what happened, he instead embraces her and says he loves her more than ever.
“You’re made higher to me and holier because of the suffering you’ve been put through,” he tells her — which we know is supposed to be the right thing to say, but is slightly weird. On the one hand, his speech about how she’s the victim and should feel no shame is very modern and admirable. But on the other hand, should he really be telling his wife, someone he already puts on a pedestal to an extent that’s probably unhealthy, that her being raped makes her “holier” to him? Just a thought.
Anyway, things seem to end as happily as they could have, as Anna decides to move back in with him so they can move on, but this story isn’t over: even though Anna and Mrs. Hughes swear they don’t know who the man was, Mr. Bates is on a mission to find out — and to kill him.
Downton turned into Top Chef: Alfred learns that he’ll get a chance to try out for the fancy Escoffier cooking school he wants to go to, and Mrs. Patmore and Daisy help him prepare. Though Jimmy mocks him for wanting to cook, Ivy is impressed with his ambition and the family supports his decision to go big with the cooking thing. The test is basically an episode of a cooking competition but with all the chefs wearing neckerchiefs. He does well, but not quite well enough to make it into the class — everyone is disappointed (particularly Molesley, who was going to take over his footman job if he left) except Daisy, who’s happy Alfred won’t be leaving.
Sybie stole the show — and maybe Branson’s plot line: Giving a cute little girl a line like “uh-oh!” is really not fair to the adult actors around her. But being cute wasn’t Sybie’s only task for the episode: concerned that his daughter will grow up knowing she’s the child of a chauffeur, and that neither of them can really fit in in England or Ireland, Tom contemplates whether he should take her to America where they can start fresh.
Robert’s going to have a birthday party: Rose has an idea for the entertainment, and we can all guess who she’s talking about.