Downton Abbey Season 6, Episode 6 Recap: Downton's First Public Open Day, Mary's Big First Smooch
It's Episode 6 of Downton Abbey's final season and much of the action has moved to the master bedroom with its giant four-poster bed and fringed pink lampshades. No, nothing un-PG—simply that Lord Grantham is confined to bed as he recovers from last week's dramatic burst ulcer.
The entire family has a bedside consultation about opening Downton to the public for a day to benefit the local hospital, an initiative devised by Lady Cora. "We have nothing to show them," Lord Grantham muses. His reservations are shared by Mr. Carson, who worries that the tour will incite envy and the next step will be "a guillotine in Trafalgar Square," while Lady Violet (Maggie Smith) wonders "why should anyone pay to see an ordinary house?"
Daisy is confidently preparing for her exams with Mr. Moseley's help, but is concerned by her surrogate father Mr. Mason's interest in Mrs. Padmore. When the farmer gives her a thank-you note to pass on to the cook, she spitefully throws it away.
Wearing a lovely taupe silk blouse with a masterfully-embroidered blue front panel, Lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) is informed she has been chosen to be president of the new hospital, replacing the Dowager Countess. Her husband, however, is against her working outside the home.
Lady Mary whisks Anna (Joanne Frogatt) off to London for yet another gynecological consultation and to attend a singletons' dinner party in a super-slinky turquoise bias-cut slip dress with its own masterfully-embellished front panel, this one a halter neck in gold bead. The effect is not wasted as new flame Henry is there. As he walks her home, Mary (Michelle Dockery) tells him how the death of her late husband Matthew in a car crash lies at the root of her aversion to Henry's motor racing. Sheltering from a sudden downpour, the two finally have that first big smooch, but Mary thinks things are moving too fast.
Back at Downton, Lord and Lady Grantham assess Bertie's suitability as a prospect for Edith (status: lukewarm), while Mary dismisses him as boring and calls Edith stupid to have "saddled herself with a child."
Bertie, however, proves himself invaluable when it comes to organizing the Downton open day. The ladies of the house are drafted in to act as tour guides but do a less than stellar job, answering visitors' informed questions with a genial vagueness. One lucky group gets to watch Cora swooped down on by a furious Lady Violet, who has just heard about her usurpation.
The event is a financial success and Tom proposes offering public tours to help with the house's mammoth running costs. "I hope we'll stay as long as we can, but I suppose we all realize it may not last forever," Lady Cora observes, to which Mary responds briskly, "this is weakling talk!"
Meanwhile, Barrow is deeply depressed, not only by Carson's reminding him that the staff has to be downsized but also by the butler's inability to believe that Barrow's presence in Andy's bedroom (where he was giving the footman reading lessons) was perfectly innocent. Even after all this time, Barrow's homosexuality still marks him as an outsider.
Catch Downton Abbey on PBS, Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.