"What's the group noun for 'suitors'?" tweet itRose asks the women of Downton Abbey.
Yes, love is in the air at Downton, and there's no better place to show it off than at the church bazaar. While Lord Grantham is in America helping Cora's brother out of jam (which history knows as the Teapot Dome Scandal), Cora manages to stage an elaborate fundraiser for the church, complete with games, drinks, bunting and plenty of gossip.
Here are 7 quotes to remember from this season's penultimate episode:
"I'm engaged!" Rose trills to Mary. tweet itIt's not exactly news to Mary, given that Tom Branson saw Rose and Jack Ross out on the town together, and she's not very happy about the match, which seems driven less by true love than by Rose's desire to retaliate against her hated mother. ("I want to see her face crumble!") Concerned about the engagement, Mary heads to London to petition Ross, who is surprisingly receptive and agrees not to marry Rose, but for a different reason entirely: He loves her, and doesn’t want to ruin her life with the complications of an interracial marriage. A surprisingly tolerant Mary understands, but adds, "To be fair to papa, he would find you being a bandleader harder to swallow than your color."
"Work's like old age, m'lady: The worst thing in the world except for the alternative" tweet itsays Drewe, Downton's tenant farmer. After last week's pig incident, Mary and Tom have come to the conclusion that they need a pig man on campus, and Drewe is their man. He doesn't mind the extra work, especially after the Crawleys agreed earlier not to foreclose on his farm.
"We must rise to life's challenges" tweet itMary says to Edith, who has far more on her mind than the family business. After deciding not to abort her baby, Edith has settled upon a new plan: She will have Drewe, the newly anointed pig farmer, raise her child and let her visit whenever she wants. Fortunately, Aunt Rosamund arrives at Downton just in time to point out to Edith that her plan will not work. Instead, Rosamund suggests they adopt a cover story of traveling to Switzerland for a few months to work on their French – allowing Edith to have the baby in secret. Cora (unaware that a baby figures into the scheme) loves the travel plan; it is the Dowager Countess who knows something is up. "Rosamund has no interest in French. If she wishes to be understood by a foreigner, she shouts," she says. Having deduced the reality of the situation, Violet agrees to foot the bill for the plan. Poor Edith has no choice but to go along with it all.
"I don't believe in types, I believe in people" tweet itsays Tom to his new friend Sarah Bunting, whom he first met at a political speech last episode. This week, he bumps into her at a bookstore while researching politics ahead of a run for local council, and discovers that she is a local schoolteacher with a serious chip on her shoulder regarding the upper class. They have a pleasant conversation but Tom rushes off, only to run into her again when her car breaks down and he volunteers to help. It's here that he discloses his past as a working-class chauffeur, a revelation that leaves Sarah intrigued.
"If you were my own daughter, I couldn't be prouder than I am now" tweet itsays Mrs. Patmore to Daisy, after she tells Alfred that they will be friends forever, even though he broke her heart. Alfred has returned to Downton to ask Ivy to marry him before he heads off on his cooking studies. When she declines, the smitten Daisy is crushed. After a long talk with her wise ex-father-in-law, Daisy returns to Downton in time to give Alfred a proper send-off: "I loved you Alfred, but that's done with now and what I felt for you now won't come back," she says, adding "Friends forever." The mature speech earned Mrs. Patmore respect and a big hug.
"What sort of menage has that turned into while I was away?" tweet itasks Lord Grantham, who returns from America just in time to see Blake and Gillingham vying for Mary's hand, even though she insists she's not available. While Mr. Blake has wrapped up his survey of estates, and Lord Gillingham is engaged to another woman ("He's the most unconvincing fiancé I have ever come across," notes Violet), they both manage to find excuses to return to Downton, often. Blake earns some points for holding baby George, while Gillingham loses a few for showing up with his evil valet, Green, in tow. Mary tries to intercept him because Anna, after making her promise to do nothing, revealed to Mary that Green was her attacker – and every time Green returns to Downton, Anna is terrified that Mr. Bates will find out. Later, when Mary is in London, she has lunch with Gillingham and begs him to fire Green. He agrees, partly because he never much liked the man anyway and partly because he would do anything for Mary – including ending his own engagement. "I won't give up, Mary, not until you walk down the aisle with another man," he states. "And maybe not even then."
"If you thought a man was involved in a crime but you thought right was on his side, what would you do?" tweet itMary asks Blake as they tour the church bazaar. "I would say nothing," he replies. Gillingham never had the chance to fire Green, because the valet dies a mysterious death the very next day. Gillingham rushes back to Downton to tell Mary the news in person (and for another excuse to see her), telling her that Green was on a crowded London street when he slipped and was hit by a truck in front of many witnesses. "It seems so odd after our conversation yesterday," Gillingham notes and, of course, Mary agrees. When she tells Anna the news, Anna is mostly relieved that there were witnesses around, as it turns out Bates was M.I.A. yesterday. And while he claims he was in York, no one really believes him. When Anna asks Bates what he did the day of the valet's murder, he won’t give a firm answer.
Watch a sneak preview of the Downton Abbey season finale below, featuring Shirley Maclaine, as Martha Levinson, and Paul Giamatti as Cora's brother, Harold.