Downton Abbey: Season 4, Episode 9

The London Season (23 Feb. 2014)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Romance
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 587 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 3 critic

Summer of 1923. It's summer and as part of Rose's 'coming out' she is to be presented at Buckingham Palace. The Crawley family go to London to prepare Grantham House for this busy social program.



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Title: The London Season (23 Feb 2014)

The London Season (23 Feb 2014) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:


1923. A year has passed and Edith returned from Switzerland having secretly had her baby and given her up for adoption. The family and staff journey to London for debutante Lady Rose to be presented to the king. Martha Levinson and her son Harold also turn up and Mary meets both Anthony and Charles, who openly vie for her attention. Rose goes to a club with married friend Freda Dudley-Ward, from whom the cardsharp Sampson steals a love letter from the Prince of Wales. Mary and Charles endeavour to retrieve it in vain, though the escapade brings them closer. John is called upon to help obtain it. Mary is annoyed to learn from Anthony that the supposedly-republican Charles is himself an aristocrat's heir. Mrs Hughes and Mary discover that John was indeed in London on the day of Green's death. Martha attracts gold-digging admirer Lord Aysgarth but sees through him and turns down his proposal, though Harold, to his surprise, charms Aysgarth's daughter Madeleine and the Levinson valet ... Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance



Release Date:

23 February 2014 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


When James concedes that he doesn't "have the right to mind" serving at the picnic Carson responds sarcastically "thank you Wat Tyler." Wat Tyler was a leader of the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. See more »


Violet uses the term "whodunit" in 1923, but that word's first appearance would not occur for another 12 years. See more »


Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham: I wish Tom had arrived.
Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham: [Surprised] It's so nice to hear you say that.
Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham: No, I mean he's bringing Isis, and I do miss her.
See more »


References The Duchess of Duke Street: A Bed of Roses (1976) See more »


Vienna Blood Waltz
Written by Johann Strauß
See more »

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User Reviews

It may not be Christmas at Downton, but with Rose's Ball being the focus the only difference really is an exchange of presents.
28 December 2013 | by ( – See all my reviews

It has only been a few months since the last episode, and it is one month before this season's US premiere, and I don't know who can be considered luckier? Those in the UK for seeing it first, or those in the US for getting the whole season straight through? Either way, between a royal scandal averted; Cora's American family visiting; and the happenings of the staff, we are given quite a bit within the hour and a half episode.

Topic 1: The Americans are Coming!

In this episode there is a lot of culture clashing as Cora's mother Martha Levinson, and brother Harold (played by Paul Giamatti) come to visit as part of their European tour, as well as to celebrate Rose's coming out. Naturally though, between them and their traveling staff, issues arise. Martha, for example, naturally clashes with English culture, and especially Dowager Violet; then you have Harold who lacks the social niceties required to be amongst the aristocracy.

But both find themselves in for quite the fun when a father/ daughter duo attempt to combine their title with Martha's money. The father pursues Martha, and the daughter, Madeline, a friend of Rose, pursues Harold. Both seemingly see through this little scheme between the father/daughter duo, but while Martha just goes along for fun, Harold seems to get something out of it. For though he doesn't consider himself the marrying kind, partly due to his own insecurities, some of which come with being rich, Madeline ultimately finds a way to become more than a girl who attracts his attention, but perhaps be one of the first women, in his life to seek a genuine friendship in the man, and not for monetary gain, but simply due to some type of camaraderie.

Topic 1.5: Coming to America

Focusing on the staff though, just as Martha and Harold are awkward upstairs, so is Harold's valet. Between his pursuit of Daisy and his culture clash moments with Mr. Carson, he finds himself outnumbered and out of place. You see, upon volunteering to help around the house he commits a few social faux pas. Examples include him talking to guest while acting as a footman, using American slang, or him speaking badly about his employer in a way beyond gossiping. His main focus though is his pursuit of Daisy, and even convinces Harold to get himself an English cook. Daisy denies the offer, but Ivy jumps at the chance. Seemingly, between Jimmy's dreams and Alfred doing well, Ivy feels like she should advance in life. Now, the boy, as you would expect, isn't the fondest of this idea, but he goes with it. Thus making it seem Ivy is being written out.

Topic 2: A Scandal Averted

As for Rose, so much happens in the lead up to her ball. For one, a new friend, Ms. Dudley, she finds out to be the mistress of the Prince of Wales. But, the thing which leads to drama in this episode is Mr. Samson's appearance, and him stealing a letter the Prince gave to Ms. Dudley confessing his love. Upon knowing said letter was stolen, Rose brings Lord Grantham into the situation and he involves Bates for help, and between forgery and stealing the letter back, Bates saves the day, and thank goodness for that for Mary damn near was about to turn him in.

You see, the murder of Mr. Green remains unsolved, but Bates had an incriminating ticket in his pocket found by Ms. Hughes when Anna donated a coat for Russians. Ms. Hughes shows said tick to Mary to see how it should be handled, and if it wasn't for the scandal averted, it seems Mary might have sought justice for the murder.

Topic 3: Love Is On Its Way

Leaving us with one scandal averted, and Edith prepping the next. As of this episode, Edith's child was left in Geneva, but upon news of Mr. Gregson either being alive, or maybe dead, combined with maternal worries, she decides to follow her original plan of having a local farmer raise her daughter so she can at least see her, even if she can't keep her the way she wants. The last topic worth noting are the the burgeoning romances. Between Tom and Sarah, Ms. Crawley and Lord Berton, Mary's many suitors, and Ms. Baxter and Moseley, many of the cast seem to be finding someone to help them move on from their misery. Mary seems ready to move on, especially upon learning Mr. Blake has title, leading to her announcing to Mr. Gillingham she maybe ready for love. But, for both Tom and Ms. Crawley, their romances moves slowly.

Ms. Crawley is unsure of Lord Berton attention, but he follows her to Rose's ball just to be around her; and as for Tom, as his friendship with Sarah blossoms, so does the anger of Thomas. His jealousy due to lack of social mobility leads him to try to use seeing Sarah in Downton, much less upstairs, against Tom by telling Lord Grantham of the event.

Lastly, I must mention Ms. Baxter and Mr. Moseley. As we've seen, Moseley is trying his best to keep Ms. Baxter away from Thomas so that she doesn't end up ostracized like him. Sadly though, whatever Thomas has on her seems strong, but seemingly with Moseley's words and kindness, she begins to get a backbone and stands up to Thomas.


I guess technically this is more so the season finale than the last episode, but considering the time jump it almost feels more appropriate to consider this a prologue. Either way, it maintains the quality of the Downton Abbey series and drops a lot of hints of what is to come in 2014. Here is to then!

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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