One of the most dramatic moments of Downton Abbey season 1 comes in episode 3 when a Turkish diplomat named Kemal Pamuk (played by Theo James) pays a visit to Downton. In a shocking turn of events, Pamuk dies unexpectedly in Mary’s bed, and when Edith inevitably finds out, she writes to the Turkish ambassador to tell him what really happened. The rumor spread like wildfire and Mary soon found herself ostracized by high society.
Fans on Reddit pointed out that while Mary can certainly be petty about her sister, Edith took a step too far in recklessly exposing Mary’s traumatic sexual exploits. As Reddit writes u/bassfairyy11, “Edith never apologizes and never acknowledges the emotional and psychological damage she has caused.”
Edith’s actions not only significantly affect Mary’s reputation, but she also risks embroiling her entire family in a scandal. As Reddit user u/guessimonredditrn points out in response, “they both do really heinous things to their sister.”
The aftermath of this incident continues to strain Mary and Edith’s relationship as the narrative progresses, although Mary tries to look her best. Reddit user u/Shaunaleigh242 notes that “on Mary’s wedding day, when everyone wishes her well before she goes downstairs, Edith decides to be kind of petty — to the point where Cora says, ‘Don’t mind Edith’. On Edith’s wedding anniversary (the first) Mary decides to put everything aside and be really nice to her.”