'Downton Abbey' Recap: Series 5, Episode 5

So the Crawleys were pretty dramatic tonight. (Photo: (C) Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2014 for MASTERPIECE)
So the Crawleys were pretty dramatic tonight. (Photo: (C) Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2014 for MASTERPIECE)
Previously, on Downton Abbey:  Rose’s parents are getting a divorce, which is sad and all but it means that (awesome) Shrimpie is back! Yes! Violet decides to help her ex-flirtation/possible affair Prince Igor (literally, his actual name) find his wife and enlists Shrimpie’s assistance. Mary goes to London to buy dresses and dump Gillingham; Anna spends her trip time casing the area where her rapist died. Lord Merton proposes to Isobel, Gillingham refuses to accept his new “totally dumped” status and Tom brings Sarah Bunting to dinner, wherein a massive and super awkward shouting match ensues. For more, see last week’s recap.)

All right, Episode 5, let’s do this!

Rosamund Has Arrived for a Visit! Just like we all predicted last week, Rosamund immediately heads to Downton, eager to hear about the little girl that Edith’s suddenly lost her mind and all sense over because Rosamund has absolutely figured out that it’s her daughter. Why no one else is questioning Edith’s ridiculous and obvious attachment to that child yet is something I wonder, but perhaps it’s just easier to write it off as Edith, well, Edith-ing, than suspect her of hiding an illegitimate child.

Edith is pretty ready for a good dressing down from her aunt, but is sort of surprised when she stays calm. Edith doesn’t even try to hide the truth about Marigold’s real identity and says that surely Rosamund must have known she was going to bring her back. She also admits that at the moment, Mrs. Drewe doesn’t like her much, and that she’s not really allowed to see the child. Rosamund looks at her as though she’s crazy, and points out that she’s managed to set up a situation that could completely destroy her life and reputation, without getting worthwhile for the risk. Edith, who clearly did not think of any of this, looks depressed. 

Mrs. Patmore Gets a Windfall. Mrs. Patmore tells Mrs. Hughes and Carson that an older aunt of hers has passed away and left her a few hundred quid as an inheritance. She’s seeking advice from Carson about what she ought to do with it. Mrs. Hughes suggests maybe she’d be better off chatting with Tom or Dr. Clarkson or someone who is actually you know out in the world, not like either of them, and Mr. Carson gets kind of offended and it’s awesome.  He says he’ll give it some thought for her.

Later, Carson is still stewing over Mrs. Hughes’s comments that they don’t exactly exist in the modern world. He seems…weirdly put off by the whole thing and is just sort of adorably flustered about it. Mrs. Hughes just wants to know he’s going to tell Mrs. Patmore, and Carson promises to do his research about it. 

Tom’s Existential Crisis is So Uninteresting. Robert asks Tom how Sarah Bunting’s getting along, which is sort of hilarious because he even says her name like it tastes bad, but at least he’s making an effort, right? Tom says she’s fine and still helping Daisy with her education and all, but don’t worry, he’s not about to bring her to dinner again after last week’s explosion. Robert sniffs that Cora would tell him to do it anyway, and then they have an awkward Dude Talk about how Tom often feels excluded from the Crawleys in general, and how he (duh) has different views about the direction of the country. Robert points out that his time in their family has expanded his views, and forced him to forge relationships with people he would have previously assumed enemies. It’s weirdly sweet, in the end, and the two don’t even raise their voices at each other, which in a way proves Robert’s point because that never would have happened two years ago, not ever. So, let’s all just assume that this is more evidence that Sarah is a terrible influence on him and should just go away immediately. 

Anna is Maybe a Murder Suspect Now? So, the Keystone Cops roll back out to Downton, this time with the intent of interviewing Anna at some length about whether she was in London when Mr. Green died and basically doing anything they can think of just shy of directly accusing her of murdering him with her bare hands. I’m sort of intrigued about how they even think this is possible, not only does Anna immediately seem like the most honest and guileless person on earth the moment she opens her mouth, she’s tiny and weighs, what, maybe 120? Unless she's secretly Black Widow from the Avengers how on earth is she supposed to have managed shoving a grown man into traffic in such a way that ensured his death? These cops are legit terrible.

Anyway, the cops also want to talk to Mary, for some reason, and she recounts her very dull version of the Day Green Died, which involves rushing for the train and having lunch with Gillingham. Yawn. Basically she’s there to confirm that Anna was in London that day and that she doesn’t know where she was. They also ask her whether she has any reason to believe Bates made it further south than York that day, and she says no, so now Mary’s knowingly lied in a police investigation, just keep that in mind for later, I imagine.

The police grill Anna again, asking whether the Downton staff had tried to cover up her going to London, or if it was a big deal for servants to make the trip to the city. Their line of questioning is…a bit weird, if you ask me (surely none of them are watching Poirot on the regular) and ultimately they tell Anna that she shouldn’t try to skip town or anything. Anna looks nervous and sick, and I’m just struck at how in the world she could ever be taken as a murder suspect in the first place. This story is so stupid. 

Rosamund Gets to Meet Marigold For Two Point Six Seconds. In another of her long list of terrible ideas, Edith decides it’s a great idea to take Rosamund down to the Drewe farm to meet Marigold. It’s incredibly awkward. Rosamund tries to play her visit off, but her reaction to the child should probably alert anyone with eyes that there’s something very weird going on with the Crawley family and their obsession with this kid. (Which, Rosamund has been so on top of herself up until this point, the bit where she slips and nearly calls herself an aunt felt so fake to me. Anyway.) But, I guess Mrs. Drewe doesn’t really notice any of this because she is busy glaring a whole in Edith for showing up with her aunt in the first place and dropping comments about how super busy her schedule is. After they leave (Rosamund and Edith’s visit lasts basically a minute), Mrs. Drewe then unloads on her husband, insisting that this is proof that Edith only wants Marigold as a doll that she can show off to her extended circle of family and posh friends. She hates Edith and it’s weird because it’s absolutely understandable – Mrs. Drewe is weirdly the person I feel the worst for in this situation – and also just really sad. 

Worst Relationship on the Show Or ?? Tom either goes to see Sarah Bunting or purpose or runs into her in town on accident, I’m not sure. Sarah wants to know whether she’s ruined things for them before they ever even got started, and I’m left wondering when the two of them officially became a romance, because while I have been told Miss Bunting’s thoughts on Russian, the Prime Minister and the Crawley family at length and in great detail, I actually have no idea what she and Tom feel for each other. If that’s even anything at all, because she’s never been much of an actual character, just a weird caricature.

Anyway, Sarah seems shocked by the fact that Tom just isn’t that into her anymore, and wants to know if it’s because she made the situation “Them or Me” with regard to the Crawleys. Tom says he knows that she hates them, a lot, by his wife was one of them, and his daughter is one of them now. Sarah says that she thinks Tom despises them too, really, and here, in a nutshell is why this woman is horrible for him and cannot get packed out of town fast enough for me. Even if Tom is uncomfortable with his post-Sybil lifestyle, even if it’s difficult for him sometimes, just looking at him around them would put paid to this BS. Ugh, I cannot stand this woman. She is the wooooorst. Tom sighs and says he’s enjoyed knowing her and everything, but maybe they should just call things off between them before someone gets hurt. Sick burn, Tom. Sick burn

Carson Gets Advice From Robert. Related: Why Does Anyone Listen to Robert? While asking Robert about something to do with general house maintenance, Carson happens to get an earful about his latest project, which is construction. Robert gives him a whole spiel about this company their using to have new houses put on the property and says that basically anybody should be putting their money into building because fortunes will be made in the next few years. Carson perks up at this, even though Carson should in no way ever listen to Robert about issues of money, given the fact that he seems to have almost lost the entire estate more than once. (But no one seems to ever remember this. Why??)

Carson then goes straight to Mrs. Patmore to – surprise, surprise – suggest that she invest in building with her newfound inheritance and also recommend that she investigate working with the same company that Robert was going on about upstairs. Oh, Carson. He looks so puffed up and pleased with himself that he has a real “ear to the ground” answer for Mrs. Patmore that it’s hard to stay annoyed at him (I expect Mrs. Hughes must run into this problem frequently) but there’s just no way that this is going to go well, is there?

Rose Finally Gets a Meet Cute. While out fetching pastries for her Russians, Rose gets caught in a massive rainstorm on her way back to the Creepy Church Crypt Halfway House. Luckily, there just so happens to be a cute, age appropriate, thoughtful guy with an umbrella right nearby to save the day.  He’s pretty dishy, and he offers to walk Rose back to the church with all her packages and is basically so adorable about it that she asks him to stay and have some cake with them. His name is Atticus Aldridge and he makes a joke that he’s sort of Russian, in a way, because his family lived their ages ago. (This turns out to actually be important, in a minute, so just remember it.)

Rose proceeds to grill the family about Mr. Aldritch at dinner that night, but no one’s really heard of him. His father was apparently named Lord Sinderby recently, and is some sort of banker. This is all Rich People Code for “New Money”, obviously, but Rose clearly looks smitten and no one is acting like it’s the end of the world beyond the slightly judgy air that Robert gets whenever he talks about anybody that hasn’t had their title for four generations. 

Daisy: Budding Revolutionary.  Sarah Bunting comes to Downton to visit the downstairs staff. Carson is openly horrified to see her but she reassures him that she’s not staying long – she’s only come to say goodbye to everyone since she’s gotten another job and WILL BE LEAVING THE AREA IMMINENTLY AND MOVING TO LANCASHIRE. (Here is a picture of me right now.) Daisy is upset and furious and starts ranting that Sarah’s only leaving because Tom refuses to stand up to Robert and because everytime she comes to the house she gets insulted. Carson is not having this impertinence, but Daisy just can’t shut up. Sarah wishes them all well and leaves and if you listen very carefully you can hear a triumphal chorus in the distance or at least me shrieking with glee.

Daisy, however, seems determined to ruin my life and sneaks upstairs to see Tom. She tells him that he’s making a huge mistake in letting Sarah Bunting leave. (All together now: SHUT UP, DAISY!) She goes on to say that Sarah is extraordinary and clever and kind and perfect and that he must not turn his back on her. She says she knows Sarah loves him and he just has to go after her. Further, she makes a face and insists Tom’s not a Crawley and belongs with them, downstairs, because they’re the future and the family’s way of life is the past. It sounds like she’s just reading lines out of the Sarah Bunting playbook at this point. It’s awful, but what’s more awful is the concerned look on Tom’s face when he hears that the nightmare is expected to leave the next day. THANKS FOR NOTHING, DAISY. 

Richard E. Grant’s Contract Must Be Ridiculous. Simon Bricker is – yet again – coming to visit Downton, because Richard E. Grant must have the best agent in England and/or because there is no show on television that is this dedicated to dragging out a storyline for no reason. Ostensibly, Bricker is visiting to see the stupid painting again and photograph it for his next art book but of course he’s there to see Cora. And, he super lucks out this time because Robert only gets to openly hate him for the better part of five minutes, since he has to leave the house on some trip to do something boring dinner thing with his military group. This of course leaves Cora and Bricker alone for the evening – well, alone plus Edith basically, but who ever really counts Edith – and he is pretty excited about it. Cora says he’s welcome as long as he behaves himself and the music gets louder suddenly and oh dear that doesn’t seem to bode well. 

Mrs. Hughes Fixes Things, Like She Does.  Mrs. Patmore corners Mrs. Hughes and tells her all about Carson’s advice to buy shares in a building company. She looks super anxious about it all, which is how you can tell that she thinks Carson’s idea is terrible, but doesn’t want to say so. She confesses that she doesn’t want to invest in something she doesn’t understand and only even asked Carson’s opinion because he’s a man. Mrs. Hughes rolls her eyes and instantly understands that Mrs. P doesn’t want to hurt Carson’s feelings about it now, because we’ve all seen how easily Carson’s feelings actually do get bruised over things like this. But don’t worry, because Mrs. Hughes has got this.

Edith’s Life Gets More Complicated. Edith, who really in all seriousness has got to find a hobby, heads back down to Yewtree Farm to see the Drewes. Himself does not look thrilled to see her – and, quite frankly, is probably sorry he ever met Edith at this point. I thought Edith was probably going to try and smooth the situation over by, oh, I don’t know, apologizing for being psychotic, but no, she’s just there to demand access to Marigold immediately, claiming that she “just has to” see her.  (I’m deeply curious about what Edith thought life would look like with her daughter at the farm down the hill when she signed up for this deal? She seems to have no concept that keeping up this falsehood was going to be a lot of actual work.)

Anyway, Drewe says it was a mistake for her to bring Rosamund by, as his wife is now 100% convinced that Edith’s only interest in the child is as some sort of human toy. Drewe, who refuses to even really look at Edith at this point, says that she’s basically got to leave him and his family alone now, because if she doesn’t Margie will make him give up the farm and move away from her.  Edith is shocked and says that she’d never allow them to take her daughter away, even though I’m not entirely sure what rights she would even really have in this situation? It’s all a bit confusing, to be honest. Drewe says there’s no other plan, so she’s just going to have to suck it up, it’s not like he can just dump the child off in the library at the Abbey. Edith looks sick.

Meanwhile, the Dowager Countess has Rosamund over for lunch and grills her about the purpose of her visit to Downton and why she and Edith have been so chummy lately. Violet should probably be some sort of secret agent, because she gets her daughter to crack in about five minutes.  So, this is going to be another good day for Edith, I expect. 

All My Dreams Are Coming True This Season. After getting my wish last week that Tony Gillingham be suddenly and unceremoniously jettisoned from contention as an actual romantic suitor for Mary (despite the fact that he can’t seem to, y’know get that), I sort of figured that I’d used up all my good luck for the season. BUT NO! Because, yes, yes, YAAAAASSS: Sarah Bunting is leaving.  Officially leaving. Yes, Tom heads down to the school to see Sarah off and I have a few minutes where I panic and think he’s going to like confess his love and propose or something sickening but it doesn’t happen! Everything is okay! We have to suffer through Sarah telling Tom she hopes that he’ll miss her (vomit), because she loves him and could have loved him more if he’d let her (double vomit), but Tom just says he’s grateful that he met her because she reminded him of who he really is. He promises not to lose touch with that side of himself, kisses her (ewww) and helps her into her car. The rain continues and they stare at each other for a long minute but then the car pulls off and it’s OVER. Yessssssssssssssss!

Now what on earth are they going to do with Tom for the rest of the season though?? 

You Knew a Twist Was Coming: Rose’s New Beau is Jewish. Atticus Aldridge pops by Rose’s poorly lit Russian Halfway House in the church crypt because he wanted to say goodbye to her before he heads to London to start his new job. They flirt awkwardly about his (tragic) hat and then Rose decides to introduce him to Prince Igor and His Friend Whose Name I Seem Determined to Not Remember. The four of them make small talk for a minute until Rose decides makes things less awkward by telling the refugees that Atticus’ family was Russian and have now made a new life here. This perks everyone up until the Russians realize that the Aldridge family came over from Odessa in 1859 and Nameless Friend gets all sort of worked up about this, insisting that they were NEVER Russian to start with and storming off. It turns out that he’s so upset because he’s realized the Aldridges were Jews, and that they were driven out by the series of pogroms that took place in Odessa. Dun dun dunnn.

Rose looks charmingly confused because after all, Atticus is English now and still Jewish, so he’s both at the same time still, right? Atticus looks charmed by what could probably most delicately be termed Rose’s innocence on the subject and asks if he could take her to dinner when next she’s in London. Rose says maybe, in that way that totally means yes, and they’re kind of very cute together, so I don’t hate it.

Charles Has the Worst Idea Ever. Despite the fact that Gillingham seemed determined last week to not accept Mary’s decision to break up with him, this week he seems pretty out of the picture. Sort of. Mary heads to London again for some dumb reason that doesn’t matter and ends up having dinner (again) with Charles Blake. Only this time, he’s brought a friend along – Miss Mabel Lane Fox. Yes, Gillingham’s former fiancée who got dumped when Mary showed up, and who (understandably) hates the crap out of her. Dinner does not improve the situation. Lane Fox is pretty furious at Charles for having invited Mary in the first place and you get the idea that neither of these ladies would have shown up if they’d known the other would be there.

Charles has brought them together to make a proposal that he insists would be mutually beneficial to them both. He claims that now that Mary’s done with Gillingham, Miss Mabel Lane Fox should probably just take back up with him, since she’s still in love with him anyway. He insists that everyone ends up a winner here, Lane Fox gets her man back and Mary gets rid of her stalker. Lane Fox, who is incredible, reads both of them the riot act, insisting that she didn’t deserve to get dumped just because Mary Crawley crooked her finger at a man who was already spoken for, and it’s not her job to       help clean up the mess and keep him occupied now Mary’s bored. Charles tells her she’s over reacting, but Lane Fox says she’s leaving, gets up and informs Charles she hopes he chokes on his dinner. Surprise: Miss Mabel Lane Fox is amazing. I already adore her. Which means I don’t want her anywhere near gross Tony Gillingham. 

Violet and Rosamund Have a Plan for Edith. The Dowager and her daughter corner Edith after dinner one night now that Violet knows everything about Marigold. Edith gets mulish and says she didn’t tell anyone because she knew they’d say it was a mistake. Violet sniffs that clearly Edith never considered that she might have been right about the mistake business.

Rosamund says that there is no point in keeping the child here on the Downton estate, not when Mrs. Drewe is so ready to explode over Edith’s involvement in her life. She says they must get Marigold away and send her to a special school in France where she can be properly looked after. She says Edith can probably even visit if they find the right location, and the whole thing is quite manageable really. Edith looks mutinous, but Violet says that even though the situation seems harsh they don’t have a lot of choice in the matter. (Who wants to place bets on Edith doing something really stupid in the face of this? Anybody?)

Since the episode ends with Edith making a super sekrit phone call to London, I think that is a pretty good guess?

Mrs. Patmore Makes a Decision. Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes corral Carson with tea one evening and Mrs. Patmore explains that she’s sort of taken his advice about her money.  Instead of investing in a building company, she’s found a cottage in a place she likes and is planning to buy it and rent it out a bit. Carson’s depressed because he thought she wanted to be in the marketplace growing her capital and whatnot. Mrs. Patmore says she’s not ready for that kind of stakes, but she thanks him for giving her the idea and the confidence to see it through. Mrs. Hughes even pipes up with how very protected they all feel having a man like Carson around to help them figure stuff like this out, and it’s all thoroughly adorable, which makes the vague sexism and weird overcoddling of Carson’s opinions on this issue okay. Can he and Mrs. Hughes just get married already? Lord.

Well, That Escalated Quickly. So, after a boring dinner where Bricker basically just tells Cora how awesome she is for a couple of hours, he decides the next step in their relationship should be to sneak into her bedroom in the middle of the night. Yes, really. Is it possible that Simon Bricker is…I don’t know, kind of slow? Or is Cora really this stupid? Anyway, no one should be surprised when Cora’s downright shocked to see Bricker in her boudoir (yeah, alliteration!), but he says it’s cool because he waited till the maid left. Cora tells him that he really needs to get out of her room, just as we see Robert arriving back home downstairs. We all can see where this is going, clearly, but let’s just make a note here that maybe Robert needs to work on his planning skills. He seems to be awful at being wherever he is supposed to be at any given time. 

Bricker tries to convince Cora that they both feel attracted to each other and insists that she deserves someone who will cherish her and not ignore her the way her entire family does all the time now. This would maybe be more effective as an argument if he weren’t wearing a bathrobe basically while saying it, so I can’t really fault Cora for not swooning.  Anyway, this is right about when Robert walks in and suddenly everything is crazy awkward. The three of them proceed to have the most British fight ever where Robert apologizes for coming back early, Bricker protests Cora’s innocence and Cora just stands in the background, kind of.  But then Bricker snarks that Robert shouldn’t ignore an awesome lady like his wife and it suddenly turns into the most American kind of fight ever, when Robert throws a punch.

Yes, this is really happening.  The men end up rolling around on the bed and the floor fighting while Cora shrieks at them to stop. This is Downton Abbey, y’all. It gets even more hilarious when Edith knocks on her parents door and asks if everything’s alight, because the guys are like knocking over furniture and what not at this point, and Cora has to go to the door, open it a crack and make up the literal worst lie ever about how she and Robert were playing a game, all while her husband and her would-be suitor are still locked together on the floor. (I think Robert’s actually, like, choking Bricker at this point. This is amazing.) Edith wanders off, the guys stop Ultimate Fighting, and Bricker makes his exit. There are so many shots of him in the hallway I think we have to assume someone must have seen him wandering around, right?

Cora sums up the evening with “Golly, what a night” and Robert declares he’s going to sleep in his dressing room before stomping off. The next morning, Bricker leaves with little fanfare, but a slightly suspicious look from Carson, and a long stare at Cora, who’s watching from the window. And that, as they say, is that. Except that now Robert’s not really speaking to Cora at all now and everything’s super awkward. Yikes.

So…thoughts? Thumbs up for an episode where a bunch of stuff happened, but I have to admit that I’m not sure where some of our characters can go now after this. Should be interesting. Theories, thoughts, or emotions you need to get out? Hit the comments. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Twitter at @LacyMB

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