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Downton Abbey: Season Five, Episode Seven

“Some people choose to be happy, and others select a course that leads only to frustration and disappointment.”

Dear God, Edith. What is wrong with you? You got out!

For one brief, shining moment, I thought that Edith was going to prove to us that she is Lady Violet’s granddaughter. I was so pleased that she was taking control of her life that I was almost willing to look past her horrible behavior to Mrs. Drewe. Almost.

Edith should move to the US. She could get away from her role in this family, she could escape Mary’s bitchy comments at every turn; she could realize that (in spite of her father’s actions) she is more worthy of attention than a sick dog; she could provide a life for her child that, I would argue, is going to be better than anything Marigold is facing right now -- especially if the truth comes out.

Of course, she doesn’t. Edith accedes to her mother’s mad scheme and engineers it so that Marigold will come into the home. Seriously, Robert and Mary may be many things, but stupid isn’t one of them. How long will it be before they figure out the truth? Especially since Anna has already picked up the scent that something is off.

Unfortunately, Nasty Mary seems to be here to stay for a while. She was positively awful this episode, not seeming to care about Edith, Isis, or anyone else who wasn’t her. The ludicrous scene with Charles was just the icing on the cake. I’m glad Tony is going. He can do better; in fact, he already has.

Rose and Atticus are engaged. It is hard to get too excited about this as they just met. Unlike Bates/Anna, Matthew/Mary, Tom/Sybil, we haven’t watched them together long enough to care nor have we had to witness any real obstacles. Yes, Atticus is Jewish. So far, who cares? I think I would feel happier for them if they had overcome more or even been together more than a couple of weeks.

I really hope Tom doesn’t move to Boston, but I would understand if he did. He has been so alone since Sybil died. I would like to think of him as happy and prosperous in a new land with his cousin. The conversation he had with Robert was sweet, but it seems as though he is hiding, or at least repressing, a lot of how he really feels.

He wasn’t repressive at the dinner, was he? Isobel’s story was my favorite this week; it gave us the best moments. The first was Lady Violet sharing her sense of loss with Mary. Of course, Nasty Mary can’t see how sad her grandmother truly is; she can only tease her about being sentimental. Lady Violet got her own back though. When she called Mary vulgar, I literally cheered.

What is with all the rude dinner parties this year? It feels as though this family can’t have people around without someone being shouted out of the dining room. This is not the first time that Larry has behaved so badly; my guess is it will be the last. But, for a society that is constructed around manners and modes of behavior so strict as to be absurd, these meals occur far too often. I loved the fact that it was Tom who jumped to his feet, shouting obscenities. He’s picked that up from his father-in-law.

The most moving part of the entire show was that final scene. As awful as he has become, my heart broke for Robert and I loved how Cora took care of both of them. Wouldn’t it be lovely if they could sum up some of that emotion a bit more often.

An odd episode. I loved parts of it while the rest of it made me impatient and irritated. As this season is quickly coming to a close, there appears to be a lot of plot lines still unresolved. We shall see.

Bits and Bobs:

— I’m amazed that Sprat still has a job. After his behavior this week and last, he really should be given the sack.

— The scene with Tom and Sybbie playing Pooh Sticks made me smile. The only time we see the kids is when they are brought down for tea. It was nice to see him interacting with his daughter in a much less formal environment.

— Although they seem cozy in their little cottage, I can’t believe the Green story is really over. Bates' and Anna's behavior towards Baxter was irritating. Molesley’s right -- she should tell them the truth.

— I loved the scene at the Mason farm. It is heartwarming to see Molesley try so hard to help Daisy and it is lovely to see Baxter stand by him so firmly.

Well Said:

Lady Violet: “He’s a man. Men don’t have rights.”

Bates: “Whenever I see a problem, you see only possibilities.”

Lady Violet: “My dear, a lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears.”

Cora: “How can you imagine I will ever trust you again?”
Rosamund: “She doesn’t mean it, Mama.”
Lady Violet: “On the contrary, it’s the most honest thing she’s ever said to me.”

Lady Violet: “I’ve got used to having a companion. A friend. You know, someone to talk things over with.”
Mary: “Well, you’ll still have us.”
Lady Violet: “You have your own lives, and so you should. But, Isobel and I had a lot in common, and I shall miss that.”
How can Mary miss the pain and loneliness in her grandmother’s words?

Cora: “Then lay her here between us, and she’ll know she has someone who loves her very much next to her.”
Robert: “Two people who love her and each other very much on either side.”
Cora: “I only hope I can say the same when my time comes.”

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.


  1. One of my faves on Twitter, Tim Carvell, tweeted about this episode:
    The next episode of "Downton" will feature both a funeral for a dog and Mary hissing, "It should've been you, Edith. It should've been you."


  2. Mary has been truly awful lately. It is making me not like her. I hope something changes that soon. Great review Chris and I agree that Sprat should have been sacked long ago but Lady Violet seems to have a soft spot for him and her maid isn't much better really. I have enjoyed their shenanigans.

  3. I liked Edith's idea best of staying in London, running the newspaper and adopting Marigold as an orphaned child. If she owns the business it seems to me she could afford a nanny. I guess Cora's plan is kind of the same since Edith could to do London as need and it probably would be good for Marigold to grow up there. I do like watching Edith as a professional woman. She looked lovely coming out of the office with her work attire. Why does she always have to jump in the sack with a man who offers her work? So frustrating. I also still disliked her attitude. Why act so defiantly toward her mother who hasn't done anything wrong here and is in fact being amazing about the whole thing? She shows zero gratitude toward Cora. And she shrugs off any consideration of poor Mrs. Drewe when anyone bring her up. "Let him handle her."


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