Did you watch Downton last night? This commoner did.
And this commoner loved it.
Downton Abbey started off its fifth season with a jam-packed episode. (Or do they eat preserves?)
In the tradition of the Abbey, Edith is depressed, the Dowager Countess is plotting, and Mary is once again being pursued by a rich, handsome man she’s putting off as long as possible because she’s Mary and she can play like that.
Last season we left off with Edith arranging for her
love child to live with a farmer on the estate (I think? I’m just as lost as everyone else who last saw this show in February, but I can pretend to know more.). He “didn’t know” the child was Edith’s, but Edith’s increasingly stalker-ish behavior towards the little girl soon leads him to guessing the truth. His wife, apparently oblivious to Edith’s obsession with her adopted daughter, surmises that Edith may have a crush on her husband. Edith may be desperate, lady, but, uh, have you seen your husband?
Rose continues to do her part, joining the fun with commoners. On this week’s agenda? Handing out awards at a local primary school. What a party! Branson decides to tag along, much to the chagrin of Lord Grantham. Seems Branson may be sweet on a teacher at the school. Hello, Tom, if you’re going to fall for another lady while living in your dead wife’s parents’ house, at least try to make it a third cousin once removed or something. That’s how it’s done with the upper class. Rose wastes no time spotting the red hot tension between Tom and the Teacher (lol this is Downton how red hot can it possibly get in this ice land?) and decides she just MUST invite her to her aunt and uncle’s 34th anniversary party. Rose is cute, but stupid, and thank goodness because I just love when a commoner gets into the Abbey and pummels Lord Grantham with her common talk. No, really, I do, I think Hugh Bonneville plays quite well in such scenes.
Next up we have Mary, canoodling with her boy toy Lord Gillingham. Lord G is like realllyyyy trying to make this marriage thing happen, and Mary is like reallllyyyy not having it. She inquires to her lady maid Anna, “But what if that side that is almost more important does not work?” Guys, she’s talking about sex. Nothing like talking to the person who cleans your underwear about your bedroom activities. Also, who knew Lady Mary was so scandalous?! Sure, she lost her virginity to the visiting Turkish dude (aka Kemal Pamuk aka Four from Divergent), but he died halfway through the act. I thought that would have scarred her for life regarding premarital relations, but it seems Lady Mary is even more daring than I’d previously given her credit for. What’s even MORE scandalous is Lord Gillingham senses her trepidation and suggests they go on a trip together. UNCHAPERONED. To, uh, test things out. My God, Mary, if only your grandmother knew what salaciousness you were planning.
Speaking of grandmama, the Dowager Countess did what all old ladies love to do on last night’s episode, partake in matchmaking. She learned that a certain Lord was chasing the skirt tails of Cousin Isobel and that just ain’t okay with the DC. Cousin Isobel says she can’t get rid of the man, to which DC replies, ““There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. It’s avoiding your friends that’s difficult.” Can this woman narrate my life? To throw the Lord off Isobel’s scent, the Countess arranges a little luncheon and invites a lady she thinks is more becoming of the Lord and a man more becoming of the Cousin (It’s just that poor Doctor again. They just can’t think of an exciting storyline for that man.) Cousin Isobel smells her plot but doesn’t say much. I hope she elopes with the Lord in some place scandalous like Ireland or Russia.
Then there’s all this talk of petitioning for a World War I memorial. Naturally Lord Grantham assumes they’ll want him to head the committee, and oh boy does he get a slap in the face when he finds out they don’t want him, they want Carson! Carson! What is this? The 20th century?! There’s a whole lot of “this never would have happened in my grandfather’s day,” and his wife’s all, “what did I do to deserve such a baby?”
Meanwhile, down on the ground floor, Daisy has gotten a secretive package that ends up being…an arithmetic book. Wow. Talk about crazy. Then Daisy gets all Daisy and is all “I’m dumb, I can’t do this” and Mrs. Patmore is all “No you’re not,” and I’m like, “Eh.” So then everyone starts feeling bad for Daisy and decides maybe she shouldn’t study arithmetic anymore because it’s hurting her self-esteem. Yes, that’s definitely the answer, Downton folk. If you fall, stay down!
Naturally Mr. Barrow is up to no good, because he’s the devil incarnate. He’s still got something on Miss Baxter and swears he’ll tell Cora if she doesn’t do exactly as he asks, which is spy on Anna and Mr. Bates. Snoooooze. Doesn’t this guy have anything better to do? For once, Molesley comes in handy, as he always come in at exactly the right moment to whisk Baxter away from Barrow’s threatening whispers. He also dyes his hair to look younger for her, which makes for one of those Downton funnies that pops up throughout the whole episode, “Carson, can you please keep Molesley in the kitchens until his hair stops turning blue?” <–actual quote. Molesley convinces Baxter she must confess her secret to her ladyship before Barrow does. Amazingly, she does just that. Turns out Miss B. stole jewelry from her former employer, which is why she needed Barrow to get her a job. Cora is more steamed at Barrow for recommending a former thief as her lady’s maid than she is about the thieving and warns Barrow he better watch his back. JUST FIRE HIM ALREADY.
Back upstairs, with the important people, Branson’s teacher friend makes an appearance at the Grantham’s anniversary party. Branson and Lord Grantham are all befuddled, and Rose is like “lolz did I do that?” Yes, Rose, you did, because you invited her. Dinner gets very awkward when the Teacher decides to belittle World War I, saying it was a waste and there shouldn’t be a memorial to remind people of it. The whole Grantham clan is like “OMG betch” and Cousin Isobel is like, “You girls keep me young. God love ya.” But the Dowager finally puts a stop to the whole thing by saying, “Principles are like prayers. Noble, of course, but awkward at party.” God love ya.
Once all the party festivities have died down and everyone goes to bed (including the footman Jimmy and a guest of the house, Lady Anstruther–together), Lady Edith becomes depressed (there’s a surprise) when she finds her
love child’s father’s name in a book. She throws the book into the fire and goes to sleep, not hearing the book thump out of the fire, fully aflame. Barrow, lurking nearby (when is he not lurking?), notices the smoke seeping out from under Lady Edith’s door, and opens the door to find her room engulfed in flames. Really, Edith, you slept through this? My god, woman. Barrow is now the savior of the household (ulgh why) because he’s saved the Abbey from a firey death. Too bad Lord Grantham found Jimmy and Lady A getting cozy in the midst of all this commotion. He tells Carson he wants Jimmy removed from the house. Guess Jimmy won’t be returning in next week’s episode, which saddens me, because he was just straight up pretty, and that doesn’t appear a lot in British tv shows.
I can’t wait to see what next week has in store. Edith stalking babies? Cousin Isobel getting it on?! Mary getting it on?!? Branson getting it on?!?! Wow. Julian Fellowes, you are debasing this esteemed show. And good thing, too, because this season five premiere was my favorite since that exciting cricket episode where Barrow ALMOST got arrested. Can we somehow arrange for that to happen again?