Downton Abbey, Season 5: Episodes 2-4

Downton Abbey (Photo: PBS / ITV)

“Do people think we’re some sort of hotel that never presents a bill?” – Lord Grantham

Hotel Downton seems to have a revolving door problem:

1. In “Episode 2”, James, Jimmy, and otherwise known as the heartthrob of Downton’s downstairs is seen on his way out after being sacked. Jimmy says to his buddy Thomas Barrow, “I hope you find some happiness.” That was actually rather sweet I thought. After his philandering with Lady Anstruther, Jimmy is no longer welcome at Hotel Downton (but he gets a good reference at least).

2. Tony Gillingham code name Lady Portsmouth in “Episode 2” has been in and out of Hotel Downton. Lady Mary was not sketching with Lady Portsmouth, while at the Grand Hotel with Tony Gillingham where she (gasp) took birth control pills. “Episode 3” saw Lady Mary getting spotted by Spratt, uppity butt-ler to the Dowager Countess. As quickly as Spratt could mutter what he saw, the Countess (brilliant Dame Maggie Smith) aptly quipped she knew Lady Mary’s reasoning for being there. Conference of Northern Landowners? Really? Lady Mary and the Countess talked, where she was reminded she was the “daughter of an Earl”. Geez, Mary. Get it together. Mary is already over Gillingham by “Episode 4” and so am I. Or at least I hope so.

3. Mr. Bates, career criminal? Did you REALLY think that subplot would go away? Did he really kill his wife? Did he really kill Mr. Green? Will Downton see him go back to jail? Writer, Julian Fellowes, wants to us to root for Bates, but what if he is a murderer? Is he a hero or a sociopath? All these questions!!! Enter police to Hotel Downton.

4. Ms. Bunting, former dinner guest, Daisy’s math teacher, and Tom’s whatever. She’s come a long way from sneaking her way into Downton with Tom. By the end of “Episode 4”, her disrespect toward Lord Grantham got her kicked out of Hotel Downton. Good job, Ms. Bunting. Very good job. Tom: “She knows how to goad you.” Lord Grantham: “With the precision of a surgeon.” Will Ms. Bunting influence Tom to leave Hotel Downton? 🙁

5. Mrs. Crowley: Most of the characters are so whiny that I could drown in their tears! Though Mrs. Crowley is unapologetic, poised, and on point. She is also being courted by Lord Merton who in “Episode 4” PROPOSES TO HER!!! You go girl. See what happens when you’re not a whiny ______. “Oh, you only say that to sound clever.” Mrs. Crowley dishes it to the Dowager Countess (Violet), but Violet comes right back with “I know. You should try it.” Perhaps, Hotel Downton will see more of Lord Merton.

6. Lady Rose: Have you wondered why Lady Rose has been at Hotel Downton so long? Talk about an extended family visit. She’s the most whiny of all characters on this show. Will she ever go away!? “Episode 4” explains that her parents are getting a divorce. Shrimpie to Lord Grantham: “Divorce, I’m afraid. I can’t see any other way.” WHAT KIND OF NAME IS SHRIMPIE?!?!?!?

Season 5 of Downton Abbey is marked with change. We see “The Wireless”, otherwise known as a radio. Spell it with me, R-A-D-I-O. No, Ms. Patmore, it cannot hear you. Everyone at Downton is seen listening to the King, and nice to see them all together. Some other changes are afoot…

Russians: Prince Koragin and his Russian aristocracy friends have fled to the town near Downton. The Dowager Countess and the Prince are well-acquainted and flirty. At least Lady Rose has found something constructive to do by helping the Russians out.

Hints of Nazi-era Germany: The more we hear about Lady Edith’s Mr. Gregson, the more it seems the Nazi era is near. A gang of thugs in Germany? Who else could it be? Someday, Lady Edith will have to come clean about her child (so she can stop stalking her?). Likely, Gregson is dead.

Drugs: I do not like what I see Thomas doing. This is not good. Heroine? Heterosexual hormone therapy? Can’t be good.

Women of Downton (and beyond): Many of the women of Downton are modernizing. Lady Mary is taking birth control because she doesn’t want to be stuck with the wrong guy. Daisy is getting an education to make a future for herself. Cora is taking up a personal hobby in art, despite Mr. Bricker’s flirtation and Lord Grantham’s aspersions. Baxter is another fantastic character who is flawed yet whose story is deeply moving. Cora understands how men can be and excuses Baxter’s criminal past after Baxter comes clean to her. Ms. Bunting would probably prefer to be on the battlefield if she could. She takes the extreme end of the liberal spectrum.

Some thoughts on the horizon:

  1. With Lord Gillingham somewhat out of the picture, will Lady Mary move on to Charles Blake? Will Gillingham cause trouble?
  2. Will Mrs. Crowley say yes?!
  3. With the police questioning, will Mr. and Mrs. Bates be able to stave off the police?
  4. I really hope Shrimpie doesn’t move into Downton. Really.
  5. Cora’s father is Jewish!?
  6. Will Hotel Downton’s revolving door ever shut for a second!?

Look out for a review on “Episode 5”! Don’t follow in Lady Mary’s example, and I’ll see you all next week!

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