“Downton Abbey” recap: Episode #5.1

We’re back in the world of Downton Abbey! Yay and ugh. If you’ve read the S1-S5 primer, you’ve read all of my reasons why I feel this way.This episode was a good start to the new season, though, but I’m sure things are going to go downhill very fast. Anyways, let’s get into it, in bulleted form, because paragraphs are too taxing for me when talking about this show.

• Grantham doesn’t like the Labour Party. Neither does Uncle Tom Carson, who loves being the underling to rich people. So much so that he refuses to take the job of being the head of the war memorial committee without them taking Grantham on as a patron. This is your life, Carson! Take your job! Be your own man! What in the world are you so afraid of!?

• Daisy wants to be smarter. Well, she’s probably very smart, but she feels (and tells everyone, glumly) that she’s a dummy. Unfortunately, Carson agrees with her. But the reason Daisy wants to learn algebra and writing is so she can help William’s father on the farm. Mrs. Hughes is all for her studies; Mrs. Patmore just wants Daisy to be happy and not be so stressed and without confidence. Carson thinks the best thing Daisy can do is keep her nose in some pie dough instead of the books, because we all know he thinks the most important thing in life is to serve rich people.

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• Thomas is still at Baxter about getting information on Bates and Anna at the expense of Baxter’s past. But, since Baxter is intent on becoming a better person, especially for the sake of her boyfriend-ish person, Molesley, she’s in between a rock and a hard place. Molesley advises her to tell Cora the truth before Thomas tells her. At the very least, Molesley says, Baxter will have the upper hand. Baxter does tell Cora, and she’s not pleased, but she’s not going to immediately fire her. The story is simple but damning; Baxter stole things from her last employer and went to jail for it for three years.

Like a fair employer would do, Cora’s weighing the story and her options before making  a decision. Thomas, on the other hand, got an earful from Cora, who said that he should have known better than to let a criminal into her home and that his days at Downton just might be numbered. Until—

• THE FIRE! Well, before the fire, Edith is very troubled about her daughter Marigold, her failed relationship, her missing fiance, and everything about her life. Since her fiance is gone, she’d be a single mother, which would be terrible considering she’s a Lady. She didn’t want to give up her daughter, but she did so there wouldn’t be scandal.

Now, with everything going wrong, she threw her fiance’s book in the fireplace, leading to a fire in her room. Thomas, who was in the hallway looking out for Jimmy (more on him later), saves her and alerts the family to the fire, and once again, Thomas is in the Crawleys’ good graces and his job is saved.

In Edith’s case, the man helping raise her daughter, Tim Drewe (who is also one of the firemen that come take care of the fire) figures out that Marigold is Edith’s daughter, and he thinks of a way for her to see Marigold and be her mother without everyone knowing she’s Marigold’s mother. In the promos for next week’s episode, we see that she’s announced as the godmother.

• The Dowager Countess is trying to set Mrs. Crawley up with Lord Merton, even though Mrs. Crawley doesn’t want to hear any of this matchmaking tomfoolery. All she wants to do is help Dr. Clarkson with the patients. However, the Dowager goes so far to even enlists her friend Lady Shackleton, who knows Lord Merton, with her scheme. We’ll see how this goes.

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• Jimmy is about to get sacked for being caught in bed with a visiting Lady, his former employer in fact. Remember how, when Jimmy first came on the scene, he was bragging about the many Ladies who he seduced while in their employment? Well, his slutty ways came back to haunt him when this particular Lady, Lady Anstruther, began sending him letter after letter.

Somehow, she barges in to the Downton home, saying that she’s trying to get somewhere or whatever, is invited to stay for the night (and help celebrate the Granthams’ anniversary) and tucks a letter into Jimmy’s cummerbund.  Thomas, who is actually a very good friend to Jimmy after that sexual harassment fiasco, tells Jimmy to get Anstruther off his back. Jimmy’s supposed to go to her room to tell her where to get off, but instead, he ends up helping her to get off.

• Lady Mary agrees to run away with Lord Gillingham for a sex-filled fling. Mary and Gillingham do want to get together, but Gillingham wants her to know what kind of plumbing he’s working with so that there will be no surprises later on. I’m surprised Mary agreed to this, but then again, I’m not surprised. But I am glad that she acknowledged that she’s “cold and unfeeling,” because who makes a snide remark about their sister almost dying in a fire except for someone who’s clinically unfeeling?

• Branson is still trying to find himself in the world of the hoity-toity. Sarah Bunting, the schoolteacher Branson has a friendship with, reminds him very much of the person he was before he married Sybil.

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Grantham thinks that he should be grateful he’s changed, since he now sees Branson as a person with manners. However, Branson is feeling less than himself and eventually, Branson’s going to break. I can feel it and I’m waiting on it. Especially since Sarah went to town on the rich folk at the dinner, to which Rose invited her to. Of course, Grantham was less than pleased.

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Overall, stuff happened. Everything’s still up in the air; a lot of what happened is just sowing the seeds for further drama. It’s the later episodes when the storylines will really gain legs.

What did you think of the episode? Give your opinions in the comments section below.

Photo credit: Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2014 for MASTERPIECE

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