“Downton Abbey” recap: Ep. #5.3

It would seem that the episodes this season are finally coalescing around (mostly) interesting plotlines. There are still some plotlines that don’t really gel because some writer machinations are exploiting them beyond their due date, but for the most part, there are some seriously entertaining things to be discussed.

First, I’m here for Thomas getting his life together. I’m not sure if the number he called has a historical reference point, and if anyone knows what the reference to “live life the way you want” (which sounds like code for some kind of anti-gay therapy, which was popular among leading psychotherapists at the time), please leave me a comment on Twitter (@moniqueblognet in the sidebar) or in the comments section.

I’m led to believe something’s coming up about anti-gay treatment since in the promo, Thomas is crying up a storm. It could be that he’s crying about Jimmy (hopefully nothing’s happened to him) or he could also be crying because his self-loathing has come to the forefront and he feels that his lack of friends is because he’s gay, not because he’s been self-medicating with a healthy dose of backstabbing and general bitchiness.

I’m digging the storyline with Cora finally getting a backbone and going against her husband’s constant belittling remarks. The last remark of his, doubting why Bricker would want to hear her comments on art, was the last straw. She’s having none of it and I hope, just for drama’s sake, that she decides to give Grantham a real scare and go on more dates with Bricker. Would that ultimately be breaking Bricker’s heart later on since you know Cora’s going to stay with Grantham for the money and because it’s comfortable? Of course. But at least fulfill some part of the fantasy for me, Cora.

Edith is still tragic, and the farmer/fireman has finally told her she can’t come by the house for a long while. Well, if we’re being honest, it’s more like the farmer’s wife told the farmer to tell Edith not to come back or else she’ll kick the farmer out and raise her kids all by herself. I’m sad for Edith, but I just wish she could tell the wife why she was sticking around Marigold so hardcore.

Farmer’s Wife isn’t wrong for not wanting Edith around anymore; without the information her husband has on Marigold’s true lineage, Edith just looks like an unstable woman so desperate for a child that she would probably steal the girl just to say she has a daughter. Other possibilities, like Edith being soft on the farmer or vice versa (or that this is their child) have also come up in the wife’s mind, I’m sure. I mean, she’s voiced some of these concerns herself. Farmer should just sit his wife down and tell her the truth. Or better yet, Edith should, because she owes the wife that much.

The other storylines I don’t care much about. Yes, we figured Baxter was probably forced to steal the jewelry since her way is clearly not criminal. But as to why Cora kept her around that long was idiotic. Cora’s the employer; demand that story out of Baxter since Baxter’s at the whim of Cora, not the other way around. This is one of the things that the writers do that irritate me; they’ll keep one storyline around in the most annoying and time-consuming of ways even when it doesn’t make sense.

Also, yes, all the Crawley women (save for poor Edith) have men who desire them. Great. What’s new? The fact that the Dowager has a former flame is interesting, I’ll grant you that.

Lastly, is Anna framing her own husband for Green’s murder? I’ve seen some things ahead of time, but not enough to know the full story, so there’s a reason I’m asking this question. In any case, I’m not sure Bates actually killed Green or if he did, Anna’s trying to position herself to take the fall. What a doomed relationship this has been since the beginning. If Edith knew this, at least she could say she doesn’t have that kind of headache to deal with.

What did you think about the episode? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

EDIT: I’d been saying “writers” to be kind, but I’ve learned that indeed, Julian Fellowes writes every single episode of Downton Abbey. This makes a lot of sense, since quite a few episodes do seem to suffer from tunnel vision and no outside viewpoints.

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

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