Downton Abbey: Season 5, Episode 7
February 15, 2015 10:08 PM - Season 5, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Not one, but two engagements officially occur tonight, both of which get a fair chunk of disapproval. An even more godawful houseguest than Miss Bunting returns for dinner and is kicked out even more dramatically. Cora finds out about her secret grandchild and comes up with A Plan to solve the whole Edith problem. Isis.... well, grab your Kleenexes.

Number of secret babies revealed: 1: Cora is finally told (by an offscreen Mrs. Drewe, apparently) that Marigold is her grandchild, and hoo boy, is she mad at those who kept it secret. Apparently everyone is too incompetent to figure out where Edith likely went until Rose tells Attitcus, who logically is all "Well, wouldn't she go by the office, then?" Anyhoo, Cora comes up with a plan to say that the Drewes can't handle having an extra child and will let Edith adopt her, which is more or less gotten away with even though Anna saw a little bit of shenanigans going on with Mr. Drewe and Marigold on the train.

The AV Club has an angry open letter to Edith for bailing on running away from the family.
I have to agree.

Number of engagement: 2
Number of awkward "Meet The Parents" (or "Meet The Children") situations at dinner: 2
Number of people Robert has specifically kicked out of dinner this season: now up to 2!

Atticus's parents meet the Crowleys and discuss Judaism a bit--namely that they're cool with having Jews in the family. Atticus's dad isn't quite on board with the idea, and lord knows Rose's mother will be her usual picnic of a self. Anyway, by the end of the episode Rose and Atticus have decided to elope.

Isobel FINALLY SPITS IT OUT and becomes officially engaged to Lord Merton. Violet quietly mopes about it and when called out, simply says she'll miss having a companion about, rather than being upset about Isobel's change in status. Who IS annoyed at her change of status are Lord Merton's jerkass sons, one of whom (Larry) apparently had fisticuffs with Tom last time he was visiting, but I don't remember it for crap. Anyway, while this week fisticuffs don't quite break out, Larry goes around insulting his future stepmother, the Jewish people, Edith's "adoption" and pretty much anything else he can think of to bitch about until Tom literally cusses him out at the table and Robert essentially says "minus the swearing, I agree, GTFO." Poor Isobel.

Number of Mary's suitors off the show presumably forever now: 2
Mary and Charles FINALLY figure out how to give Tony the boot, by making out when they know Tony is going to walk out with Mabel. The whole thing is rather lame. Oh yeah, and Charles is leaving for Poland for over a year/probably forever. So much for all the boring suitor drama. Now can we find Mary someone she actually gives a rat's ass about?

And the non-numbered plots:

The Mr. Bates drama of the week: Mary is told about the ticket and feels bad. Miss Baxter offers to testify that she saw it intact, and otherwise seems to be trying to make it up to the Bateses for talking to the cops. Thomas attempts to be nice to Baxter. The Bateses decide to assume they're off the hook for murder enough to debate selling the London house and buying property near the other future Downton retirees.

I can't even be interested to recap Daisy's Education any damn more, but she and Moseley and Baxter go over to her father-in-law's to discuss the Labour government. If you care, which I don't.

Tom has actually gone so far as to "write to his cousin in Boston" about leaving, and mentioning it to baby Sybbie, who has her first line.

Isis wasn't pregnant--she has cancer. Aw, Cora and Robert sleep with Isis between them on her presumed last night on earth.
posted by jenfullmoon (30 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Larry was the one who drugged Tom's drink.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 10:17 PM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Don't forget that the other jackass son tells Isobel, "What, like we would accept you? Pshaw," or something along those lines and very nasty. I don't like it when people are nasty to Isobel.
posted by cooker girl at 10:24 PM on February 15, 2015

Larry was the one who drugged Tom's drink.

Thank you. I couldn't remember it either. Old Man Merton needs to step up and give both his sons a smackdown. Jesus. Why would you tolerate someone speaking to your fiance like that? Thought you were waiting in the car for a long time? Guess how long it'll take you to walk home, Sunshine.

I will never forgive Julian Fellowes for Isis. Ever. He's a bigger bastard than Larry could ever be. Jerkface.

Mary is being quite tedious. I'm glad she didn't marry Lord Tony "The Patronizer" Gillingham but her storyline just isn't very interesting. I liked her better when she was rescuing the pigs.
posted by Beti at 10:32 PM on February 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

Was there any part of this episode that was plausible? I mean, besides Isis's cancer?
posted by double bubble at 5:40 AM on February 16, 2015

I continue to be amazed at how brainless/simple-minded these characters are written sometimes. The ridiculous scheme Cora cooks up to get Marigold to Downton is over-the-top ridiculous, yet Edith blithely goes along with it.

Edith looked amazingly at-home in the publishing office, didn't she? I do have to wonder, though, where she picked-up the business acumen to actually run the business.

I almost didn't recognize Daisy at the lunch with her father-in-law. She looked so much more stylish and grown-up. Orange definitely becomes her.

I'm a bit blurry on what Tom's position is in the hierarchy of Downton. Is he just allowed to hang around because he was married to Sybil and has a child? Or does he have some stake in Downton now? Also...What would happen if he were to marry Edith? Would that change the power/hierarchy between Edith and Mary?

Mary is being written as such a relentless bitch this season, I have to wonder if she isn't being set-up for some sort of comeuppance...Hopefully something that would vault Edith over Mary in status.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:44 AM on February 16, 2015

If I were Edith, now would be the time to take her "legitimately" "adopted" daughter and move back to London. I mean, c'mon. Last week they didn't care that she's mourning her fiance, this week they don't care about her plan to adopt a child, because the dog is sick. Take the hint, Edith. They don't care.

I'm a bit blurry on what Tom's position is in the hierarchy of Downton. Is he just allowed to hang around because he was married to Sybil and has a child? Or does he have some stake in Downton now? Also...What would happen if he were to marry Edith? Would that change the power/hierarchy between Edith and Mary?

Tom is the estate manager. He's basically an employee, but he gets to live there because he was married to Sybil (and because the Crawleys don't want him to take his kid and live somewhere else). He has his own office separate from the abbey somewhere on the estate. If he were to marry Edith, nothing would change, status-wise. As the middle sister and the husband of the youngest sister, neither of them are in line to inherit any stake in the estate.

Tom, now would also be a good time to take your kid and GTFO. I would be pissed if I were expected to sit down to dinner with the dude who drugged me the last time he was in the house. Mary doesn't think that the Mertons will be rude to Tom this time, but that doesn't mean that Tom wants to see them again.

Was there any part of this episode that was plausible?

Well, the part where Mary and Lord Grantham start poking holes in Edith's plan to adopt Marigold was plausible. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Why would you tolerate someone speaking to your fiance like that? Thought you were waiting in the car for a long time? Guess how long it'll take you to walk home, Sunshine.

For real.
posted by donajo at 6:34 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm a bit blurry on what Tom's position is in the hierarchy of Downton. Is he just allowed to hang around because he was married to Sybil and has a child? Or does he have some stake in Downton now?

He's the estate agent - which is sort of a business manager. This came about when Matthew decided to modernize things and the old estate manager quit. It's surprisingly plausible for this show.
posted by double bubble at 6:36 AM on February 16, 2015

Well, the part where Mary and Lord Grantham start poking holes in Edith's plan to adopt Marigold was plausible. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Good point. Roberts "really?!?" face was appropriate but then he followed it up with "but the dog's got cancer so whatevs".
posted by double bubble at 6:39 AM on February 16, 2015

It's sad that they're killing-off Isis, but Robert's response to the dog's illness really shines a spotlight on his priorities. Edith standing there watching her father as he directs all his attention and affection to a dying dog, while he barely ever pays the time of day to his own daughter, was so sad. He really can be a clueless ass, sometimes.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:47 AM on February 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

Damn, but last night was a grim night for dogs in TV Land.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:08 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

• Mrs. Padmore is buying an inn as a retirement hedge.
• The Bates' are considering selling the London home and buying a property as a retirement hedge.
• Carson and Hughes are talking about partnering and buying a property as a retirement hedge.
• Tom is almost certainly moving to the US

That's a lot of finality being telegraphed here.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:10 AM on February 16, 2015

How many Inns does one county need?
posted by double bubble at 7:24 AM on February 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

The whole Mary/Tony thing was so silly. I felt like I was flashing back to The Patty Duke Show.

Edith should stay in London with Marigold. Screw Downton. Now that she has work to do, and her own money, why go back to Downton to put up with Mary and to be shuffled into a corner by her negligent father?

I think it's interesting that everyone downstairs is contemplating becoming property owners. (Daisy will own Mr. Mason's farm one day.) Since being a landowner is THE differentiation in the class structure. It really upends the classes when servants own land.

I can't believe that Lord Merton would think that his horrible offspring would be nice to Isobel. And knowing how awful Larry had been to Tom...why bring everyone to Downton for a dose of humiliation? That shows a real lack of self/family awareness. If I were Isobel, I'd rethink.

Poor Isis, although that was spoiled for me somewhere, as that last scene was on the interwebs somewhere. On one hand, Isis has been around for over a decade, but they could have just had a succession of yellow labs called Isis? It's what my grandparents did. They always had a Tipi.

As for the story lines being's not getting any better folks. Julian Fellowes is developing The Gilded Age for US television. Since he only has one story in him...we're just going to have more of the same I suspect. Although this thing has been in the works forever, so perhaps nothing will come of it.

Downton was picked up for another season, so there's that. Thank you to Manor of Speaking, for those tidbits.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:38 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

On one hand, Isis has been around for over a decade, but they could have just had a succession of yellow labs called Isis?


I have to think (hope?) Isis' death will engender a scene where Edith has finally had enough and screams at Robert "You care more about that stupid dog than you do your own daughter!" and runs off with Marigold.

I mean, why kill of the dog unless it's going to spark some sort of drama?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:45 AM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I just assumed all the emotion around the dog was as an outlet for all the repression about the humans on the show. Like, they're all stiff upper lip English, so Isis is their conduit for expression or something like that.

That's giving the writing too much credit, isn't it?
posted by gaspode at 10:41 AM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

No, just no. And I'm a little sad because I so loved this show at first. It's as though Julian Fellowes ran out of ideas.

Cancerous Isis is the worst kind of shark jumping. I'm done.
posted by kinetic at 11:53 AM on February 16, 2015

I'm not bothered by Isis departing this mortal coil if only because she's about the age that a lab would pass on, not to mention, my own lab succumbed to nearly the same thing. But gosh, perhaps it's that background, but the last scene of Robert wanting to spend Isis' last hours with her, carrying her upstairs into the bedroom, it may have well been the most touching moment in Downton Abbey history for me.

The directing got a little creative in this episode. First, when Tony and Charles, along with Ms. Fox are walking outside, and then Ms. Fox turns to walk back to change, the thing on everyone's mind is Mary. What's looming above everyone in this scene in the background? Downton, an architectural stand in for our oldest daughter. This is reversed when Mary is seated with Charles, discussing Tony and Ms. Fox. The conspiring duo are framed, however, so we can see them, talking about the aforementioned, with the aforementioned clearly in the background. Then Charles invites Mary to a theater, where people perform roles for the spectacle of others, and then this is exactly what Charles and Mary do to the benefit of Tony and Ms. Fox. Poor Isobel, when she's toasted and applauded is seated at the head of the table, when she's mocked and ridiculed, she's shunted off to the side away from her future husband or the hosts - not a very wonderful seat. Then for the wonderful contrast of the newly engaged and excited for marriage and the worried and perhaps, second thinking about marriage, we have Merton leave Isobel, and then, who's the next to walk by her? Rose and Atticus, giddy and completely absorbed in each other. So a few things that jumped out.

Bates and Anna. Invest now! Incidentally, at least they're all investing in real estate instead of the stock market which is on its roaring way in 1924. I would like for them to go ahead and leave Downton and go open up an inn. Then everyone will be happy, except the Scotland Yard officer who apparently returns for the Nth time in the next episode.

Mary and everyone. Well, I suppose we can chalk up Tony's behavior a couple episodes up there with "Oops, that came across COMPLETELY wrong," list of televised acting performances. Over the last two episodes, not only has our furious stalker / blackmailer dissolved into "I'd rather be with Ms. Fox," but his behavior has been advertised as almost chivalrous. I'm putting it up on the "Worst Attempts to Redeem a Crazy Stalker Misogynist Character" list right now. Good riddance to Tony and apparently, while I don't doubt Charles will be back, temporarily to him, too. We have only two episodes left, but Charles involvement in this whole affair makes me think he'll end up putting a ring on it in the end. It would be karmic justice, however, if Mary ended up unmarried ever again.

Edith and Marigold. Yes, well, that happened. I don't think Robert's response to it all was that terrible in the immediate sense, but only because he's been treating Edith's obsession with Marigold as a whacky hobby all season long. And to be fair, it's pretty much in line for how almost everyone has treated Edith the entire show. She's our Jan of the Granthams and that pretty much sums it up. We were definitely teased with the prospect that the Earl is going to recognize Edith in her daughter, but is it a tease or just a trick to get us all excited for next week's penultimate episode of this season? I do honestly think that Anna asking Mrs. Hughes about the incident at the train station was the writer screaming at the viewers, "Don't over think this whole shenanigan that arose because I had an idea and now I kind of regret going down this path, but hey, I got Hitler mentioned, foreshadow, foreshadow!"

The Good Mr. Barrows. Since nearly killing himself with his saline injection infection last week, Mr. Barrows has seemed to have taken on a subdued good behavior regime. I actually wouldn't mind seeing him redeemed of his conspiring ways and to see him be successful in some manner. His whole black market scheme from two seasons ago actually had me feeling awful for him when he was sobbing in his shed full of fake flour. Perhaps this turn in behavior has come from the Doctor's advise to simply accept who he is and to make the best of his life in the allowance the world offers him?

Merton's Sons. I don't care if they take exactly after their mother. Cut those jerks off, make them live like someone well beneath the station of someone well beneath their station, and yes, fisticuffs would have been appropriate when they're insulting your fiancee. Interestingly enough, we could see Larry as the Bizarro Ms. Bunting, and in like turn, instead of the Earl screaming at her to leave, it's our socialist, Tom, who demands them to get out based on their horrid class based rudeness.

Violet. You can still be friends!

Tom going to America. It seems fait accompli at this point, but bonus points for playing Pooh Sticks on the show. Hopefully more of his Irish accent will return when he leaves the manor house, and obviously, his cousin is Joe Kennedy.

Well. It's been slightly uneven so far, and we all know a puppy is coming Robert's way in the Christmas special (we can't have Christmas without a puppy). I want her to be called Isis II, descended from a litter of puppies that Isis had ten years ago back in her wild carefree dog years before the war, before the Titanic and everything got so dour and serious. As the Dowager said, before everyone thought so much.

. For Isis.
posted by Atreides at 12:50 PM on February 16, 2015 [8 favorites]

It's as though Julian Fellowes ran out of ideas.

I think Dan Stevens quitting the show back in S3 torpedoed whatever main story arc Fellowes had in-mind, and he's been trying to make something happen ever since.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:39 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Why are the Bateses so pissed at Baxter? What was she supposed to do? Barricade herself in Mr. Carson's office with a pistol and scream "You'll never take me alive, coppers?"

I mean even if you don't have a criminal record, if the cops want to question you, you've pretty much got to answer their questions. And it's not like she told them anything damning because she doesn't really know anything.

I still insist that the cops have to know more than they've let us the viewers know they know, or else their whole investigation makes no damn sense. I'm calling it now. They know about the rape because Green boasted about it to somebody in London, and they arrest Anna next episode.

Ditto everybody who can't figure out why Edith doesn't just stay in London. I mean she does have a business to run now. Of course if she's got a business to run, that will keep her busy, so why does she need to adopt a poor orphan girl to occupy herself?

But that's all going to come out, bit by bit, anyway. Cora's in now, and Anna's getting pulled in like a comet slowly falling toward the sun. She'll figure it out soon enough.
posted by Naberius at 1:55 PM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Why are the Bateses so pissed at Baxter?

I think they are wondering why she got involved at all. Didn't Thomas write a letter to the cops saying Baxter knew something about it? And the Bates don't know about that. (I may be remembering this wrong.) Adding that to the fact that the Bates also don't know about her criminal record and it looks like Baxter is just being a busybody.
posted by Beti at 2:16 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Baxter does have the obnoxious habit of lurking in stairways and hallways eavesdropping on the Bates's business.
posted by donajo at 4:11 PM on February 16, 2015

One anachronism that I haven't seen mentioned - Tom and Sybbie are playing Poohsticks four years before The House at Pooh Corner was published.
posted by donajo at 4:20 PM on February 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

I find it hard to believe someone gets credit for "inventing" dropping sticks off a bridge.

Also, because I am 12 apparently, I thought Poo[h]sticks referred to what they look like floating in the water. Sorry.

Back on topic, the scene between Mary and Violet where the DC admits that she's sad to be losing her friend was some lovely acting by Dame Maggie.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:19 AM on February 17, 2015 [8 favorites]

Yes it was, wasn't it?

Perhaps this explains why so much attention is being paid to the drama of Violet's household staff - because she's deeply mired in it. I begin to suspect she just pretends to be exasperated, but really loves having something to deal with. Otherwise, her world is dying off around her and the new world increasingly (if lovingly) marginalizes her.

Sure she could replace Spratt with a less ridiculous Butler, but then she'd be bored.

It's like when my mom went out and got a stereotypical little old lady's tiny, yappy dog that is endlessly demanding of her time and affection. We joked that she could have gotten a dog that needed less attention, but then she would have had to get two of them.
posted by Naberius at 8:39 AM on February 17, 2015 [6 favorites]

Robert's priorities are exactly right; Isis is the best doggy and Edith is a bore.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:56 AM on February 17, 2015

Saw this on Tumblr a few weeks ago but it's even funnier now.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:07 AM on February 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

We need a Spratt spinoff. The Spratt? Or Spratt: Tea And Eyerolls?
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:17 AM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

The Rose-Atticus storyline has been so horribly cringe-y to me. This episode seemed to be laying it on thick with the "oh, goodness no, the Crawleys don't mind one bit, but Atticus's father, well, it's the Jews who are the real bigots, see?" until the dinner party scene when finally it's admitted that ok, actually antisemitism was a thing in the 1920s - but only among the sort of people who also hate the working class, the middle class, and unwed mothers, of course.
posted by naoko at 9:02 AM on February 18, 2015

Also, this whole "will Branson move to America or not?" storyline is driving me crazy. When Sybbie wants to know why they are moving and Tom cannot think of anything at all to say but "Maybe it would be better, or something? Or maybe not? I dunno, kid," is the show intentionally trying to say that Tom's reasons aren't very well thought out, or can Fellowes just not be bothered to give any of his characters logical motivations for doing the things they do?
posted by naoko at 9:24 AM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Well, to be fair, we all know why Tom wants to move: he doesn't really feel like he belongs in the family, even though he loves them and knows they love him. Kinda hard to explain that to a small child, really.
posted by cooker girl at 6:48 PM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Wednes...   |  Saturday Night Live: SNL40... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments