New Show Recap: Downton Abbey, Episode 5.02

We pick up where we left off last week, soon after the fire. As she and Mrs. Hughes are clearing out Edith’s room, Anna discovers a photograph.

Lord Grantham and Carson meet with the memorial committee, and they propose to put the memorial for the World War I veterans on the local cricket pitch instead of in the middle of town, like Lord Grantham wants. The memorial committee believes that those visiting the memorial would like to do so in a peaceful spot.

James leaves Downton Abbey, and before he leaves, he says good-bye to Thomas. James tells Thomas that they have been good friends and that he is sorry to leave Downton Abbey, and he wishes Thomas the best and hopes that he finds happiness. Thomas is clearly touched at James’s sincerity, for if you remember a few seasons ago, Thomas had a thing for James even though James didn’t like Thomas like that. It also seems that Carson and Mrs. Hughes are beginning to move with the times, since they know that in the future, most houses will have a reduced staff.

At lunch, we find out that Charles Blake is going to visit because he’s writing a book on art history. He is coming because he would like to introduce hs friend, art expert Sumner Brickner, who is played by Richard E. Grant. We get a touchy coversation between Lord Grantham and Branson about the Russian refugees; Lord Grantham regards them as the last vestiges of Russian civilization, while Branson, who feels sorry for them, thinks that the new Soviet government is good for the common people. Isobel mentions that the hospital has a new wireless radio, and Rose excitedly tries to ask Lord Grantham to get one, but his reply is a terse, “NO!”

Edith goes to visit Marigold’s foster parents, and again, Farmer Drew’s wife gives Edith the look of death, particularly when Edith says, “I hope I’m not being a nuisance.” Farmer Tim brings up Edith taking an interest in Marigold and possibly helping with the girl’s upbringing, but Mrs. Farmer Tim is not for it at all. They have a clearly rehearsed conversation about Marigold being Edith’s goddaughter, and they ignore Mrs. Drew when she mentions Marigold already has a godmother. Mrs. Drew thinks Edith will eventually lose interest, and that Marigold’s head shouldn’t be filled with impossible dreams.

Violet has Dr. Clarkson and Isobel over for tea, and Violet tries to light a fire under Dr. Clarkson’s butt. She mentions that Lord Merton has invited them to tea and that he may have a thing for Isobel. Go, Lady Violet the matchmaker!

Thomas keeps harassing Baxter about her past, and Moseley intervenes on her behalf. Thomas challenges Moseley to ask Baxter about her past offenses. Rose also enters the kitchen and propses that Miss Bunting come to help Daisy with her math. Later, Thomas tells Moseley that Baxter served three years in prison for her offense and Thomas tells Moseley to ask Baxter what happened. Bates steps in during the conversation and tells Thomas that he really doesn’t give a shit about Thomas’s opinion. Moseley and Baxter discuss her misdeeds and he, wanting to think the best of her, thinks there’s more to the story. Of course there is, but it’s not like Baxter was some damsel in distress forced into those circumstances. She makes it clear that it had been her own choice and that she’s a different person now. Cora isn’t sure of whether or not she should sack Baxter over the criminal record and the concealment of it.

Mary asks Anna to go to the local pharmacy for her to pick up contraceptives for her weekend with Gilliam. She doesn’t want to be recognized, and Anna has a better reason to go to the store instead of Mary, since she is married. When Anna goes into the shop, the woman clerk gives her a funny look when she asks about contraceptives and tries to sell abstinence, making Anna feel ashamed about this purchase. Anna, very embarrassed, quickly makes the purchase and is hardly able to get out of the store without blushing. Anna lies to Bates about where Mary is going. This is like the time Anna helped Mary and her mother sneak a dead body out of her bedroom during the first season!

Edith approaches her parents about supporting Marigold, and Lord Grantham is like, “Well, you can’t just drop her when you get bored, but sure, do what you want with your money.” Okay, then. You don’t think there’s something funny about that? Lord Grantham dismisses it as Edith wanting something to love. Oh, what you don’t know!

Robert and Cora discuss getting a wireless like Rose wants. Robert is dead set against it. When Rose mentions that the king will be addressing the Commonwealth over the radio, Robert is convinced to rent one and see how it works. And Carson is all for it, since it’s the king’s speech.

Isobel and Violet visit Lord Merton and remark on how lovely his house was. Lord Merton is a bore. He tells Isobel that he has just read a book about the “science of quarantine” and wishes to discuss it with her. Lord Merton drops a hint about needing a woman in the house. Yeesh.

Charles and Sumner Bricker arrive. There are so many nods at Richard E. Grant having starred alongside Elizabeth McGovern in a 1999 TV series of The Scarlet Pimpernel that it’s ridiculous. The painting had even been brought to Downton Abbey in 1789. And there is flirting between Sumner and Cora. But we all remember that Robert almost had an affair with that maid a few seasons ago. Cora has a right to flirt, especially with someone who isn’t as much of a fuddy-duddy as Robert is. Robert is put out by it, though, and doesn’t want Sumner at the house as a guest again because he “flirted with the dog.”

Miss Bunting starts to help Daisy with her math, and it turns out that she sees some potential in Daisy. She explains to Daisy that she uses math daily. The only problem? Miss Bunting can only come after school, which is Daisy’s busiest time in the kitchen. Miss Bunting is basically like, “Eff you,” when Mrs. Patmore mentions this. And Daisy is finally understanding math with Miss Bunting as a teacher. But Mrs. Hughes makes it clear that Carson does not like Miss Bunting and her “dangerous ideas.” And some flirtation between Carson and Mrs. Hughes!

Charles and Mary discuss her relationship with Gilliam, and Charles teases her about it. It’s clear that there’s a lot of unresolved feelings and sexual tension between them. Charles mentions that Lord Gilliam is a bit of a dullard, and he feels like Mary is wasting her time, since she is so clever. You’re settling, Mary. But whatever makes you happy. It’s clear that Charles is in love with Mary, but he’s letting her live her life as she pleases. He wants her to be happy.

Robert compares Miss Bunting to Rosa Luxembourg when Rose suggests Branson invite the teacher to dinner. Miss Bunting declines the invitation, and as Branson walks her out to her car, she asks him why he has stayed on at Downton Abbey. She encourages him to go back to his roots as a socialist, and that he was the one who had led Sybil, who had been a singular woman, to freedom.

At dinner, Rose’s new project of helping the Russian refugees is discussed, and Branson is all fired up from his conversation with Miss Bunting. He compares the Russian Revolution to the English Civil War, and states that the government under the emperor had been unjust. Mary and Cora try to dissipate the tension in the room, but the fire is lit, and we’re heading on a collision course to a conflict between Robert and Branson. Mary, Rose, and Charles can see it from a mile away. Robert is even more concerned that Branson will leave and take Sybbie with him, and Cora urges him not to worry about that unless the time comes.

Mary confides in Anna that she wants to be sure that Lord Gilliam is the one she wants to marry, since she’s ready to marry again, and that she doesn’t want a divorce. She wants to sample the goods before buying them, which is a running theme this season. Mary and Gilliam meet at a hotel in the city, secretly, of course, and with the help of the hotel manager who gives them adjoining rooms. They are conducting everything in secret so that they are not recognized. Things are going to progress between Mary and Gilliam that night, but something is fishy about him.

Anna and Thomas have a conversation about how much James liked Thomas, and how they were friends. Anna tells him he could be a likeable person if he wanted to be. Thomas confides to her that there are times when he would like to belong, and Anna assures him that she doesn’t think it’s foolish at all.

The Crawleys and the household listen to the king’s speech on the wireless, and they’re hooked. Mrs. Hughes and Carson discuss the final decision that the memorial committee made: to have the memorial be a large stone cross in the middle of town. Carson makes it clear that he likes it better when he and Mrs. Hughes are in accord. Mrs. Hughes gets all flustered, and Thomas interrupts them, announcing that a police officer is there to see them. The officer asks about Alex Green, who once worked for Lord Gilliam and who stayed at Downton once. There is a witness to Green’s death, and Mrs. Hughes is worried, since Alex Green was the man who raped Anna and whom Bates may have pushed in front of the car that hit and killed him last season.

So that’s it, folks! More drama next episode! This season is actually turning out to be a good one!

2 thoughts on “New Show Recap: Downton Abbey, Episode 5.02”

Leave a Reply