Downton Abbey Series 5 Episode 3 Recap: Mary And Tony Do More Than Kissing, Baxter’s Secret Is Out & Violet Has Some Explaining To Do

We are now into the thick of things for the 5th season of  Downton Abbey. Onto episode 3 recap. As usual, this recap contains spoilers, read at your own risk if you have not seen the episode.


Mary and Tony have done it. The episode opens in post coital bliss. There is an old saying: “why buy the cow when you could get the milk for free?”. It seems like Mary is not sure 100% if she likes Tony’s milk.

We are back to poor Edith, a theme for the character which has not let up since the first episode of the first series.  Mrs. Drewe has in effect, banned Edith from seeing Marigold.  Mr. Drewe tries to soften the blow by telling Edith that it will only be for a short time.  I have to admit that it kind of broke my heart a little to see Edith trying to hide her emotions when niece and nephew are loved and part of the family while her own daughter is being raised by someone else only a few miles away.

Violet has a past. She is not the upright and proper society matron she would like the world to believe. In the 1870’s Violet and her husband traveled to Russia, where, despite the fact that she was a married woman and a mother of two, she had a flirtation with Prince Kuragin (Rade Serbedzija). Isobel enjoys the fact that Violet is not so high and mighty as she appears, especially when she condemns Mary for going away with Tony. Violet, those who flirt with men as a young woman should not throw stones at a grandchild two generations later who does the same thing.

Rose invites Russian emigres to visit the house and see the collection of the souvenirs that Violet and her husband collected during her trip. Among the visitors is the aforementioned prince. As usual, Miss Bunting is invited by Rose (naturally) and standing next to Tom (again, naturally) and insults the guests (naturally). Do I see a pattern here?

And finally, upstairs, while Robert is so daft that he is unaware that Mr. Bricker and Cora are enjoying their time in London. It’s cute, Mr. Bricker’s crush on Cora. Then he is reminded that Cora is not only a married woman, but also a mother and a grandmother. Robert surprises Cora and Rosamund’s London home to take her out to dinner. He practically accuses Cora of cheating. If he hadn’t been so daft, maybe he would have joined them. But Robert, for all of his title, wealth and status, is not always the brightest bulb in the box.


We finally learn Baxter’s secret. She stole for a man named Coyle who disappeared and left Baxter to be arrested and thrown in jail. The law of the Downton Abbey universe is that when one speak of the negative aspects of their past, someone or something that personifies that negative aspect will appear somehow. Molesley is trying to understand her motives. He didn’t get lucky with Anna, maybe he will with Baxter.

Mary gave Anna the diaphragm to hide. That’s really smart. Giving the diaphragm to the rape victim who has police sniffing around her because her rapist died under suspicious circumstances.

Daisy continues with her education. I think Daisy is smarter than she thinks she is.

Mrs. Patmore is trying to convince Mr. Carson to put her nephew’s name on the war memorial list. The problem is that her nephew was executed for desertion.  She enlists Mrs. Hughes to help her convince Mr. Carson to add his name to the memorial.

Thomas is trying to improve himself, by responding to ad in a magazine. He tells Mr. Carson that his father is ill and he needs time off. Responding to ad in a magazine is like responding to some rather suspicious craigslist ads.


I’ve observed that most television shows, when they start a new season,  will sometimes require an episode or two to get the plot really going strong. In episode three, the plot is beginning to thicken, adding new elements of character and story while building on what has already happened. It’s going to be a good series.

Dowager Moment Of The Week

Isobel: Surely servants are people too.

Violet: Not until their days off.



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