Downton Abbey Recap, Series 5 Episode 6: Mary Gets A Haircut, Edith Makes A Decision And There is Trouble In Bates Paradise

As usual, this recap contains spoilers. Read at your own risk if you have not seen this weekend’s episode.


Mary gets a stylish new haircut. The man who cuts her hair fools her with a fake French accent, but makes a bitchy remark in an English accent once Mary is out earshot. It’s a rather nice haircut, the bob really suits her. Do I predict that this will be the new Rachel? Later in the episode, Mary and her nemesis Mabel Lane Fox are racing in a horse race and are trying to one up each other not just in the race, but in nasty comments. Mabel Lane Fox has no idea whom she trying out to out bitch, Mary wins this argument every time.

Edith receives a telegram about Michael Gregson. When a character receives a telegram on Downton Abbey, it’s never good news. Michael is dead, killed by the Nazis in the Beer Hall Putsch. Feeling even more emotionally isolated, Edith runs away against Tom’s advice, but not before she takes her daughter with her. Mrs. Drewe was visibly upset (wouldn’t you be?), but she is a mother at the end of the day and understood. Where Edith has gone, we do not know, but she tells her daughter (who looks different than the child who played Marigold earlier in the series) that they will order champagne and ice cream. If nothing else, Julian Fellows knows as a writer when to amp up the drama and Edith’s story line last night was full of drama.

Cora demands that Robert return to her bed. Robert, still smarting from Mr. Bricker entering his wife’s bedroom is ready to sleep in his dressing room. Cora asks him if he ever led a woman astray. Remember Jane Moorsum? The housemaid that Robert kissed several seasons ago? That jogged his memory and send him quickly back to Cora’s room.

Isobel has made up her mind about Lord Merton. What that decision is…we don’t know yet. But, I get the feeling that Isobel is ready to become Lady Merton. She has become rather smug around Violet and the idea that Violet, at one point in her life, was not the prim and proper society matron that we now know her to be. Violet visits Prince Kuragin and tells him that Shrimpy has a lead on where the Princess might be.   The Prince tells her that he is not over her.

The relationship between Rose and Atticus is going strong. So much so, that we are introduced to his parents. Isobel remarks that if this marriage were to take place, there might not be a need to convert. Violet is unaware that Atticus is Jewish. First comes the meet cute, then meeting the family and the finally the inter-religious wedding bells.


Mrs. Patmore takes Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes on a tour of the cottage she intends to purchase as a future retirement home.  The idea of Mrs. Patmore purchasing a home for her post Downton life inspires Mr. Carson to ask Mrs. Hughes if they should do the same. Who knew under that old school, stoic old heart was a semi romantic?

While Miss Bunting is finally gone (yay!) her spirit lives on in the confidence that she gave Daisy.  Mr. Molesley offers to help Daisy with her studies by letting her borrow his books.  If only there were more like him.

Thomas reveals his secret to Miss Baxter. He has been injecting himself with saline in hopes of changing who he is. Miss Baxter insists on taking him to see Dr. Clarkson. In an indirect way, Thomas admit the truth about who he is. Dr. Clarkson basically tells him to be himself.   That’s well and good, but homosexuality was on the books in England and other parts of the world at that time as a crime with a jail sentence usually attached to it.

Violet has a new ladies maid. Miss Denker (Sue Johnston) does not see eye to with Spratt (Jeremy Swift), Violet’s butler. Good, it’s about time that Spratt received a dose of his own medicine.  Methinks the gentleman has forgotten his place.

And finally, the boat is a rockin in the Bates household and not in a good way. Bates finds the contraception that Anna hide for Mary and assumes that she has been trying to prevent their future child from being born. While protecting her employer and defending her own actions, Anna scolds her husband for going through her things. Then we learn the truth about Bates’s visit to York the day that Mr. Green was killed. He bought the train ticket, but never got on the train. He has an alibi, but that alibi is in a coat that was donated to the Russian refugees last season. The police also interview Miss Baxter, holding what was left of her unfulfilled jail sentence, to share what she knows about Anna and Bates. The saga and the damage that Mr Green left behind continues.


I loved this episode, especially Edith taking charge of her own life. My Sunday nights will not be the same when this series is over in a few weeks.

Dowager Moment Of The Week

All this endless thinking, it’s very overrated…I blame the war. Before 1914 nobody thought about anything at all.

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