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.





*-Of course none of these characters are mine, I am just temporarily borrowing them.


Barton Cottage was quiet, too quiet.

Mary Dashwood remembered the day she moved into Barton Cottage with her daughters. When her husband died, she knew their time at NorlandPark was coming to an end. Fanny, John’s wife was too polite to articulate her feelings, but she was not happy having to share her new home with her husband’s stepmother and step sisters.

The letter from her cousin, Sir John Middleton was a great relief for them all. Of course, Barton Cottage was far from the size and luxury of Norland Park, but the truth was, Mary had learned to appreciate the intimacy that the small cottage allowed.

They had moved in six years ago, it seemed as only a moment had passed.

Marianne and Elinor were both married and had blessed their mother with four grandchildren.

Margaret had also recently departed Barton Cottage.

Marianne’s husband, Colonel Brandon had been offered a position with the admiralty and had relocated his family to London. The excitement of London and the society it offered had drawn Margaret in and with an invitation in hand to spend the season with Marianne and Christopher, Mary watched her youngest child depart for London.

“Mama, it’s time” Elinor’s voice broke through.

“Of course” Mary agreed as Elinor’s husband, Edward Ferrars took the last of her belongings. With her children gone, there was no need to reside at Barton Cottage with just the servants. Mary had been offered a room at the parsonage with Elinor and her family.

“I will be in your way” Mary had protested when the idea had been suggested.

 “Mama, I promise you, you will not be in the way, Edward and I would love for you to stay and the children would love your company”.

 “No, you have your own lives, I do not want to interfere, I will gladly come when asked, but I am happy to stay where I am”.

 “Mary, I assure, you will not be interfering in anyway. We have discussed the idea with Marianne and Christopher and they are of the same mind, especially with Christopher being called to London”.

 “At least let me consider the idea” Mary asked.

 Two weeks later, Barton Cottage was empty. Mary had agreed that her time at Barton Cottage had come to end. It was indeed quiet.

The End

Downton Abbey Series 4 Episode 7 Recap

This recap contains spoilers from this weekend’s episode. Read at your own risk if you haven’t watched the episode yet.


The list of Mary’s suitors is down to two. The tepid Mr. Napier is gone, but Anthony Gilllingham is back; his off screen fiance has become his off screen ex-fiance. He stares at her with adoring eyes, a la, a puppy dog. She convinces him to fire Mr. Green, but does not reveal the reason.

If I were a betting woman, I would put my money on Charles Blake.  But only time and Julian Fellows will tell.

The doomed relationship between Rose and Jack is over, as both Mary and Jack know that when she pays him a visit. It was not Rose, but Jack who ended it. In his words “A marquis’s daughter and a musician…” That said it all. Call it a youthful infatuation, a rebellion, whatever label you want to use.  Rose is young and head strong, if it was 2014, this relationship would hopefully not be an issue. But the show is set in the early 1920’s and this relationship is doomed from the get go. At least Jack knew that the best thing to do was to end the relationship.

With her usual acuteness, it didn’t take Violet long to figure out why Rosamund had not only visited Downton unannounced, but had offered to take Edith to Switzerland for four months, all expenses paid.  I feel for her, it’s not an easy decision to make. We would hope that her mother would be included in this decision making process, especially when a third grandchild is on the way. But either Cora was wearing rose colored glasses or she was so engrossed in the bazaar that she wasn’t paying attention to her daughter.

Violet re-introduces Isobel to Lord Merton, who is Mary’s godfather and the father of the childhood friend of Sybil who tried to get Tom drunk the night before Matthew and Mary’s wedding. The conversation about their lives and their children is going well until oops, Lord Merton does not remember that Matthew is dead.

We know more about the young woman who Tom sat next to at the political meeting.  Her name is Sarah Bunting (Sarah Lewis) and she teaches at one of the local school. She is also as political and anti-aristocrat as Tom claims he used to be.  She could either be the woman who heals his heart or be the second coming of Evil Edna.

Robert is in America for the end of the episode, having rescued Cora’s brother Harold from scandal.


Alfred is coming back to Yorkshire due to his father’s funeral. He writes to Ivy proposing marriage. Sounds like Robert Martin’s proposal to Harriet Smith in Emma.  Daisy starts off the episode with another childlike hissy fit.  But after spending a day with her father in law, she finally comes to the very mature conclusion that Alfred does not return her love and it is time to move on.  This story line has been bordering on the inane since the first episode, at least it’s over.

With the return of Lord Gillingham comes Mr. Green and the death stares of Mr. Bates.  With Thomas in America and the staff working at the bazaar, John requests a day off. Onerous music follows him as he leaves Downton. When Mary and Tony meet for lunch in London, he tells her that Mr. Green is dead, hit by a bus. It was an accident, witnesses by many. An accident, I wonder or a man taking revenge for his wife’s rape?

Molesley, despite being the Edith of downstairs, seemed to have found kindred spirit in Baxter. He also beats full of it Jimmy at the bazaar and offers a gentleman like arm to Baxter after Thomas returns home.  Maybe the Edith of downstairs will be Edith no more.


I love how Mary has grown as a character from the first episode. She started as a spoiled, selfish young woman to a mature woman who is taking charge of her future and her family’s future.

Martha Levinson (Shirley Maclaine) is back this weekend, bringing her unknown son Harold (Paul Giamatti).  This is the 2013 Christmas episode and the last episode of the series. Unlike last year, I have been very good about not being spoiled.  I am curious to see how this series will end and what morsels we will be left with to hold us through to next year.  I have enjoyed series 4, overall and I look forward to series 5.

Dowager Moment/Quote Of The Week

“All life is a series of problems which we must try and solve. The first one, then the next, and then the next, until at last we die.”



Downton Abbey Recap- Series 4, Episode 1

I’ve decided to write recaps of the previous night’s Downton Abbey episode.  These posts contain spoilers, read at your risk if you haven’t seen the episodes.


The main plot point of this episode is mourning, especially for Mary and Isobel. It’s been six months since Matthew’s death and both are clinging to their grief.  Robert thinks the best way to help Mary is to wrap her in emotional bubble wrap, while Tom is eager for Mary to join him in the running of the estate.  Violet’s goal is to help Isobel return to her life, using Isobel’s causes as the method to bring her out grief.

While Mary and Isobel are lost in their grief, Edith and Rose are living it up. Edith is still with Michael Gregson, commuting between Downton and London. He proposes that they marry, but he must find another country that will allow him a divorce.  Rose is a typical teenager, complete with a bedroom strewn with magazines, music playing and a penchant for wanting a good time. She begs Anna to come with her to a local tea dance. Upon entering the establishment, Rose hides that she is a niece of the house to blend in with the rest of the working class patrons.


The kitchen has received a blender. Daisy and Ivy are thrilled, Mrs. Patmore is scared that her job maybe in jeopardy.

The love quadrangle of Jimmy/Ivy/Alfred/Daisy continues.

O’Brien has left for another job during the middle of the night, leaving Cora  without a ladies maid. Evil Edna, who was fired during the series 3 finale takes the position and starts trouble.

Thomas starts trouble (but what else is new)?

Caron’s former acting partner is in the workhouse. He wants nothing to do with him, but Mrs. Hughes and Isobel step in help.

Mr. Molesley is out of a job after Matthew’s death and hard pressed to find work.


The wait was worth it.  It was an incredible season opener.  Julian Fellows has hit it over the park again.

Michelle Dockery deserves an Emmy,  A Golden Globe,  some sort of award for last night’s episode.  If this is Mary’s story arc and we only saw the first episode, the rest of the series will be incredible.

Kudos to the costume department. Laura Carmichael’s beaded dress is absolutely stunning. What a transformation from the dowdy, forgotten middle sister to a woman who is choosing  her own destiny and not afraid to show it.

Dowager Moment/Quote Of The Week

Violet: You must choose life or death?

Mary: You think I should choose life?

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