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Sarah Bunting

This post contains spoilers in regards to past and present Downton Abbey plots. If you are catching up on previous seasons and have not seen the latest episode, do not read.

One of the newest characters on Downton Abbey is Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis).  Introduced towards the end of the 4th season, Miss Bunting teaches at one of the local schools. She met Tom Branson (Allen Leech), the widower son in law of the Earl and Countess of Grantham at a political event. In the three episodes that has aired so far in the United States, Miss Bunting has managed to gain the friendship of Lady Rose (Lily James), helped to improve Daisy’s (Sophie McShera) education and has been at Tom’s side several times, while insulting several members of the family upstairs and riling feathers downstairs.

In introducing Miss Bunting as a possible love interest for Tom, Julian Fellows has awakened Tom’s dormant political nature. Ever since the death of Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) during the third season and the birth of their daughter, Sybbie, Tom has felt torn between his political past and his present as a father and a member of the Crawley family.

Personally, I don’t like Miss Bunting. Having opinions is well and good, but being a loud mouth who insults people is not the way to make and keep friends. The one lesson that any singleton should take away from this character, is that if you are attracted to someone, insulting their family and lifestyle is not the way to  keep that person in your life.

I think Tom is better off single or with someone else.

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Downton Abbey Series 5 Episode 1 Recap: Sex, Poor Edith And A Hint Of Jane Austen

Like all recaps, these posts contain spoilers from last night’s episode. Read at your own risk if you have not see the episode.

Upstairs

Julian Fellows continues with his semi-sadistic hatred of Edith. The episode opens with Edith bicycling over to the Drewe farm to see her baby girl, who is being raised by Mr. and Mrs. Drewe. While Mrs. Drewe has swallowed the story about Marigold’s “dead” parents, Mr. Drewe knows more than he lets on.  Back at the Abbey, Mrs. Hughes finds a book with Michael Gregson’s name written in it. At the end of the episode, she nearly burns the house down, when, in grief, she throws one of the letters from Michael into the fireplace, but it misses the mark.

Robert and Cora’s 34th wedding anniversary is fast approaching, but Robert is blase about the fact. What starts as a simple anniversary dinner with the family nearly turns into a rumble when Rose invites Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis), the schoolteacher from the village, who Tom met last season. Miss Bunting is not shy about sharing her political views, especially her approval of The Labour Party and the leader, Ramsay MacDonald.

While Charles Blake has yet to appear this season, Tony Gilllingham is back and still pursuing Mary with a vengeance. His latest scheme is trying to convince her to go away with him for a few days. He even goes so far as to boldly enter her bedroom when she is only in her dressing gown. We all know what happens to single men who dare to enter Lady Mary’s room.

Tom has not yet completely warmed up to the idea that he is part of the family. The mere presence of Sarah Bunting re-awakens his old political ideas. I have a feeling that Tom will be doing a balancing act this series between his former self and his present self.

We see briefly, the youngest and cutest members of the Crawley family, Sybbie and George. Sybbie’s nickname for her grandfather is donk. All together now, awwww.

And finally, Violet is playing matchmaker, a la Mrs. Bennet. Her co-conspirator is Lady Shackelton (Harriet Walter, Fanny in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility) The person she is matching for is Isobel. The the two men are Dr. Clarkson and Lord Merton. While Isobel tried to gently turn them both down last series, I have a feeling that Dr. Clarkson may need to up his game if his competition is a peer of the realm.

Downstairs

In this week’s mid life crisis moment, Mr.  Molesley tries to impress Miss Baxter by putting dye into his hair and trying to cover his slow balding. The person who notices is not his intended target, but Robert, who asks if Mr. Molesley is Latin.

Speaking of Miss Baxter, we know something of her secret. In an effort to get the monkey known as Thomas off her back, Miss Baxter tells Cora that she stole jewelery from a previous employer and was in jail for three years. When Thomas tries to tell Cora, she reads him the riot act (Go Cora!). But then Thomas saves Edith from death by asphyxiation from the fire and is the hero once again.

Daisy is convinced that because of all of the years she has spent in the kitchen, she has missed out on years of school and has an urge to return to schoolroom. Mrs. Patmore does not agree with her.

Bates and Anna are back to their pre-rape relationship. In fact, I think, if he would have, Bates would have taken his wife home for a little private time. But it is only the first episode, so we may see another roller coaster that is the married life of John and Anna Bates soon enough.

Jimmy’s old employer and Downton’s newest cougar, Lady Anstruther (Anna Chancellor, Caroline in the 1995 miniseries and a descendant of Edward Austen, one of Jane Austen’s brother’s) has come to Downton for obvious reasons. And it’s not just for visiting Cora.

And finally, Mr. Carson is appointed to lead the committee to build a war memorial in the village. The traditional choice has always been the Earl and not his butler. The times, they are a changing.

Analysis: First episodes of any season usually require some catching up (not that we need it), but it felt like it was a little too much re-hashing of the end of last season. But it is only the first episode, so only time will tell.

Dowager Quote Of The Week

Lady Shackelton: Of course, a single peer with a good estate won’t be lonely for long if he wants to be.

Lady Grantham: You sound like Mrs. Bennet.

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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.

Upstairs

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.

Downstairs

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.

Analysis

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.”

 

 

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