Finally! After ten months of waiting, on last Sunday the Abbey had opened its doors to us again so we could meet the Crawleys once more. The UK premiere of Downton Abbey’s fifth season was far from being one of the brightest episodes of this series, but it was certainly a good start to a season that promises drama, intrigue and great doses of romance.
Although Mr. Carson has been feeling a shaking on the grounds he stands on, fortunately not everything has changed in Downton Abbey. The Dowager is still a master of sassiness and, despite her friendship with Mrs. Crawley, didn’t stop to enjoy a good argument with her. Violet’s schemes to put Lady Schakelton in Lord Merton’s path to avoid that Mrs. Crawley may one day become Lady Merton was hilarious, with an honorable mention to the scene where Violet scolded her butler, Mr. Spratt, for ignoring the poor Doctor Clarkson.: “And do not be such a snob!“
Edith is still the poor old Edith, crying her grief for her lost love and struggling to keep hidden her illegitimate daughter without actually moving away from her. The only moment of joy of poor Edith was when she was riding her bike (and here I almost heard the chords of the “Bicycle Ride” from Queen).
And what to say about Lady Mary, back in her old form of the first season, completely mean with her sister and owner of sassy remarks that had left no doubt from whom she is a granddaughter. Her remark after the fire was one of the best of this episode.
But then, we got Tony Gillingham, still surrounding Lady Mary in every possible way. This one is not one of those who give up easily, isn’t he? And let’s admit that the guy is really brave in making such an “outrageous” proposal to a Lady. But it didn’t surprise me because Tony has already showed signs that he can be really pushy when he wants something. It’s all right, Lady Mary moved on and wants to marry again. But then why, despite saying she loves Tony “in her cold and unattached way,” she still has doubts, even if she had discarded Charles Blake? Or didn’t she? Who answers this question is Mary herself, when she says that she wants to be as happy with her second husband as she was with her first. And, despite all the love adventures she might have this season, her worries go far beyond sexual compatibility because she is a woman who knows what true love is. But what I still don’t understand is what had happened since we last saw them that made Mary change her mind about Charles Blake and Tony Gillingham so quickly? Must be something in the water. This could also explain the sudden maturity of Lady Rose who developed an consciousness of her social responsibility and started to help at the local school.
Another highlight of this episode was the return of the evil Thomas, bullying Baxter to the end despite all the heroic efforts of Mr. Molesley to protect her. Apparently, after Baxter’s confession to a very sweet and understanding Cora Crawley, Thomas will not have more opportunities for his evil schemes. And with the likely resignation of James (after being caught in bed with Lady Ansthruder by Lord Grantham himself), he will be again alone in the Abbey.
By the way, Mr. Molesley himself and his very Latin blue hair also earned a few laughs. It was also nice to see that he and Baxter are closer , especially because by now, all of us have already developed some affection for the poor Baxter and besides, of course, a heavy curiosity to know what else is hidden in her past.
Finally, everyone knows that there will be some issue between Lord and Lady Grantham, so it was impossible to watch the episode without paying attention to certain details and how much those little things (some of them not so little at all) hurt her. It is visible how Robert brushed her off more than once, and while on his toast the always very english Lord Grantham had addressed kind words to his wife in front of all his guests, it was even possible to see a hint of melancholy in Cora when she lowered her eyes to answer to Tony Gillingham: “If it were all true.”
And we not even speak of the loveliness of Anna and Mr.Bates talking about children, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes after the holding hands episode, Mrs. Patmore being Daisy’s mother as usual, the friendship between Thomas and Jimmy, Tom Branson struggling to fit, the very opinionated Sarah Bunting, the lovely Crawley children, Grandpapa Donk, the fire and the Downton heroes and, of course, the great performances of Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Anna Chancelor, among others. (phew!) I will leave it for another post, right?
We all know there will be trouble in paradise. And we’ll all be there to watch, cry and laugh once more for the happiness of them all, because in the end, what all we want is a happy ending in our Sunday nights (and pleeeease Lord Fellowes, don’t kill anyone at Christmas…).
Come back later to check out Series 5 Episode 1 Page too!