TV Review: Downton Abbey Series 6 Episode 5

Dinner time tragedy at Downton!


Although a ‘violent and bloody content warning’ pre-warned the viewers for the episode’s content, very few people could have expected the events that occurred near the end of the episode. This week’s installment got off to the cheery and promising a start of Mr. Mason moving into the Drewe’s old cottage along with the help of the downstairs staff. Even his new occupation as pig keeper was to be helped along by footman Andy. Cosy as well as practical, here’s hoping this arrangement gives his character a new lease of life.

Up at the big house, Lady Mary met dashing Henry Talbot to watch him in a car race. Given that speeding in a vehicle was what contributed to Matthew’s death, she was wonderfully calm, even going so far as to apply lipstick in public as she watched him race around the tracks.

Edith traveled ‘up’ to London (despite Yorkshire being hundreds of miles north of the capital) for her not- a-date with Bertie Pelham. During a stroll in a picturesque London park she asked him back to her flat for a drink; surely the 1925 version of Netflix and chill. It was here that they finally kissed, although Bertie protested that as merely an estate manager he couldn’t be worthy of her. She proved herself un-snobbish enough to recognise that they were a good match, and insisted that he had a great deal to offer. It is lovely to see her continuing to forge her own life rather than, as she put it, ‘dawdle in Mary’s wake’.

Mary herself however showed no such views, insisting that she wouldn’t ‘marry down’. Yet Tom contradicted her, pointing out that there was more ways to have a good match than just concerning money and class. ‘I think we see that now’, Mary smiled after Tom said how he and Sybil were an excellent match, as their politics and personalities complimented each other and ensured their happiness. At their dinner in London, Tom (the awkward third wheel) even not so subtly commented on how Mary and Henry kept making excuses to see each other. All this romance in the air makes we want to demand a wedding before the series’ end.

Chez Carson and Mrs. Hughes, the viewers were treated to an endearing scene of them eating dinner as husband and wife. Unfortunately Carson put his foot in it as he suggested how her cooking could be better as it isn’t, as Mrs. Patmore put it, as good as his mother’s. Cue an awkward silence.

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The long enduring plot of Hospital Wars took a new turn when Dr. Clarkson changed sides from Violet to Isobel, possibly or possibly not because of underlying affections. Determined to strike a blow for her mistress, Denker publicly reprimanded Clarkson in the street. However the Dowager Countess was less than pleased, seeing it as a show of uncalled for impropriety rather than loyalty and was prepared to fire her maid if it hadn’t have been for Spratt who publicly stuck up for her.

For those who thought that the hospital plot line was starting to stale, it took on a whole new significance in last night’s episode as future Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s dinner at Downton was disrupted by Robert projectile vomiting blood over the dinner table. Not even the health minister was able to help him, as he writhed helplessly on the floor.

After he was stretchered off to hospital, his family showed a remarkable sense of solidarity, displaying the ‘Keep calm and carry on’ mentality a good 15 years before the Second World War. Violet accepted a hand on the shoulder from Isobel, and Mary and Edith talked about how they could help their Papa upon his return. I for one enjoyed seeing them sharing a close sisterly bond, as it makes a difference from their constant and seemingly uncalled for griping.

As the episode drew to a close it felt as though Mary may have finally guessed that the little girl Edith adopted is actually her illegitimate niece after overhearing Violet mention ‘the secret of Marigold’. The scene ended with her regarding her reflection pensively in the mirror, no doubt with a great many problems on her mind. If she has guessed her sister’s sordid secret, it’ll be interesting to see if that improves or (if possible) worsens their relationship. Even Thomas showed more of his nice side than usual this week, offering to help Andy to read and displaying genuine relief upon the news that Robert was well in hospital.

For those fearing for his life, next week’s clip showed Robert sitting in bed propped up by pillows (phew!), so hopefully our favourite Earl will be alright again, at the helm of the Downton ship as is his rightful place.

All images sourced from Pinterest.