DOWNTON ABBEY: “Episode 506”

Perhaps indeed the possession of wealth is constantly distressing, But I should be quite willing to assume every curse of wealth if I could at the same time assume every blessing.

Ogden Nash was never more salient than now for the lives of the Abbey-ers. These are indeed “Terrible People”. Perhaps the continued misfortunes Julian Fellowes suffers on the characters is an attempt to humanize them, but honestly, I’ve about reached the end of my rope! I’ve taken some recaps off, because I literally CAN NOT EVEN – there are just so many times I can say: “Do these characters never change?” and “Lady Mary is a ho-bag” …Vegas is already setting the over/under for how many episodes before I break up with Downton Abbey, but until I’m ready to throw in the proverbial towel, let’s catch up on all the Crawley dirt and see if we might find some semblance of the once-promising drama.

Death of a Journalist/Mummy Knows Best

So, after all the intrigue and vague hopes of one eternally-weepy Edith, Michael Gregson is, in fact, no more. A telegram arrives for the wispy WASP pronouncing her paramour deceased. He died not long after he went missing, but the body had been hidden for some time. Leave it to Mary to put things in perspective,”…what did she think he was doing? Living in a tree?” That’s it, Mare. Don’t let anyone see those feelings you’ve done so well to hide. You’re almost to full Maleficent status — don’t stop now. Edith spends most of the rest of the episode whining, but honestly, who can blame her? Mary and Matthew had this great love that everyone must mourn; consequently, they had an official document proving it. Because Edith and Michael were not married, I guess none of us get to care. In her desperation, and with nothing left to keep her waiting, Edith retrieves Marigold from the Drewes!

It’s a particularly painful moment as she confesses the child’s true parentage to Mrs. Drewe, who denounces it as a lie. When Mr. Drewe verifies the middle Crawley’s claims, and Edith produces the girl’s birth certificate, the broken woman who was never really the child’s mother has to let her go. Does anyone think over the consequences of their actions in this world? Edith ripped a child from the only mother she’s ever known because of birth right? Because she’s sad? After only giving Tom a notion of the truth, Edith escapes to a hotel in London with the poppet to start their new, middle-class life.

From Russia With Love

Whatever perfume the Dowager Countess put off in her youth, it’s still lingering in the air for her Russian suitor Prince Kuragin. When good ol’ Shrimpy sends word to Violet that the Prince’s princess is alive and well in Hong Kong, she heads to the slums to deliver the news in person. Kuragin seems to only have eyes for his English flower, however, and professes his love.

Violet actually appears affected by his expression of love, but she is having none of it. It’s all about the stiff upper lip and royal decorum with the Crawley matriarch; no one is leaving their exiled spouse on Vi’s watch. Besides, she has Denker, a new maid, causing Spratt to have fits of his own. The DC could have her own sitcom if this whole Lady thing doesn’t work out for her.

In other fun “lovey-dovey” news, Izzie plans to wed Lord Merton, maybe for love, maybe out of boredom – because that would cause the most wonderful of Violet quips. Fingers crossed. Lord Grantham decides to forgive his wife after she points out that he has probably strayed before, and she’s never acted so put out about it. I love to see that dude put in his place – wasn’t it only a few seasons ago that he was squandering his wife’s money and sneaking around with a chambermaid whilst his beloved was mourning a never-born child? Great catch, that one.

After considering Mrs. Patmore’s purchase of a home for boarders, Carson comes right close to proposing to Mrs. Hughes by suggesting they purchase property together. You know, “as a business.” Carson, you sly devil. Rose is all about her new beau Atticus Aldridge, never mind that pesky business about him being Jewish. After all, Cora shares a half of the same heritage, and good ol’ Granny has not fainted once. As long as this dude has money, I’m fairly sure wedding bells are soon to ring.

Just Say “No”

Once again, the coppers are poking around the Abbey in the hopes that Mr. Green’s killer will fall out of the woodwork. Operating on a tip – from Barrow, obvs – the investigators question Baxter, whom they’ve heard is hiding info on the Bateses. She informs them that she does not know anything other than the fact that the Bateses might be connected in some way. Really, Baxter? Was that necessary? I know you’re gainfully employed and all now, but can’t you just take one for the team?

Speaking of the Bateses (ugh), Mister finds the contraceptive device and book on “marital love” and is convinced Anna is using it because she does not want to have a child with a murderer. When he insists that he purchased a ticket to London but never got on the train. There’s some crap about the torn ticket – which we know was destroyed – that could prove his innocence…yada, yada, yada. It’s always something with these two and murder! Point is, they make up, and all seems well, for now. We know that someone is going to get arrested for this…it’s only a matter of time. Will the real killer of Mr. Green please stand up so this storyline can die, die, die?

Thomas admits to Baxter that he sent the letter to the police, and she’s oh so shocked (sarcasm). He pleads with her to help him, however, as he has become painfully ill after the injections he ordered to cure him of his, ahem, ailment have stricken him with some sort of infection. Baxter immediately takes him to Dr. Clarkson. Luckily, Barrow has only been shooting up with saline, albeit poorly and with dirty needles. The good doctor informs Thomas that there is no cure for his lot in life; he must learn to “accept the burden that chance has seen fit to lay upon you.” Again, I owe Fellowes a slight apology for not believing in Barrow’s character arc. His scheming must be the only thing that ties him to this world, that makes him feel “normal.” It is an outward expression of his inner turmoil to project drama upon others so that he might escape into himself.

On second thought, I rescind that apology until this Green mess is sorted.

This Year’s Girl

And finally, Queen Bitch herself rears her perfectly coiffed head again this week as Lady Mary sports a new hairdo: a bob to end all bobs. She even traipses around the house right as Edith is just donning her black attire, always needing the spotlight. The true reason for this makeover comes into focus as the family heads to a horse race. Mary is among the competitors – as is Lord Gillingham and Mabel Lane Fox. Apparently, when she is passing off her sloppy seconds, Mary likes to do it in style, and she goes as far to say as much to Charles Blake – who finds all of this quite amusing. That woman is POISON!

Do yourself a favor and fall in love with a new show. Though there are some shenanigans down the line, and a couple more proposals along the way (one quite shocking), these storylines and people just keep making the same mistakes. Will it get better in series six? Let’s hope for everyone the answer is: yes, but it will be the last one.


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