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The Downton Abbey Dish Season 4 Episode 5

British television maven and blogger Deborah Gilbert keeps you in the know with entertaining recaps of each Downton Abbey Season 4 episode. Count down the most memorable scenes from each episode, including the Dowager Countess' best zingers. New episodes of Downton Abbey Season 4 air Sundays at 9pm through February 23.
THE DOWNTON ABBEY DISH – Downton Abbey Season 4 Recap: Episode 5 (aired 02/02/14)

I heard a rumor that there was (allegedly) some sort of sporting event going on this evening, across the river, on the Jersey side, but with all the fuss they were making over that misshapen ball, one would have thought The House was playing The Village! I’d say the PBS Drama Bowl was time better spent…

Lady Yin and Mrs. Yang: You Sunk My Ladyship!:

Just like he did earlier this season with both Thomas and Lady Mary, Lord Fellowes has hit the reset button with Isobel and Violet, as the battle lines are drawn over the fate of poor Square Peg and a certain Japanese knick-knack. We feared the Dowager had gone soft, and then just like that, gone is the compassion and the nurturing friendship, and back come the sparring partners. They’re like any great rivalry: Each needs the other at their best. Violet helped bring Isobel back to life, but was it just because she needed a worthy opponent? And who is really the cause of all this mishegas in the Dower House? It seems to be Violet’s paranoid butler, Norma Desmond. First Molesley and now Peg: Miss Sprat simply cannot have some nobodies traipsing over the carpets and competing for Her Ladyship’s favor. Is he merely a dedicated servant driven to fits of ennui by working for the Dowager (who looks like she just might keep a riding crop under the sofa cushion and use it on random servants)? Or is he just a bully who chooses hapless victims for fun? Either way, it seems that both the knife and the knick-knack got the old Sprat switcheroo, giving Isobel a needed boost back up onto her high horse. But while Isobel can snoop with the best of them, Violet can do a switcheroo of her own, gleefully beating Isobel to the punch with a grateful but shoeless Peg. How many more of those wonderful people out there in the dark will go Sprat before this little reign of terror is over? Oh, the humanity!

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother: Makin’ Bacon:
So Lord Grantham always thought Cora’s mysterious brother was rather good at business? That doesn’t bode well. Given that they are discussing Uncle Harold in the same breath as oil leases and Senator Fall, it seems obvious that Harold is somehow mixed up in the Teapot Dome scandal; that huge political bribery scandal from back in those halcyon days when political malfeasance was grounds for conviction instead of anti-hero status from talk radio blowhards whining about the lamestream media. And depending on how deep Harold was mixed up in it, this could mean he was called to testify before a Congressional committee, or prison, or it could just mean he was merely an innocent (and dumb) investor and this was his Canadian Railroad. We’ll have to wait and see, but I hope he’s not dumb enough be asking Robert for financial advice. And speaking of business, Branson and Mary are going into the pig business, and given their unsuitability to modern farming methods and close to extinct status, the choice of Tamworths are the perfect metaphor for the age of the crumbling landed estate. If you’re keeping score, that’s a sawmill and a pig farm that Mary and Branson have added to the Abbey’s portfolio. Next up: A tractor that runs on indignation.

Eat This!: Danke Schoen:
Anna and The Brooder try to take their minds off their recent troubles with a date night at a fancy shmancy hotel, but their plans hit a snag when they encounter a snooty little maitre d’ who looks them up and down and tells them he just gave the last table to Abe Froman. Luckily, The Countess of Grantham is dining nearby, sees them, and comes to their aid – out snobbing the snob with a finsky and a smile. Of course, when the sweating maitre d’ asks for understanding, Bates responds, “Don’t think twice. It’s understanding that makes it possible for people like us to tolerate a person like yourself” as he quietly seethes and Anna hides the knives. Cora’s kindness extends to her offering the Bateses a ride home afterwards (I wonder if they had to ride in the front or if she let them ride in the back with her), but upon approach she hears a snippet of conversation which she relays to Mary out of concern, and Baxter relays to Thomas out of whatever it is that is making her answer to him. Baxter looks more reluctant to do Thomas’ bidding everyday, which begs the musical question, what exactly is he holding over her?  So now Thomas knows something about this secret hurt to Anna, that Bates couldn’t protect her from. What will he do with it? Even though he says she’s not an enemy, he had no qualms about framing her to save Crazy Edna. One cannot imagine this leads nowhere. But will it lead to something that hurts or helps her?


 *******************
*******************

Quite Contrary Mary: The Lucky Ones:
Mary is back on her side of the bed, signaling ever-so-slightly that Matthew is a just bit farther away in the rear view mirror. Even so, when she, Tom and Isobel reminisce over good times, she says she isn’t quite ready to be happy yet – and just as Evelyn Napier comes to visit.  I could be wrong (though I am not familiar with the sensation), but Lady Mary has a pattern: If a man enters stage left and she starts arguing with him right from the jump, she is eventually going to fall for him. In a different time she would have sought help for this destructive relationship pattern on Oprah (giving Carson a stroke). But in the absence of that resource, Mary is likely not aware of said pattern and thus, some sort of romance with Blake the Traitor is telegraphed from the moment they first speak and she is quickly peeved. Has anyone got a #DramaBowlPBS pool out there where we can bet on how much time it takes for these two to shift from vinegar to honey? If so, I’d like to put my money down. For his part, Blake is non-plussed and reads her as entitled (yes, right); someone who thinks they deserve everything on a plate (wrong!) Not on a plate, Bud: On a silver tray and don’t you forget it! And let that be a lesson to you Mr. Napier: If you want Mary to take charge of you, don’t be so agreeable!

The Secret of My Success: Ain’t Too Proud To Beg:
Elsie Hughes, Woman of Mystery knows how to keep a secret, that’s why everyone confides in her. It’s a quality that makes her the Road Runner to Thomas’ Wile E. Coyote; a quality that is going to keep him very busy for the foreseeable future with the instruction manual for his ACME Double-Agent Ladies Maid Kit. Luckily, one of Mrs. Hughes’ biggest secrets is the whereabouts of the Mr. Carson instruction manual – and she knows how to use it. And that, of course, is how poor Mr. Molesley gets Alfred’s old job. It were fate. And now there were three: Of course, Molesley’s opportunity came at the expense of lovelorn Daisy, who lost the unrequited object of her affection, Alfred, as he took his leave of the Abbey, moving on to The Ritz cooking school (though not before a little condescending face pulling from the family in the drawing room), because the unrequited object of his affection prefers the slithery Jimmy. Last season when Poison Ivy went out to the pictures with Alfred, she took two extras as chaperones. But for some reason she didn’t think she needed them when she and Jimmy went out to see Rudolph Valentino and Jimmy takes the opportunity to cash in his chips and get fresh, causing Ivy to storm off back to the house lamenting the late, great Alfred E. Nugent, and getting a well deserved scold from Daisy and no sympathy from Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore in return. Could Ivy be as dumb as she seems? Well, no matter, now she only has to count to three: The quadrangle is now a triangle.

Society’s Child: Guess Who’s Coming to Downton:
Like I said before, Cousin Oliver is down with the swirl! And so selfless is our Rose that she pulls off a surprise that scares the farm animals when, to celebrate Robert’s birthday, jazz singer Jack Bart walks into the servants hall and says, ‘excuse me while I whip this out’, causing Mrs. Patmore (and the maids) to shiver all over and Carson Bunker to clutch his pearls. But he quickly recovers in time to ask Mr. Ross if he might be more comfortable in the next room, or in Africa, before jumping up on the table and singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. There is a similar response upstairs when the music starts to play. Irony alert: Edith standing there pregnant with a married man’s baby and questioning if it is suitable to have ‘this man’ in the house. Oh Edith, you never disappoint! But forget that. After everyone scraped their chins off the floor, they all got jiggy with it. And once again Branson is left to dance with one of the oldies, but in this case, it’s for the best as Isobel, in her way, slaps him and yells, “snap out of it!” (which is not easy to do in time to the music). A good time was had by all and when all is said and done, Cora tells Robert, “come to bed and dream of Ragtime – and that hot topless scene I did before I met you!” (Hey, wait a minute! Maybe Cora can get Harry K. Thaw to shoot Green! Genius! Problem solved!) But there just might be another problem brewing downstairs. It’s Cousin Oliver Rose and Jack, who get caught by Mary who, while stunned, is as polite as her breeding demands while offering her thanks followed by her trademark oh-so-subtle-blink-and-you-can-almost-miss-it-but-you-don’t withering stare as slowly she turns, step by step… Ruh-roh! You can always tell when Mary is upset about something: She ascends the stairs in slow motion. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! But they are not going to run. This is a couple named Rose and Jack, which can mean only two things: This ship is going down and she’s not going to let go. The real life person that Jack Ross is loosely based on, Leslie Hutchinson, lived in two separate worlds because of the societal prejudice of the time: He romanced the society ladies but was not allowed to share the stage with a white woman; his fans included royalty (including King Edward VIII), but when he entertained at their lavish parties he had to go in through the servant’s entrance; he was one of the biggest and highest paid stars in the UK in the 20′s and 30′s, and made millions, but after a tabloid ran a blind item about his relationship with Edwina Mountbatten in 1932, it seems that (outwardly at least) he was the only one who paid the price. He lost royal favor, theater bookings and his BBC Radio jobs. After a long slide, he died years later virtually penniless and reportedly only 42 people attended his funeral. He was like maid Ethel in that way: When a wave of scandal hits the aristocracy they get the lifeboats while the outsiders in steerage go down with the ship. Will that happen to this Jack? Will there be a scandal that makes Rose say, “I can’t see you anymore, baby”, or will she get the cover of distraction from another scandal…

The Fugitive: Rockabye Your Baby: 
It is a worst case scenario for poor Edith: She just got word that the rabbit died, and love ‘em and leave ‘em Gregson has gone missing in Germany. Detectives from his office are on the case, so that must mean that he’s left them high and dry as well – though, at least, not up the duff (as far as we know). And this just might be the worst thing about this situation for Edith: How long did it take Mary to get pregnant? Edith finally did something better and easier than her nemesister and she cannot say a thing about it; there will be no witty come back in the drawing room from this. That surely must irk her. All we know is that Gregson went to Munich and then disappeared into thin air. Did he plan to disappear or did something happen to him? Given his location and the fact that every historical event since 1912 has been connected to Lord and Lady Zelig in some way, one wonders if Editor Charming was somehow involved in the Munich Putsch. But back to bread and butter issues: It has to be slowly dawning on Edith that she has been taken – or rather, left. Again. I’m sure quite a few Downtonians had a chuckle when Lord Grantham came barreling into the room and, seeing her sobbing in front of the fire, exclaimed, ‘Edith, my most darling girl…’ To her credit, Edith calls him out on it, and in that moment we see the raw vulnerability of Lady Edith. She is long past ready to travel and she thought Editor Charming was her ticket. She keeps trying to fly this fancy, loveless coop but keeps getting her wings clipped. Her quest for love and belonging continues. Edith was defined for us in broad strokes, in the very beginning, when Lord Grantham remarked that the thought of Edith taking care of he and Cora in their old age as a ghastly one and Cora described her as not having the advantages (i.e.; looks) of Mary or Sybil. That was the short story, but in the long run I think this has made her a more interesting character as Edith defines herself and her voyage of discovery and invention has made her more relatable to contemporary women. But at the end of the day, she is always Edith and so there is always an anvil hovering, waiting to fall out of the sky. And what is she to do now? Being a baby mama in 1923 was no lark; pregnant and single there are no good choices. And she has no Anna, so who can she talk too? Who can she confide in who isn’t going to judge her and ruin her? No, as always, the cheese stands alone.

Dowager Countessdown (Madam Dowager’s best zingers from each episode):

5. I wonder why you don’t just set fire to the Abbey and dance around it, painted with woad and howling.

4. I wouldn’t know. I’m not familiar with the sensation.

3. If you wish to understand things, you need to come out from behind your prejudice and listen.

2. My dear, we country dwellers must beware of being too provincial. Try and let your time in London rub off on you a little more.

1. Oh, is that what it is? Do you think any of them know what the others are playing?

I have to say though, that my favorite part of tonight’s Drama Bowl was the halftime show when The Dowager sang Proud Mary.

New word: ‘nemesister’. I never heard it before and thought I had made it up, but it turns out I didn’t. Oh well. I think it is quite good anyway: It is a cross between nemesis and sister. Perfect, I think, to describe Marcia and Jan or Mary and Edith. And we just might be able to make it go viral and become the new ‘frenemy’.  Your assignment, Downtonians, should you choose to accept it, is to use ‘nemesister’ at least once this week (and report back). Today the Downton Abbey Dish: Tomorrow Merriam-Webster! Excelsior!

Now on to the second half of the Drama Bowl: Sherlock, and the Sherlockian Synopsis.

New episodes of Downton Abbey Season 4 air Sundays at 9pm through February 23. Find out all the ways you can watch new and old episodes.

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  • Bayou

    Love the Abe Frohman reference!

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-2/ Gotham Tomato

      Thank you! I love to work in obscure references. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      –Deborah

      • CatKinNY

        I loved your less obscure reference to Elizabeth McGovern playing Evelyn Nesbit; and yeah, Harry K Thaw would be outraged about what Green did to Anna, and he’s getting out of the nuthouse next year!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-2/ Gotham Tomato

        Thanks! She was rather amazing in that movie. And I believe that famous statue of Evelyn Nesbit that was once on the top of the original Madison Square Garden is still on display at the current Garden.

        –Deborah

      • CatKinNY

        Nope, she’s in a real garden somewhere. I learned that in a recent show on WNET about Stanford White – Treasures of New York, maybe? The current Garden is a horror. I remember it’s predecessor – it was in Hells Kitchen, if I’m not mistaken – from horse shows and things my parents would take me to. I particularly remember the Queen’s Own Black Watch putting on one hell of a show. It was smaller and much nicer, but fell victim to the rise of rock concerts that could sell out huge venues. My mother remembered the previous one – White’s Garden, which actually was in Madison Square (I think). She described it as opulent and beautiful, but smaller. Oh well, that’s progress!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Is it? Well that’s another gentrification change to NYC I don’t like then! I used used to see her there on display in the plaza entrance area.

        –Deborah

      • CatKinNY

        It was a copy. The real one left before the third Garden was built.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Damn! Now if you tell me the painting of Eloise at the Plaza is a fake I’ll be completely disillusioned!

        –Deborah

  • Susanna G.

    Maybe Michael had ulterior motives for going to Germany. He could have used the excuse of becoming a German citizen to get a divorce, as a cover-up.
    As for the pigs, whereas it is true that Tamworths did not become the breed of choice for modern intensive (and very cruel ) confinement farming, in those days it was still a good choice. It is a good thing that people such as Mary and Tom kept the breed going because otherwise they might have become extinct. There is now a growing interest in more humane farming practices, and Tamworths are on the increase. They can live outside and forage for much of their food. They are good-natured and have lean meat. I have had three of my own and have spent years promoting them. I had one of them flown from the mid-West and even took him on The Robert Klein show. So well done for Mary and Tom even though I suppose they will loose money.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-2/ Gotham Tomato

      I have to say I love it that someone who actually owns pigs is chiming in here! Though, should it assume that you don’t live here in NYC? I know my building would never allow pigs (at least, not the 4-legged kind!)

      –Deborah

      • Susanna G.

        No, I don’t live in NYC. I had the pigs when I lived and worked on a large farm 30 miles north of the city. I had other breeds of pigs and other animals also, and took several of them into the city on various occasions.
        A Tamworth pig appears in one of the episodes of “Keeping Up Appearances” On the other hand, maybe it is a Gloucester Old Spot, or maybe both.
        The factory farming of pigs didn’t get started until after I left England in 1965, so Mary and Tom’s new enterprise could be a success after all.
        Mr. Fellows has certainly done his research well. The farming part of Downton Abbey is very true to life as, I think, are the other subjects about which this amazing man has chosen to write.

      • CatKinNY

        On one of the many recent shows about the stately houses of Britain (Chatsworth, maybe) they spent some time discussing the management of the estate, which included high end agricultural produce. They were keeping pigs that largely lived on their own, foraging in the wooded areas. I think they might have been Tamworths.

      • Susanna G.

        If the pigs you saw were long and slender with auburn hair, they were Tamworths, a very handsome breed!

        Could someone tell me what “Share” means? I am new to all this.

      • CatKinNY

        To be honest, I wasn’t paying particular attention and can’t recall their appearance in any detail. They were relatively slender, happy and friendly, which surprised me. I hadn’t expected a sow with a litter, living in the woods, to be so jovial, but she was.

        I’ve known a couple of Tams, now that I think about it. I have a friend who is a Laird with one of those fairy tale castles outside of Huntly in Aberdeenshire who keeps all manner of animals, including pigs, some of which are Tams. They are delightful creatures, very friendly with his Border Collies. They sleep indoors when it’s cold – he has a lovely barn. I have a glass cutting board/trivet with an 18th century painting of a Gloucester Old Spot that I bought in Stowe-on-Wold. I’m inordinately fond of it for some reason.

        ‘Share’ means put it on your Facebook page. I’m fairly new to all of this, too. This is what’s known as a message board. Chat rooms are where people are communicating in real time, madly typing. Phones are infinitely better for rapid communication, IMO (in my opinion). Cheers!

      • Susanna G.

        Thank you for for the explanation. I don’t do Facebook or tweeting. I don’t even own a cell phone. I agree that phones are far better for communicating, but best of all is letter writing of which I do a tremendous amount. I love to see people writing and receiving letters in Downton Abbey.
        Glad to read that you have an interest in agriculture. Many viewers of Downton Abbey probably do not realize that it is now a subject of great importance, just as the other subjects brought up on the program — women’s rights, rape, homosexuality, poverty, nobless oblige, class barriers, war, etc.
        Prince William recently announced his intention to study agriculture (sustainable I think/hope). With the world’s rapidly growing population it is becoming ever more difficult to feed every one without continuing to deplete the earth’s limited resources. It might sound just like a fun enterprise, and something with which to pad the program for Mary and Tom to raise pigs, but is also serious and far-sighted.
        I would love to hear more about your friend’s castle!

      • CatKinNY

        I too am a Luddite who doesn’t tweet, maintain a Facebook page or possess a cell phone. These message boards ARE letter writing, in my opinion, which is why I enjoy them.

        I’m old enough to have watched the revolution in agriculture that has brought us to where we are today and see the negatives and the positives fairly clearly. When I was first becoming aware of the larger world, in the mid 60s, massive famines that killed hundreds of thousands, due, usually, to weather events, were a regular feature on the evening news. Today, thanks to Borglund’s Green Revolution, most third world countries are capable of raising sufficient food to feed their populations, so famines today tend to be caused by political instability that creates bottlenecks between supply and demand, either in the form of men with guns or an infrastructure that can’t do the job. While it’s great not to see footage of starving people right before you sit down to dinner, it’s undeniable that there are far more humans on the planet than there would have been had the Green revolution not occurred, and that is unambiguously bad.

        Meanwhile, in the US, thanks to an aggressive ‘get big or get out’ farm policy that has resulted in massive consolidation of farms and benefited corporate agriculture massively, we’ve displaced a lot of people, which has caused considerable poverty and misery in rural America, particularly in the South. Food is a lot cheaper than it was when I was a girl, but because so much of it is produced by huge multinational operations that select what to grow for reasons that would never have occurred to someone on a small farm, we have less variety and less nutritional value per calorie, even before those same multinationals turn it into the processed stuff found everywhere in our markets. Our poor people are fat for a reason. The pollution produced by these huge operations, whether they are growing crops covered in pesticides or fattening antibiotic drenched animals on CAFOs, is becoming an unacceptably high ‘externality’. The Chesapeake is a toilet and what washes down the Mississippi from the farms in the upper Midwest is killing everything in it’s wake, including the coastal swamps that used to protect the Gulf coast from storm surges. We cannot continue what we are doing.

        Prince Charles has done some wonderful things with organics at Highgrove and Glamis Castle (his grandmother’s Highland family seat), and I applaud him for it. He’s turning a tidy profit, too, while conducting research that will benefit us all. He sells lovely stuff at Fortnum and Mason; the gift shop at Glamis is also a bit of a grocery store. I’m glad that William has decided that the old man’s avocation is a lot more than a hobby.

        The castle is one of those tower houses that looks like it belongs in Puss and Boots. The cross pollination between Scottish houses built for defense and the chateaux of the Loire produced the loveliest castles in the world, for my taste. It’s rather like Craigievar, though larger. The estate is a mix of agricultural concerns and hunting/shooting/fishing ventures. He has several holiday properties for rent that can be had either without the rights to shoot or fish, or, for a great deal more money, with those rights. Wealthy men come up from London during the season to play at being Edwardian aristocrats, and they foot most of the bills, bless them.

      • Susanna G.

        Loved your long and thoughtful “letter” I hope that a lot of people read it.
        In my opinion, there is nothing as wonderful as actual letter writing. With a real letter the recipient can look at the stamp, the post mark, the texture, colour, size etc. of the envelope and paper, as well as the hand writing, the mistakes and so on. Then there is the anticipation of waiting for the letter to arrive. I have letters going back for over fifty years, filed by their author and by the year and month in which they were written. I love letter writing and find it relaxing and fun. All this despite the fact that I have no butler to bring incoming letters to me and take care of the ones I write!
        Anyway, for a while, at least, this is fun.

      • CatKinNY

        I know what you mean about letters. I too have a box full of them, and handling them can transport me back to the person I was when I received them. Cheers!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Letters also allow one to discover history in a way emails and texts never will. Imagine if Matthew’s final letter had been an email, or anything else on his computer; it would still be locked in there unless someone had the password!

        –Deborah

      • Susanna G.

        Good point, Gotham Tomato!

      • Kaycee

        Letters are almost as self illuminating as diaries. I have letters that I sent to my mother when I was eight and she was in the hospital and they allow me to know who that little girl was better than any “Dear Diary” entry I made at that time. My late husband and I sat in front of the fire one New Years Eve, twenty or so years into our marriage and read, in chronological order, the letters we had written to one another over the four years we toiled away at different colleges. No collection of emails or texts could equal the pure joy of that. And no digital error can wipe them away.

        I think people who love writing and reading and the art and beauty of language also appreciate quality drama where the characters communicate and express themselves eloquently and passionately.

        And so we letter lovers love Downton!

      • Susanna G.

        That is really lovely!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Do you mean the share button above? If so, if you click on it, it allows you to share this page on your social media. It will give you the option of sharing the link on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
        (And please do!)

        –Deborah

      • Susanna G.

        Deborah — Thank you for explaining about the Share option. I don’t, however, do Facebook or Twitter or any other social media except email. (If that is a type of social media.)
        As you have probably seen, another participant has also explained this to me and now I know that this is a Message Board. It is always good to learn something new.
        Do you work for public television or are you doing all your writing as a volunteer and because you love Downton Abbey?

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        I don’t work for PBS; I’m writing for them because I love Downton Abbey – and I believe in Public Broadcasting (I think it’s very important!) I publish a free weekly e-newsletter about EastEnders, and they’d seen that so when they thought about adding a Downton Abbey blog to the site, someone there thought of me (and I’m glad they did!)

        –Deborah

      • Susanna G.

        So glad to read that someone thought of you when it was decided to add a blog to the site. (Now I know the definition of a blog!) Your writing is very amusing and I hope that You will keep it up for Season Five.
        I don’t know what I will do when the current season is over. It will be as though I am going to loose part of my family. I have been confined to bed for over a year, and Downton Abbey is one of the major bright spots of my week. It will really be terrible when Season Five ends and it all comes to an end forever.

      • Kaycee

        To help some with the “separation anxiety/despair” we all feel when a season ends Deborah does a wonderful post here called Dispatch From The Diaspora a few times before the next season begins. It eases some of the withdrawal symptoms. And there are always the other interesting and entertaining Masterpiece productions to buoy our spirits. As a back up I DVR each season and if these tidbits of joy aren’t doing it for me I watch a few episodes over again. It is amazing to me that even on the second (or third or fourth) viewing it holds my attention as firmly as the first go round. I hope your confinement has an end date in the not too distant future and wish you well.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Thank you, yes, I forgot to mention that! Dispatch from the Downton Abbey Diaspora is a blog I do here on Thirteen every two or three weeks during the ‘off-season’. So please keep an eye out for it.

        –Deborah

      • Susanna G.

        Thank you for telling me about Dispatch From The Diaspora. I will look for it.
        I, Too, watch DA over and over. I have Seasons One, Two and Three and have watched each one ten times!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Thank you!

        I guess you’ll have to watch reruns til next season, but I think there might be some good news: I believe I read somewhere that it might go on to a Season 6. I don’t know if that’s true or not.

        –Deborah

      • Louis Muñoz

        Already in mourning! Fortunately, I look good in black!

      • Kaycee

        And so are we!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Thanks!

        –Deborah

      • elizabeth young

        Deborah, your reviews are the best. So witty and ‘spot on’, with interesting takes. I read the EW review and was appalled. You are a far better writer. Thank you!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Thank you! Glad you’re enjoying it!

        –Deborah

      • Louis Muñoz

        And we’re so lucky to have you doing these great recaps!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        TA!

        –Deborah

  • Susan Amon

    Is it just me or why, since we believe Edith is quite intelligent, hasn’t she thought about what she signed? Couldn’t that be a clue to Charming’s current situation?

    • Downtonian

      The matter of the signed document is driving me nuts. Just what was in that thing?? Permission to clean out her bank account? Does she even HAVE one? I figured “Send the bills to Papa” was the order of the day.

      • natalie

        I think Michael has gone to Munich to join the “Brown Shirts” or early Nazis, Can Edith accept this? Some i the English upper classes definitely did but I think the Crawleys would not be among them.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        This was something I asked Lord Fellowes about at the press event in December, when a small group of us were chatting with him. I asked if this would happen and mentioned the Mitford sisters, and he said, Nazis in Downton Abbey? I don’t think so!

        –Deborah

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-2/ Gotham Tomato

      She may be smart but I don’t know that the sheltered daughter of an aristocratic family would know much of anything about business or contracts. And he was talking to her as he placed it in front of her. I don’t think she’d know to read it first. She trusted him and she signed. We’ll have to wait and see what it means.

      –Deborah

      • Kaycee

        What if we don’t? WHAT IF WE DON’T? What if he stays missing for the rest of season four? And what if we have to wait until next season to find out if he returns and the content of the document she signed? Tell me what we do then, Deborah? What!! Maybe it’s the snow but I’m slipping to the end of the rope. Yes, it must be the snow.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        I think someone may need to switch to decaffienated coffee:)

        –Deborah

    • Kaycee

      It is not just you. We’ve all been hooked with that one and I fear that we will be well into February when we find out. Snowed in, iced over and curious! An evil thought popped into my head. Perhaps it was an agreement that Edith would take over responsibility for the institutional care of Mrs. Editor if anything happened to Editor Charming. No, too evil.

      • Susan Amon

        Oh, I never thought of that angle. I wondered if Mrs. Editor really exists. I think there is only three episodes left so hopefully we’ll get some answers soon. Too many things to resolve at DA. It’s driving me crazy

      • Kaycee

        Well, Jeez, if there is no Mrs. Editor then Gregson certainly does weave some jim-dandy webs! He would have to have created a fictitious and insane wife that he could not divorce so that he would have to become a citizen of another country to relieve himself of her to marry Edith, all at the very beginning of their acquaintance. That’s a little too complicated, even for British drama. Would he really have that story ready to roll out for any woman he met and thought he would like to eventually bed as an out when things got to the marrying part?

        And yes, there is a lot to be pulled together and tidied up in the three remaining episodes for this season. But then, there are season ending cliff hangers. Oh dear!

      • Susan Amon

        You’re right Kaycee. I didn’t think that theory through. What if the Mrs. Can’t stay at the institution any longer and he’s made Edith her guardian. Slow camera roll to the Dowager!!!

      • Kaycee

        Good Lord, Maggie Smith would need a chiropractor to get her head and neck back in place after that scene!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        She must exist because Edith found out that news from a third party. But maybe she’s not crazy. Of all the story lines, the is the one I am most interested to see play out. Who woulda thunk that back in season 1?

        –Deborah

  • Downtonian

    Oi, what a mess for Edith. I feel so badly for her! I do have a couple of ideas of what can be done, if Editor Charming truly has done a bunk, never to be seen again. There’s her brother-in-law, for one.. Tom just said laughingly there were no other convenient Earl’s daughters for him to marry but he is clearly quite wrong – there is one right under his nose. Never mind the fact that they never seem to speak, I can just see our noble Tom stepping up to the plate and offering to save Edith’s good name. Either that, or somebody forces him to.

    My second thought is they’ll place an emergency SOS to Lord Toothy, her erstwhile former fiance. Unless he’s settled down with someone else who he could stand the thought of tying down for the rest of her life, he might come rushing in and take Edith as his bride after all. I know this happened, shopping knocked-up aristocratic daughters to anyone who would have them and give the wee one his name – with the aid of a fat dowry, of course.

    I know both of these scenarios are far-fetched and for poor Edith’s sake, I hope I’m wrong. Leave it to her to fall pregnant on her very first encounter… As my daughter remarked, DA has such a subtle way of discouraging premarital sex: you know, the guy either croaks or you get pregnant. BAM!

    “Nemesister” is pure genius. :)

    • CatKinNY

      I don’t find either of your scenarios far fetched, and having Tom marry Edith would kill two birds with one stone – he can’t go off to NY, taking Sybbie with him if he’s married to Edith. As far as their never seeming to talk, I’ve noticed sympathetic glances over that breakfast table when Robert is treating one of them dismissively. Still, I think there’s a decent chance that Michael is in jail in Munich, for reasons explained in another comment.

      • Susanna G

        I can’t quite see Tom and Edith marrying, even though he is so sweet and would do the decent thing. How about Rose — eventually. Yes, she is a gad-about, but who wouldn’t be, having been more or less locked up in a remote Scottish castle with such a controlling and dowdy mother?

      • CatKinNY

        I doubt very much that Rose and the family spent all that much time at Duneagle. She doesn’t strike me as much of a country mouse. They would have maintained a home in London, and spent most of their time there. Even today, in the age of high speed rail, the Highlands are not quickly accessible from London – day trips from Downton to the capitol with a return by dinner, as we recently saw Edith take, would not have been easy, either. The Granthams are lucky that they don’t have the expense of a town house thanks to Rosamund. It’s one of the major factors that will help them save Downton. A lot of people without that safety valve lost estates because they waited too long to decide what they’d keep. My friend’s family decided quickly that their priority was saving the castle they’d lived in for 500 years and sold the mansion in Mayfair in the 20s.

        I’d say Rose’s mother’s fears were well grounded, wouldn’t you? We’ve seen her involved in an affair with a married man, and now getting hot and heavy with a black band leader! I was shocked that Mary left her with him. One thing I’ll say for Rose, though. She’s not a snob, genuinely so. When she got Anna to accompany her to that dance in Rippon, she wasn’t ‘slumming’, When she was upset at Duneagle, it was the most natural thing in the world for her to turn to the Bates’s when the opportunity arose, and she was delighted to teach Anna how to dance for the Gillies Ball. However, I think she’s far too silly for Tom and he far too serious for her. Edith, on the other hand… – let’s just say that I saw potential there as soon as I read your post.

      • Susanna G.

        I suggested Rose, but just eventually. Rose might be silly, but she is not shallow. She is cultured and educated and will likely one day settle down when she has had her fill of the high life. After all, look at how Edith has matured. Sybil was the love of Tom’s life and he is not ready to marry again at this time. Maybe not ever. (I loved the happy scene in the nursery with Mary, Isabel and Tom)
        Speaking of Edith, there are two events that have been left hanging. 1) What happened to the man who showed up when Downton became a convalescent home for wounded officers? His head was swaddled in bandages and he claimed to be one of the cousins who drowned on Titanic? Edith was quite interested in him, spent time talking to him and believed his story.
        2) What happened with the information in the letter that Edith wrote to the Turkish ambassador? Will that come to light now that Mr. Pamouk’s friend has come back?

      • CatKinNY

        I see no point in thinking long term about Tom’s future. If something doesn’t tie him to Downton quickly, we’ll only see him when the family goes to New York to visit Cora’s mother. Frankly, he’d be better off if he did come here. He’s no longer the young man who wants to tear down houses like Downton wholesale, but he’ll never fit in that world. All those questions he encounters from Lady So and So or Sir Such and Such like “Do you know Lord and Lady Powerscourt?” after hearing he’s from Dublin wouldn’t have been asked in real life. They would have been able to tell, instantly, from his accent, that he was working class, and have been able to extrapolate, correctly, that he was Catholic and a Fenian. In New York, by the 1920s, Irish Catholicism was not a bar to anything. Joe Kennedy Sr relocated the family here exactly for that reason. In Boston, there were still people who wouldn’t let their kids play with his kids and clubs he couldn’t join.

        I too loved that bittersweet scene in the nursery; Isobel is a great favorite of mine. When Matthew died, of course I felt awful for Mary, but it was for Isobel that I felt most deeply.

        1) He was exposed as an imposter. He’d known the cousin and appropriated his biography in an attempt to take his place. Edith had been in love with the cousin (who was the heir) so she was more gullible than the rest of them.

        2) It’s old news that has already discreetly circulated as rumor – it got to Rosamund, after all. If Napier had been interested in fanning those flames he would have done so years ago; instead, I seem to recall that he tried to counter it, though I don’t remember the details. He’s a decent chap who seems to genuinely like Mary as well as find her attractive. And why not? She’s very clever and witty. Out of all of them, she’s the person I’d most like to be seated next to at dinner.

      • Kaycee

        I agree that it is pointless to speculate about Tom’s future long term but since we can’t watch season 4 in a viewing binge we do! Certainly if he married Edith, or more unlikely, Rose, it would increase the likelihood that he would stay at Downton but that would be too tidy, too neat and somehow too Days of Our LIves. It would be an easy out and beneath the general brilliance of the story telling so far. I think something totally unanticipated will happen with Tom. I haven’t heard any rumors about the actor wanting to take off so I hope he doesn’t disappear to America because I like his character and he is the only really crossover character in the lot, from down to upstairs.

        The scene in the nursery with Tom, Isobel and Mary was one of my all time favorites and showed that glimmer of warmth in Mary that Matthew saw and brought out. Usually it’s fleeting so I savored it.

        And what’s up with Napier? If he is attracted to Mary as he seems to be, and was when he brought Mr. Pamuk to visit, he doesn’t play it very well. Unless he has amnesia, it seems to me, he would have to be a fool to bring another man along with him to the Abbey. The last man he took along got on very well with Mary (right up until that moment when his heart stopped) and Mary appeared to be blind to the attention of anyone else at that pajama party. Now with the sizzle and crack that for Mary seems to mean Hubba Hubba it looks like she is once more not focusing on poor Napier. His learning curve appears to be flat.

        Well, in less than 48 hours we will have a whole lot more on which to chew.

      • CatKinNY

        I like Tom, too, and hope he doesn’t leave, though I know he’d be better off in NY. I agree – a marriage is unlikely, and would be very soap operaish, but ‘Downton Abbey’ is a melodrama. There’s no fixed line between the two of which I’m aware.

        I don’t think Napier had any choice about bringing his boss to Downton. Do you think he’s carrying a torch for Mary? He could be, or more likely, IMO, views her the way one views that person who we found very attractive, and with whom we had a friendly, flirty relationship, but who we know wasn’t interested in going any further. Most of us accept it when a crush is not reciprocated and don’t really expect that to change when we encounter them again later. We may briefly hope, but are not in the least surprised when the person behaves as they have in the past, and are less disappointed the second time around.

        The bigger question about Napier is why is he working FOR a bureaucrat? Is he broke? Speaking of questions, if said bureaucrat is to be Mary’s new love interest, couldn’t they have found a more attractive actor?

      • Kaycee

        Yes, I too wondered why Napier is doing whatever he is really doing. He is not forthcoming about his actual assignment and kind of blows Mary off when she describes what she thinks he is in the area to do.

        Also, I get what you are saying about the crush thing and that may be the case with his attraction to Mary but I think he has more hope there than that buy he just keeps bringing men to feed into the mill that is Mary.

        Don’t be so harsh on the new guy. He is attractive in his own way and it had been driving me nuts to figure out where I had seen him before. He is Foyle’s son in the wonderful Foyle’s War series, although in that series he seemed so much taller. Isn’t that always the case?

        I know Tom would be better off in the land of opportunity but if he comes to America I hope next season shows a lot of pond hopping because he is a very endearing character.

        My bet is that Harold will be a wild character with anything but a level head so if Tom gets mixed up with him it could be dicey all around.

        Since my American and untrained ears don’t pick up any off notes with Hyacinth on Keeping Up I get to just enjoy her over the top and in the ditch social climbing. And the real beauty of her name, as you know, is that it is spelled B-U-C-K-E-T, pronounced, of course, as only she can.

        Well in close to three hours we will all be putting the kettle on and settling in to see what comes next.

      • CatKinNY

        Would you be forthcoming about the actual assignment if you were Napier? I bloody well wouldn’t. The job is to see which of the great estates will go under first so the government can be ready to keep the tenants farming while the estates are being broken up and sold off under government supervision. I can’t think of a nice way to say that to Mary. She knows perfectly well that that’s the fate that awaits many of her peers and is fighting to ensure that Downton doesn’t go that way, but she’d be bound to look at Napier and Blake (?) as undertakers hovering at the sickroom door.

      • Susanna G.

        Yes, they would have known he was working class by his accent. Maybe they had drunk too much. As a child growing up in England I could instantly tell the person’s class. (Look at Hyacinth Bouquet in Keeping Up Appearances. She can’t quite get it right, and gives herself away with her a’s, such as in “class” I think this is lost on many Americans.) Also, they probably could not conceive of the Granthams having anyone other than the upper class to their party. Maybe Mr. Fellows had a reason for this. Surely he could not possibly have slipped up to that extent.

        If Tom goes to America, Cora will be making many trips to see Sybbie. Perhaps she sets up a trust fund for her and gives Tom enough money so that he can start a business to give Sybbie SOME station in life.

      • CatKinNY

        I’m fairly sure that everyone knows that Sybil married the Irish chauffeur, aren’t you? Hyacinth is a scream!, and while you’re right about the specifics of what’s off with that accent being lost on most Americans, I’d bet it sounds slightly wrong to the majority of us who actually watch her.

        Sometimes scriptwriters take license for plot advancement reasons, especially if they think there’s a good chunk of the audience – ie most Americans and possibly younger Britons? – who won’t think about it because the world depicted is so remote from anything in their personal experience. My maternal grandmother was a wealthy American contemporary of the Crawley girls who was engaged to a French aristocrat, so I grew up hearing about this world, but most people only know it from depictions in programs like this one, which allows Mr. Fellows some wiggle room.

        Cora knows Tom would be better off in NY, though of course, she doesn’t want him to go. She doesn’t have personal control over any money; Robert went through her money anyway. Downton is running on Matthew’s inheritance from the former fiancee’s father at this point. Cora’s brother, Harold, is a bachelor, isn’t he? He could take Tom under his wing; of course, Harold is involved in Tea Pot Dome, so how that will shake out, I’ve no idea.

      • Susanna G.

        I had forgotten that Downton is running on Matthew’s inheritance from his former fiancee’s father. How awful, I can’t even remember her name other than Miss Swire.

      • CatKinNY

        Lavinia – but I only came up with it because you came up with Swire!

      • brooklynbird

        Oh, I’d forgotten that Napier was Mr. Pamouk’s friend, thanks for the reminder!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Yeah, The Mummy. I have wondered if there is any connection between The Mummy and Editor Charming.

        –Deborah

      • Louis Muñoz

        Has it been said definitively that they DON’T have a town house? I seem to remember in Series 1 or 2, Lord Grantham was going up to London by himself, and he said something to Lady Grantham that he was just going to the club, he wouldn’t bother having the house opened up. Might be wrong on this, but feels like I heard them say that.

      • CatKinNY

        They do have a town house, as we found out tonight. They haven’t used it once in all four seasons. How much financial trouble could there be and still manage to maintain four homes?

  • CatKinNY

    I’m thinking that newspaperman Michael got into Munich just in time to cover the Putsch – it wasn’t a secret, after all. After Hitler electrified the crowd in the beerhall to take over the government of the state of Bavaria, things got very crazy for about a week. There were gun battles in the streets and there were a lot of arrests – including a sweep of foreigners who ended up in jail, though I have no idea for how long. In those days, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that someone with no one to come looking for them might have been allowed to languish while the authorities were trying to suss out whether he was an agent dispatched by the Soviets or Mussolini to cause trouble. Or he might have been caught in the crossfire on the street – Fellowes wouldn’t expect most of us to really care that the deaths, in real life, were confined to Nazis and policemen.

  • rconnelly8@aol.com

    Here’s an answer to the question from the episode a week ago when no one could figure out what Anna replied to Bates when he asked why Baxter was so close to Thomas: “You know the old sayin’, “There’s nowt as queer as folk..”
    P.S. I’ve been to Thirsk in Yorkshire!
    Buck

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      What brought you to Thirsk?

      –Deborah

  • Barbara Bell

    I also loved the “Ragtime” reference, but my favorite of your subtle references tonight is “slowly she turned, step by step…” Well done!

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      LOL, I’m glad at least one person got that!

      –Deborah

      • Kaycee

        Make that two. You caused me to laugh out loud. And “nemesister”! Just terrific!

      • Linda F.

        This is what I love about Debbie’s recaps. Where else, reading about Downton Abbey, are you going to see a reference to Harry K. Thaw? Hilarious!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Aw, shucks, thank you!

        –Deborah

  • Linda F.

    I have a question about Edith. Apologies if this has already been discussed. Did she actually sleep with that married farmer she was involved with in an earlier season? I was just trying to recall when she lost her virginity.

    • Kaycee

      No, she did not sleep with him. It was all just very scandalous nuzzling in the hay stacks as I remember it. Everyone was all buttoned up.

      • Linda F.

        Thanks for the clarification, Debbie and Kaycee. Bull’s-eye the very first time–that really is straight out of health class! LOL

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      I don’t think she slept with the farmer or the mummy or Sir Anthony. It had to be Editor Charming who was her first because THAT is Edith’s luck isn’t it? (It’s also the scenario they used to warn us about in health class, isn’t it?)

      –Deborah

  • Ransom B.

    Fascinating to see the extent to which people are caught-up in this(me too!), but little
    surprised when the writing is as rich and dense as it is. I’m holding out for Gregson for
    awhile; he’s always treated Edith well, and he seems of a counterpart to Bates—deep
    waters running though. Can’t see Tom “saving” Edith as he wouldn’t play that sort- I
    think that would push him to America full power. Previews mention Gillingham coming back to Downton, then follow-up shot of a very upset Anna. Somewhere here, Mr. Green gets his because Mr. Fellowes does complete his character & story lines. I do
    wonder if Mary has realized (or cares) yet that she can never be the Countess of Grantham? With her son the heir-apparent, the title will bypass her completely. She spoke(in high tone) in a previous season of that being her future role. And last, I believe Mr. Fellowes will end with Season 6: he spoke with Charlie Rose that the ’20′s
    were dynamic and when many of the war’s changes came fully into being. P.S. Violet
    won’t live forever, and how could there be a Downton without Dame Maggie?

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      In my mind, Violet is the only character Downton Abbey cannot do without.

      –Deborah

  • Louis Muñoz

    As always, a superb and super fun recap: “NemeSister”! “Elsie Hughes, Woman of Mystery”! Love that!
    Re: Edith. I like that even when we should be feeling guilty enough about her to start organizing a combination Pity Party/Baby Shower, she doesn’t disappoint in being the same Glamour-Puss. And as someone said, either Debbie or in the comments, that whole “my darling girl,” EECK!!
    Re: Rose – am I the only one not taken in by her? Let her go to Scotland, PLEASE!
    Then again, I can always blame Debbie, since forever more I immediately think “Cousin Oliver” everytime she shows up on screen. LOL
    Among many other parts of the recap I enjoyed, thanks for the info on the real-life “Jack Bart,” Leslie Hutchinson. But then, I am History Nerd Personified.

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