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Review: ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 5 Episode 6 Sets the Stage for Romance

Review: 'Downton Abbey' Season 5 Episode 6 Sets the Stage for Romance

PREVIOUSLY: Review: ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 5 Episode 5 Hot Topics Include Anti-Semitism and Nudism


Gregson is officially dead, meaning Edith inherits the publishing company and the family get to show their lack of tact by immediately planning a picnic with Rose’s new friend who happens to be a boy. Lily James is utterly adorable trying to insist that her interest in Hot Jewish Atticus is platonic, but she could have waited. Mary has the best line of the episode, as she always does when she gets to be awful to Edith – “What did she think he was doing? Living in a tree?”

Oh, Mary. When Edith runs off to become the next Tina Brown, with her illegitimate child in tow, you’ll regret that. Or at least raise your eyebrows and say “Golly!” before forgetting you ever had a sister.


Mrs. Patmore is buying a cottage and takes Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson to look at it, presumably in the hopes of locking them in the bedroom and letting them get their sexual tension resolved. Repeatedly.

And Thomas, as we suspected, has been trying to ex-gay himself. Robert James Collier is one of the most under-used brilliant actors in a cast of under-used brilliant actors, and his angry, awkwardly defiant confession to Dr. Clarkson – who responds beautifully, because he is the best of men – is one of the best things the show has ever done.

In My Lady’s Chamber

Violet has a new lady’s maid, and Spratt is unhappy. Unhappy Spratt is the very best thing to ever happen to this show, and he deserves his own spin off, especially because, in this case, he might be right. There’s something off about Denker, and as Sue Johnston is one of Britain’s best-loved actresses and the go-to girl for working class women with a bit of depth, we’ll probably see a lot more of her.

Nobody Cares About Cora

You’d think, after discovering another man in his wife’s bedroom, that Robert might actually spend part of this episode cherishing Cora and making sure she knows how much he loves her. Or at least, you would if you hadn’t watched this show before. Robert is still sulking in the dressing room, which for some reason also has a bed, seething with fury that another man came into his wife’s bedroom without being invited.

Let’s all pause a moment and take that in. Simon Bricker, despite being pretty comprehensively shot down by Cora every other time he tried to upgrade from ‘slightly smarmy flirt’ to ‘illicit lover,’ entered Cora’s bedroom and tried to convince a reluctant woman to have sex with him. And Cora’s to blame. Has Lord Grantham been spending too much time on the 1920s equivalent of MRA forums? Oh wait, that was basically THE WHOLE OF SOCIETY back then. At least he fits in.

Cora, in a move worthy of Machiavelli — or at least the Dowager Countess — tells him that if he can truly say he’s never let a flirtation get out of hand throughout their marriage, then by all means sleep on the sofa. Because Robert is a dirt great cheater, he comes to bed. Please, Cora, just leave him.

It’s the Future, Mr. Carson

Hitler gets a shout-out, thanks to Michael Gregson’s death, although he’s currently in prison for the Munich Putsch. “At least they’ve locked [him] up for five long years,” Cora says, effectively guaranteeing that he’ll be out in November.

December-December Romance

Violet visits her Russian Fox, who has come down in the world since his exile and is now living in the cleanest, best-kept slum in Yorkshire. The only thing more depressing is realizing that the rent on those apartments today is probably unaffordable to most of us in Britain.

Isobel is still refusing to tell Violet what she’s decided re: Lord Silver Fox, but since she’s going to make an announcement at the upcoming picnic, it’s probably not going to be no.

Carson asks Mrs. Hughes if she’s ever considered retiring, with a heavy subtext of “so we can indulge our baser passions without being interrupted by Mrs. Patmore.” The scene at the cottage is lovely — away from Downton, he’s so much more relaxed, and so much more Yorkshire. Never was a dropped ‘h’ quite as sexy as when Jim Carter does it. If Mrs. Patmore hadn’t interrupted them, things could have rapidly gotten X-rated.

Who Killed Mr. Greene?

Bates says he didn’t kill Greene because he didn’t want to hang. Not because he has any sort of moral compass, but because he didn’t want to hang. He continues his track record of being creepy and threatening and inevitably finds the contraceptive Anna was hiding from Mary. At this point, it’s looking like Anna is going to be framed for the murder. At least in prison, she’ll be away from her husband.

Grade: A-

READ MORE: Review: ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 5 Episode 4 Is Full of Costume Porn and Proposals

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