Downton Abbey S6 Episode 5

First off, congrats to the whole Downton cast for winning the 2016 Screen Actors Guild’s Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series last Saturday night (Jan. 30).  What a wonderful farewell gift. They’ve won this category four times in the past five years. A nice wrap indeed.

Now, to Sunday’s Downton episode. Scribe Julian of this mild and pleasant final Season has dropped a shock bomb so sudden that the surprise element is no less than Matthew’s car accident at the end of Season 3.  This time it’s even more graphic. You haven’t seen so much blood gushing out of a person, not even in the WWI battle scenes in Season 2.

That’s what happens if your ulcer bursts. Among the horror and chaos, kudos to Robert that he can utter the endearing last words to Cora, “if this is it, just know that I’ve loved you very, very much,” which Cora firmly repudiated, “This isn’t it, darling.”

So we take her words for it and not worry too much. Just a ploy our scribe Julian uses to make sure we haven’t fallen asleep in this mild and uneventful episode. I mean, what we’ve been looking at, so far, is Mr. Mason moving into Yew Tree Farm, Mrs. Patmore preparing food baskets, Mary watching her first car racing, Edith going on a date, and yes, Neville Chamberlain, yes, that Neville Chamberlain, brought into the battle of the local hospital and then the shocking scene happens.

Neville Chamberlain

Let me just recap these mundane events of the evening, albeit I must say, I love the change of scenery for them all. First to Yew Tree Farm. So the Landlord Duo Mary and Tom come to inspect and declare Mr. Mason too old for pig farming. Good Andy comes to the rescue. He’s not only willing to help out but wants to change his career path to become a pig farmer. Daisy is looking at what her future will be like with this ambitious young man and the aging Mr. Mason. Looks like Yew Tree Farm will be handed over to the young soon. But of course, Andy has to start learning to read and write in order to raise pigs. So Mr. Barrow steps in. Is it a good thing I wonder.

Mary Crawley and Henry Talbot, those two are quite incompatible, aren’t they? One craves cars and racing; one loves pigs and property management. One ignores social gaps, why of course, the race track is on pretty level ground; the other esteems her higher position and ‘won’t marry down.’

In contrast, Edith and Bertie, ‘evenly matched’ and ‘balanced’, relating as equals. Those are all Tom’s words reminiscing on his own courtship with Lady Sybil. “Real love means giving someone the power to hurt you.” Tom tells Mary.

And now Edith. Two exemplars for Mary to emulate, or, is she too high up on the horse to see clearly. I’m sure Henry Talbot has his ways. Why, the motor car is the perfect vehicle invented for modern romance, seating two side by side. Look, he’s much more relaxed now than in previous episodes.

So glad to see Edith finally enjoying herself and being genuinely happy. A cozy and elegant London apartment she has, mostly Michael Greyson’s taste. No matter, it’s a place she can call her own now that Downton is Queen Mary’s dominion. A new editor found to manage the magazine, everything under control… except her secret about Marigold. Would Mary her dear sister sabotage that hard-to-come-by peace in her life?

Miss Baxter’s brave move of coming out to be the witness for the prosecution reaps great results as the accused changes his plea upon hearing her name on the witness list. No trial is needed, what a relief. Don’t we hate to go through another Downton trial to see justice done, or undone? Wait a minute, maybe yes, there should be a trial, this time for Miss Denker for defamation and uttering threats.

What I like about this episode is the variation of sceneries and setting. The park where Edith and Bertie take a stroll, the race track, the Yew Tree Farm, and the new home of the Carsons. Yes, even the messing up of the elegant dining table and everyone’s formal attire with splattered blood. Some alternatives for the eyes.

Your take on this episode?


Previously on Downton Abbey Season 6:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

13 thoughts on “Downton Abbey S6 Episode 5”

  1. Like you, I loved the change of scenes. Boy, what’s up with Daisy — With Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason maybe getting sweet on each other, does she feel threatened or what? And Mary — no wonder she’s ambivalent about the cars — probably brings to mind Matthew’s accident.

    I got the feeling that Lord G. will be OK — but Tom and Mary are going to squeeze him out of the stressful stuff related to Downton, that probably thanks to whatever care he receives the hospital or health system will get the credit — or not, and that Mary is probably going to figure out Marigold’s story and spill the beans to Bertie. Will he go “I don’t give a hoot” (but more Brit, of course) or will he say, “That darned Edith, that’s why I love her so much, her big huge heart.”

    We’ll stay tuned!


    1. Oh, PS — Miss Editor — I forgot her name. Do you think we’ll be seeing her again? I think so — but not sure how. A rival for Bertie’s affections, perhaps? A better Miss Bunting for Tom? And I really am enjoying the character development of Thomas. Still a bit of the old Barrow (ah, remember him out smoking in the backyard with Lady G’s maid?) but a more human fellow. We’re starting to see his feelings.


    2. Jeanie,

      You’ve got lively imagination. All these are possibilities. And the trailer for the next episode that follows this one shows Lord G. sitting up in bed apparently in good spirits. So, hail to the doctors and whatever hospital system that saves him. I tell you, this issue really is none of my concern. I’m more interested in Edith now, more than Mary. Yes, the car crazed Henry sure can bring back the memories of Matthew’s tragic accident. But nothing of that sort has been mentioned by Mary, at least not up to this point. As for Mary finding out about Marigold, now, what more is she going to torture her younger sister with, I mean, come on, the sibling rivalry isn’t warranted really. The new editor could be a potential date for somebody. Ummm … I wonder who.


  2. Love the Dowager’s comebacks, but what was the French phrase she whispered to Robert after the changing of the placecards? I believe it was in response to his comment to her critiquing her fear of “losing her place.” (I’d love to learn both the phrase and the translation.) Help francophones!


    1. david,

      Welcome to the pond and thanks for throwing in your two pebbles. Here’s the French phrase, and you’re right, it’s another quotable quote.

      After the Dowager has changed the seating plan, Robert responds: “You’ll be in a very junior seat.” The Dowager then answers in French, probably doesn’t want Mr. Carson to hear what she’s saying: ” Il faut reculer pour mieux sauter. ” In English, the phrase means: “You have to step back to jump further.”


  3. Katie and I were just reeling on the couch at that scene hanging onto our faces in horror. It really was a good episode altogether. Of course then Dear had to add that it was a little too nice and the blood was too bright red. I’m fine that they didn’t get too realistic on an ulcer exploding! I’m not going to say anymore since I’ve seen the whole season…


    1. Ellen,

      I must say that’s a bold scene to put into our genteel show. But hey, it’s the last Season and they can do whatever they feel like, break the mode, be radical, visceral, graphic. They need to leave as much an impression as they can, it’s their last chance. Now, a current of sadness just swept over me.


    1. Michelle,

      Now a Downton movie is on the drawing board, but I don’t think it will give as much joy of discovery as the first Season. We just have to treasure the memories of that first encounter.


  4. I knew something was going to happen to Robert with all his repeated references to indigestion or whatever and I was just hoping they weren’t going to kill him off! All that blood certainly made it seem like they were so I am glad he was ok in the end!


    1. I listened to an interview of Lord G. (Hugh B.) talking about this scene. They had medical advisors on hand explaining to the cast what was involved physiologically and even the color of the blood had to be exactly right, supposedly a darker red at first then lighter, bright red. And Hugh B. had to make sure it was targeted and spilled onto Cora. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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