It’s all about love, with one ugly explosion of hatred.
Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 7 highlights five couples and with the exception of one couple, where their future is murky, all ends well – even the breakup.
Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) are once again a true couple. They weathered the nastiness of the slimy Simon Bricker, who at least listened to Cora.
As Isis, the earl’s dog (undoubtedly named for the Egyptian deity and not the terrorists) dies, the couple place the old dog between them on their marriage bed. It is an act of love for the dog and for each other.
Atticus and Lady Rose (Matt Barber and Lily James) continue to sparkle around each other. Despite a horrific dinner party – more on that in a moment – he asks her to marry him.
Bates and Anna (Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt) are also back on track. After her rape, and then suspecting he killed her rapist, the two have had a tough time. But last week’s confrontation tore down the walls. They are once again at ease with each other, and very much in love.
Lord Gillingham and Lady Mary (Tom Cullen and Michelle Dockery) are finally over. After spending a week, mostly in bed, in Liverpool, Mary knew she did not want to spend the rest of her life with Tony. Despite her father’s wishes for them to marry and Tony’s insistence – regardless of Mary telling Tony she does not want to – he refuses to accept it.
Mabel (Catherine Steadman) has been in love with Tony forever, and makes no secret of her disdain for Mary. A mutual friend, Charles (Julian Ovenden), who had designs on Mary, invites Mary to accompany him to the cinema. Charles knew when Tony and Mabel were exiting and at that moment plants a deep kiss on Mary.
Finally, Tony can accept it is over. After all, another man is kissing her. Mary could not possibly have known her own mind.
That leaves us with one last couple for this episode. What should have been a moment of joy leads to nastiness with the exposure of the hideous specter of prejudice.
The delightful Mrs. Isobel Crawley and Lord Merton (Penelope Wilson and Douglas Reith) announced their engagement. At a dinner at Downton, Merton’s insufferable priggish son, Larry Grey (Charlie Anson), insists on talking. If his sphincter were any tighter his ears would pop off.
He gives his future stepmother a left-handed compliment then adds, “That doesn’t prevent me from seeing the wide disparity in class and background may prove your undoing.”
“What did you say?” Lord Grantham asks, practically hissing.
“Only that Mrs. Crawley, a decent, middle-class woman with neither birth nor fortune is expecting to fill our mother’s shoes as one of the leaders of the county. Is she capable of it? Or will her inevitable failure prove a source of misery to them both?”
Lord Merton asks his son to leave.
But the entitled, titled boor continues about the “eccentric in-laws” in the family.
“You already boast a chauffeur and soon you will claim a Jew,” he says, referring to Atticus Aldridge.
Tom (Allen Leech), the former chauffeur who now helps run Downton Abbey, jumps out of his chair, and says to Larry: “Why don’t you just get out? You bastard!”
Mrs. Crawley cannot even consider the prospect of marriage into this family right now.
The other major development concerns Lady Edith, but fear not – her life is definitely on the upswing.
In the beginning of the episode, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) meets her daughter, Lady Rosamund Painswick (Samantha Bond), at the train station, a striking act in itself, as she is not the usual welcoming committee. The Dowager Countess explains they must tell Cora what they know about Edith, now that Edith has run away.
“If anything happens to Edith and Cora finds out we knew all along, she will never forgive us,” Violet says to her daughter. “And I wouldn’t blame her. You see as mother it is her right.”
Rosamund asks if her mother does not plan to also alert her brother, Lord Grantham.
“He’s a man,” the Dowager Countess says in her inimitable way. “Men don’t have rights.”
Just as they are about to tell Cora, Mrs. Drewe visits and she tells Cora Edith’s big secret –Marigold.
Cora is seething, not that her daughter had a daughter out of wedlock. But that her mother-in-law and sister-in-law both knew, abetted her and did not think to tell Cora.
As always, Cora is controlled. And for once the Dowager Countess is abashed.
Cora and Rosamund find Edith at her dead lover’s publishing offices, which he bequeathed to her. The three women chart a course. Cora wants her daughter and granddaughter to live at Downton.
Cora believes that her husband will come to accept their third grandchild but she will not press that matter until Edith is ready. The lie everyone will be told is that the Drewes could not afford to raise Marigold and she would be well cared for at Downton.
Cora devised the ruse. When they return with Marigold and Edith in tow, and see Mary waiting at the train station, Cora thinks fast on her feet.
This episode proved that Cora is not only the brains of Downton, but also possesses a spine of steel, albeit one wrapped in the most glorious velvets and lace.
Courtesy of © Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2014 for MASTERPIECE