“Principles are like prayers.” – Downton Abbey 5×01
Downton is back, you guys.
There are some shenanigans about a war memorial which make the poor old Earl feel unwanted. Lady Edith visits her daughter at the tenant farmer’s house so often, that the farmer’s wife thinks Edith has a crush on her husband. Poor old lady has no idea what’s going on. Barrow is his usual smarmy self, still hassling Baxter. Daisy feels stupid, so she starts taking the 1924 equivalent of correspondence courses in accounting. Lord Gillingham makes quite a scandalous offer to Lady Mary, and she accepts! Sarah Bunting continues to be unlikeable, while the Dowager continues to pwn. Oh, there was also a fire at some point.
Things I loved:
Lady Cora’s put down of Barrow when he tried to rat on Baxter was all kinds of awesome. Would you like some aloe for that burn, Barrow?
Basically any scene with Maggie Smith is gold. As usual, she comes up with the line of the episode: “Principles are like prayers. Noble, of course, but awkward at a party.”
Things I didn’t love all that much:
Maybe I was spoiled by all the binge-watching I did last year. This is the first time I had to wait out the Downton hiatus in real time, and as a result, the premiere episode felt a little flat to me. I probably had unrealistically high expectations after all the excitement of last year’s Christmas special. There wasn’t much follow through on the whole Bates-and-Gillingham’s-valet story. At one point Bates had to bring up the topic himself to Lord Gillingham. I said to no one in particular, Good God, man! Are you deliberately throwing suspicion on yourself? Charles Blake, one of Lady Mary’s suitors, wasn’t even in the episode. Or was he? Maybe he showed up when I was dozing off. Sarah Bunting is really hard to watch, and I can’t believe that Tom Branson could like her. She was way out of line during the dinner scene. It’s admirable to be passionate about your beliefs, but the way her character just shoves those beliefs down people’s throats won’t win her any friends. And the way she threw shade at the Earl! Not cool at all, Miss Bunting.
This wasn’t all bad, though. I’m still invested in Daisy and Lady Edith. I guess that’s just me and my need to cheer for the underdog. I just want good things to start happening for Lady Edith! I think we know where the whole situation with her daughter is heading, so I’m interested to see how it pans out. I don’t even know if Gregson is still out there and if he will come back. Do I care? Hmm. Hard to say at this point. As for how Lady Mary treats her, a couple of questions come to mind. Why is Lady Mary nice to everyone in the world, including the servants, but not even civil to her sister? It’s more than the usual sibling rivalry to me. But again, I just want Lady Edith to get a break.
I am also cheering for Daisy. I want her to succeed and I’m excited to see what her future is on the show. And just give me more of the Dowager Countess please!
(I realized as I was writing this that I was thinking in an English accent! That’s what Downton does to me. Does it have the same effect on you?)