Dec 26 2014 1:25pm

Downton Abbey Season 5 (Series 5) Christmas Special Recap: Joy to the World

Lady Mary and George in Downton Abbey Season 5 Christmas specialWelcome back to Downton Abbey and what's sure to be another year of delicious upstairs/downstairs drama. Come, let's see what Series 5 has in store for our beloved Crawley family, shall we?

Note for U.S. Viewers: Downton Abbey returns to PBS for Season 5 on January 4, 2015. We'll be repromoting Naz's recaps then, so feel free to wait to read them until that time to remain unspoiled.

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Downton Abbey, including last night's Series 5 Christmas Special. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Here we are, the true finale of the season.

We start with Mary visiting poor Anna in jail. Anna’s worried that Mary’s visit will leave a black mark on the Crawley name, but Mary assures her that her visit will actually prove to the world that they Crawley family believes Anna to be innocent.  She also promises that the testimony of one man claiming to have seen Anna at the scene of the crime is not enough for a conviction, and that Anna will be released soon. I hope so! This is seriously ridiculous.

Lady Mary in Downton Abbey Season 5's Christmas SpecialBack at the house, the family is busy packing to go on for shooting party at Brancaster Castle at Lord Sinderby’s invitation. Bates is not going to go, obviously, since he can’t abandon Anna, and Thomas is taking his place as Robert’s valet. This oughta be good. Meanwhile, Baxter is going to be lady's maid to all three ladies of the house, much to Molesley’s concern. Oh, and Sinderby hasn’t invited Rose’s mother, Susan, to the shoot. I guess he just can’t get over her divorcing Shrimpy.

Violet’s not joining the family, however. She’s staying home at the Dowager House because Shrimpy’s been able to locate Princess Kuragin, and apparently, the newly-found wife of Violet’s former lover is going to be staying at the Dowager House with her when she arrives in England!

The next day, the family’s gathered at the train station, with Carson micromanaging a ticked-off Thomas, and Violet stopping by to bid everyone farewell, much to Robert’s surprise. Apparently the Princess is going to arrive the next day, with Prince Kuragin stopping by for dinner, and Isobel assures Robert that she wouldn’t miss it for the world. Anyway, the train takes off with Robert entrusting Downton in Carson’s hands. As it pulls away, Violet tells Isobel that the combination of Sinderby, Branson, and Barrow doesn’t lend itself to a successful shooting party, to which Isobel quips, “makes you wonder what they would be shooting at by the end of it!” Ha ha ha! She’s right! Later, Violet asks Isobel to arrive a bit earlier for dinner tomorrow night. She’s really nervous about the prospect of having the Kuragin’s at her home. She’s also invited Lord Merton. Oh, I hope this is a first step to getting Isobel and Merton back together! 

Back at the house, the staff is basically closing down the family rooms, covering everything in sheets, etc. Molesley asks Daisy about her plans, and she tells him that she hasn’t really figured out whether or not she’ll continue with her studies, or just carry on with her life as it is. Meanwhile, over a glass of wine, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes review choices for the house they are to buy together. While Mrs. Hughes is still hesitant, Carson tells her that they should see the houses first before making a decision.

Something’s up with Robert and he won’t share what’s going on with Cora. The day before the trip, he went up to York, but we don’t know why...yet. As they’re riding up on the train and Cora’s cautioning everyone to be on their best behavior for Rose’s sake, Robert keeps sighing and making faces, but still won’t divulge what the matter is. Meanwhile, a panicking Edith wants to call the nanny and tell her to not take the children any where while they’re away, and Mary chastises her for wanting to lock the children up in the attic until they’re twenty-one! See, Mary still doesn’t know that Marigold’s Edith’s daughter, so her jibes about being “the mother around here” are particularly hurtful.

Brancaster Castle is getting ready to receive the guests, and Lord Sinderby, just as ornery as ever, has brought his own butler, Mr. Stowell, to be in charge, apparently to the chagrin of the Castle’s servants. As an aside, you might all be interested to know that the real Alnwick Castle in Northumberland (home of the Percy family for the past 700 years!) is standing in for Brancaster Castle, and it’s truly a magnificent location.

Anyway, the Crawley family arrives, and as they are getting settled for tea, Thomas introduces himself to Stowell as Robert’s valet. Stowell, a rather cranky chap, tells Thomas that he is well aware of the Bates’ misfortune, and that Thomas is simply the “temporary” valet. He tells Thomas that he can’t understand how he can possibly wait on a former chauffeur (he means Tom, of course), and informs him that he is to help out as a footman during the party. Thomas is pretty offended, but he doesn’t have much of a choice. Stowell continues making fun of Tom and asking whether he is going to be reading a motor magazine while the others are shooting. Oh, joy. We’re going to be dealing with a really nasty butler in this episode. Maybe he will make Thomas appreciate Mr. Carson more!

The next day, Lady Sinderby decides that Mary should be partnered with her husband during the first run, and Mary takes the opportunity to talk to Sinderby about Shrimpy and the divorce. Sinderby refuses to budge, however. Meanwhile, Lady Sinderby is accompanying Tom and asks him if it was hard joining and becoming a part of the Crawley family. She realizes that the Crawleys are infinitely more welcoming than her own family (meaning, of course, her husband, primarily). As Robert gets settled in for the shoot (and announces that Lord Sinderby is a “prig,”) Cora asks him again to tell her what’s going on, and once again, he doesn’t say anything. This is getting a bit annoying. Out with it, Robert!

Anna and Bates in Downton Abbey Christmas 2014Okay everyone, get ready to be absolutely horrified: back in York, while Bates is visiting Anna in jail, we find out that when she was young, after her father had died and her mother remarried, she was abused at the hands of her stepfather. One night, knowing what was about to happen, she snuck a kitchen knife and waited for him in the dark. When he showed up, she struck him, but didn’t actually kill him. Her mother persuaded him to tell the watch that it was just an accident. Somehow, the authorities have unearthed this record. Anna doesn’t know if her stepfather found out she was in prison and told them, or they found out some other way, but regardless, she feels that they will hold that against her. Seriously, I’m just...floored by this turn of events. This is just too horrific for words! I really, really hope this gets resolved somehow. I mean, how much can one woman take?

We have finally arrived at the dinner at the Dowager House, and Prince Kuragin arrives, very dashing in his tails. When Isobel asks him if he’s sure he wouldn’t rather meet his wife in private, he tells them that it’s been five years since they’ve seen each other, and he would like to have the rest of the party present. I don’t know what’s up with the Princess, but Violet says that, “the presence of strangers is the only guarantee of good behavior.” Hm. Anyway, the Princess finally comes downstairs, wearing a borrowed dress, and it’s clear exactly why Violet’s been worried about her, and why Kuragin wanted an audience for this first meeting. She’s quite arrogant, and not a little bit bitter. Apparently, the last time she and Violet met, things weren’t quite as ... er ... pleasant? Isobel tries to diffuse the situation and talks about the Kuragins settling in Paris, but the Princess is not having any of it. When she finally retires for the evening, Kuragin tells Violet that he’ll be picking up his wife in the morning, almost hinting at his previous proposal. When Violet tells him that there really isn’t a decision to be made any more, he tells her that he doesn’t understand, but of course, our Violet stands firm and basically shoos him out the door. Lord Merton offers to show Kuragin out, and says goodnight himself. When the ladies are alone, Isobel asks Violet about her decision.

Isobel: So? Have you told the Prince his cause is hopeless?

Violet: Yes. I am sad to say.

Isobel: Sad?

Violet: I will never again receive an immoral proposition from a man. Was I so wrong to savor it?

The friendship between these two ladies is seriously one of the high points of the series for me. They are amazing.

Back at Brancaster, Stowell continues to be incredibly rude to Tom, prompting Mary to ask Baxter to see if Thomas can come up with a way to bring the snobby butler down a notch. Of course, if anyone can do it, it’s Thomas. He comes up with a bit of a brilliant plan: he forges a note to the cook from Sinderby’s valet (who is gone for the evening), and Lord Sinderby is offered different dishes than everyone else at dinner. When he confronts Stowell (in front of all the guests), the cranky butler contradicts him rather rudely, which of course, sets Sinderby off. He tells Stowell to stop being rude to Tom, and conduct himself more professionally. It’s a great set-down for the butler, especially since it’s done in public. Oh, he then turns around and calls Thomas an idiot for not serving him the real dinner, which of course, prompts Thomas to start plotting a way to get back at his Lordship. Sigh.

Well, he doesn’t waste any time, and goes in to see Stowell in his office after the dinner, professing sympathy for the butler. Stowell doesn’t trust him at first, and asks him to write something on a piece of paper, and after he confirms that it wasn’t Thomas who gave the note to the cook (come on, Stowell, our Thomas is way smarter than to have written the note himself!) he decides to share some dirty secrets about Sinderby. Aha! The plot thickens!  

Upstairs, Cora finally gets Robert to open up, and it turns out that he’s been having sharp pains in his chest and sides, and the doctor in York told him he might be suffering from angina. After confessing this, and assuring Cora that he’s really fine and not about to drop dead any second, he decides to go and talk to Edith and clear the air about Marigold. So he goes to Edith and basically lets her know that he knows Marigold is her child. He assures her that everything is fine between them, that there is no need for forgiveness, and that they have to do everything they can for the child. He cautions her to keep this in the family, however, because even in 1924, people won’t be as understanding. It’s a sweet moment between these two, and it’s nice to see them bond a bit. So now, the only person who doesn’t know the truth is Mary.

Back at Downton, Mrs. Patmore surprises Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes with a really nice dinner service, for the three of them, Mr. Bates, Mr. Molesley, and Daisy. It’s so rare that they get some respite from taking care of the family that she has decided it would be a good idea to pamper themselves a little bit. They’re all dressed up and enjoying a real, sit-down dinner. It’s very sweet, even if Carson is a bit shocked at Daisy’s presence, and of course, Anna’s fate is casting a shadow over it all.

The next day, Mr. Bates visits Anna again, but this time, with the lawyer, Mr. Murray, who tells them both that Anna’s past “behavior” could be construed as a “pattern” and used as evidence against her. Murray says that he’ll do everything he can to make the past altercation with her stepfather inadmissible, and hopefully spare a conviction and trial for poor Anna. Later that night, he sends a telegram to Bates with bad news, and we find out that Anna is actually convicted and will face a trial.

Back at the Crawley House, Isobel is meeting with Lord Merton, who is trying to convince her to reconsider marrying him. He tells her that if the only barrier between them is his sons’ resentment, then he’ll take care of it, and she says that, yes, if his sons would accept her as the new Lady Merton, then she would gladly accept and marry him. But wait! The next day, Isobel gets a letter from Larry telling her that even though his father asked him to approve of the match, he still doesn’t. Isobel tells Violet that she refuses to spend the end of her days in a “tear-stained tug of war” between Dickie and his sons. To which Violet replies that there is the consolation that Dr. Clarkson would be happy to hear of this turn of events!

In the Carson/Hughes Bed & Breakfast venture, Mrs. Hughes agrees to go and see some of the possible locations with Mr. Carson, but when he finally settles on a place, she confesses that she simply can’t invest with him. Apparently, she has a sister, Becky, who has been ill since she was born. After Mrs. Hughes mother passed away, she had to pay someone to look after her sister, which means she has no money saved. She tells Carson to go ahead and buy the property on his own, which he can afford to do. I’m sure Carson’s going to come up with some way to help Mrs. Hughes with her retirement. There’s no way he’s going to let her keep working until she’s too old to work!

Back at the Castle, the rest of the shooting party has arrived, among them Mr. Charlie Rogers, a neighbor, who has invited his friend Henry Talbot to tag along, forcing Atticus to give up shooting for the day, much to Mary’s annoyance. Apparently, you can’t just barge in to a shooting party. It throws the whole schedule off! Oh, and by the way? Henry Talbot is played by the super yummy Matthew Goode, who, I admit, I have a huge crush on. Any way, Mary accompanies Henry on the drive, and tells him that he’s basically bumped the host’s son from the shoot. He’s pretty upset that Charlie didn’t tell him it was an imposition, but Mary decides to let it go. He then asks Mary if her husband is shooting as well, which of course, brings up the fact that she’s a widow.

Meanwhile, Edith’s partnered with the estate’s agent, a Mr. Pelham, who turns out to be a second cousin of the owner of the Castle. Um ... I hope we’re not going to have to endure Edith falling for another inaccessible man. Any way, on the way back from the morning drive, just as he tells Cora about Murray’s telephone call that Anna has a trial date set, Robert winces in pain and Cora forbids him from shooting the rest of the day.

Things get really interesting during tea that afternoon when a woman shows up with a little boy in tow. Lord Sinderby is completely taken back and wants to know what the heck the woman is doing there. Rose jumps in and asks him to tell her the woman’s name so she can save him. She then runs forward before Lady Sinderby has a chance to question the woman and proclaims that Diana Clark is a friend of hers whom she asked to stop by if she could. Apparently, Diana received a telegram from Lord Sinderby asking her to stop by and bring her son, but of course, the telegram wasn’t sent by Sinderby. How much do we want to bet this was Thomas’ doing, after getting the juicy information about Sinderby’s past from Stowell?

Robert wants to know how come no one’s ever met this “great friend” of Rose’s and Mary confesses that she’d asked Thomas to create some mischief, but clearly the valet had gone a bit overboard. They decide to rally around Rose, however, and pretend that they know Diana. They figure out relatively quickly that Diana is clearly an old mistress/lover and that the little boy is Lord Sinderby’s illegitimate son. But of course, they keep it to themselves. I mean, they can’t very well blurt it out in front of everyone during tea! And Lady Sinderby doesn’t seem to know the truth. Once Diana leaves, Rose approaches Stowell and tells him that he needs to be more polite to Tom while she decides if she’s going to tell Sinderby that Stowell is the reason why Diana showed up in the first place. Any way, right before dinner, Lord Sinderby asks to speak to Robert, Mary, and Rose. First, he thanks them for helping out with the whole situation earlier, and then finally admits that Rose is a welcome addition to the family. He then offers to invite her family over, because people in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones. He basically does a complete about-face regarding Rose and her family, and I’m glad. He was just a bit too pompous for my taste. As the guests gather in the library for some dancing, Henry asks Mary what was going on with Diana, and while Mary refuses to answer his questions, she tells him that she’s impressed with his having figured out that things weren’t on the up-and-up. Meanwhile, Tom dances with Edith and basically tells her he knows that Marigold is her daughter. Edith is a bit worried about his having guessed, but Tom assures her that he’s on her side, since he grew up in a town with lots of Marigolds. The next morning, Mary rushes out to say goodbye to Henry and tells him that they might see each other again, possibly at another shooting party. He tells her that that’s not really his sport, that he prefers cars, and that he has an aunt who lives near Downton, so who knows?

Back at Downton, Mr. Bates has packed his bags and is leaving. He gives Molesley some letters for Carson, but asks that he wait until Bates is gone to give them to the butler. Oh oh. What is Bates thinking? He’s basically written a letter confessing to killing Green just so he could get Anna out of prison. Mr. Molesley offers to look through the Bates’ cottage to see if he can find a clue as to where Mr. Bates has gone. He goes over there and finds a picture of Mr. Bates, which he takes. I bet I know what he’s going to do. He’s going to go to York, show Bates’ picture to the pub owners and prove that Bates wasn’t in London the day Green died.

Meanwhile, the family returns to Downton and Carson immediately tells Robert about Bates. Of course, Thomas jumps at the chance to find out if he’ll be the new valet, but nothing’s being decided just yet. Robert tells the family that he thinks Bates might’ve left for Ireland where he has some family. Apparently, Bates told Robert how to get in touch with him in Ireland, but didn’t tell anyone else this. Robert asks Cora what he should do, and she tells him to keep it secret until Murray gets Anna out of prison, and they figure out what’s going on. Downstairs, Baxter offers to help Molesley prove Bates’ innocence. The next morning, Murray brings Anna home. She hasn’t been released, but is just out on bail. She’s worried that if they find Bates, then he’ll go to jail, and if they don’t, she might be convicted. It’s a lose-lose situation, unless they can find solid proof that neither of them did it.

In the meantime, Robert went to the doctor in York, and apparently, he doesn’t have angina, just an ulcer. Edith warns him to take better care with his diet. On a tangential note, apparently Simon Brinker’s poking around the Della Francesca was able to promote the artwork, and Robert sold it for a very good price, adding some funds to the budget. Carson takes advantage of the surplus and decides to hire a new footman. Everyone recommends Andy, the chap they used in London for Rose’s wedding (the one Denker tricked into going out). Carson seems to have listened to them, because Andy, or Andrew as Mr. Carson calls him, is added to the staff.

Atticus and Rose in Downton Abbey Season 5 ChristmasAnd with that, we arrive at Christmas. While Tom and the kids are dressing the tree, Molesley and Baxter are in York going from one pub to the next. Downstairs, Mrs. Hughes is wrapping presents when Mr. Carson comes in to tell her that he’s bought the house for his bed & breakfast. We find out that Rose and Atticus will be coming over for Christmas before they leave for New York where Atticus will start a new job. And, of course, Tom’s leaving for Boston right after the holiday as well. Molesley walks in and asks to talk to Carson, and is immediately taken up to the library, along with Baxter, to tell the family about what they found out in York. They tell Robert and the rest of the family how they’d spent their days off looking through all the pubs (some sixty or seventy of them) and were able to finally locate where Mr. Bates had spent his day. The owner of the pub is willing to swear that Mr. Bates was at his establishment the day of Green’s death. Any way, after thanking Molesley and Baxter for all their hard work, Robert contacts Murray, and is assured that Bates would be fine once the pub owner’s statement has been taken. Apparently, the witness who claimed Anna was on the scene has started expressing doubts, so Murray doesn’t think that she’s going to be arrested again, either.

At the Crawley House, Isobel finally shows Lord Merton Larry’s letter and of course, Dickie’s furious. He tells Isobel that he loves her, and while he understands that that’s might not be enough, he is really devastated that she refuses to marry him while the strife between him and his sons continues. Violet walks in on them, but Dickie tells her that he was about to leave anyway since there was nothing more to say.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Edith sneaks upstairs to put Marigold’s stocking up, and Tom joins her with little Sybie’s stocking. He’s very pensive and Edith tells him that while Mary’s been going on about not wanting him to leave, she’s really going to miss him, too. Mary shows up with George’s stocking and Tom suggests they all take a moment to remember Sybil. He reaches out, and they all hold hands, while Mary calls out to Sybil and sends her love and kisses. Robert walks in and asks whether Tom would consider leaving little Sybie at Downton while he’s getting settled in Boston, and of course, Tom says no. It’s a very sad, but sweet moment. Once again, Sybil is able to connect all of them, even Mary and Edith.

They all head downstairs and sing carols with the staff in the great hall. Robert, who’s a bit tipsy, invites everyone to have a drink and enjoy their evening. Violet and Isobel escape to the drawing room for some quiet time, and Isobel asks Violet to tell her the truth about Kuragin.

Violet: I suppose they’re in Paris now, so what harm can it do? When I met the Prince at the Royal Wedding, we fell madly in love, and in the weeks that followed—weeks of balls and midnight skating to the strains of the balalaika—we resolved to elope, to be free.

Isobel: And what happened?

Violet: Well, at the appointed hour, we started for the port to set sail on the Prince’s yacht, but my maid had betrayed us to the Princess, who set out in pursuit. She caught up with our carriage, wrenched the door open, and pulled me out.

Isobel: Pulled you out, what, by your arm?

Violet: Oh, by my arm, by my hair, by my leg ... anything to get me out of the coach. Then, she flung me into the cab that brought her, and sent me back to Lord Grantham.

She then admits to Isobel that within a week, she realized that the Princess had done her a favor, and spared her having to live a life of shame without her children, living in hiding, and that’s why she was so set on saving her. She feels that this evens the score. They’re interrupted by a really drunk Robert barging in and asking them to join the party, and hear his speech. Cora asks Tom and Mary to step in, and before Robert can get a word out, Tom jumps in and asks everyone to thank Lord Grantham for the very good year, and starts leading everyone in song. He then asks Mary and Edith to step forward and sing, without letting Robert get a word in edgewise.

As Mary starts a beautiful rendition of “Silent Night,” Mr. Carson asks Mrs. Hughes for a word in private, and takes her back downstairs. He tells her that he’s bought the house in both their names, because he didn’t see a need for changing the original plan.

Mrs. Hughes: Mr. Carson, I’m very appreciative, really, but I can’t accept.

Mr. Carson: Why not?

Mrs. Hughes: Who knows what the future may hold? Or how much longer we’ll even be here? Suppose you want to move away and change your life entirely. You don’t want to be stuck with me.

Mr. Carson: That’s the point.

Mrs. Hughes: What is?

Mr. Carson: I do want to be stuck with you.

Mrs. Hughes: I’m not ... convinced I could be hearing this right ...

Mr. Carson: You are, if you think I’m asking you to marry me.

OMG!!! SO CUTE!!! Mrs. Hughes is obviously shocked, and when he asks him if he’s offended her, she laughs and says that’s the farthest thing on her mind. He tells her that she doesn’t have to answer right away, but should know that he will not marry any one else. She hands him a glass of punch and tells him that they are celebrating the fact that she can still get a proposal at her age. When he asks if that’s all they’re celebrating, she laughs again and says, “Of course I’ll marry you, you old booby! I thought you’d never ask!” Awww! Yay!!!

Upstairs, Robert tells Tom that he’s going to miss him very much, and that he will always have a home to come back to. He then stops the music and gives a speech anyway. He publicly thanks Tom for all his help at Downton and asks the crowd to give his son-in-law a round of applause.  As they start singing carols again, in walks in Mr. Bates. He slowly walks behind everyone and whispers “Happy Christmas” in Anna’s ear. They walk away together after he tells her to not worry about anything and just concentrate on having a happy night. The show ends with the two of them kissing in the background.

Downton Abbey Season 5 cast

The minor storyline in this episode was the continued bickering between Spratt and Denker over at the Dowager House. There was a challenge issued by Spratt for Denker (who claimed to be a good cook) to make Violet some broth. And, because the challenge was made in front of Violet, Denker couldn’t refuse. So she goes to Mrs. Patmore and asks for help. Mrs. Patmore and Daisy agree to help, but Denker is hopeless, so Daisy offers to make the broth and bring it over. They also give Denker some ingredients to chop up and make it look like she actually made the broth for Spratt’s benefit. Of course, the plan backfires when Daisy runs into Spratt on her way to deliver the broth. Her basket’s empty, but Spratt figures it out, confronts Denker, and pours Daisy’s broth down the drain. Denker ends up making the broth herself, and when Violet tastes it, she proclaims that it is delicious, much to Spratt’s surprise. 

And that was it folks! See you all next year as we embark on yet another season. Hopefully, we won’t see any more heartache for poor Anna and Mr. Bates.


Can't get enough of Downton Abbey? These books may be relevant to your interests:

The Wit and Wisdom of Downton Abbey  
Downton Abbey - A Celebration  

Naz Keynejad is an avid reader, copy/story editor, and is currently working on her Masters degree in English literature. She’s a self-professed literary nerd and has a “thing” for period dramas. She will watch anything as long as it’s filled with British accents, suppressed sexual tension, angst, and of course, period costumes. Oh, and there has to be tea. Lots of tea.

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1. Canucks
Naz ..

I am writing only to say a big "Thank You" for doing what you do week after week, year after year .. dutifully keeping many of your readers curious, fascinated, delighted, absorbed, bewitched, but always "happy" with your sweet narrative of all the shenanigans that we have come to know as Downton Abbey.

Most weeks what readers read in your notes are in fact far more captivating than what is on the screen, and that, to me at least, is saying something very special ... about you!

So .. as we close another season of DA this late December day, let me just say that I hope you and all your fans enjoy a very Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year.
Naz Keynejad
2. nazkey
Thank you @Canucks! I'm so happy to hear that you like my ramblings, and I always love to read your comments! I guess we'll be going through this again next year, since apparently, season six has been greenlit. I wonder what sort of convoluted plots we'll have to contend with next!

Happy Holidays and New Year to you, too!
3. nic919
I liked the episode overall, but I do get irritated with how rude Mary is to Edith and yet always gets thrown a new hot guy that will fall for her. Let Edith get the guy for once because Mary clearly still has issues. This was tolerable the first season when they were all barely in their twenties, but she is too old for that cattiness to be "cute" or remotely acceptable in an adult woman.
4. Vickie Russell
Thanks so much, Naz, for doing these recaps, you always get it all in and occasionally explain something I seem to have completely missed! I adore this show and hope it keeps going for some time. My husband came in the other day after watching the whole of this year's shows and said, "I don't know what it is about this show, but I just bloody love it." It made me laugh. I was sad to see that it looks like Isobel and Lord Merton won't marry now, but was so happy to see Carson and Mrs Hughes will. Also that the Anna situation has finally resolved. I am hoping for the next year that Edith has some better luck in the love department.
Naz Keynejad
5. nazkey
@nic919 I agree. It's a bit much. I mean, it was fine and somewhat understandable before she married Matthew back in the earlier seasons, but now, it's just petty and annoying.

@Vickie Thank YOU for reading and commenting! I hope something good happens for Edith, too. She certainly deserves some real happiness!
6. Friederike H. Keck
Naz, I also want to say thank you for your great recaps. Over the years they are part of my Downton-life. So be sure I will join you next autumn, please keep going.
I really liked season 5 and especially this years Christmas final. I do love Violet and Isobel and of course Mr. Carson and Mrs Hughes. I am really sad that Alan Leech left the show, I will miss Tom. As I am the person from Germany who is a great fan of Brendan Coyle and hopes for a Bates-baby since season 2, I think my chances are not to bad.
Let us wait and see and drink a lot of tea till then. A happy new year to you all.
Naz Keynejad
8. nazkey
@Friederike - thank you so much! I'm glad you're enjoying my ramblings. I'll definitely be back next year. I liked this season much better than the last one. It had a much lighter feel, but I really hope that we won't be saddled with more grief for the poor Bates'! I'm also sad to see Tom go, but I'm sure he'll be back for a visit. Hey, at least he didn't die in a car accident!

Thanks again, and I'll see you next year. And yes, let's keep drinking lots of tea in the meantime!
9. Canucks
Some may find this link immensely interesting and pleasurable to read.
10. Carola
Thank you, Naz! Your are a great writer. I am still waiting for this season to be broadcast in Chile and reading your recaps only makes me more eager to see it.

Thanks! And Happy New Year!
Naz Keynejad
11. nazkey
@Canucks - thanks for the link! It was very interesting.

@Carola - I'm so glad you're enjoying my ramblings! Happy New Year to you, too.
12. Keisten
I think Edith is going to bond in Series 6 with Berte Pelham who was at the shoot at the castle in series 5. He is a land agent; Tom,who is leaving for America, is land agent for Downton Abbey, isn't he? This light went on in my brain one night recently after watching some of the last episodes of Series 5.
13. seaheather
agree with all comments about Mary and Edith and how that particular relationship is so skewed. Sibling rivalry does not explain why the woman with all the goodies -- beauty, men, lioness share of the estate, etc. -- would make so many gratutious comments about her wallflower sister. This aspect of Mary's character seems pointless and at odds with the intelligence she otherwise expresses. Anyway, enjoy a blog with genuine interest in such an exceptionally entertaining series which, whatever its failings, keeps us diverted, amused, and even on occasion, inspired.
14. Joseph MORRIS
The touching scene in the season 5 finale when Tom, Mary, and Edith join hands and "offer up" the name of Sybil has at least one profound flaw. Mary, who offers the intercession, fails to mention her own late husband, Matthew, who would certainly be the one she would think of while recalling great losses. Intstead, just as this might happen, just as Mary might recognize this critical moment of remembrances, Hugh Bonneville interupts the scene, a technique often used to truncate too much depth in DA.
Books Darling
15. BooksDarling
Is anyone else worried about Tom, Rose and Atticus relocating to the U.S. just prior to the stock market crash? I love this era and the stories it creates since so much socially is changing, but every HEA always seems so tenuous knowing what is soon to come.
16. Gem
I've enjoyed reading your Downton recaps. I was a big fan of Downton Abby for 3 seasons, until Fellows added that idiotic cousin Rose & began just repeating the story lines. After the believeable storyline of the maid Ethel, Edith's pregnancy & what followed was just ridicules. Why drag this out another season if all we're going to see is Bates or Anna in jail AGAIN, another boring replay of antagonistic romance for ego-centric Mary & another tragic relationship for Edith. Next season the family should go visit the USA (off stage) so the story could focus on Violet, Isobel and the downstairs staffers.
17. Danielli Teixeira
Olá! Meu nome é Dani, sou brasileira, moro em Pelotas! Minha Cidade fica bem no Sul do Brasil. Encontrei Seu Blog e adorei. Parabéns! Pela narrativa de Downton Abby! E Perfeita! Amo Downton! Aqui no Brasil Recém ESTÁ Passando a 5 temporada, Estamos no Episódio 7! Entao è fantastico ter Descoberto Seu Blog !!! Estou encantada! Em ler SUA narrativa! Muito obrigado por proporcionar-me tanta alegria!
18. irishsitter
Naz I am a sports fan more than a "romance" fan, but
between the actual show and your wonderful recaps I was
completely captivated by both the show and you. I will
be 91 years old next week and am slowly losing my hearing
but because of your wonderful recaps I could know what is
going on. I sincerely hope I live long enough to watch
Season 6 and read your great reviews next year. Ciao.
Naz Keynejad
19. nazkey
@irishsitter - very nice to meet you! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I'm really glad that you're enjoying my ramblings and am looking forward to your comments for next season. You're only 91-years young!

Thank you everyone else for stopping by and commenting, too. I apologize for not getting back to each and every one of you in a timely manner, but it's been a busy few months. I'm really glad that you're enjoying my live-blogs and am looking forward to seeing you all again to discuss whatever crazy thing Mr. Fellowes has in store for season six!
20. Travelover
I also want to thank you, Naz. Your reviews are outstanding.

Mary's remarks are becoming more viscious, IMHO, and are totally unnecessary. I really wish she'd meet a man who'd knock her socks off (the new guy doesn't do it for me) and take her down SEVERAL pegs.
21. VMG
I too, heard 'immoral' at first, but I truly believe the quote would have been 'amoral' - It makes more sense and isn't as 'shocking'.

Violet: I will never again receive an immoral proposition from a man. Was I so wrong to savor it?
Mother Noakes
22. Mother Noakes
Naz, many thanks for your excellent recaps and a great blog altogether. It's just what DA obsessives need
I just learned that Fellowes has announced that Season 6 will be the last. I rather thought it would be, since the principals and writers are starting to show the fatigue. Besides, although the Crawleys don't know it, we can see WWII looming in the background, and the changes that produces will of course wipe out the last traces of the life at Downton we began with.

Predictions for the last season: Downton Abbey itself will survive, of course--the last shot of the series, I'll bet, will be the long exterior view, with the morning sun clearing the mist and gilding the towers. Timeless Downton/Highclerc/England.

Mary and Edith will be forced to get along with one another better now that Tom and Rose are gone, and they will at least be civil, if not loving. Mary will discover the truth about Marigold, and will eventually learn the whole story of Edith and Gregson; Edith's courage and the depth of her suffering will knock some of the self-absorption out of Mary and force her to see that Edith is a long way from the malicious wallflower she once was.

I wonder if Mary will end up with a "happy ending"--i.e. a blissful marriage. Depends on whether she can come to terms with the fact that she's not going to find another Matthew. Tom will go to America--and be back within a couple of years. Tom has said that he feels like a "fish out of water" at Downton--but in the U.S. he'll really learn the meaning of the phrase. Even so, it will be Sybbie who casts the deciding vote on where she and her father will live. She knows she belongs at Downton, and she's well able to make her views known too, just as her mother did.

Would it completely surprise everyone if Edith and Tom end up marrying?

No, Isobel won't end up with Lord Merton. Dickie is a sweet amiable chap, but he's not Isobel's equal. He blames his late wife for their horrible sons, but, hey, he was there too, and apparently not up to being a role model. Isobel's not the fire-eater she once was, but, still, can anyone really see her trapped into the Lady of the Manor role? She won't marry the good doctor, either. What would be the point?

As for our friends belowstairs--I've got a foreboding that some of these lovely future plans aren't going to mature, and that feeling centers on Carson and Mrs. Hughes--I guess because they are the two who seem to deserve a happy old age the most. The Bateses will be all right, because the writers have just about flogged them to death already. Baxter and Moseley will stay at Downton; Moseley and Thomas can fight it out to see who replaces Carson. Thomas will finally find a measure of happiness with the new footman Andy, a liaison tolerated by Carson and Robert because a) the two are very discreet and b) it is getting so damned hard to replace good staff. Over at the Dower House, I'm not so sure. Violet is losing patience with the domestic warfare, and she certainly hasn't got what she would once have thought of as a proper ladies' maid--but whether she will get up the energy to do any firing and hiring is another matter. Maybe Isobel will take a hand--after all, Violet interfered with her domestic arrangements.

And finally, yes. The series must end with a grand funeral in the old style for the Dowager Countess.
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