'Downton Abbey' recap, Episode 5, Lord Grantham vs. everyone
By By Jordan Bartel, assistant editor and b
Feb 03, 2013 | 3:55 PM
It's the day of Lady Sybil's funeral (which we don't actually get to see) and Lord Grantham is, understandably, in a foul mood. So he takes it out. On basically the whole house.
Yes, he's greiving. But he's also acting like a stubborn mule. Let's countdown his fights:
1. The baby's name An inconsolable Branson ("My wife is dead. I'm past help, but thank you," he tells Matthew) announces that he plans to name the baby Sybil. "I want to remember her mother whenever I look at her." Makes perfect sense, and is very reasonable, right? To Robert, "it's ghouiish!" he tells Mary while scrunching his face up very angrily.
In the same baby-name conversation, Edith mentions that it's time the baby is christened, but Branson announces that the child will be christened as a Catholic. "My daughter is Irish and she will be Catholic like her father," he says. Robert is, to put it mildly, flabbergasted and leaves the dinner table. "There hasn't been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation!" Robert later says. Because people are keeping tabs on that.
Robert decides that right now is the perfect time to invite a priest to dinner, a Mr. Travis, who also, coincidentally, doesn't enjoy the Catholics, especially their "bells and incense." Travis says that all that is not "pleasing to God." "Is he not pleased by the population of France? Or Italy," Branson offers.
Edith throws in, "South America? Portugal? Have they missed the mark, too? Matthew adds in Russia and the entire Indian subcontinent, you know, for good measure.
Travis is unmoved, even though the Dowager Countess has no issue. "The Duchess of Norfolk is a dear friend," she says. "And she's more Catholic than the Pope."
Mary ends up solving things in a heartbreaking way. "Sybil would have been happy for the child to be Catholic," she says. "She said so to me. On the day she died." Branson is thrilled and heartbroken at the same time.
Meanwhile, Matthew is having a devil of a time deciding how to fix Downton's crumbling finances. He's walking with Branson around the property and discovers that his brother-in-law has property management experience. Well, Branson's grandather was a farmer in Ireland taking care of sheep, but still, it's something.
Matthew seems to be getting some sort of plan together on how to run Downton better, but when he even tries to broach the subject with Robert, Robert is uber-offended and raises his tone in the angry-Robert way.
One of the bigger fights involves Ethel, whom I'm beginning to tolerate more in this episode. When Isobel wants to invite the Crawley ladies for lunch, Ethel offers to try her best to make something lovely for them. Since Ethel even has problems even tea, Isobel says (in a nice-ish) way that she doesn't have to cook.
So she enlists the help of Mrs. Patmore for a surprise. Carson sees her at Isobel's estate and scolds her for taking to Ethel, since she's a former prostitute and all. "Ypou've been frolicking with prostitutes," Carson says. "Do I look like a frolicker?" Patmore offers. Kind of, Patmore, but we'll move on.
Still Carson is livid, so he runs off to tell Robert about the dinner and how Ethel is about to ruin/corrupt the family by serving them. Ethel actually succeeds with the dinner, though Robert high-tails it over to get them to gop home.
"We're going! Do you know who prepared this lunch for you?" Robert yells
Cora: "Yes, Ethel."
Robert: "Who bore a bastard child!"
Cora — and everyone else — refuses to leave, even though Robert stares her down. He leaves in a huff.
"Not even the Dowager?!" Mrs. Hughes says, shocked that DC didn't bolt. Yes, even the Dowager.
5. Sybil's death
The saddest and most interesting fight is between the grieving parents. Robert is still in the doghouse in the worst way, though in the beginning of the episode, he asks to "move back in" to his bedroom.
"You believed Tapsell because he's knighted and fashionable and has a practice on Harley Street," Cora says, discussing what went down the night Sybil gave birth. "You let all that nonsense weigh against saving our daughter's life, which is what I find so very hard to forgive."
Robert: "Do you think I miss her any less than you?"
Cora: "I would think you miss her more, since you blocked the last chance we had to prevent her death."
Yikes. True, but yikes. How will these two (ever?) resolve things? Robert is shaken, and goes to mom for advice on what to do. Saying that "people like us are NEVER unhappily married," the Dowager urges Robert to keep up appearances and perhaps have Cora visit her mother in New York. "In these moments, a couple do not see as much of each other as they like."
Apparently, that's not a solution. So the Dowager takes it upon herself to see Clarkson, tell him that he "created a division between my son and his wife," and to please tell them that there was perhaps little chance that he could have saved Sybil.
Clarkson says this would be tough to do. It's a "lie" to really know for sure what the chance of survival would have been.
"Lie is so un-musical a word," the Dowager says. "I want you to review the evidence honestly and without bias."
Side note: I'm totally going to use that "lie is so un-musical a word" line throughout my life now.
At the end of the episode, Cora and Robert are invited to the Dowager's home to hear from Clarkson, who tells them that the chance of Sybil's survival was "a small one, a tiny one." He says that, upon investigation, Sybil's condition is almost always a fatal one, with or without a Caesarian section, as Clarkson proposed.
"Sybil was going to die?" Robert says.
"I believe that Lady Sybil was going to die," Clarkson answers definitively.
He leaves and Robert faces Cora, who lets out a sigh and starts to cry. As Robert hugs her, she actually puts her arms around him.
And they cry — finally — together. As a couple who have lost their youngest daughter.
In a storyline that was tied up a bit too neatly, Bates ends up being set free from prison (though we don't see him return to Downton yet).
I find it hard to believe that, with his case, all it took to prove Bates' innocence was to show that Mrs. Bartlett changed her story about seeing Vera ... and a judge was convinced to overturn the verdict? Sure!
Still, I'm very happy that we no longer have to see Bates walk in a sad prison circle. Time for a Bates child, no?
MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM EPISODE 5
Most annoying threesome: I'm getting pretty tired of this bizarre love-square developing between kitchen maid Ivy, who has a crush on Jimmy Kent, Alfred, who has a crush on Ivy, and Daisy, who has a crush on Alfred. "You'll all in love with the wrong people," Mrs. Patmore says at one point, exhausted from watching this whole thing. Please, let's move on.
Jimmy and Thomas awkward level: 8. Jimmy still cringes every time Thomas touches him (this time, it was Jimmy's leg that got a lot of the action). He later touches his shoulder when he plays the piano. "There's no end to Jimmy's talents," he says. If you're wondering what's going to happen with this, be sure to watch the next episode.
Best summary of Robert's attitude: Cora: "Robert frequently makes decisions based on values that have no relevance anymore." Dowton-era burn!
Daisy's future?: Out of nowhere, Mr. Mason, the father of Daisy's dead last-minute husband, William, offers her the job of running his farm. She's still deciding on an answers, but my advice: For the love of god, take it! You gonna work at Downton until your Mrs. Hughes' age?
Branson's staying put? Maybe: Branson has quickly become one of my favorite characters, so I hope he sticks around. He says he doesn't hate it at Downton, but that he doesn't belong here. He also says he would never leave baby Sybil behind. Maybe he's going to live at Downton to help with the running of the finances/sheep?