'Downton Abbey' recap: Season 5, Episode 8: mommie not-so dearest

And the award for worst mother of the year goes to ...

You guessed it — Lady Flintshire aka Susan (if you're nasty) aka Rose's mother aka a woman with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.


It's Rose's wedding day, after what seems like a hot-second of an engagement to Atticus.

The staff ships off to Grantham House in London for preparations to brace themselves for Susan's arrival. If that wasn't enough drama, before we leave Downton we learn the following:

1. There's now not a permanent housekeeper at Grantham House! Scandal!


2. Branson is going to trade his Downton life to go off to Boston to get into the farm machinery business with this brother. Because sure.

3. Atticus' real name is Ephraim Atticus.

4. Lord Kuragin (Igor if you're nasty) goes all in and tells the dowager that he wants to spend the rest of his life as her friend and lover (!) and asks what she thinks. The dowager is, perhaps for the first time, speechless.

5. The Bateses are still very much under investigation for the Mr. Green death. In fact, the police want Anna to come to Scotland Yard while they're in London for the wedding. Fun side trip!

But on to the wedding itself.

Masochistic mama

Need a refresher course on Susan? She's the Debbie Downer of Britain, enjoys calling her daughter Rose a slut, is so deeply unhappy in marriage with Shrimpy, who seems like the best person ever, and has apparently forgotten how to smile at all.

The MacClares arrive at Grantham House for the wedding and things are instantly rough. She refuses to share a room with Shrimpy, and when she sees Rose all she says is, "This is quite a choice you've made."


Later when she meets Atticus, all she can say to him is, "What a peculiar name."

She also decides to throw in some bigotry during dinner with the Sinderbys, asking them if they have any English blood and then saying, "I always think of you guys as nomads." And you thought Susan would be accepting of other religions!

Despite Rose and Shrimpy's vocal hopes to Susan about not revealing that she's about to divorce Shrimpy, you can tell it's just a matter of time before that's revealed.

And it won't be good. At the dinner, Lord Sinderby mentions that his short list of dislikes include, "undercooked fish and divorce."

This should be fun.

Later, at Atticus' stag party, he finishes up the night with some tuxedoed gentlemen and a flapper lady follows him into the elevator at the hotel. He turns her away, but she later knocks on his door, enters as Atticus is changing into a robe, drops her dress down below her shoulders and then leaves.


While at lunch the next day with Edith, Branson and Mary, Rose receives a mysterious letter titled "Last night" that includes photographs of Atticus and the Loose Flapper Lady. Rose is sobbing and later talks to Atticus about it.

Atticus confronts his father about the photos. He admits that he's not pleased with the marriage but says hat he isn't responsible for the photographs. All he wants is for his grandchildren to be Jewish, so at least it's not he doesn't care about his son's happiness AND took those photos, right? Sure.

The best part of the episode is when Shrimpy figures out that Susan is responsible for setting Atticus up (woman thinks quick), has a check reciept as proof of payment to, uh, Stag Party Saboteur Services or something, and tells her that if she doesn't promise to behave that he will tell Rose what she did.

Susan tries to grab the receipt and Shrimpy yells, "Get down, you cat!" love it.

The next day before the simple but lovely wedding, Susan makes a last-ditch effort to break it up by announcing out of the blue that she and Shrimpy are going to divorce.

Though it's clear Lady Sinderby sees what's really going on, she thanks Susan for letting her know before the news gets in the paper and then tells Lord Sinderby that if he does anything to stop the wedding she will leave him.


Love me some Lady Sinderby.

So Rose is happily married, and it was totally cute seeing Shrimpy walk with her up the stairs to give her away (he even refused to tell her who sent the photographs after Rose asked).

Later, at the reception, Rose tells her mom that she knows about her divorce declaration. Susan says she did it out of love, and Rose responds that they must have two very different definitions for the word.

The other big news from the wedding: Gillingham and Mabel Lane Fox arrive as guests and tell Mary that they're getting married in December. Mary isn't upset she's not the one marrying Gillingham, but later tells Carson how sad she is that the household is breaking up (Rose getting married, Branson moving away, etc.).

Then, in another memorable Carson-Mary moment, Carson tells her that he's glad she realized that Gillingham wasn't the one for her.

"He wasn't good enough for you, my lady. I watched you realize it as time went on. He wasn't up to the mark."


Where can I order a Carson of my own?

Anna is arrested

You kind of felt like this was coming. Either Anna would be arrested or Bates would be arrested or Vera Bates would come back from the grave to set up her former husband.

Before the wedding, the investigators tell the Bateses that they've determined that Green had a history of "serious attacks on women" and they not-so subtly glance at Anna. They also mention that a second witness has told them that whomever was arguing with Green was shorter than him, which eliminates Mr. Bates.

This isn't going to be good.

Anna follows orders and goes to Scotland Yard with her husband, where she's surprisingly led into a police lineup with other sad-looking 1924 women. A witness enters and walks down the line staring at each of the ladies and looking them up and down.


Side note: Was this how police lineups were done in the 1920s? Is it a British thing?

The Bateses leave, but when they return to Downton the police arrest Anna (in front of most of the family!), put handcuffs on her and says that a witness IDed her at the scene of Green's death.

She's led away in tears.

Robert is kind of the best

How perfect was Lord Grantham in this episode? During the war memorial unveiling in town, he secretly procured a special plaque to commemorate the service of Mrs. Patmore's nephew, Archie, after his hometown wouldn't recognize him because he was shot for cowardice. Patmore is in tears.

P.S.: Did you know Patmore's first name is "Beryl"? I just learned this while looking up her nephew's name.


Throughout the episode, Robert looks at Marigold and begins to think that he's experiencing deja vu. After the memorial unveiling, he gets the same feeling and then tells Cora that Marigold reminds him of Michael Gregson.

Cora tells him that he's correct, urges him to keep it a secret and asks if he will love his granddaughter.

"I rather think I will," he says.

Weirdest subplot

What was with Mrs. Denker using the hired footman, Andy, to get her free drinks in an underground bar called the Violet Violin? Apparently, she was able to drink for free for bringing Andy, who gambled and lost money.

Barrow discovers the plan, tells the bar owner about it and then he makes Denker pay. So that was necessary to see.


The only plus was seeing Mrs. Denker drunk and singing.

Setting up for next episode?

Next week's episode is the season finale, and I think the walk back from the memorial foreshadowed what storylines will be explored: Marigold and Edith, Branson leaving, Mr. Bates trying to get his wife freed, the dowager-Kuragin situation maybe Mary trying to find the next step in her life.

And maybe Denker will get drunk again.

More highlights from episode 8
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Most disappointing reason to leave Downton: Really, Branson? Going into the farm machinery business with your brother in Boston? Good luck with all that.

Best dowager quote: "Love may not conquer all, but it can conquer a lot."


Second-best dowager quote: After Susan, her niece, asks if all she can do is be a good loser, the dowager responds with, "Too late for that my dear. Far too late."

Get it together Daisy: Walking through London suddenly makes Daisy want to her quit her job and then start a life ... there? Doing ... what? Thankfully, she changes her mind after she realizes how much she enjoys being with Patmore (Beryl if you're nasty) and Mr. Mason.

Mary's weekly mean quote about Edith: "Why does she have to carry on as if she invented motherhood?"

Best fashion statement: Mary wearing a bow tie.

Most blasé reaction to a wedding: "Well well, the thing is done" -- Lord Sinderby