Last night's episode was far less action packed than last week's, for which I am thankful. I hate to admit it, but I don't think my heart could have taken much more action. As the opening credits for Episode 5 appeared onscreen, I noticed I had a lump in my throat and my heart was in my stomach. Thankfully for my nerves we were treated to a rather calm episode. That Julian Fellowes guys sure knows how to make sure his viewers survive the plot lines from week to week.
If you haven't yet seen episode 5, stop reading now!
THE CURMUGEON - Mr. Carter has had his boxers in a twist since the middle of last season. Change! Disorder! Servants who have worked at hotels! Servants who *whispering* have relations with soldiers! Servants who disobey and help former prostitutes!! Seriously, what is this world coming to? It didn't seem possible that over the course of three seasons that the old butler could possibly become any more of a curmudgeon, but no I was wrong. The fact that he ran and tattled to Lord Grantham about his daughter's and wife's luncheon plans was beyond obnoxious (Not to mention something a junior high school girl would do. Or Edith.).
Even so, I can't help but like the poor old guy who just wants things to be as they always were. Downton in its prime was a well oiled machine and he kept it so. He knows his place in the world and it's slipping away from him. I guess that would turn some of the best of us into grumpy old tattletales, too. Wait. Did they even have boxers back then? Would Carter have even worn them in the first place?
THE OTHER CURMUGEON - Where is Sir Robert and what have you done with him, because this stuffy old man, in NOT the Sir Robert we have all come to know and love. This is not the Sir Robert who hired his lame Army friend and was fiercely loyal to him, even as he faced murder charges. This is not the Sir Robert who welcomed a country barrister as his heir despite his lowly "middle class" upbringing. This is not the Sir Robert who was willing to forsake prudence for passion during the insane maid Jane storyline. This is not the Sir Robert willing to weather an epic scandal for his daughter to be happy rather than see her marry an ass (pardon my French).
This guy would have sent the lame guy packing, would have fought the entail to its bitter end rather than see anyone "middle class" sully his family estate, would have never even looked twice at a maid (or conversely would have been one of those lords who seek out the maids as personal playthings out of lack of respect of humanity), and would have absolutely stood by as his daughter to married Sir Richard rather than risk scandal for the family.
In other words, would the real Sir Robert please stand up?
CORA + GRANNY + DR.CLARKSON = THIS IS NOT OVER YET - In an effort to patch things up with Cora and Robert, Granny asks Dr. Clarkson to "research" the probability that Sybil would have survived and then heavily suggested that he "honestly and without bias" tell Cora that she would have died anyway. Somebody might need to sit Granny down and explain what honestly and without bias means (I keep hearing Inigo Montya saying "I don't sink dat means what you sink it means." in my head). Cora and Robert embrace, but I do not think this is the last we will hear of this. I mean, hello, this is coming from Granny. While I think she is right, Cora and Robert would better mourn together than apart, Dr. Clarkson isn't going to be able to keep this zipped up for long. Sidenote: I predict an affair between Cora and Dr. Clarkson and Lord Grantham is going to start hitting the bottle. I almost tweeted that last night so that I could live in the delusion that I thought of this first, should it actually happen, but I resisted.
IS MARY A CYLON? - When she and Matthew had their beautiful moment in bed talking about how much they love each other and that they need to embrace their lives together, I thought "wow! Mary has feelings!" But then she responded to Matthew's romantic words like a limp fish. How in the world they could have played that sweet, tender moment and NOT made out is beyond me. I kinda felt like I had to reach over and kiss on my own husband since all she could do after Matthew utters "I will love you until the last breath leaves my body" was smile and lie her head on his chest. What the what!?
She redeemed herself when she pleaded with her father to tell Cora how he was really feeling. She was so sad and desperate that it fractured my heart a teeny tiny bit, so that when Cora said, "Don't flirt with me, Robert," my heart and Robert's might have shattered.
DID I MISS SOMETHING? - I blinked and Bates had a knife on his nemesis I blinked again and Bates is free and the end has come for what has quite possibly been the most unsatisfying storyline since cousin Patrick. I got what I wanted, Bates is back, so I won't split hairs on the absurdity of that whole mess, other than to say, we couldn't have done this three episodes ago? Now, let's get to those Baby Bates', shall we?
I don't mean to spend so much time talking about upstairs but I am just not finding the downstairs plots all that compelling. Thomas and O'Brien have lost their bite, something I suspect they will get back when Bates returns. The Thomas/Bates fued is just too good not to. Alfred is annoying, I think Jimmy is playing O'Brien for a fool and I have already forgotten why O'Brien is hating on Thomas so bad now.
Next week we see Bates' return (huzzah!) and can assume that Thomas will be in a tizzy over it. There's a baby related event (baptism, christening?), Edith makes her parents worry, lawn games, someone named Rose, and Matthew yells at Lord Grantham. Looks to be a good one!
Ok, so what do you all think? I feel like this was one of those episodes where so much happened and I missed a good chunk of it by blinking and such.