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RECAP: The Wheels of Change Are Turning on DOWNTON ABBEY - Ep. 5

Related: DOWNTON ABBEY, PBS

If you were distracted by (American) football, Beyoncé and blackouts last Sunday and didn't have a chance to catch Episode 5 of DOWNTON ABBEY, here's a summary of what you missed!

As the cars pull away from Downton Abbey, leaving Lord Grantham at his front door, the house towers dauntingly above, reminding him that a new life without Sybil begins once he crosses the threshold.

For Robert, this means facing an evolving world, one that he is neither prepared nor willing to accept. His defiance comes to a head at a lunch party at Crawley House. Isobel, in an effort to cheer Cora and her girls, asks Ethel to make the arrangements for a luncheon. With the help of Mrs. Patmore, she finally masters a few impressive dishes. The meal is a success and the women enjoy a brief reprieve from their sorrow. Unfortunately, not everyone is quite as impressed as the ladies. When Carson informs Lord Grantham that Isobel allowed a former prostitute to serve his family, he is appalled. But
when he storms into the dining room, he is met with indifference from the ladies. Though they were unaware of Ethel's tainted past, in a moment of female solidarity, they stand by her and refuse to leave. After all, "it seems a pity to miss such a good pudding." I quite agree, Dowager, I quite agree.

The lunch party is only the tip of the iceberg. Robert has far more serious problems that have been brought about by his tendency to "[make] decisions based on values that have no relevance anymore." Not the least of which is the fact that Cora continues to blame him
for Sybil's death. Despite his most desperate attempts to mollify his wife, she keeps her distance and her cold demeanor.

Sybil's passing has also left Robert further at odds with his widower son-in-law. As Tom plans his and his daughter's future, the two men have difficulty seeing eye to eye. Firstly, he plans to name the baby Sybil in order to preserve her mother's memory. Robert finds this isa morbid choice and fears it will only cause sorrow for the family. An even more heated debate arises over the religion of the child. Tom, an Irishman, is adamant that she be Catholic, while Robert
believes she should be Protestant, as is proper in the Crawley lineage. Happily, Mary holds the key to ending the bitter discussion- Sybil had asked her older sister to lobby for Tom on this particular Issue. Sybil's opinion silences her father and her concern touches her husband.


Matthew also puts pressure on the Earl and attempts to bring up the management of Downton once again. And Robert Is, once again, reluctant to hear any of it. Branson, on the other hand, agrees with Matthew and even offers some suggestions in the running of the property. Could there be a job in Downton in Tom's future? That would be a happy compromise- Tom could earn an honest living while the Crawleys would still be involved in the baby's life. I doubt things will tie up so neatly, but nonetheless, it's sometimes nice to conjecture.

Mary attempts to mitigate her father's frustration. She can see through his outbursts that his anger does not stem from any one person in particular, but is instead rooted in the fact that "the world isn't going [his] way- not anymore." Though she does not concede any points
concerning the christening or the reevaluation of Downton's management, she does offer Robert comfort at a time when he is feeling most vulnerable.

Is seems the tides of change are being felt at all levels of society. Mr. Mason, William's father, senses the days of service and society will soon be at an end and wishes to offer Daisy an alternative path. He therefore proposes that she not only move in with him and learn how to properly manage his farm, but also that she eventually take over his tenancy. This would surely secure a drastically different fate for Daisy, the once oft-overlooked scullery maid, one hopefully filled with prosperity and the independence she so desires.

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Lauren Robbins Lauren Robbins is a 23 year old from New Jersey. She graduated from Bucknell University in 2011 with a double major in Art History and Classics and a minor in French. For the past year and a half she has been interning at various museums in New York City, including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The South Street Seaport Museum and The Museum of Modern Art. Her writing can be seen on MoMA?s blog Inside/Out.



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