Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 1

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Season Five of Downton Abbey opens in 1924…

The hot topic is the new Labour Government, certainly not the government of choice for the residents of Downton Abbey. The new prime minister is the son of a farm labourer and a housemaid, upsetting the world order. Lord Grantham feels the government is committed to the destruction of people like his family and everything they stand for. Next thing you know, downstairs will want upstairs. Closer to home, Lord Grantham is dismayed that baby Sybil calls him “Donk’ instead of Grandpapa – because he plays pin the tail on the donkey with her.

Lady Edith pays a little too much attention to Marigold



Edith sneaks down to caretaker Tim’s house to visit her secret baby Marigold, already a toddler. Tim’s wife doesn’t know Marigold is Edith’s baby. And Edith thinks Tim doesn’t know either, but he does. During a private discussion between Tim and Edith, Tim tells Edith that his wife mistakes Edith’s interest in Marigold for a crush on Tom. They need a new solution for baby Marigold. Tim has an idea whereby Edith takes a more public interest in Marigold, to make it believable when she can “live the truth without revealing the truth” someday soon. Is adoption an option?

Lord Grantham and Lady Cora celebrate 34 years of marriage. A party is planned and the younger generation is left in charge of the details…

Lord Merton and Dr. Clarkson vie for Isobel's attention at the luncheon

Isobel is still pursued by Lord Merton. Violet says she want to help, but her motives aren’t exactly honest once she realizes a marriage between Isobel and Lord Merton would put Isobel in a position of power in the county. So Violet puts on a luncheon and invites Dr. Clarkson to distract Isobel and the saucy widow Lady Shackleton to distract Lord Merton. It’s plain to see that Dr. Clarkson continues to pine after Isobel. Violet’s underhanded plan doesn’t go unnoticed by Isobel.

A delegation from the village arrives at Downton Abbey and wants Carson to be the chairman of the committee for a new war memorial because Carson knew more of the young men that died than Lord Grantham. And the committee feels Carson is a ‘considerable figure’ in the village. Carson is very uncomfortable with being asked to chair the committee because he feels like it’s Lord Grantham’s place instead. Carson makes the committee name Lord Grantham ‘patron’ by telling them he won’t serve unless Lord Grantham is made patron. Lord Grantham doesn’t know about Carson’s little favour.

Thomas intimidates Baxter every chance he gets

Something dark continues to brew between Thomas and Baxter. She is tired and terrified of Thomas’ bullying. He continues to blackmail her because he wants to know what’s going on between Anna and Bates. Thomas thinks Baxter knows something that links Bates to the dead valet. Moseley convinces Baxter to tell her secret story to Lady Cora before Thomas Barrow does. Baxter confesses that she stole jewellery from her old employer and served three years in prison. She also admits that she never returned the stolen goods. Lady Cora feels there is some missing information in the whole story. When Thomas tries to spill the beans on Baxter to Lady Cora later, Cora questions why Barrow allowed a convicted felon in her bedroom. Cora says his future doesn’t bode well at Downton Abbey. Lady Cora keeps Baxter hanging on about her future at Downton Abbey.

Downstairs, Daisy grumbles because Ivy wasn’t replaced and there’s no kitchen maid. Other staff talk about servants leaving their positions to work in factories and the like because of better hours and more opportunity. Daisy gets a secret parcel in the post which turns out to be arithmetic books. Daisy wants to learn how to balance the books so she can take over the farm one day but she’s having trouble understanding the books and it shakes her confidence to the core.

Lady Anstruther eyes up her prey, pretty boytoy Jimmy

Lady Anstruther invites herself for tea at Downton Abbey so she can see boy toy Jimmy, who isn’t returning her letters. Once at Downton, the Lady pretends her car is broken down so she can stay the night and attend the anniversary party. Lord Grantham wonders about the mysterious visit from Lady Anstruther, a relative stranger, since Tom can’t find anything wrong with her car. During dinner, Lady Anstruther slips a note into Jimmy’s pocket. Carson notices their little connection…. and so do others.

Sassy Sarah Bunting spouts unwanted opinions at dinner

Sarah Bunting is back from a course and teaching at the school. Tom seems happy to see her. Rose invites Sarah Bunting to the party without telling Lord Grantham or Tom. Bunting causes quite a stir with her talk of politics and war memorials over dinner. Isobel and Tom try to defend Bunting, but her opinions are most unpopular with Lord Grantham and Countess Violet. After dinner, Sarah Bunting wants to thank the servants as though she hasn’t already made enough of a fuss upstairs. Lord Grantham is quite upset by Sarah’s visit. Lord Grantham is worried that Bunting is taking Tom back into the role of rebel and hater, but Tom assures his father in law he’s not a rabble rouser any more. Sarah Bunting isn’t an easy character to like.

Bates admits he’s interested in having a baby. Or at least practicing…

Mr Mosesley tries to wash the grey right out of his hair but it backfires

Mr Molesley dyes his hair in an attempt to look younger. Everyone notices something different about Molesley, but can’t figure out what he’s done. Only Countess Violet notices that Molesley’s hair is different. During the anniversary dinner, Violet asks Lord Grantham what Molesley has done with his hair. Lord Grantham tells Carson to keep Molesley downstairs until he fixes his hair.

At the anniversary party, Lord Grantham compares marriage to a lottery, a lottery he clearly won with his bride Lady Cora.

Tony Gillingham attends the anniversary party. He still wants Lady Mary to marry him, but she’s afraid to take the risk. She wants to be as happy with her second husband as she was with her first. Lady Mary confides in Anna and wonders why women commit to spending their life with a man without getting to spend time alone together beforehand, let alone intimate time. Tony sneaks into Lady Mary’s room after the anniversary party with a scandalous suggestion: a week away together to spend their days AND nights alone. Mary agrees, but no one must find out.

Lord Gillingham has an indecent proposal for Lady Mary

Mrs Hughes finds a book that belonged to Micheal Gregson and gives it to Edith. Late one evening, a sad and frustrated Edith throws the book at the fireplace, starting her whole bedroom on fire. Thomas is already prowling around upstairs aiding and abetting Jimmy the footman in bedding Lady Anstruther. He notices the fire and rescues Edith from her burning bedroom, putting him back in the good graces with the Grantham family. Lord Grantham catches Jimmy in bed with Lady Anstruther and asks Carson to let him go quietly. After the fire is out, Lady Anstruther tells Lord Grantham she’ll sneak away before breakfast.

Whoops, Lord Grantham catches Jimmy and the Lady in flagrante delicto

Quotes from Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 1

Lord Grantham: I couldn’t care less if he was the son of Foo Manchu.

Countess Violet: There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. Avoiding one’s friends, that’s the real test.

Lord Grantham: I want to inspire Tony Gillingham with thoughts of marriage.

The stylin' young ladies of Downton Abbey

Lord Grantham: The village wanted Carson.
Countess Violet (to Lord Grantham): Your father always told the village what they wanted.

Mrs. Patmore (about Daisy): It would be a bit sad if she had no secrets at her age.

Carson: I’m not comfortable being placed ahead of his lordship.

Carson: I feel a shaking of the ground I stand on, that everything I believe in will be tested and held up for ridicule over the next few years.
Mrs. Hughes: They’ve been testing the system since the Romans left.
Carson: The nature of life is not permanence but flux.

Sarah Bunting: The rule of the gong. It sounds like life in a religious order.

Lady Cora: I don’t believe your mother would enjoy the transformation of Isobel into Lady Merton, complete with a living husband, a proper house and a solid position in the county.

Isis enjoys a cup of tea by the fire

Daisy: I can’t just stand here following orders for the rest of my life.

Lord Grantham: Do people think we’re a public house on the great north road?

Tim (to Edith): We need a way for you to live the truth without telling the truth.

Dr. Clarkson (to Isobel): As you say yourself, we are not members of that tribe.

Lady Mary: I’d like to marry again. I’ve come that far. But I intend to be as happy with my second husband as I was with my first.

Lord Grantham: Molesley, You look very latin all the sudden. Do you have Italian blood?

Lady Anstruther: Look at your parents, thirty four years. I’d never manage it. That’s the advantage of an older husband. One gets an early release.

Countess Violet (on seeing Sarah Bunting at the party): They’ve cast the net wide tonight.

Countess Violet: We’re being realistic, something your generation has so much trouble with.

Countess Violet: Now if you all can put your swords away, perhaps we can finish dinner in a civilized manner.

Countess Violet: Principles are like prayers. Noble of course. But awkward at a party.

Lord Grantham (to Carson): Can you please keep Molesley in the kitchens until his hair stops turning blue.

Lord Grantham (about footman Jimmy): I suspect his ambitions will outstrip what a career as a footman will yield.