‘Downton Abbey’ s5e1 – Is Molesley Latin? Or Irish?

13 Jan

With most other tv shows, the time between seasons means awkward new hairdos and a very different look to the characters when a new season resumes, even if no time at all has gone by in their fictional world. But though it’s been almost a year since we were last at Downton, once again the transition to a new season is absolutely flawless. It’s like we never left. I love this show.

It’s 1924 now. We finally get to meet Edith’s baby Marigold who’s already 18 months old. She’s been taken from her adoptive family in Switzerland and placed with the Drew family on the Downton estate. I may not have been a fan of Farmer Drew last season, but I’m very impressed with him after this episode. He’s proving to be a character of unexpected worth:

“We need a way for you to live the truth without telling the truth.”

Clearly Drew values family, and respects motherhood, and is not interested in wasting his time on poisonous and unhelpful judgments. I’m still rooting for Edith to grow a brain and take Marigold and go live together as mother/daughter on the Continent — since I have the feeling that America would be quite out of the question for Edith.

Poor Sybbie and George, though…Lord Grantham won’t see them until they can talk. No, wait, he means until George can talk. Perhaps “Donk” is a suitable punishment. Atta girl, Sybbie!

Happy 34th anniversary to the Crawleys! That’s an accomplishment no matter what the decade. Lord Grantham almost made up for saying their anniversary was not important when he toasted “My Cora.” Next year dude better splurge for a getaway to show Cora some appreciation. Truthfully, they both got the winning lottery ticket, and I hope they keep it up another 34 years. Of course, if they keep letting Rose “help” arrange important social engagements for them, they may not live that long. Ha!

There’s other romance afoot at Downton, though…

It’s all fun and games for Granny to play with Lord Merton and Isobel like a cat with her mice until she realizes making Isobel a Lady of the county won’t do her a bit of good. So she pulls two other unwitting victims into her wicked matchmaking cauldron.

Bates wants offspring of his own. Will season five bring us a bouncing Baby Bates?

Molesley still very much has an interest in Baxter. He’s her knight in shining armor, somehow (almost) always there when Thomas comes in to threaten. He’s well over his white glove incident, and he takes the bull by the horns exhorting Baxter that the best defense is offense:

“It’ll be worse if Barrow tells her first.”

Baxter quivers her lip and bravely marches straight upstairs to tell Cora the truth. But will Molesley still feel the same way about her when he hears the whole story? Adorable, he is, but Bates he is not.

And our Latin lover Molesley has cosmetic problems of his own to deal with…

“Take steps, Mr. Molesley. Take steps.”

Our downstairs captain Mr. Carson is all at sea when the new village committee appoints him as their leader to steer them toward the best memorial for Downton’s fallen WWI soldiers. The times are changing, but what’s hardest for Carson is to be at odds with Mrs. Hughes. He wants to live harmoniously with her, which makes her want to check her hair. Did getting past his romantic bitterness and holding her hand in the ocean give Carson other ideas about what life downstairs could be like? Let’s not rock the boat too much. We still have three or four more couples to go.

I liked Miss Bunting the first time her character appeared, but the more I see her, the more I can’t stand her. She’s the pot calling the kettle black. She lives in a world where it’s perfectly ok for her to criticize the politics of the upper classes while insulting them on every personal level. She refuses Rose’s invitation in writing and insults Rose when she comes to ask a second time in person…“I may not have been presented at court”…really? Then she insults the guests at the party when she arrives…“well I guess you’re gonna have to marry somebody rich.” Then she picks at fight with Lord Grantham at his own table – and after the upstairs incident where she knows she needs to try a little harder with him for Tom’s sake. I assume her character’s behavior is based in insecurity, but it plays out in social inferiority. Isobel really should make Miss Bunting her next “project.” A lady who can’t get a grip on what comes out of her mouth towards Sybbie’s mom’s family is not exactly ideal mum for Sybbie. Will her character face her own insecurity? What will there be for Tom to love about her other than her hope for Utopia arising out of the Russian revolution? In the back of my mind I’m wondering if Rose’s repeated attempts to bring Tom and Miss Bunting together are a deliberate plan to cause waves with the Crawleys so her own won’t rock the boat. I miss Mr. Ross.

Apparently Jimmy John James has been sending annual Valentines to a former employer/lover as a “joke.” His picture must be next to the definition of “NOT common sense” in the dictionary. Lady Anstruther resumes passionate (unwanted) correspondence with him. So, of course, he calls her. So, of course, she drives through Yorkshire and has a car “breakdown” in front of Downton. So, of course, since he doesn’t want to be with her, he enlists Thomas’ help to visit her room for the night. So, of course, Edith sets the house on fire and Lord Grantham finds them in bed together and James is fired. Hilarious! Those jokes really worked out for him. Take steps, James. Take steps.

Which brings us to Lady Mary. Who seems slightly determined to end up like Lady Anstruther herself. Like last season when the premiere episode denied us the chance to be any part of Lady Mary’s mourning, this premiere episode we’ve clearly been excluded from Mary’s decision-making process to be exclusive with Tony Gillingham. Was all that pig mud for nothing? Blake donning his armor to pursue the lady in her tower all for nothing? All that “love means something to me and Matthew is still with me and I need time” and Mary just casually banters with Tony that she loves him? What the what??? Somebody ring the bell and ask Carson to send ‘round the Dolorean — I need to rewind and back. up. But she’s still not really really really really sure (only enough to tease the dude), so he decides that since he hasn’t been able to convince her with his magical wooing powers he will definitely be able to convince her as her lover. So he walks down the hall — in front of Thomas and James — right into her room for an indecent proposal. It’s not really fair that James got caught and not Mary, but ok. I also find myself wondering…now wasn’t the bedroom of Mr. Pamuk a little bit further away from Mary’s room than next door? Maybe Lord Grantham was more serious about getting her back in the saddle than I thought him to be.

Cora served Thomas up on a platter and once again I was so impressed with her cool temperature under pressure. But Thomas saves the day for the wrong reasons, so he won’t be going anywhere — again.

The episode wraps with Mrs. Hughes getting the idea that something’s going on between Farmer Drew and Firestarter Edith. I’d love it if Mrs. Hughes has the opportunity this season to get involved with Edith like she did with Ethel. Marigold does not deserve to pay for her parents mistakes.

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