In the dining room, everyone talks about Baby George (stop talking about your kids and go hang out with them!) and Mary calls Edith an idiot, which everyone pretty much ignores. Mary then lies to her family and tells them she is going on a “sketching vacation” with her friend “Annabell.” It’s a sex vacation, Mary. That’s what it’s called.
Tensions build between Carson and Donk over the location of the war memorial. Sigh. So this plot really is sticking around for another episode…
Rose thinks about asking for a radio and Donk nearly has a heart attack.
At the Baby Watcher’s Farm, the Baby Watcher (Hot Firefighter) sets Edith up to “take a greater interest” in Marigold. His wife is not super cool with that because Marigold is so cute and perfect and her name is Marigold, but the Baby Watcher pushes on.
At a tea for the old people, Violet totally calls Isobel out about her Fancy Lord Suitor in front of her Doctor Suitor. Daaaang, Violet is cold! Players have to play, Violet. Let Isobel play!
On the stairs, Thomas channels his sadness over Jimmy leaving by harassing Baxter and Gallant Mr. Molesley. Talk to a therapist, dude! That’s what the rest of us do!
Downstairs, Patmore and Rose conspire to get Daisy educated by the Hatless School Teacher.
Upstairs, Anna is in on the sex vacation. Anna points out that Mary, for the first time in her life, will be undertaking the arduous task of taking her own clothing on and off by herself. Oh no! But how will she manage her hats?! After the uncomfortable clothing discussion, the talk turns to birth control and Mary takes the opportunity to guilt Anna into buying her a diaphragm by reminding Anna of the fact that her husband is a murderer and also that Mary’s own husband is dead, saying, “…you’re married, with a living husband!”
Downstairs, Thomas smokes menacingly and tries to convince the Noble Molesley that Baxter’s past as a jewel thief makes her the bad guy. Speak his name and he shall appear: the real criminal, Bates, waltzes in to tell Thomas to shut his yapper. Snitches in ditches, amiright?
The bored writing staff has Donk make a joke about Downton being a hotel for the second time in as many episodes (product placement?). Cora, playing the part of the audience, says: “You’ve already made that joke.”
In the library, Edith tells her parents the suspicious story of how she’s taken an interest in the Farmer Firefighter’s Unwanted Adoptee.
Rose continues to angle for a wireless. Doesn’t she have parents of her own she can beg for new advanced technology toys?
Downstairs, Ross and Rachel (Hughes and Carson) disagree over the war memorial's placement. It’s ripping the whole house apart!
In town, Anna attempts to buy a prophylactic. Bet you thought you'd never see that sentence in a Downton recap.
Downstairs, the School Teacher and Daisy get set up for tutoring (see my previous predictions). Also, Julian Fellowes, if you’d like to hire me for your writing team, I am potentially available, though I'm not sure you can afford me.
Upstairs, Cora joins the team lobbying for a wireless. Donk, the Molesley of upstairs, says: “[The wireless] is a fad! It won’t last.” Poor guy is never going to be on the right side of history.
In the shoe shine room, Molesley confronts Baxter the Thief about the thievery. Molesley, like us, wants to know the real reason Baxter turned to crime. Baxter, the Angel from Heaven, will not tell. This, of course, is how we know she is an angel from heaven.
At the tea with the Fancy Lord Suitor, Violet openly taunts Isobel about the burgeoning romance. Can you imagine a third grade Violet finding out someone had a crush on someone else? Uuugh, Violet, stop!!
In Mary’s room, the Feminist Society (Anna and Mary) meet to discuss Anna’s judgment at the hands of the pharmacist and a women’s right to birth control, but they do it in such a fun, flirty way it almost doesn't make you hate feminism!
On the stairs, a new cast member ogles a painting.
In the drawing room, Meddlesome Thomas tells Meddlesome Rose that the School Teacher is downstairs.
Mary’s Less Attractive Suitor From Last Season acts grumpy about the fact that he wasn’t “the lucky winner” of Mary’s cold, barely beating heart.
Downstairs, the School Teacher doesn’t want to go to dinner, but she does want to inspire Tom to shake the gilded bonds of the Abbey. Too bad she’s not even remotely as fun and cool and cute as Sybil, because I kind of like her attitude.
At dinner, the New Cast Member flirts with Cora and Donk tries to fight with the School Teacher in absentia. Unfortunately, her “once more unto the breach, dear friends” speech inspired Tom and he comes to the defense of the Russian Revolution.
In the hall, Imperialist Donk seems to finally be swayed towards the wireless when he hears that the King is going to be on it. Carson uses this as an opportunity to get in a metaphorical point about Donk’s attitude about the placement of the war memorial saying: “…even kings must bow to pressure sometimes.” Touché, Carson. Compare Donk to a king to stoke his ego and then tell him to sit the F down. Well played. Oh wait, maybe he’s actually just talking about the wireless.
Outside, Molesley looks sad and Baxter the Angelic Thief continues to refuse to tell anyone why she stole the jewels. This is getting tiresome, Baxter. Why don’t you just kiss Molesley so we can move on?
In the room with all the paintings, maybe the New Cast Member isn’t so new? He appears to have a past with Cora.
Downstairs, there is discord in the Hughes/Carson Harmony Machine because Carson is from the '70s and Hughes is a '90s…chick.
In Cora’s room, Cora still can’t decide whether or not to sack Baxter. Spoiler: I really doubt she will.
In the library, Mary and the Less Attractive Suitor get into a heated debate about the difference between sex and love, a debate which actually involves the use of the word “sex.” Have they ever used this smutty, graphic term before? Is it even legal to say on televison?
In the bedroom, Donk nearly has an aneurism when it occurs to him that Tom might leave Downton and take Baby Sibby with him. He basically gets in a yelling fight with himself. Dear Donk, I'm suggesting for you what I suggested earlier for Thomas: get some therapy, please. Then, in an especially cute maneuver, he tells Cora to tell the New Cast Member to stop flirting with Isis. Oh, Isis is who he’s flirting with?? He says: “There is nothing more ill-bred than trying to steal the affections of someone else’s dog!” and then slams his head down on his pillow. Hey, Donk, I’m no aristocrat, but I have this feeling that it is super “ill-bred" to pay more attention to your dog than your wife.
In Mary’s room, the Feminist Society has a bit of schism when Anna slut shames Mary.
In the village, Carson and Donk meet a war widow, who inspires them to silently agree on putting the memorial in the center of town. Can we be done with this plot line now?
In the a hall, as the wireless is installed, Daisy says: “Why is it called a wireless when there’s so many wires?” Classic Seinfeld Daisy.
At the Baby Watcher’s House, the Baby Watcher’s Wife doesn’t believe that Edith is really going to care at all about Marigold long term. It seems reasonable to let the wife in on the secret of Marigold's parentage because what’s going to happen when Michael comes back? I mean, he has to come back, right?
In the hall, upstairs and downstairs folks and even the babies gather around the wireless. Everyone stands when the King speaks because they don't seem to realize he can't see or hear them. Welcome to the future, you innocent babies! Next stop: Google Glass.
Also in the future, Mary arrives in Liverpool for her Sex Vacation.
Downstairs, Thomas sullenly smokes and tells Anna sadly that nobody likes him. I mean, why do you think that’s the case, Thomas? Could it be your weekly plot against whomever you see first on your way to breakfast?
Mary and Tony arrive in Liverpool for their Sex Vacation and they have adjoining rooms, which is going to be helpful because Tony has plans for them to “make love all night long.” Geez Louise! What is this? A Boyz II Men video??
Downstairs, Hughes and Carson are back in agreement over the memorial's placement and, just at the moment they are about to make out, Thomas the Scaremonger brings in a policeman. Turns out the policeman is at Downton because there are some new questions about the untimely death of Anna’s Rapist. Hughes, who a moment before was finally about to kiss the man of her dreams, goes white. As usual, she knows too much.
5. Mary's Less Attractive Suitor From Last Season: I'm putting him in the ranking because he broke the glass ceiling of the Abbey. He said the word "sex" in the library and no one died. Kudos, sir!
4. Tony: His old rival may have said sex, but Tony meant it. The adjoining rooms and the slow jam references speak for themselves.
3. Cora: Cora seems to be growing tired of Donk's hot air lifestyle and she's flirting hard with the New Cast Member. Get it, Cora.
2. Mary: I'm proud of Mary for going on her Sex Vacation and for procuring birth control, even if she did shamelessly use Anna to do it. She’s a modern woman, checking into hotels and perfecting her already excellent lying game.
1. Hughes: Hughes may not be in every scene or be the most compelling, but as usual she is aware of every plot and has a hand in most of them. Will she save Bates from another stint in the Big House?
Tune in next week!
Previous Season 5 recaps: