'Downton Abbey' Season 5 Episode 4 Recap: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

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A petal falls from a rose and funny-looking brush dusts a light fixture and it's Sunday and we're back at Downton Abbey! Remember, for now and for always: SPOILER ALERT.

Thomas menacingly returns to  Downton from his mysterious trip.

Upstairs, the family is gathered around the breakfast table. Brary (I’m trying out couple nicknames for Branson and Mary…Manson?) are trying to get Lord "Donk" Crawley to agree to build ugly houses on a field and Rose’s long-lost father is apparently back from whichever colony he’d gone off to. Because he hasn’t complained for two whole breaths, Donk jumps in to remind everyone that Tom is a socialist. His future-wife Mary nobly comes to his aid.

At the field in question, Donk keeps acting like an angry old man about these ugly houses. Oh wait, he is an angry old man.

The old ladies travel to another town to see the Russians in a sad church basement. Really, they are coming for the Prince, obviously. Violet, so forward! I thought you were all about having the man pursue you! I thought you were a Rules girl! The Prince seems cool with it though, as he speaks romantically about how sad his life is in his sexy Russian accent.


Downstairs, First Footman Molesley is flummoxed by silver.

In the church basement, Violet tells the sad Prince: “Hope is a tease, designed to prevent us accepting reality.” #ExistentialistViolet

In the village, Donk and Mary discuss Rose’s dad Shrimpy’s impending likely divorce. So glad Shrimpy is back because his name! And scandalous divorce! Watch out, Donk, Cora might get ideas.

Downstairs, the Bateses pretend to each other that they both don’t know who murdered the Rapist.

In Violet’s drawing room, the Old Ladies Club meets to discuss boyz boyz boyz, specifically how Violet had, at the very least, an emotional affair with the Prince, to which her husband was like, babe, come on, let’s stay together for the kids!

Downstairs, Patmore is getting pissed at Bookish Daisy for reading so many goddamn books (#KidsTheseDays) and Thomas is stealing spoons (#DidHeJustDevelopADrugHabitOnVacation).

At Isobel’s house, her Fancy Suitor shows up to the sounds of goofball music. He seems really nervous, which you can tell because of the way he takes off his hat and the afore-mentioned music. Nervous because he’s about to propose to Isobel to the now romantic music. His proposal turns out to be pretty great, so great that, even though Isobel is incapable of love after the loss of her entire family, he makes a sort of compelling case, plus he’s got those fancy gardens and the big house. Isobel’s no dummy so she says she’ll think it over.

Back at the Abbey, Angry Donk has another bee in his hairpiece bonnet: the Art Guy is coming back for another visit. In a corner, Edith mopes over Marigold. Everyone pretends to care about Edith for about half a second and then they remember they don’t even care enough to pretend to care. Manson looks attractive in another corner and tries very passively to convince Donk to put the ugly houses on the field.

Downstairs, horrible sounds come from a room containing Thomas. Baxter the Angel tries to help him, but it appears he is going down the dark path of drug abuse. #NewPlotLineAlert #WillHeGetAnEmmy

In Mary’s room, Mary lies to Anna and says she’s “dreading” breaking up with Tony. Seriously, Mary, we all know your greatest happiness comes from making other people incredibly sad.

The nannies parade Babies Sybbie and George through the hall for their required 12 seconds of screen time.

Somewhere, the Old Ladies Tea Club meets and boyz are once again on the agenda. This time, Isobel talks about the Fancy Suitor and admits she is going to think about his super romantic, now viral, proposal video. #WhereWasTheFlashMob

In the library, Edith has heard a development about Michael and his attackers in Germany, who are going on trial. She cries and, in a surprise move, Donk doesn’t laugh in her face or tell her to shut the hell up.

At a fashion show in London, Rosamund grills Mary for intel on Edith. Oh, Rosamund, Mary doesn’t even know for sure where Edith lives anymore! And anyway, Mary sees Blake, the Pig Guy and the One She Will Probably Choose. Mary does her best impression of a human smile.

In the village, Edith stalks Marigold.

In London, for some reason, Anna has decided to take a note from Mary to Tony herself. A dangerous looking man sneakily watches her.

Back at the fashion show, Blake brings the girl who Tony jilted to meet Mary. Oh, Blake, that's dark! I like your style! Maybe you are better choice! Mary decides to go to dinner with him.

At some square in London, Anna wears all black and is now obviously being followed.

At home, Marigold is also being followed. By her mom.

Downstairs, Carson and Hughes are trolling Molesley by assigning him lots of tasks.

At the Baby Watcher’s House, Edith is about to get a restraining order put out on her.

In the library, Donk and Carson look on as Patmore gives a rousing speech on PTSD and how her nephew is just as much a casualty of war as anyone. #SupportOurTroops Patmore leaves and Cora comes in so Donk can grumble misogynistically and obnoxiously at her about the Art Guy’s impending arrival.

Downstairs, Carson continues to prank Molesley by giving him more and more work. Carson, you are such a scamp!

At dinner, Mary and Blake bond over their unbreakable hearts, Blake in a stoic way and Mary in a I-don’t-actually-have-a-heart kind of way.

In the drawing room, Violet has zero sympathy for Edith. Rather, she’s interested in finding her Prince’s wife, with Shrimpy’s help. So interested that she tells Shrimpy she won’t take sides in his divorce situation because “she doesn’t take sides” (read: there is something she wants out of him).

Also in attendance in the drawing room: the rest of the upstairs cast and the Art Guy. They gather to discuss inviting the School Teacher to dinner, hopefully to teach Donk some kind of lesson.

In the library, Shrimpy and Donk talk man stuff. #LadiesAmmiright

Downstairs, Baxter and Thomas have a whole conversation about Thomas’ new “treatment” without ever facing each other. Is this a British custom?

In the library, Shrimpy tells Rose he and her mommy are getting a divorce, but that they do love her soooo much! Rose seems pretty okay with it and then, typical Rose, turns the conversation back to herself and her romantic prospects. Your dad needs someone to listen right now, Rose!

Upstairs, Cora and the Art Guy talk about “art” and by “art” I mean how beautiful Cora is and how she’s going to make him “burst.” #SlightlySuggestive

In London, Mary is in the midst of breaking up with Tony, which IMO she should have done via text because now he’s saying things like, “Am I a bad lover?” and “Well, I refuse to accept it!” Oh no, not this old song and dance…

Downstairs, Molesley the Wimp gives up his title because, as usual, the trolls win and also he hates work.

Upstairs, you can tell the show is drawing to a close because the School Teacher shows up with her political rhetoric, saying to Tom, “I can’t bear for you to waste your life propping up a system that’s dying!”

Downstairs, the sneaky music plays as Baxter reads Thomas’ magazine and figures out his secret (he's treating himself for his man-loving tendencies?).

At the dinner table, Cora’s body language toward the Art Guy is almost more obscene than Jimmy’s Old Boss’s was the night she overtly sexually harassed Jimmy, or at least that’s what Violet’s dagger eyes are saying from across the table.

The table talk turns to the School Teacher, of course, and it comes out that Donk doesn't know Daisy's name!!! OMG, Donk! Mary comes to his rescue, but another fight gets underway. Now they have decided to bring Daisy and Patmore up from the bowels of the house to tell them who is better, Donk or Teacher.

Upstairs, the Bateses flirt in Mary’s room until Anna resumes her role as the Sarah Koenig of Downton and tries to get to the bottom of Adnan's...I mean, Bates’ timeline.

At dinner, Daisy and Patmore are brought up for their humiliation so Donk and/or the Teacher can prove some sort of point. Is that point that they are both jerks? Their point is proven in spades when the Teacher just insults Donk for the heck of it and then Fragile Donk has a meltdown in front of his family and tells her never to come back. Hey, guys? Neither of you is super great.

Downstairs, the servants are all in a flutter over the Big Fight.

In the bedroom, Donk takes his rage out on Cora, per usual.

In the hall on the way to the bedrooms, Manson flirt with each other in a fun, sexy, familial way.

Downstairs, Daisy inspires Patmore to stand up against the Man and write a letter about PTSD. #HeartsAndMinds

Also downstairs, the cops are back and apparently this Rapist Murder is the Case of the Century because there is a plainclothes officer watching Tony’s house. Round-the-clock surveillance seems a bit overboard for a cold case that involves one jackass valet. Now apparently Anna is a suspect. Grrreat.

At Violet’s, Shrimpy has found the Prince’s wife in Hong Kong and Violet is sort of glad, but also calls her a prostitute.

On a walk through the grounds, Manson and Donk discuss last night’s meltdown and the Political School Teacher. Isis, the dog, says nothing. As the music swells, Donk explains why he hates the ugly houses and is actually an environmentalist and will find a green building company that will build locally-sourced homes. Suddenly, due to the music and his monologue-ing, he is a hero saying: “We will build. We’ll even make money for the estate. But we won’t destroy what people love about this place.”

They all pose as if for a picture and credits.

Character Ranking:

5. Blake: I like your sly moves, dude! After Tony’s freak out on Mary, I am definitely on #TeamBlake.

4. Tom: I’m kidding about that #TeamBlake stuff because obviously I am actually #TeamManson. You guys look so cute together! And think how sad you would make Edith and how angry you would make Donk!

3. Violet: For calling a former Russian princess a prostitute. Kudos.

2. Shrimpy: Your wife was awful. Time to head back to a tropical colony and get your groove back, girl!

1. The Fancy Suitor: I really liked your proposal!

Previous Season 5 recaps:

'Downton Abbey' Season 5 Premiere Recap: We Didn't Start the Fire

'Downton Abbey' Season 5 Episode 2 Recap: I'll Make Love To You


'Downton Abbey' Season 5 Episode 3 Recap: Call Me Maybe