'Downton Abbey' Season 5 Episode 8 Recap: London Calling

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We are here! The Penultimate Episode! Suddenly, I am feeling sad and pre-nostalgic for this season. Is this the end? Does all the talk of changing times and America and real estate mean we’re soon to part ways forever? Maybe after next season? Only time will tell. Until then, spoiler alert. Here we go!

In a hall, Thomas looks positively not-dying. Serious and in charge and not smoking in a corner. Is this a new Team-Player Thomas? He’s handing lists off to people in a non-sneaky way. I don’t know. I’ll believe it when he's four years clean from being the Bad Guy.

In the kitchen, Patmore and Daisy are working on what appears to be a wedding cake! OMG. Either Rose is about to get hitched or Isobel is. Either way, tension and drama!

In a room somewhere, the future bride appears to be Rose, who is trying on outfits in front of the ladies. The whole team is there except for Edith obviously because she’s just no fun. The team does some exposition on such important topics as mixed-religion marriages and the status of Shrimpy and Shrimpy’s Mean Wife.

Downstairs, Hughes does a little exposition of her own, letting all those O’Brien fans out there know that we will not be seeing her at Rose’s nuptials (she left Cora for Shrimpy’s Mean Wife, you may remember). I guess they couldn’t pay her enough to get her back for one entertaining episode? It also seems that Rose’s parents are dead broke and that Atticus’ Rich Dad (trying to ignore the blatant stereotyping here of my people) is going to save the whole family.


In the library, Robert "Donk" Grantham is playing Chutes and Ladders with Baby Sybbie. Look, I know in Britain it’s called “Snakes and Ladders,” but this is America and I play by American rules here. In a surprise move, Mary calls her dad Donk too and she possibly earns herself a spot in tonight’s rankings. Edith plays with a very strangely vacant-looking Marigold and talks to Tom about the machine business in Massachusetts.

Downstairs, it appears that the Law & Order team is coming back to interrogate both Mr. and Mrs. Bates.

In the drawing room, Mary is pissed that Edith is 1000x better at being a mom than her.

Downstairs, Baxter continues to try to ingratiate herself to the Bateses, but those Mean Girls would rather die in prison than be nice to her for one single second.

At the downstairs table, Baxter puts the moves on Molesley (tells him she’ll go to a museum with him in London). The war memorial plot line pops up again because apparently it’s just like the most interesting thing ever and so they have to unveil it after the wedding. So the final episode is going to be about the war memorial? My pre-nostalgia is fading.

At the Dowager’s house, the Prince is waiting in the drawing room and Violet is going to put on her lavender day dress! Are they finally going to kiss?!

In the library, Carson and Donk discuss the war memorial and I take a nap.

In her drawing room, the Prince is propositioning Violet: “I wish to spend my final years with you…as a friend, as a lover.” OH MY GOD! Make. Out. Now.

Downstairs, the Law & Order team is trying to victim blame Anna and also murder-blame her. I mean, do we know she didn’t do it? I feel like she was convinced Bates One did it so it can’t be her. Or is that a trick?!

In the library, Donk is talking to a guy about making plans for a tombstone for Isis, the Dog Who Is Not Affiliated With Any Terrorist Organization.

At the Dowagers, nothing interesting happens with her help.

Downstairs, Anna considers telling the cops that the Rapist was also her rapist.

Everyone leaves for London except for the babies because this isn’t Fashion Week, am I right?? Donk is sort of suspicious about Marigold, but he’s not very smart so he’s not sure why he’s suspicious.

In London, enter a New Cast Member to help out the Downstairs Team at the wedding. He’s tall and handsome. Is Thomas going to finally have a real love interest as a prize for good behavior?

Shrimpy and Shrimpy’s Mean Wife also arrive in London with sour expressions and no personal attendants. Immediately, Shrimpy’s Mean Wife causes a scene by refusing to share a room with her husband. Ugh. So mean.

Upstairs, Rose tries to bond with Shrimpy’s Mean Wife a.k.a. her mom. It goes just okay.

Downstairs in London, Anna’s plot thickens as does the tension between Thomas and the New Cast Member as Thomas straightens the New Cast Member’s bow tie and the New Cast Member sort of grimaces.

In the drawing room in London, Shrimpy and Shrimpy’s Mean Wife sort of bicker, as the Crawley’s await the arrival of Atticus’ family. It seems like Shrimpy’s Mean Wife and Atticus’ Mean Dad are going to really try to sabotage this whole true love thing. Rose should have definitely tried to marry the Jazz Singer first or maybe a woman. Then this whole thing would have gone down so easily!

Downstairs in London, Hughes still doesn’t tell Carson what really happened to Anna, though she should because love’s all about honesty, girl.

At dinner, Shrimpy’s Mean Wife starts off by asking her future Jewish in laws/meal ticket racist questions. Atticus’ Mean Dad retorts by telling Rose she isn’t a Chosen Person. The talk then turns to Atticus’ Bachelor Party (see Snakes and Ladders; this is America and that’s not a Stag Party). I didn’t know they had Bachelor Parties in the 1920s, but apparently it’s “rooted in ancient history." Then, a bit out of left field if you ask me, Atticus’ Mean Dad mentions how much he hates divorce and it’s like the worst thing he’s ever heard of. Shrimpy’s Mean Wife implies she’s about to get a divorce.

In a hall, Violet and Isobel talk about boyz as usual.

In a drawing room, Terrible Mom/Sister Mary gets in like 15 negs on Edith in the space of two minutes.

In a bedroom, Donk and Cora talk like a proper husband and wife who don’t hate each other’s guts. Yeah. Sure. Totally.

In the hall, Shrimpy’s Mean Wife gives Carson a letter. Obviously this means something.

Downstairs, Patmore lovingly yells at Daisy and then submits when Donk goads her into going to the war memorial unveiling. He must have something planned; my guess is a little stone memorial of her nephew.

At Scotland Yard, Anna is put in a lineup of what I hope are other victims of her Rapist. I am hoping for a scene in which they all, one by one, stand up and say “I did it” and then none of them go to jail.

Downstairs, it seems like Violet’s Lady’s Maid has designs on the New Cast Member who is Thomas’s! Step down, lady! Patmore and Daisy get into existentialism and then decide, like, never mind.

In a drawing room, the Crawley’s openly despise each other.

At The Hangover: Downton Abbey, Atticus is wasted and a lady is putting the moves on him in an elevator, but he very kindly puts her off. Until she shows up in his room and does some weird stuff with her outfit. Fact: I said “Ooooh” when this happened because I realized that this must be what Shrimpy’s Mean Wife’s letter was about.

Downstairs, the tension between Thomas and the New Cast Member continues to build. Hopefully.

At lunch in London, Troll Mary has picked the location of Edith and Michael’s first date for the sibling pre-marriage luncheon. That general sisterly unkindness is completely overshadowed by the motherly unkindness of pictures of Atticus with “a tart of some kind” sent by messenger. Rose breaks down at luncheon and then Tom, a genius of some kind, tells her to talk to Atticus about it! What?! Has he seen this show?? Never talk to your spouse or potential spouse about anything important ever! Tom then suggests Atticus’ Mean Dad is behind the dirty pics. Right track, Tom, wrong evil parent.

Downstairs, Hughes and Carson debate systematic racial injustice and personal intolerance. Then Violet’s Lady’s Maid continues her play for the New Cast Member.

Somewhere in a garden, Molesley walks with his harem and they discuss the transformative power of art. Daisy says, “I feel as if I’ve been down a coal hall and someone’s opened a lid and brought me into the sunlight.” I, unable to contain myself, said, “Oh, god.” So now Daisy’s an Art Major? The threesome see Rose and Atticus fighting in the park and Beyonce Baxter says: “You’re never safe 'til the ring’s on your finger.”

At Atticus’ house, Atticus confronts Atticus’ Mean Dad about the dirty pic scandal. The Mean Dad is like, if I’m going to be honest, I don’t think our legacy is worth throwing away for “this little shiksa.” Okay now, is it just me or does Atticus’ Mean Dad’s Yiddish sound really forced? This is the first time we’re hearing it and I’m not convinced at all. Atticus’ Mean Dad gives Atticus a lecture on Judaism right before Rose et al. arrive.

Before the dinner, everyone tries to act normal as true love sort of falls apart. Mary tries to hide how happy it makes her that true love is falling apart by talking about murdering Edith. Mary, you are a monster. Rose quickly forgives Atticus and they join together as an team of Encyclopedia Browns to find their saboteur. Shrimpy and the Olds get together to explain that the Empire is collapsing.

Downstairs, Thomas, the pot, calls Violet’s Lady’s Maid, the kettle, black by telling her to stop being a bully. Takes one to know one.

In the kitchen, Daisy complains about how art has changed her life so much she has to move to London now and experience the real world. Patmore almost starts crying because, even though Daisy’s become an obnoxious brat, she’s still her obnoxious brat.

Downstairs, the New Cast Member and Violet’s Lady’s Maid are missing. Where oh where have they gone and when oh when will Thomas rescue him?!

In Shrimpy’s Mean Wife’s room, Shrimpy is waiting for Shrimpy’s Mean Wife because he, like us, knows that she is the villain behind the Atticus dirty pic situation. Turns out he has proof in the form of a checkbook stub! Always pay in cash when you are trying to sabotage your daughter’s happiness!

In a drawing room, Donk announces that he’s selling the art that the Art Guy loved so much. Cora looks sad because that guy was honestly nice to her and a lot better of a human than Donk. Rose and the old ladies talk about happiness, love, boyz, etc. and then Carson comes in to tell Violet that her Lady’s Maid is “sick.” Mary and Branson talk about how Tom is leaving for America after Christmas.

Downstairs, Violet’s Lady’s Maid is waaaasted. Daisy goes to make her coffee and finds Patmore sobbing. Ugh, now I am almost crying. Patmore and Daisy are the truest love in the world!

In a hall, Thomas has clearly decided to use his Powers of Sneakiness for good, to rescue the poor New Cast Member from Violet’s Drunk and Gambling Lady’s Maid.

At a registry office, which is not a church, Mary is dressed up again like Alex from Clockwork Orange. Because her dirty pics thing didn’t ruin her daughter’s marriage, Shrimpy’s Mean Wife decides to announce that she and Shrimpy are getting divorced. The move backfires because true love cannot be stopped, even by the World’s Second Worst Mom (Mary is clearly the worst).

On the stairs up to the registry office, Shrimpy and Rose share a moment of happiness away from their tormentor.

Downstairs, Thomas sets a trap for Violet’s Lady’s Maid.

At the wedding party, Tony is holding hands with the Girl He Jilted. They come over to Mary and make her delightfully uncomfortable, enough so that she makes an awkward comment about going to their wedding. Edith and Donk have an almost meaningful conversation, until he sees Mary and remembers he doesn’t like Edith and walks off. Tony and Mary debrief about their sex vacation and Carson, who still likes Mary apparently for some unknowable reason, looks on. Rose confronts her mother and tells her she doesn’t know what love is and then moves on to the next guest. A racist gets shut down by Cora.

In a hall, Mary complains to Carson about how things change. Luckily, Carson also hates change.

In a basement, Thomas prepares to finally use his trickiness for good. Seriously, is this ever actually going to happen? There's been a lot of build up on this one. Thomas, the New Cast Member and Violet’s Lady Maid go into a literally underground club called The Velvet Violin.

In her room, Anna sensually dresses Mary. Sadly, they are interrupted by Anna’s arrest.

At the Velvet Violin, Thomas wins a bunch of money to pay off the New Cast Member’s debt. Not exactly dramatic but nice, I guess. He then sells out the Lady’s Maid to a Sinister Boss with a Mustache. Thomas and the New Cast Member leave and, in the corridor heading out of the basement, Thomas refers to himself as “your uncle Thomas.” I can’t decide if that’s creepy or amazing.

Inside the Velvet Violin, the Lady’s Maid is forced to pay for her drinks. What a dramatic conclusion.

Back at the house, Anna is getting cuffed and Mary is pissed. Bates is really angry and so are the Crawleys because seriously, how many Bates are they going to have to get off of spurious murder charges??

In case you forgot, it’s time for the war memorial unveiling! The show must go one, apparently, even though Anna the Unblemished is in jail (question: is this God punishing her for aiding and abetting the sex vacation?). The memorial is unveiled and everyone is like war is bad but also good, kinda? As I predicted what seems like five hours ago, Donk has prepared a tiny little memorial for Patmore’s nephew so when the music swells, he can once again be a hero! Super dense Donk finally takes a long look at Edith and realizes that Marigold is her child.

On a path in the village, Daisy decides not to go to London after all. Bates implies to Mary that he’s going to take the fall or something for the Rapist’s murder, even though that’s not going to happen since the cops know it was a lady. Unless he’s implying that Mary killed him? She is stone cold so that's totally possible. Isobel and Violet both seem to decide to fight for true love! Edith and Tom say nice things to each other and Carson and Hughes say nice things to each other. Donk admits that he doesn’t think he’ll hate Marigold now that he knows she’s his progeny. And credits.

Character Ranking:

5. Shrimpy: What a great dad who picked a truly awful wife. Also, he's called Shrimpy.

4. Baxter:  Besides being an angel from Heaven, Baxter is a great Molesley-seductress.

3. Molesly: So into the arts now! Opening up worlds for people! Not being annoying about it! How wonderful.

2. Tom: Soon Tom will go to America and it will be a tragedy because he's the only thing keeping Mary from literally murdering Edith.

1. Patmore: Patmore is the best character on this show and, this week, her cake was lovely, she got to cry for Daisy and her nephew got a memorial! What a mitzvah, right?

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

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

'Downton Abbey' Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting

‘Downton Abbey’ Season 5 Episode 6 Recap: Runaway Train


‘Downton Abbey’ Season 5 Episode 7 Recap: Dog Days Are Over