Downton Abbey Series 5 Episode 3 Review

downton-abbey-503 (3)

Some television shows have a yearly plan, or at least some sort of theme, that ties everything that happens in a given season together to make a kind of sense. Downton Abbey doesn’t have that, unless you count the WWII-centred second series, and it’s beginning to drag the show down.

This year, for example, has been all over the place so far. The main plot-lines – Mary’s indecision over Lord Gillingham, Anna and Bates’ troubles with Green and Edith’s illegitimate child – have all been brought over from the fourth series, and that’s making series five feel far more tired that it every should by episode three. It’s slower than anything that’s ever happened in the history of television, and the novelty of posh accents and pretty clothes might not be enough to sustain interest (though those ’20s dresses are lovely).

At least Mary’s story took a slightly surprising turn this week, as she decided that her interest in Gillingham had been driven by lust all along. Now that she’s gotten it out of her system, so to speak, she’s realised what the rest of us have known for a year – he’s creepy and probably killed Green. Or they don’t have anything in common. What this plot has done well is highlight the changing times and shifting attitudes, which is something Downton absolutely loves to do, and every conversation between Mary and Violet was pure gold.

Edith’s trouble isn’t going quite so well, with her being banned from seeing Marigold on account of coming across like a sinister child-snatcher. The adoptive mother is being painted as a villain, but can we really blame her for being cautious? She thought that Edith had ran away with the girl when she came home to an empty house, and that’s exactly the thought that ran through the minds of the audience. How long before this reaches a head and Edith really does decide she can’t live without her daughter, scandal or no scandal?

Anna and Bates are heading towards the same sort of boiling point, as the evidence that Bates was the one to have pushed Green into the road is causing everyone in the know to discuss their options in the Abbey’s many dark corridors. Anna and Mrs Hughes are still under the impression that Bates has no idea why he should have held a grudge against Green and everyone else is nonplussed about why suspicion has fallen on the Abbey in the first place, but all I know is that I hope we find out the real story soon. Of course we won’t, but there’s always hope.

Along with all of the big storylines that crawled along this week, there were a few little filler moments. Mary and Tom’s exchange, for example, was the most adorable thing in the world and did nothing to dissuade me from by eternal hope that they will be each other’s endgame romance. Then there’s Daisy’s ongoing education, Barrow’s position at the Abbey and Mrs Patmore’s nephew, none of which really went anywhere. The most obvious set-up was the flirtation between Cora and Richard E Grant, which will obviously turn into something more in the coming weeks.

What did you think of the episode? Where has Barrow really gone, if not to take care of his sick father? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr here.