Downton Abbey Recap: Everyone disagrees with the Earl in episode 5

Downton Abbey episode 5 season 3 recap
Photography courtesy eOne Entertainment
Downton Abbey episode 5 season 3 recap
Photography courtesy eOne Entertainment

By Randi Bergman and Paige Dzenis

After last week’s tragic episode, it seemed like nothing would ever be the same on Downton Abbey. With Cora and the Earl sleeping in separate bedrooms, Mary furious at Matthew and both upstairs and downstairs operating under a cloud of grief, the odds of this week’s episode containing the show’s signature quips seemed low. But with cousin Isobel employing Ethel, Daisy continuing to pine after Alfred and the Dowager Countess being, well, the Dowager Countess, all was almost back to normal at Downton. Though the Earl may have a thing or two to say about that…

Worst day to wear a suit:
Branson, we’re pretty sure that the death of your wife gives you more than enough reasons to stop following the Downton dress code. And yet, there you are, showing up to breakfast in a suit that matches the ones that the Earl and Matthew are wearing. We have to wonder if this sartorial choice is a practical one (Branson doesn’t own any other black clothing) or a power play: By dressing more distinguished, it may just help to keep the Earl a little blindsided when Branson drops such bombs as the baby being christened by the Catholic church.

Best development:
Has the Earl finally figured out that he’s no longer Lord of the Last Word? When Branson announces that the baby will be named Sybil and become Catholic, the Earl grunts, throws down his napkin and then wisely leaves the room. And when the topic of Edith writing a newspaper column comes up again, his temper tantrum is basically ignored. The old Earl would have shouted until everyone else defaulted to his decision, but with two of his daughters married (and Matthew as joint-master of Downton) the Earl’s authority is no longer absolute.

Best cook sass:
“Anyone who has use of their limbs can make a salmon mousse,” says Mrs. Patmore to Ethel. Have you ever made a salmon mousse? Would you ever try? Hells no.

Best cook sass part two:
Carson accuses Mrs. Patmore of wrongly “frolicking” over to Crawley House to help Ethel in the kitchen, to which she diva-ly responds “Do I look like a frolicker?” Zing!

Best dig:
When Isobel shows up to invite Cora, Mary and Edith to lunch, she’s clearly arrived right on the cusp of dinner. “Oh goodness, you’ve changed,” she says of Cora’s beaded, black evening dress. “Well, we’re rather prompt,” Cora responds, without missing a beat. Yep, she basically just pulled a 30 Rock joke on Isobel.

Most bittersweet moment:
Mary and Matthew have been getting along so poorly lately that it was refreshing to see them huddled in the sheets confessing their love for each other again. It’s only too bad that they had to be brought together by the loss of Sybil.

Downton Abbey episode 5 season 3 recap
Photography courtesy eOne Entertainment

Saddest looking table:
While black may mean more than mourning these days, we sure felt a pang of post-Sybil sadness when glancing upon a table of six mourning Crawleys around cousin Isobel’s table. Sad face emoji.

Most determined:
We have to give it to Cora, she’s not letting anything slide with the Earl since the death of Sybil. “You’re always flabbergasted when it goes against convention,” she says to the entire room when he tries to protest the Catholic christening. And when the Earl demands everyone leave Isobel’s lunch for fear of gossip about Ethel ruining their reputations, Cora stands her ground and the rest of the Crawley women follow her lead. The times, they are a-changing!

Look how far we’ve come!
Speaking of change, is there anything more adorable than Daisy’s father-in-law asking her to live with him so he can teach her how to run the farm? The rest of Downton could benefit from his “women can and should do anything!” ideals.

Look how far we haven’t come!
Just when it seemed like Cora was going to teach the Earl a lesson about how his antiquated values are no longer valid in the post-war world, the Dowager Countess pulls rank and uses her power and position to restore the balance. Well, Cora. Should you ever discover that Dr. Clarkson lied, just consider that the alternative was sending you off to New York until you cooled down.

Best way to couch a mischievous plan:
While granny’s plan to trick Cora into believing that Sybil had no chance of living even with a caesarean was well meaning, she sure does have a way of making it sound evil. “Lie is such an unmusical word,” she says to Dr. Clarkson upon his refusal to tell one.

Best character re-twist:
Everybody’s favourite villainess has been so busy trying to be kind that she’s hatched nary an evil plan all season! Well, it looks like O’Brien’s back on the badass train, with her tricking Thomas into believing Jimmy the hot footman was into him. We knew there was more behind those bangs.

Best plot change for our attention span:
Poison plots, boring lawyer meetings, the BatezzzZZZzz plot continues to plod on. Oh wait! He’s out of jail! Finally!

Best reminder of the times:
While the 1920s are often referred to as one of the most carefree decades in recent history, they sure as heck aren’t for the Crawley family. Could the foxtrot being danced by Daisy, Alfred, Ivy and Jimmy in the servant’s kitchen usher the gladness back a tiny bit?

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