Downton Abbey Recap: Scenes From a Marriage

downtonThis week on Downton Abbey, the shoulder that Cora gives Robert is so cold, he runs the risk of getting frostbite. Luckily, the Dowager Countess has a plan to make things right.

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THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ | His wife’s upset notwithstanding, Robert still has a bloody awful week. Besides burying Sybil, he’s faced with the “ghoulish” prospect of Tom naming their newborn after the deceased and, worse, having her baptized as a Catholic! On top of that, Matthew attempts to hang an “Under New Management” sign on Downton Abbey and set in motion his vision for the future of the estate — one that involves more than Earl Grey and idle gossip! And that’s only the beginning…

FOOD FOR THOUGHT | When Isobel decides to throw a ladies-only luncheon to cheer up Cora, Ethel enlists Mrs. Padmore’s help with the cooking so as not to accidentally kill any more Crawleys. When Carson catches wind of this — and then Robert — their knickers become so knotted, it’s a wonder that they don’t trip. But that’s not the half of it: When Robert storms in and orders the womenfolk to leave, lest they be seen eating salmon mousse prepared by a former hooker, not a one of them budges. Ouch.

GOOD GRIEF | Eager to mend the rift between her son and Cora, Violet asks Dr. Clarkson to tell her daughter-in-law that, even if he’d performed a C-section, Sybil would’ve died, anyway. “I won’t lie!” he says (pretty much). “Lie is so unmusical a word,” she replies (literally). And, after he relents and tells Cora a decidedly bent version of the truth, she finally allows Robert to comfort her. Marriage saved! Well done, Dowager Countess!

WHAT’S COOKIN’ | Daisy’s fondness for Alfred, his for Ivy and hers for James become so palpable that Mrs. Patmore is moved to exclaim, “You’re all in love with the wrong people!” (Not that they pay her any mind, of course!). But it’s the situation between James and Thomas — and puppetmaster Mrs. O’Brien! — that’s really about to come to a head: Thomas is sure that James reciprocates his feelings when, in fact, the newbie is one awkward fondle away from complaining to Carson!

COMINGS AND GOINGS | From behind bars, Bates finds a way to threaten the truth out of Mrs. Bartlett, thus obtaining the testimony he needs to get sprung and (not now but soon) return to Downton Abbey. Tom reveals his plan to (not now but soon) move back to Liverpool with Sybil 2.0. Daisy’s father-in-law, Mr. Mason, invites her to come live on his farm so that he can teach her how to run it before he (not now but someday) leaves it to her. And Matthew promises Mary that he’ll love her “till the last breath leaves my body” (not now but… well… not yet, anyway).

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Are you glad that Robert and Cora have kissed and made up? Do you think Mrs. O’Brien will be successful in getting rid of Thomas? Are you happy that Bates will be coming home? Sound off below!

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30 Comments
  1. Thank God Cora and Robert are alright again ♥ Elizabeth was AMAZING.

  2. Templar says:

    Not to pick nits, but it’s Mrs. Patmore not Padmore. Robert is becoming the least useful tool on the estate. A bad business man, a would be philanderer, a bigot, and doesn’t even take his seat in the House of Lords. I’m so sick of the Free Bates drama, it can’t finish up soon enough. And, no, I don’t think Thomas will ever be cast away from Downton.

  3. Jentina says:

    Mary and Matthew’s conversation about not taking each other for granted made me have a small panic attack. Foreshadowing?
    Also – am I the only one who finds the Bates story a little tedious? Get him outta there already. I’m sick of the gray-scale grunge and no-plot-movement of that thread.

    • ben says:

      Jentina, as I’m not from the States I have been able to legally watch the whole first season, and I have to say the Bates story line was for me definitely the weakest point of the season. It felt like it could easily have been dealt with in a single episode. But, on the bright side, he’ll be out soon. I promise!

    • Bob says:

      Yes, BIG foreshadowing, as anyone in Britain will tell you.

    • Suz says:

      Spoiler warnings:
      -The “next on Downton…” clip shows he’s back next week.
      -The news is out on Internet about the actor who plays ‘Matthew’.

  4. Monica4185 says:

    By the way the doctors didn’t bend the truth. It is true that the chances of Sybil surviving a C-section back then were very small.

    • ben says:

      Indeed. I admired Dr Clarkson for what he did, which was to present the truth in a compassionate way, rather than the dispassionate way he had up until that point. Prior to that he had focussed on the chance of saving Sybil’s life vs the no chance presented by the option Robert took. This time, he focussed on the fact that the chance was not very large – bigger than zero, but still not big.

      • Monica4185 says:

        A lot people seem to forget that Medicine at that time wasn’t very advance and while Sir Philips was indeed an incompetent doctor and Robert was quite dismissing of Dr.Clarkson, Robert shouldn’t be blame for Sybil’s death, although I do understand why Cora did it. After all it was a sudden death one that was not expected, especially when come to some as young as Sybil.

  5. Elaine Bondra says:

    Until I saw it in the coming attractions, I firmly believed something else would happen to prolong the Bates prison drama. Thank the lord it is finally coming to an end. It should have been wrapped up by episode 2 at the latest. I have to say that I’m not really enjoying this season. Everything is negative & joyless. And it seems like the same old, same old stuff is going on downstairs. I hate to admit it, but I’m getting bored. And we all know Dan Stevens is leaving the series, don’t we?

    • Given that a large chunk of the American audience hasn’t seen the season yet and not everyone reads threads with spoiler headlines I’d say there is probably quite a few people who didn’t know about Steven’s decision. Please put spoiler alerts at the beginning of your posts if you are going to discuss something that hasn’t actually happened yet in the current airing season. It’s only polite.

      • Templar says:

        Yes and no. it’s been discussed ad nauseum on this and other sites. When a fact has been on TV and web sites for weeks, spoiler alerts are unnecessary. Think of it as when a book everyone has read is made into a film.

    • Strepsi says:

      @ Elain Bondra and @ Templar — No. Your reasoning is absolute bull***. You can NOT assume that anyone who reads plot *recaps* of an episode has also read all the gossip and behind the scenes nonsense as well. This thread is for recaps and viewer reactions to the episode. Unless the plot-related point was IN the episode, Spoiler alerts are absolutely necessary…. I am so furious right now, Elaine, a spanking is too good for you: you should be banished from the internet.

      • sara says:

        You’re over reacting. ET on TV has mentioned it, it’s been in the trade papers, it’s all over the web. if someone is that phobic about spoilers they should just avoid media, period. Gosh, I hope no Dallas fans get wind of the fact that Larry Hagman died. Oops … did I just ruin someone’s day?

      • Spoiler Alerts Save Lives (your own...) says:

        I agree with Strepsi that it’s rude: add spoiler alert, please! Also, there are a million UK websites chattering about all the secrets of this season — including me, I watched it online last night (so awesome!!) — go talk on all of those UK websites about it. You might let something else pertinent slip, ya buncha loose lips!

  6. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Elizabeth McGovern is really working it trying to get that Emmy nomination.

  7. GeoDiva says:

    Thank god the Bates in prison storyline is coming to an end! It was so boring!

  8. Danielle says:

    FINALLY MR.BATTS IS A FREE MAN!!

  9. TV Gord says:

    I hope Cora eventually finds out that the Dowager Countess had the good doctor, “stretch the truth”. In fact, I would enjoy it more if she suspects deception from now on.

    I’m glad to see Mr. Bates returning to Downton. I was beginning to suspect he would have been killed in prison on the eve of his planned release.

    • Larc says:

      Do you really want to see continuing discord between Cora and Robert? Dr. Clarkson actually didn’t stretch the truth very much. He just omitted his perhaps overly rosy hopes everything would have worked out. I believe the further study of such cases that he mentioned did convince him that chances weren’t as good as he originally thought.

      • TV Gord says:

        Sure, a little more discord between Cora and Robert could result in some outstanding performances and entertaining scenes. Life doesn’t usually resolve itself as neatly as it did with this physician whitewash of what really happened with Sybil.

  10. Spencer says:

    Good Lord that line that Matthew said to Mary!!! Curse you writers, why must you blatantly rub THAT in our faces!

  11. Bob says:

    “Everything must come to dust. All things, everything dies.” Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

  12. Suz says:

    Is it too far ahead to hope that Matthew offers the ‘farm’ to Tom to live, work and raise Baby Sybil? Or leave baby with Marry and Matthew until he ‘gets settled’ in Ireland?

    Daisy-Alfred-Ivy-James, with a side of James-Thomas, needs to wrap up! Send James and Ivy to town and never return to Downton!

  13. I cannot believe that Fellowes had Cora and Robert’s marriage mended so fast and in that manner. I didn’t realize that he was too cowardly to allow the marriage to continue in a dark way, following Sybil’s death. It would have been more realistic and provided more drama. Instead, he gave the Crawley marriage an easy fix for the sake of those fans who wanted things to return as they used to be.

    Talk about bad writing! How on earth did this series earn a nomination for Best Drama?

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