Downton Abbey Recap: Guess Who's Coming to (Ruin) Dinner

Miss Sarah “Woman With Opinions in 1924” Bunting made yet another dramatic appearance in Sunday’s Downton Abbey, nearly igniting World War Three Two at the Crawleys’ dining room table.

Her lessons with Daisy have apparently being going well, which of course led Robert to the conclusion that they’re interfering with Daisy’s kitchen work and stressing out Mrs. Patmore. (Danger: Intelligent Female Alert!) I was actually surprised how well Robert handled the truth when Mrs. Patmore assured him Daisy’s lessons weren’t a problem — and not at all surprised when Miss Bunting kept pushing Robert’s buttons about it.

Robert only threw down a napkin, but it might has well have been a gauntlet; even the ever-present ghost of Mr. Pamuk was seen uncomfortably tugging at his collar. Carson and Mrs. Hughes were also caught gossiping about the incident downstairs like a couple of Plastics, which I appreciated. (Kudos to the Dowager Countess, by the way, for at least attempting to keep the conversation alive.)

At this point, if she’s ever allowed back in the Abbey, I expect Miss Bunting will skip straight to cooking and eating the children. Really looking forward to her next visit.

THE BREAKUP | A fancy dress show in London set the stage for one of Downton’s most highly anticipated showdowns: Lady Mary vs. (Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s) Mabel Lane Fox. Mary’s exchange with Miz Fox was brief, but acceptably sassy and long overdue. The little minx made it quite clear she’s already over Tony Gillingham, which actually means she and Mary have yet another thing in common.

You see, the real reason for Mary’s trip, sadly, was to break things off with Tony. “I’ll always be fond of him,” she told Tom. “I want him to be the godfather of my children, just not the father.” (Side note: Is choosing your ex-boyfriend to be your child’s godparent not the worst idea you’ve ever heard?) Understandably, Tony was having none it, insisting that they can “work things out.” He also seemed surprised that a lady of Mary’s upbringing would sleep with a man she wasn’t absolutely sure she wanted to marry. (Is my slut-shaming detector going off? It’s been known to malfunction.)

ELDERLY FLAMES | The D.C. continued strolling down Memory Lane with her de-throned Russian ex this week, and things got real steamy. First he called her “magnificent,” then she remembered the time he asked her to run away with him, and then she… hired someone to help find his wife? I’m not really sure where that last step came from, either, but I’m hoping she’s long gone so we can keep this romance alive.

A DECENT PROPOSAL | Meanwhile, Isobel’s love life is hotter than Edith’s bedroom was during that fire she totally set on purpose. She’s still not sweet on ol’ Dickie Merton, so she was understandably taken aback when he “jolly well” jumped about eight relationship steps and asked her to marry him. Yeah… she’s going to need a minute to think this one over.

ONE-TWO PUNCH | “Dump on Edith” Week began with the secret mother being told to stop visiting Marigold all together, followed by an update (of sorts) about the long-lost Michael Gregson, who was probably killed by a renegade group of Germans (dot, dot, dot). On top of that, the dilemma triggered a little spat between Edith and the D.C., which never fails to give me heart palpitations.

BAD MEDICINE | And then there’s poor Thomas, for whom I feel genuinely sorry (just in case you thought that “poor” was a typo). That untrustworthy thief Baxter put three and three together when she (1) overheard him crying in his room, (2) spotted a crazy mess of needles and medication in his room and (3) skimmed an advertisement for “Choosing Your Own Path” in a magazine he’d been reading. Is Thomas pushing himself so deep into the closet that he’s hoping to pop out the other side? That’s not how this works.

So… Should Isobel give Dickie a “yes”? Are you hoping Mary changes her mind about Tony? And, seriously, is Miss Bunting not the worst? Drop a comment with your thoughts on this week’s episode below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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59 Comments
  1. Simon says:

    I’m do desperate to jump ahead for spoilers to make Tom doesn’t fall for Miss Bunting. She is the worst. I’m glad Charles Blake looks to be given a second chance with Mary. Prefer him over Tony. Very happy with this season.

    • Claire says:

      I totally agree; why on earth did they ever put a character like Sarah Bunting into what is really a good move? she is just dreadful and it’s beneath the writers to fiddle around with a Sarah Bunting in the movie.

  2. Miss Bunting is just rude. Her opinions are valid but her manners are appalling. Who behaves that way as a guest? Of anyone’s, anywhere? If she’s so opposed to the aristocracy, stay the F away. I hate her. Edith is another imbecile. How about pacing your smothering? She’s a loser.

    • SarahJ says:

      Haha! Just posted comments similar to yours about Miss Bunting, then read yours. Right on!

    • lkh says:

      Well, I think I agree, but not, maybe, with the way you say it. Miss Bunting is not incorrect in her views (most of them anyway), as you say, she’s just rude and generally that doesn’t help your cause. Got to remember the time frame–it’s not 2015, it’s the 20’s. There’s lots of women in this show that would really like to be heard–time to listen up. The 20’s and 30’s were a ‘movement’ time for women, then that collapsed in the 40’s and 50’s and it had to start over again. One wonders what happened to those women? Miss Fischer’s Murder Mysteries, an Australian series, again a similar profile of ‘independent, modern’ woman, who again disappeared.

  3. Guest123 says:

    There should be a spoiler warning on the photos. Or at least remove the ones that coincide with the episodes that haven’t aired in the U.S. yet. Granted, there are no captions but I think you can guess some of the storylines.

  4. Amy says:

    Last season I was absolutely Team Tony. But, like Mary, I’ve rather gone off him this season as well. I feel like they’ve maybe written his character a little differently this season… he’s not quite as likable as he once was.
    And Miss Bunting HAS GOT TO GO. Standing up for what you believe is one thing, but being intentionally rude and nasty (especially when you’re a guest in someone’s home) is inexcusable. They say she reminds Tom of who he was/is… True, he had his opinions and he stood up for them, but he also always tried to remain respectful.

    • Alichat says:

      This. This completely. And I don’t understand, after three outings where Miss Bunting’s been intentionally arrogant, rude, and goading that Tom still wants to see her.

      • S. says:

        Remember Tom’s not the one who keeps inviting her. Rose and others do it, and he cringes knowing what’s about to happen. How much would he really see her otherwise? Tom didn’t invite her up to Downton the first time either, she basically invited herself and the fact that she did it at the time she did it when the family wasn’t there was pretty rude. It’s not like that wasn’t a symptom of behavior to come from Miss Bunting. Tom’s been so lonely for feeling like he’s got an ally that’s more like him even if it was a version of him that nearly spiked the soup or tried to join the army just to cause a scene. A version of him that he doesn’t actually want to be anymore and isn’t who Sybil married. People like Mary and Isobel are on his side, but every time he has dinner in that house he’s reminded that it’s a world he got pulled into and maybe wonders what it means if he gets too comfortable in it. He’s willing to put up with a lot to hold onto something else like the idea of Bunting. It’s like when people get a big contract with a lot of money to do something (football, acting, etc) and instead of taking an opportunity to do something else, they don’t wanna let go of people who support the old version of them. They think it makes them feel like they’re selling out if they do, even if the people they stay in contact with are bad eggs. Trying to keep roots to the old you in cases like that usually leads to trouble.

        • Alichat says:

          I see your point, but I don’t know if I buy that Tom would put up with this much for that. If it was an accidental situation……perhaps Miss Bunting missteps from a protocol standpoint….like when she insisted on meeting the cooking staff to thank them, then I could see him being ok with things. That misstep wasn’t bad, but this was after she had insulted other guests, then she is lead downstairs to meet the staff, and acts pretentious toward them. And truly, if she really cared about Tom, she wouldn’t insult his family after he’s explicitly asked her twice not to. She wouldn’t constantly insult him because he lives at Downton and cares for these people. She wouldn’t talk down to him while hiding it under the cloak of concern. Yes Rose had taken the initiative to invite Sarah to the house, but Tom could say no after the second time she was rude and arrogant. I understand him being lonely and he said at the end of the episode that he spent time with her because he had forgotten what it was like to be with someone who feels the same about things as he does, and I understand that, but I don’t buy that he’d put up with so much of her crap as we’ve seen him subjected to. And of course, now the promo shows Daisy making some sort of plea or case for her. I just want to vomit.

    • Tenney says:

      Mrs. Bunting is absolutely horrible. You don’t go into someone else’s home and be rude and disrespectful. She really believes she is so much more evolved that in her thinking than folks like the Grantham’s, but I would argue that she has much to learn from them. The first being how to disagree without being disagreeable.

  5. gs says:

    Poor Edith. She can’t have her baby and her boyfriend got killed by some Nazis.

  6. SarahJ says:

    Sarah Bunting is just so rude. Opinions are one thing, but why is she so unrelenting insulting to her hosts?

    • S. says:

      I think she’s like those people who are so extreme about an issue that they look at letting anything else slide by as a violation of their integrity. Biting her tongue isn’t something she sees as a valid request. She doesn’t look at politeness as viable. Her beliefs are too important to her. She thinks of things the Crawleys support as evil or hurtful and to her criticizing them for that and being rude is hardly as bad as they are being. She’s so blinded whereas Tom’s empathetic. There are some people that go even farther and don’t see it at all problematic to not only be rude but to harm other people. There are groups out there that support a cause and to them it’s collateral damage if people can’t understand how important it is that someone stand up for Cause X. The thin veneer of civilization isn’t always something that needs to be pierced to maintain personal integrity. Sometimes a certain level of respect and empathy is gonna get your cause a lot farther to being possible. You can’t just browbeat everybody into agreeing with you.

  7. hopefully Miss Bunting is long gone. I dont like her at all..talk about rude! She was sitting at a dinner table and more or less insulting the host! Robert had every right to do what he did. Yea hopefully she is gone.
    I’m loving the Dowager’s story thus far. It’s a relief knowing that this formidable woman is not at perfect as she seems. She’s awesome.
    l’m hoping beyond hope that Charles Blake and Lady Mary will someday be together. He has the money and title so he is good pickins and he’s cute to boot! Come on Lady Mary!

  8. Alichat says:

    Poor Mr Molesley……he’s the Edith of the downstairs.

  9. herman1959 says:

    The writers have driven this show off the road at this point. As storylines go, they are either stuck on hold (1 – Edith is told to stop seeing Marigold, but she goes again; 2 – Despite her carefully planned breakup scene, Mary is still “engaged”; and 3 – Miss Bunting is still wreaking havoc at the Abbey, but Tom keeps inviting her), or all manner of crazy is being thrown out (most everyone else). This isn’t the show I fell in love with, but I’ll hang in there a while.

    • S. says:

      1) lol at ‘driven the show off the road’ cuz I’d say they literally had to do that with Matthew. 2) Edith loves her daughter and is desperate to be able to do it when it’s not practical for her to for the time. It’s the one thing she has of Gregson she can hold and with feeling like she’s the black sheep, a child is the one she feels is most able to love her back unconditionally. It’s understandable but maddening that she can’t be strategic about it. 3) Tony figured if Mary slept with him, he’d have her. He’s basically like one of those people that was already a little obsessive and puppy dog, but got possessive after having sex. Plenty of people like that refuse to acknowledge breakups. 4)Tom’s not the one inviting Bunting really. It’s other people.

      • herman1959 says:

        1) No pun intended; I only realized I’d made one after the fact.
        2) Some kind of showdown is coming, but the writers are drawing it out.
        3) Crazy!
        4) True; but Tom is a big boy and can say no.

  10. ChristinaB says:

    Holy spoilers in the photos, Batman.
    :(

  11. Realsparkler says:

    Regardless how the world and class system is changing, Tom already did his transformation during his relationship w/Lady Sybil. I don’t believe he has lost the true essense of himself while being elevated from the lower floor. His brotherhood w/Matthew before the untimely death has also put him in a loving light w/the stoic and complicated Lady Mary, and in Lord Crawley’s eyes he’s as much a son as any royal blood could ever be. This whole storyline of the obnoxious Ms Bunting has run its course. Fellowes cannot have Tom lose all the ground he’s made in life by reverting back to his renegade ways by jumping into the deep end of the pool w/this crass twit. He can be much more productive, successful, and useful staying tied to the Crawley’s in a prominent position. He has their love and respect and is also the father of their dear Sybbie. Ms Bunting hasn’t the tact nor class, much less the sex appeal, to win Tom’s heart and turn him away from his beloved family. They need to write her out in a way that Tom sees her for the unpleasant sot she really is whose motives…when it comes to him…are not quite so pure, and revolve, instead, more around jealousy of the station he has achieved and her loathing of The Crawley’s who accepted him into their world and allowed it to happen. Tom is not the weak-sister they’re portraying him to be in Bunting’s presence. The growth and strength he shows w/Lady Mary is the Tom we want to see fully emerge. And perhaps, somewhere down the road, he and Mary find their way to each other, bringing the whole love, loss, class journey full circle. In the meantime, Mr Fellowes, if you’re listening, Bunting’s gotta go! Thank you~

  12. Downtonite says:

    Who do I have to beg to get some more Mr. Bates and Anna scenes? *sigh* They’ve been pretty much non-existent this season. There’s just way too much Edith at the moment; she needs to freaking come clean with Margie or stay the frak away from Marigold, It’s getting really old.

  13. Libby24 says:

    The first two season of Downton, were wonderful,,now not so much. These infernal story lines just go on and on…No resolution…and frankly I am finding them boring. I stick with the show
    out of habit. The time is over for the Anna/Bates murder story to be finished. Good lord, three seasons of it already…

  14. Stormy says:

    Not to be a nooge, but you totally skipped the part about Anna going to Piccadilly Circus to the place where Greene was killed. And the ridiculous plot device that detectives who were staked out at Tony’s followed her there. There is no way that the police would be staking out Tony’s house a year after Greene’s death when he wasn’t even killed there. It’s too big an expense to waste manpower that way.

  15. Gey says:

    Okay, call me daft but I’m still unclear what exactly is going on with Thomas. I thought a cocaine addiction but is he trying to change his sex? I know it’s a period piece but some times I wish they’d spell it out clearer. This was worse than Mary’s diaphragm.

  16. RZ says:

    Isn’t every week on Downton Abbey “Dump on Edith” Week? Or rather “Dump on Edith and make fun of Molesley” Week.

  17. Gillingham is less trustworthy than meets the eye; a great plot twist would be if he were the one who pushed his valet under the bus. In early 19th century England, the Royal Duke of Cumberland was accused of murdering his valet, Sellis, though he was never tried. Felloes must surely know about that incident, and ought to copy it, as he has other historical events. Plus it saves both the Bateses and gets Mary off his hook.

  18. Deion says:

    The Crawleys are aristocracy, but the graciousness in which they keep inviting Sarah Bunting to their dinner table should put them on track for sainthood.

  19. Laura says:

    One of the things driving me crazy in Season 5 (besides Ms. Bunting!) is the attitude of Mrs. Pig Farmer Drewe toward Edith. I understand Edith is going overboard on the visits with Marigold and it is all just creepy, however, if Lord Grantham hadn’t loaned Mr. Drewe $$ for the back rents in Season 2(?) they would have been sent packing. I would think Margie would put up with whatever the Grantham family dishes out in order to keep her home and her husband employed. Edith’s a free babysitter! How bad can that be!?

    • Stormy says:

      Lots to speculate about there. People gossip, so it’s fair to assume that the other farmer’s wife told Margie about Edith snogging her husband. So, Margie thinks Edith is a home wrecker. Margie may also be seeing signs that her older children feel jealous that the grand lady is only interested in Marigold. Lastly, she sees the possibility of Edith usurping her authority and stealing Marigold’s affections.

  20. Luis says:

    Edith’s reward is obviously waiting for her in heaven, because it’s sure as f–k not going to show up down here. I’m surprised she doesn’t just start wearing sackcloth and ashes, because she should have changed her name to Job by now, with all the s–t she’s had to deal with. (Read your Bibles, people) Much of her misery may be self-imposed, but dear God, can the sun shine for two seconds on this miserable wretch?
    Meanwhile, I can’t get enough of the bitch Sarah Bunting. Anybody who make Robert that hot under the collar has my seal of approval any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
    Always knew Mary was going to throw ol’ Tony under the “friend zone” bus. The two of them never displayed even half the chemistry that Mary and Charles had during the pis-saving episode last season.

    • CG says:

      I laughed out loud about your comments re: Edith. Poor gal can’t win for losing. And Ms. Bunting is horrible. I love her desperately.

  21. M says:

    Sarah Bunting is awful. I do not understand why Cora keeps inviting her after she offended both Robert and the Russians, or why Sarah, who clearly dislikes them all, continues to go. So sick of the character. I think they mean her to be plucky but I just want to smack her. She is a harpy not a tower of strength. And Rose should be told never to invite or hire anyone every again. As an over glorified guest, she needs to stay out of things.

    Edith…I really liked her as a writer with an editor, thought she could be a modern girl with Sybil gone, but first she is in a Jane Eyre rip off, then soon to be Nazis had to go after Michael and now she spends a whole season moping over Marigold, which is a stupid name. Why not let Edith marry and move away if the only story they have for her is crying, whining and sulking?

    Also getting old is Anna drama. The rape story was unnecessary and poorly executed and now we have the dull murder plot. Ugh! Enough.

    Daisy does nothing but demand thinks and pout. Fire her whiny butt already! So sick of her pale face and constant complaints. Mrs. padmore sniffling over Archie is just as tiresome. We don’t even know him, yet every ep there she is blubbering.

    I wanted to see Tony and Charles fight for Mary after the “let the games begin” comment at the end of season four, but she settled on Tony without us seeing any competition and now she unsettled on him. Face it, if Mary marries she has to leave Downton, so Mary can’t marry until it is over…which it should be after season six. It is getting boring. Everyone is down in the mouth and I ff more and more.

  22. Marci says:

    Enough of Sarah Bunting, please!! She is one of the most annoying characters on television.

    And can we please be done with the Green investigation? There’s no way anyone could prove that Bates pushed him into traffic, so why continue on with this? Is Julian Fellows just trying to annoy the crap out of his viewers? If so, he’s succeeding.

  23. EveT says:

    I’ve been wondering if Daisy and Miss Bunting might end up having, er, romantic feelings for each other. Wouldn’t that make things interesting? Are you reading this, script writers?

  24. c a brengman says:

    Glad to see mouthy miss bunting go, if she hated the Crowley “s so much , she shouldn’t have gone there, worried about Mr barrow , he may be a troublemaker, but he our troublemaker, Edith a whiny loser

  25. Dee Holland says:

    I don’t know why they would invite that horrid woman to dinner .. again!! I just have to see her face and I want to smack her!! She cannot leave soon enough to suit me. Loved Robert’s reaction to that woman’s “attack” and still she would not leave it alone!! Happy now? (Mary)

  26. amyjo says:

    Mary is cross-eyed. She has a lazy eye. Seriously, look at that Christmas pic!

  27. gia says:

    The problem with Miss Bunting is she is arrogantly ‘liberal’ for a cause and at judging others who she deems insufferably elite. The writers are using that to push the direction of the story line which fits in during this era of old money ending and the ways of a new modern age that began bridging gaps between classes of people. Mary, Rose, Tom, Isobel are the more forward leaning of the cast and the rest are being ushered in. Unfortunately,with more modern times comes another war. Back to Tom, I really hope they don’t push him toward Miss Bunting romantically. Regardless of her progressive ideas, she’s a turn off, period. I hope Edith finds major happiness, I truly think she deserves better than the writers have given her thus far.

  28. Dieter Heymann says:

    OK, this is 2017. Why did the producers of Downton Abbey add Sarah Bunting to people appearing at Downton Abbey? Simple. Firstly to demonstrate that Sir Robert has 24/7 power to call his servants to wherever he is and also for the most trivial reasons as in this case. He does not even consider that he might call them away from their own and not-so-posh evening meal. And Daisy and Mrs. Patmore must stay in the door opening because they do not serve at the table. Secondly to demonstrate why Sir Robert has never considered hiring teachers to give lessons to his under-educated staff because that would cut into the budget of the never-terminating dinners upstairs. Thirdly to remind us of the fate of most servants and farmers if Sir Robert really manages Downton Abbey into bankruptcy. Most women will become prostitutes and most men will become ditch-diggers because they lack the skills to fend for themselves in the world outside estates.