Downton Abbey Recap: Life's Ruff

Downton Abbey Mary Charles

Sunday’s episode of Where in the World Is Edith Crawley? Downton Abbey featured two engagements, a (brief) reunion of lovers and, sadly, the beginning of the end for a cherished — albeit ill-named — member of the Crawley family.

First thing’s first: Thanks to a blunt tip from Mrs. Drewe, who remains the biggest victim in this whole ordeal, Cora was made aware of Edith’s secret and became more determined than ever to find her. Robert, however, remained in the dark because, while it was Cora’s right as Edith’s mother to know the truth, the Dowager Countess quipped that Robert is a man, and therefore, he “has no rights.” Girl. (Side note: Kudos to Cora for saying that they should find out what Edith wants to do, rather than trying to tell her how to proceed.)

Atticus, of all people, suggested Cora and Rosamund look for Edith at the publishing house — and wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly where she was hiding. It seems she planned to whisk Marigold away to America for a fresh start, but chickened out at the last minute. (As I’m sure Mary would be quick to point out, Edith can’t even disappear properly!)

And while her plan isn’t without its holes, Cora proposed that Edith raise Marigold at Downton; if anyone asks, the Drewes simply couldn’t afford to look after her anymore. For lack of a better option, Edith agreed to go along with Cora’s charade, returning to Downton to continue her sad, single life of lies. Oh, Edith…

Downton Abbey Rose EngagedPOP GOES THE QUESTION | Speaking of questionable proposals, with so many established couples this season — take Mary and Tony, for example, or even Isobel and that stone-cold stud Dickie — I never would have expected Rose to walk down the aisle as Downton‘s next bride. But clearly my bride-dar needs some fine-tuning, because she indeed accepted Atticus’ proposal this week, despite his father’s concerns about their religious differences. (Hey, maybe she can get Jack Ross to sing at the reception!)

GAME OVER | Mary, meanwhile, couldn’t be any further from the second wedding that seemed like such a sure thing earlier this season. (Yes, I’m still bitter about the Tony-Mary nuptials that almost were. Just let me grieve!) Anyway, Charles Blake — as part of his ongoing efforts to accomplish God-knows-what — planted a big ol’ kiss on Mary right in front of her former suitor, giving both Tony and the ever-pleasant Mabel Lane Fox their cue to exit. But despite Mary finally being rid of Tony, and seemingly interested in Charles again, Mr. Blake also took off, leaving Mary alone and confused. #HappyValentinesDay

Downton Abbey Isis DyingTHE BIG C | Lastly, it is with a heavy heart that I discuss the impending death of Robert’s apparently cancer-stricken dog Isis — who, let’s be real, would have remained in perfect health if a certain real-life extremist organization hadn’t made her name synonymous with pure evil. (Once again, the terrorists have won.)

Odds and Ends:
* As happy as I am for Isobel, how heartbreaking was it to hear the D.C. admit that she’s sad to be losing her closest companion?
* Confession: I hope Bates ends up going to prison forever and ever.
* Conversely, I’m really hoping Tom doesn’t decide to move to America. (Damn you for putting those ideas into his head, Miss Bunting! Damn you!)
* And I know he’s supposed to be a jerk, but I’m always happy to see Lord Eyebrow. He’s like a cartoon villain come to life.

Downton faithful, are you bummed about Isis’ diagnosis? Excited for Rose and Atticus’ wedding? Confused about Mary’s relationship status? Drop a comment with your thoughts on Season 5’s penultimate 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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56 Comments
  1. Ben says:

    If Julian Fellowes is to be believed, it was always planned to write ISIS out primarily because the time frames for the life of a dog couldn’t be extended indefinitely.

  2. joe says:

    dont any of these characters have friends? i guess if u spent all day changing in and out of clothes….

  3. Hanna says:

    It’s too bad they had to kill the puppy off. Couldn’t they have let her just fade out of sight?

  4. roslyn schnabel says:

    Why couldn’t they decide to call the dog Iris? It was too sad.

    • maggie says:

      The house where Downton Abbey is filmed is owned by the family that financed the discovery of King Tuts tomb. In honor of that, Julian Fellows has given the pets names associated with ancient Egypt, such as Pharaoh and Isis.

  5. cyrano says:

    Hey Mr Swift. You are more wrong about the whole Isis the dog and ISIS the terror group. So you should just not talk about those things in the same sentence… Mkay?
    Isis the dog is clearly an old dog and it needed to die at some point. The fact that it died now and not two years ago or in two years from now HAS NOTHING to do with with the terror group. Unless Julian Fellowes says that was the case or part of the reason then what you said is firstly in poor taste AND completely unfunny.

    And why exactly should Bates go to jail? Bates is the one of the most beloved characters from the downstairs troupe? Just a statement no facts?
    I really don’t know why Andy swift is given SO many shows to recap, he does a poor job!!!

    • Melosm says:

      Agreed. I especially do not understand why he wants Bates to go to prison forever?!

    • lkh says:

      I think it was supposed to be humor…

    • S. says:

      So basically you admit you have no idea why the dog was written off because Julian Fellowes hasn’t said but you just know in your lil ol’ heart that it has nothing to do with ISIS and are gonna have yourself a little overreaction/meltdown over it. Take your pills and calm down. The confession that Andy wants Bates to go to jail is based on his opinion to which he’s entitled, and after all the bizarre police work this year (which makes no sense for them to be doing a year later and seriously? Staking out Gillingham’s place a year after the fact? For what? In case the killer went back to reminisce but not at the scene of the crime?) I don’t blame people for going ‘Bates might go to jail again??’ Andy does a great job, and I know how many shows you’re given to recap at TVLine. That’d be zero, dear. Knock’em dead, Andy.

    • gts says:

      Why are you so upset? It’s a reasonable conclusion to come to. Several months ago, when outlets started reporting that the dog would die, articles were saying it was because of the name. Entire companies have been renamed to avoid a comparison. Hughe Bonneville did say that Isis’s death didn’t have anything to do with ISIS, but the creator did not comment.

  6. michelle says:

    I just can’t believe that isis is the dying and of cancer i shed a tear and i am too d*** happy mary isn’t getting married she is a b**** and rose is so wonderful she needs herself a good man. And everyone enjoys the villain with the eye brows

  7. Susan says:

    I hate it when they kill off the pets. I’m glad to see Edith with the baby, but she needs to stand up to Mary and it’s probably a good thing to keep Robert in the dark about Edith.

    • dlraetz says:

      After how Edith tore Marigold away from Mrs Drewe I despise her and hope the character dies in a car accident or possibly of TB

      • Jill says:

        What about how everyone was tearing Marigold away from Edith? What does it take to be able to keep your own child with you?

        If Mrs. Drewe hadn’t told Edith to stay away, or if she had just talked to her husband about it, Marigold would still be with her.

  8. Alichat says:

    I do wish Cora would show this defense of and determination for Edith in everyday life as she did in this episode. And she can be angry with the Dowager and Rosamund all she wants, but if she were half as attentive to things as the Dowager is, she’d have known what was going on with Edith back before she had Marigold. And speaking of the Dowager, I was hoping she’d ding Mary with more than just the compassion comment. She deserved more. I’m not a fan of Tom’s ‘head to America’ plan, but I understand it. While I understand Tom blowing up at Lord Merton’s horrid sons, part of me wishes it had been Robert who blew up at Larry for slandering his family. And how can you say you want Bates in prison??? That’s absurd!

  9. Can this series get anymore disappointing and boring. The characters are stuck in a box and can not move. I was so rooting for Edith to leave establish a life of her own with her child- she’s got her own money but no they put her back in the box- nothing is happening to these people there is no crisis or challenge for the characters and as for Mary what a horrible cold snob of a woman. Even Maggie Smith’s quips can’t hold this series together. this is not a slow burn. The show has fizzled out and is almost dead. Really the major plot development tonight was the dog having cancer – really!

    • S. says:

      She wouldn’t leave unless the actress left the show or it was the end of the series. It’s called Downton Abbey, not ‘Edith and Tom’s American Adventures.’ They don’t like to stray from the estate/village unless it’s a temporary thing that ultimately brings them back to said estate/village. They care about Green because of Anna and Bates, and we care about social events with Mary, Charles, etc. because even when we deal with things like that in London, it’s really about bringing it all back to Downton. They won’t do cutaways to the US. They didn’t do it when Robert went off to deal with Cora’s brother and they deleted the longer scenes with Sybil and Tom in Dublin. The things going on there weren’t gonna be about an issue affecting Downton but about the issues facing the people living their lives at not-Downton, ergo we don’t see them.

  10. herman1959 says:

    Wow, we finally get rid of that horrible Miss Bunting and now we get hit with Isobel’s two horrible soon-to-be stepsons. And, yes, the one with the crazy eyebrows was too much!

  11. B says:

    Poor Isobel. I hope she doesn’t change her mind and back out of marrying Lord Merton just because of his awful, awful sons.

  12. bill says:

    Charles and Mary would make a great couple. I was never a fan of Gillingham.

  13. Richard Jensen says:

    What I like is how Fellowes uses an over-arching theme in each episode that unites all the mini-stories. This week the theme was planning for life’s future (regarding marriage or taking on a new identity, or building a dream retirement home) with all the positives and negatives that that involves. Last week it was confession time, as Fellowes explored all the different ways that people react on hearing very surprising news.

  14. Dave Suppes says:

    How lame to kill off a dog, of all things, in the name of political correctness. Perhaps they should have an episode explaining who Isis was, and the role the English had in discovering ancient Egyptian historical artifacts.

    • Carlos says:

      A new lab puppy would be in order to make us all feel better. Of course Carson would be in charge of his care and would order Mr. Molesley to walk him armed with a silver pooper scooper, which he is required to keep polished at all times.

    • peggyleslie says:

      I think that Isis the name will be around long after we’re on to a new threat. Just a hunch, but I thing lonely Lord G hits it off with a certain little girl named Marigold, and that’s how she really gets settled into the family.

  15. AtlLady says:

    The impending death of Isis has nothing to do with her name. The dog is old. After the tension between Cora and Robert and their reconciliation, I thought it was sweet that they have surrounded Isis with their love for her and each other in the dog’s final hours.

  16. Luli101 says:

    I am liking Baxter and hope that she and Moseley(?) can find some happiness. Love Rose and Atticus, although I’m a little apprehensive about their future. I’d forgotten how snarky Mary can be until lately, and I loved that the Dowager put her in her place a little.

  17. Jenna says:

    Poor beautiful Isis..sorry to see you go! Perhaps your replacement will be as delightful as adorable Dickens on Granchester. Oh Mary, love ya but you grow more contrary each week..from boredom, perhaps? Maybe you just need something good to come along and spark your curiosity again.

  18. Wynne says:

    Did anyone else notice that Tom and Sibby were playing Pooh Sticks? A.A. Milne published Winnie the Pooh in 1925, so he and Christopher Robin were most likely playing the game at the same time. Wish I could have shared the pleasure of this little moment with my mother, a true Pooh lover.

  19. They did switch dogs early on. My husband came running when I yelled out, “They’re killing off Isis!” What a shame! Even if it is time for the dog to “age out,” we should have waited another season purely on principal!

  20. Deion says:

    Is Edith serious? Are we talking about lady Mary Crawley? The same Mary whose mother and maid helped her move the dead body of a man who died in her bed after a sexual encounter? Mary who was going to marry a dreadful man to keep that secret? Mary’s house is so made of glass the only time she has privacy in the bathroom is in winter during a freeze. And grace and civility is one thing, but Larry Merton should really decline invitations to dine at Downton from now on. You’ve been asked by your own father to leave. Twice. Fisticuffs cannot be far behind.

  21. PFitzDC says:

    Andy–I know your remarks linking the dog’s name with the terrorist group was meant in jest, but you have to remember the lowest common denominator that reads the Internet and factor in the number of numbskulls who are going to take you at face value. Please don’t propagate such an idiotic rumor…. RIP ISIS and Robert and Cora’s reaction that touched the hearts of everyone who’s ever said farewell to a pet.

  22. Donna F. says:

    Why do you want Bates to go to prison? I thought he was innocent–did I miss something?

  23. smithfield arms for you says:

    Mr. Swift has the “big C”…and his sentence is going to prison to instead Bates…he was caught with the train ticket in his hand while kissing the “footman”…way to go Mrs. swift.

  24. Kay Nelson says:

    One wouldn’t even know Lady Mary has a child . . . he’s never on her radar and I was surprised to see him sit on her laps last episode.

  25. Luis says:

    I get it . . . dogs don’t live forever and with all the time jumps, it only makes sense, but, dammit, why does Edith still get to live???

  26. Barbara says:

    We all know why the dog had to go…With a name like Isis…really, Political correctness prevails
    .Maybe they could name a new puppy *Isis 2 or Isis II: I don’t think so

  27. Judith Iverson says:

    For those who think the dog’s name was the reason for her demise, remember when this show is scripted and filmed. The world knew very little about ISIS when season 5 was written. The dog just got old and SOMEBODY has to die each season!

  28. Nancy Rivera says:

    Mrs Crawley didn’t deserve the rudeness. Poor Isis has to die due to her character name. Please eventually get him another dog! Even if it’s the (real) same one . Just rename her!!

  29. Connie B says:

    I’m hoping Mary will redeem herself . . . when she finds out Edith has a child (& realizes all she went thru), that she’ll be sympathetic & they’ll finally bond like real sisters.

  30. Lori Lathrop says:

    “I’m so bored with Mary’s cold shoulder.” She is turning into an ice princess this season and I agree with DC that a lack of compassion is a bad thing. I’m hoping Edith will become a successful editor with lots of handsome suitors who will love marigold and Mary will b suitor less for a while. I’m glad to see Ms. BLUNTing gone – I find it hard to believe she really loved Tom with her behavior and he never seemed to go after her, rose invited her or chance brought them together, but Tom never really seemed to b in hot pursuit- I LOVE MR BARROW – his character is so interesting – he seems to b trying to b helpful- sad to see Isis sick. Cora and Robert invite young men to the castle for Mary WHY DON’T THEY DO IT FOR EDITH!!! I’m not surprised Edith didn’t feel she could tell Cora – They for the most part ignore her and at times are rather insensitive to her. GO EDITH I’m on your side!!

  31. Lori Lathrop says:

    i agree with DC that a lack of compassion is a bad thing when it comes to mary! I’m hoping Edith will become a successful editor with lots of handsome suitors who will love marigold and Mary will b suitor less for a while. I’m glad to see Ms. BLUNTing gone – I find it hard to believe she really loved Tom with her behavior and he never seemed to go after her, rose invited her or chance brought them together, but Tom never really seemed to b in hot pursuit- I LOVE MR BARROW – his character is so interesting – he seems to b trying to b helpful- sad to see Isis sick. Cora and Robert invite young men to the castle for Mary WHY DON’T THEY DO IT FOR EDITH!!! I’m not surprised Edith didn’t feel she could tell Cora – They for the most part ignore her and at times are rather insensitive to her. GO EDITH I’m on your side!!

  32. Ardyth Cox says:

    Please advise if Isis is really dying or if it is a part of the plot. My neighbor is concerned.

  33. Andrea says:

    With all these restrictions there’s nothing to write!

  34. Carol Hawtin says:

    I am about to boycott Downton over the exit of darling Isis bec of her name! Don’t they realize that Downton devotees do not care about isis’s name…how perfectly awful of them…

    • Michele says:

      If you read on PBS, the actual owner of Isis states that Isis is well, but old and needed retirement. So, if the name was thought to be problematic, I believe it was secondary to the real reason for “retiring” Isis.

  35. This series has cut right into my heart. I love all the characters and watch episodes over. The dreadful travails of the Bates’ is heart rending. Each one is fit for the character. I cannot pick out who I like best because all of them are so good in their parts and portraying England in that time of change. It was also interesting to hear the explanation of the expert about the customs of the times. Also that it was done correctly.