A Haven for Vee

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Downton Abbey Season Five Thoughts

Earlier in the week, I had promised my sparkling and witty observations on Downton Abbey Season 5 and am now quite shocked to discover I don't have any. What a bummer!
Yes, I'm often running behind these days. (Unlike Violet, I am not able to claim that the last time I was late was the day I was born.)  
No synopsis here. Just some random willy-nilly thoughts and some photos snitched from ITV dot com and such places.  There are a few screen captures from rewatching at Masterpiece through the PBS site. Okay, now that that's out of the way...off we go.
Overall, I liked Season 5, though I had my doubts when Lady Mary was busily trying to "test" Lord Gillingham. Is there a delicate way to say this?  Such "testing" is unnecessary because the plumbing is so rarely the problem. Relationships are the problem and relationship does not require testing the equipment. (Oh dear, this is excruciating...don't mean to make anyone cringe.) And even with Violet's advice, "In my day a Lady was incapable of feeling physical attraction, until she had been instructed to do so by her Mama."  
Yes, well, apparently, not.
Because this season also included that back story about Violet's affair/near affair with Kuragin.  I can not imagine what drew her to him. He's definitely a moody Russian, but then life has been hard on him and perhaps he's become more and more depressed over time never having begun that way. Wonderful to hear the "details" of the story when Isobel and Violet were having their heart to heart. Being "snatched back from the abyss" by the Princess Kuragin proved to be one of Violet's greatest life lessons—family is more important than any affair with a moody Russian.
One thing I would have liked is if the producers had included an actor of Violet's age. The actor who plays Kuragin is 12 years younger than Maggie Smith. It made for confusion when one is into timelines as much as I am.  It would have made that storyline more believable for me. You can find some excellent Downton Abbey timelines online, if you get confused by ages and events. For example, I was shocked to discover how old Lady Mary is.
 Season Five Theme : Family is more important than any grubby old affair.

I'm going to leave poor Cora alone, but just so you know: I did not find her behavior blameless with that stupid art dealer, yet I am glad that, ultimately, she and Lord Grantham are closer now. I once described that couple as the glue that holds the show together and I still feel that way.
The little filler stories didn't excite me much — the conflicts below stairs and the ongoing saga of Violet's battling staff. I know that I am not alone with wishing that Mr. and Mrs. Bates be allowed to move on to a happy future with no more of that bothersome story line.
Joanne Froggatt is just amazing in her role. I enjoy watching those intense emotions flit across her face.
~Blast! They're arresting me!~

~Resolved or nearly...close enough!~

Mary's finest moment this season probably came with being willing to visit her maid in prison. I loved that about her. I did not love that she is so cruel and cutting to Edith. I agree with her Granny's assessment: My dear, a lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears. And how unobservant Mary is to not recognize that Marigold is Edith's child. She's the last one at Downton Abbey who hasn't a clue. 
I find this ironic given her powers of observation. After all, she praises Henry Talbot for asking good questions, even as she tells him that she won't answer. I hope that these two are in each other's future. Really, I just hope that anyone, except Tom, is in Mary's.
Sinderby's affair story line annoyed me. Refer to Season Five's theme. Though I am always happy when a snooty butler is reminded of his station by an even snootier butler. Ha!
~snooty butler/s~snooty Lord Sinderby bookends~
Because Rose was never a favorite character of mine, I am glad that she is married off and "redeemed" and heading for New York with Atticus and all in record speed, even by Downton Abbey standards.
The scenes at Brancaster Castle were wonderful...the story not as much.
Perhaps it was just a chance for Alnwick Castle as Brancaster Castle to shine. Do you feel, as I do, that these grand homes are characters, too?
Mrs. Drewe...ewww...not happy with this portrayal. I wanted real tears! After all, she considered herself Marigold's mother. And why did the producers see fit to deny us the scene between Mrs. Drewe and Cora when Mrs. Drewe snitched on Edith to her mother? I wanted to see that!
Speaking of whacked story lines, why in the world does Mrs. Hughes need a demented sister? I'm just glad that Carson loves her and doesn't care that there's an odd sister floating about or that Mrs. Hughes is a pauper. Hope that we get to see the wedding! Just one thing, she touched him on the arm when she accepted the old booby's proposal. Really? That's all? At least last year, we saw some hand-holding.
It seems that every episode brought some conversation about the changing times and how life could not go on as it always had done. Foreshadowing at its finest. Though I can not find a source (other than Susan Branch), I think next season will be the last. The characters are growing older and the actors can't age that quickly without serious time in the make-up chair. Think of the costs! ☺
Isobel is so smart. I am glad that she gave Lord Merton the boot as his sons were insufferable. She and Violet will be wonderful companions in their continued old age.
Loved the closing Christmas scenes...
 ~actors waiting for their scenes...such fun to see!~

This is my fond hope for next season:
~torn between two sisters~
~not this one~
~this one!~

What are you saying, Vee?! That's right: I want Tom to marry Edith and have more children and live a long and happy life. Mary can have anyone. No Boston for Tom! Tom, trust me, Boston can be the puds.
That's the extent of it...almost.
~RIP Isis~


  1. Great wrap-up, Vee! I think many of us had similar feelings about this season. I'm sick to death of the ongoing Bates saga -- both of them back and forth to prison. Enough already. I, too, found the story of Violet and the abyss really, really good! I love the way hers and Isobel's friendship has grown and matured through the seasons. Yes, Lord Merton's sons are dreadful; I agree with Susan Branch -- time to disinherit. :) He did make a comment after the embarrassing dinner that they take after their mother in every way. I'm glad we didn't meet her, aren't you? I never liked the dreadful Mrs. Drew, and I'm glad Edith now has Marigold at Downton with her. Mary is quite the study in contrasts for sure. I LOVE Tom Branson and wish he would not go to Boston. I guess we'll find out next year, huh? I think one of my favorite parts of the season is when Lord Grantham secretly had the grave marker made up for Mrs. Patmore's nephew. So classy and considerate of him! Finally, I love your last picture of Lord Grantham and Isis -- very, very sweet part of the season.

    You found some great pictures, and I enjoyed your post!!

    Big hugs to you,


  2. Great Downton wrap-up, Vee. I thought this season improved as it went along. The Bates story is getting tiresome - let's leave them live a normal life. All the traipsing back and forth to prison is getting old. Mary is very cutting in this season. She softened a bit in the last season but is now so nasty towards Edith.

    Rose was never one of my favorites but she has grown on me in this season. Her character is becoming deeper, more considerate and loving.
    Always, though, the best lines belong to Violet and I do enjoy the banter between her and Mrs. Crawley.

  3. I am with you... Tom and Edith!!!

  4. Well, I don't watch DA as we don't get it on our channels but I enjoyed reading your review of the recent season. I saw the first 3 seasons on DVD and we will soon have Apple TV so I think I can watch episodes on Netflix. Yay! Good post. Now I have a heads up on who's doing what with whom. I'll probably forget it all anyway.

  5. I love it!!!!! I have watched this season finale episode twice - so far!! I do so think of YOU as a Mrs. Hughes!!! Not sure who I would be......
    I agree! Tom should marry Edith. I like Mary less and less.....
    I am hoping to find other programs to watch that are less violent and vulgar than what is mostly on TV these days. Perhaps I should buy the Downton Abbey seasons and start all over!

  6. Tom and Edith are the perfect match! Can't believe we have to wait until January for the new season again. This season seemed really short.

  7. AWESOME!!! I so appauld you for your thoughts, similar to mine. My favorite, favorite part was at the end with the Bates. I can not stand Lady Mary and her attitude towards her only surviving sister, either. I am so sad for Mrs. Crawley, and loved the scene with Mrs. Hughes and Carson, what a nice end. I read somewhere else that this will be indeed the last upcoming season. Blessings

  8. Right on every count Vee! I am disgusted by Mary's treatment of her sister even as she defends Tom against the snobs. Hypocritical at best. I shed a silent tear when Carson proposed, I had been hoping for that! But not even a kiss? Perhaps Mrs. Hughes mother has not given her the word that she is allowed to be "attracted to him" yet? Although, if that is the case it is too late for that advice! I have to disagree about Mrs. Crawley. I wanted the boys to either go away or change their mind. Why ruin her last chance at married bliss? By the way, how old IS Lady Mary supposed to be?

    1. Math has never been my strong suit...Lady Mary was born in 1891 so in 1924 she is 33...same age as Michelle Dockery. My former calculations had her at 38. My error! Cora is 56 in 1924...not sure about the actress who plays her. Granny is 80...same age as Maggie Smith.

  9. Thanks Vee for sharing your thoughts. My question is . . Did we actually get to see Rose & Atticus' wedding ceremony? Either I was sleeping when it happened, or I've missed an episode. I was disappointed that Mr. Drewe didn't tell his wife the truth about Marigold. Wouldn't that have been better then to let her think Lady Edith had a thing for him? Why torment the poor woman. That whole thing with Lady Mary was in very poor taste to write into the show, especially considering the era. That's all I have to say for now.

  10. Good review, Vee, I've always wondered about Edith and Tom but with him going to Boston--well a lot can happen between seasons … I did hear next is the last, and that the writer has moved to the US and is writing something here.

    1. Yes, I read that Julian Fellowes has moved to New York to work on The Gilded Age. Interesting!

  11. I would love to see Tom marry Mary and influence her to be a good person. I enjoyed the last couple of episodes, loved the Christmas scenes! But just like last year, was not happy with the first two shows. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with the show but it always brings me around in the end.

  12. A good review. I had recorded the episodes while away in February and I sat down and watched the last one again the other day. I think Mr. Carson's proposal to Mrs. Hughes had the biggest impact, such a sweet couple!
    Being a dog lover I was sad that a little more exposure was not given to the loss of Isis and wouldn't the lord of a manor who hunts get another dog right away? I wondered if something did happen to the dog playing this part and they had to write her out of the story. I'm glad you included a RIP photo Vee. :-)

  13. Yes, I didn't like that they had Mary 'testing' Tony. Of course given her dalliance with Mr. Pamuk, in the first season, we shouldn't be surprised. I thought that Cora was flattered by the art dealer especially since her family doesn't pay much attention to her and Robert treats her as if she didn't have a brain. Glad that was quickly cleared up and that she was able to be the one to challenge Robert on it. Remember maid Jane!

    I think Tom and Edith would be a great match. Mary needs to be kinder to Edith, she treats her as if they are still young girls quibbling. Part of real growth as a person is that you recognize that others have feelings and emotions, etc. Mary needs to grow up! I think this new gentleman will be a good match. He is not overly impressed with her and fawning at her feet.

    I felt sorry for Lord Merton. He truly was a kind and gentle man but those sons! Oy! Lady Violet and Isobel are a treasure together, though Isobel should be about Cora's age. Unless Matthew was much older than Mary.

    I'm going to go look up some of those timelines.

    Fun review!


  14. I agree with your comments about the show. I would love for Tom and Edith to get married. : )
    It's a long wait for the next season.

  15. This was a PERFECT wrap up of the season Vee, and I agree with you on everything right down the line! (why doesn't this shock me?) I am downright tired of the whole Bates couple back and forth to prison...surely they can come up with something better then that. And I honestly can barely stand Mary. Do they WANT you to dislike her? Cuz they are doing a good job. I too love the relationship between Violet and Isobel...perfect. I never really minded Rose at all this season. I can't bear Tom to move to London, and yes, yes, yes! he and Edith together would be good! Cora was definitely NO innocent in that little escapade either. I am sure I am forgetting something, but this was fun. I love to hear others views on this show.

  16. I didn't like the testing that Mary did, either, Vee. I found that to be something that wouldn't have been done with Mary's stature. I also agree with you about Cora. That certainly bothered me with the art dealer, and I can't help but remember Lord Grantham and the maid, a couple of seasons ago. I don't think I've forgive him for that, although he's turning into a very likable "Donk" as he ages. Yes, yes, please stay Tom and marry Edith! I loved all the happy endings and the hints of new beginnings. It was my favorite episode ever and I cried at the end. I love Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson. They're the "glue" for me!!
    Thanks for the recap, Vee. I've saved the last episode so that I can watch it again.

  17. Okay... I skimmed this post because I didn't want to come across a spoiler for me.
    I just joined Amazon Prime and started watching season one of DA. I'm hooked!!
    I guess I could have gotten it at Netflix but never really gave it a thought. This is going to be fun!

  18. Enjoyed your thoughts on this season, Vee. Yes, I think Tom and Edith would fit well (fingers crossed).

    The other day I saw a picture online of Mary and Matthew at one of their happiest moments in an earlier season. And I actually got a pang in my heart at the loss for those two... the way a person gets that heart stab at seeing a photo of someone now gone. I think Mary would have developed into something wonderful under Matthew's true love for her.

    Wishing you a beautiful day....

  19. It would be lovely if Tom and Edith married wouldn't it! They might both be happy then. I find the whole prison thing for the Bates's rather wearing now! xx

  20. What a great show. Love your analysis of all the plots. I know I could sit and critique it for hours. I don't mind the sometimes strange subplots. It pains me to think there's probably only one more season. *sigh* What will we do!? American TV is so awful and mind-numbingly stupid I guess I'll just turn it off. Anyway, I think having Tom and Edith marry would be dandy. He would understand and protect her from life's slings and arrows. Poor Edith. She does get the bad end of the stick sometimes, doesn't she. I like Lady Mary but she is bitingly cruel at times. Aw well, it's fun.
    Hope y'all are staying warm and enjoying the weekend. We're going for a ride tomorrow. (Jealous yet ...?? giggle) ~:)

  21. It's been so much fun to talk about this season. I'm so happy that my husband likes it as much as I do. I love the scenery and special occasions...like Christmas. It makes you want to travel to these places and enjoy the countryside. Of course we would have to 'go back in time' to really enjoy it. I liked the new 'love interest' for Mary. He's in one of my very favorite movies, Leap Year. Have you seen that movie? You would love it! Until next time....Sweet hugs!

  22. Ha! I so enjoyed reading your thoughts about season 5. I'm with you on Mary not needing to test Gillingham. Mary is horrible to Edith but I really appreciated Lord Grantham's tenderness towards Edith this season...

  23. I always love a good Downton discussion!! Not cringing here...just agreeing! Again, I suspect that sometimes modern thinking gets forced into period dramas/books and they reflect the current thought rather than a representation of the times. Of course, immorality is not a "modern" thing, but the general acceptance of "testing"? I am suspicious.

    On a much lighter note...Lady Mary's crimson coat with the row of buttons down the back? ~Swoon~

    The scenes with the children were so sweet! And I am so glad that Carson and Mrs. Hughes are getting married!

    At least this season finale wrapped up some loose ends and didn't end with a horrific tragedy!

  24. I've never seen even one minute of it so I can't join in the discussion....
    So, I'll fix myself a cup of tea (decaf at this time of night...and get a Peanut Butter cookie (or two) out of the freezer and watch an old episode of Seinfeld.....:)

  25. Your critique of Downton sums up season five very nicely. Couldn't agree with you more about "certain issues" with Lady Mary. She's one of my favorites to love/hate. Her attitude to Lady Edith is despicable--her own sister. Not having a clue about Marigold being Edith's daughter speaks volumes about Lady Mary's character. I like your idea of Lady Edith and Tom getting married. I always thought maybe it would be with Lady Mary---but with Lady Edith would be better--more intrigue.
    I'm sure going to hate it if next season is the last. I so enjoy seeing the beautiful period clothes and lovely scenery of England. Oh and Violet and Isobel--those two are just wonderful together! ♥

  26. Oh dear Vee! How I've missed visiting you and catching your insites on so many things. Such a lovely summation & thoughts on season 5. I think the finale covered more than the entire season combined. I appreciate the Molesley storyline as his showed how big of a heart he has trying to chase down leads and prove Bates was innocent as well. As much as he wanted to be Valet, he could have used Bates leaving to his own improvement.
    I agree with you, next season ill probably be the last, but the writer of the show is planning a series similar focused on Gilded Age America. It should be a suitable replacement.
    Hope fully I will be around a bit more to check in from time to time. I am quitting my job and returning to the blissful life of stay-at-home mom. It's where I am meant to be.
    Jennifer @ Fiddle Dee Dee

  27. Susan Branch has a cute Downton post that you will enjoy....

  28. This was fun, Vee! I had a foreshadowing thta Tom might indeed be interested in Edith. I actually would love if the whole cast came to America next year--I'd like to see all of their thoughts on what our country was all about during the roaring twenties. They could visit the Vanderbilt Mansion I wrote about today and maybe the producers can fix up the old place before it crumbles down even more -- lol! Maggie Smith kind of spilled the beans in an interview that next season will be the last for her --she said "how old can I be? I must be 102 by now!" lol--so you are right--and how old is Mary???

  29. I am a late bloomer of the show. I still get people mixed up. But I don't want Tom to leave....they better fix that! I still need to watch the first episodes!

  30. Your synopsis just about covered it all. I thought things moved very quickly this season...more than usual. I so agree with you on the Tom and Edith thing...I want them to be together too :) I have heard that season 6 might be the last, then I heard maybe not. We shall see....

  31. I don't watch it, but I love the photos you share. What an elegant time and way of dressing. How did they do that without central air?


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