8.5

Downton Abbey Review: Series Six, Episode Five

(Episode 6.05)

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<i>Downton Abbey</i> Review: Series Six, Episode Five

So, were we watching Downton Abbey or The Exorcist? Because vomiting blood across the dining room table certainly seems like something straight out of a horror movie.

It’s been majorly foreshadowed since the beginning of the season and Robert’s stomach issues finally exploded, quite literally. During another tense dinner about what is to become of the hospital, Robert’s ulcer burst and he’s rushed to the hospital. Thankfully, Robert survives and I’m telling you right now he better live to see the end of the series. I’m not a fan of big deaths that occur during a show’s swan song. And honestly, enough people have already died on this show.

While Robert’s health issues were deteriorating, Edith’s romance with Bertie Pelham blossomed. As did Mary’s with Henry Talbot. Tom is on hand to play matchmaker for Mary and Henry. “I don’t mean to sound snobbish,” Mary says sounding utterly snobbish. “But I won’t marry down.” Tom reminds Mary that she needs to find a partner who is her equal—not financially or status-wise her equal, but her equal emotionally. Do I smell a double wedding in the works? Probably not, but that would be fun.

But it’s not only the Crawley sisters who have love in the air. Something seems to be up between Daisy and Andy, and maybe even Mr. Mason and Mrs. Patmore. The newlyweds Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson are adjusting to domestic life, which basically means Mrs. Hughes is trying to learn how to cook for Mr. Carson. Last week Carson thought he was the luckiest man alive, that Mrs. Hughes would marry him. This week he doesn’t like her pot roast.

In another example of the show spending a lot of time on a plot point that goes nowhere, Baxter goes to testify against the man she went to jail for. But at the last minute he changes his plea so Baxter’s testimony isn’t needed. The whole thing just seems like a lot of time wasted.

Denker verbally attacks Dr. Clarkson for changing his mind on the hospital. Dr. Clarkson promptly writes Violet a letter, and she promptly fires Denker. But Denker blackmails Spratt into helping her keep her job. Again, I’m just not that interested in what’s going on with these two.

Violet blackmails the Health Minister into coming to dinner so she can advocate for the hospital not merging. Thomas figures out that Andy doesn’t know how to read and offers to help him. The episode’s biggest moment comes as an aside. As everyone is getting ready for the ambulance to take Robert to the hospital, Mary overhears Cora and Violet talking about how there have been secrets and Violet says, “If you mean Marigold.” Mary is suddenly able to put two and two together. It is really only because Mary is so utterly self-absorbed that she hasn’t realized earlier that Marigold is Edith’s daughter.

Now that the secret is out, will these sisters form a better relationship?

Stray Observations:

Robert telling Cora “If this is it, just know I have loved you very very much” after he collapses, may be the most Downton moments of all Downton moments.

I’ve talked about this before, but the Crawley grandchildren are the epitome of children who are seen and not heard. If being a parent to young children is as easy as Downton Abbey makes it seem, we would all have at least five kids.

“Life is short. Death is sure. That is all we know.” Mr. Carson definitely shouldn’t write Hallmark cards.



Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.

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