Downton Abbey Review: A Brilliant Set Up

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There were no punches pulled on "this week's episode" of Downton Abbey. In the last 20 minutes especially, every hit landed right where it was aimed and could very easily lead to one heck of a follow up next week.

A man named Patrick Gordon
Here's a mystery that may never be solved. The story kind of reminded me of the other great mystery of the time, that of Princess Anastasia Nikolaevna and her possible return to the Russian family. Patrick, burned beyond recognition and speaking with a Canadian accent, claimed to be Mary's Patrick, who died in the waters after the Titanic sunk.

The True Heir?!?

While it would have made a lovely story, I didn't believe it. Poor Edith was the sister who was in love with the original Patrick, and she easily allowed herself to believe Patrick Gordon's story of amnesia and unrequited love. Before the full story could be uncovered, he left. The note he left was with an enigmatic P. Gordon. My biggest clue was his inability, even after amnesia, to claim his British accent. Affecting a new accent is the most difficult hurdle for me to accept.

It was left in such a way that this man could continue to wreak havoc against the family for years to come, or he could be the one person to finally make Edith happy. Did anyone else notice that Edith wore to dinner a dress very much like the one Kate Winslet because famous for wearing in the movie the Titanic? I thought that was an interesting touch.

Can Mary live with her decision to marry?
As Mary and Matthew drew ever closer, Carlisle's true nature was revealed. He made sure Mary knew he was not to be jilted with the information he had on her and arranged for Lavinia to return for Matthew.

I don't imagine any of these relationships are going to go off as expected. Mary and Matthew are clearly in love and any attempt to marry another will bring to them deep dissatisfaction in their lives. As the times changed after the way, it seems so much death and loss will lead to more chances being taken; adultery, for example.

Mary and Richard's marriage would also tear apart the house, as Carson would leave to work with his favorite Lady of the house in running her own. A "rundown" manor near to Downton. While they were inside, I realized rundown in their world meant without furniture and wall hangings. I'll take it!

The shock of this segment? Just as Matthew comes to terms with a future with Lavinia Swire, he feels something in his legs. Changes are indeed on the way.

Anna and Bates plans fall apart again
Certain he was already divorced, the other servants were already getting jealous of the thought of Anna and Bates having a place of their own and how it might affect their working relationship within the household. Bates traveled to London to make one more plea for his freedom.

That turned out to be one of the worst decisions of his life, as he returned to the Abbey with a bruise on his face and shortly thereafter was delivered a bigger blow: his wife was found dead in her home. He left for his visit wishing she was the late Mrs. Bates, which certainly won't bode well for dear Mr. Bates.

It seems that under every rock of the Abbey there is another tragedy waiting to unfold. The war was over, so there was at least one stone that was well settled.

Odds and ends:

  • Ethel's baby daddy, Major Bryant, was killed shortly before the war ended.
  • Isobel was home for the slightest of moments, but has taken off again for uncharted waters to use her services elsewhere.
  • I really missed my Violet time. She was in so few scenes that I didn't even get a worthy quote out of her this week. Unacceptable!
  • Sybil asked Branson to give her until the war ended to decide if she loved him. Well the war ended, sweetie! Time's up!
  • I think it was so sweet that Daisy was still so conflicted about marrying William, even though it was his dying wish and made him a happy man. She is such a good soul, I hope her story has the very happiest of endings, whenever it comes.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (41 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


At the end of the Christmas Special, I definitely want the next frames to be about Lord and Lady Grantham's reaction to the proposed marriage hatched the night before, so please, no time-jump to spoil this happy result. Also could there be a wee Bates in the making? (my favourite plot line for the real murderer of Bates' wife, would turn out to be Sir Richard because he has threatened her - albeit only with the courts - if she breaks her agreement with him. He would make a delicious villain.


I think Ethel better try to hide from the grandfather of the baby, He's not good at hearing no from a woman - especially a housemaid. It seems that Sir Richard is alot older than Mary. Hasn't found a wife yet - relationship problems??? Did the really rich have no interests or hobbies to keep them busy? and the girls don't seem to have any friends and hanging out with older folks gets boring real fast. With all the liquor no one seems to get drunk. Keeping your chin up is a full time job. I love the series. The glimpse into their lives is fun to watch but the fashions for women are not flattering. The men need good imaginations about what is under those sacks the ladies wear.


Suzy, not so fast. There are documented cases where people take a blow to the head and/or become comatose and recover, suddenly speaking with a different accent--this seems no different. You should also consider that assimilation is more powerful than you think--actress Charlize Theron is from South Africa, but you'd never know it from her speech. As for Mary, why should she want Matthew at Downton? So she can pine away every time she and Richard stop by for a family visit? Is she THAT much of a masochist? And if "Patrick" wasn't an imposter, what then? Leave Richard, who would likely sue for breach of promise and/or go public with what (now dead) Vera Bates told him?


Love this show!!!


Love the show but this episode was weak. The Patrick/imposter back from the grave claiming amnesia is like a stereotype of a soap. Sorry to be a wet blanket.


I agree with so many others that this episode had a lot of whiplash. First Isobel is back, then they find a way to entice her away. Carson gets a request from Richard to run Lady Mary's new home, but he waits for actual word on the offer from Lady Mary, then makes Lady Mary clear it with Lord Grantham. Lavinia's gone then back with Sir Richard. Edith is nice learns that P Gordon loved her (whether or not this guy was him or an imposter) and then just as easily loses him. The Bates and Anna situation clearly hopping on both sides of the fence... I am glad this is the final bridge episode of S2. They had to move a bunch of these things down the road quite a lot and were successful, but it was one bloated hour! The best part of this episode was the setup for next week. I think it is going to be a doozy! (Also I believe next week and the following Sunday's episodes are two hours each. Check your local PBS station!)


Mary was so insistent about Patrick being an imposter because she was fighting for Matthew to stay at Downton Abbey, and because she was supposed to marry the guy. Without the title, Matthew's prospects of making a living may not be so good, and Mary seemed pretty panicked thinking about what would happen to him. I also don't believe Patrick was the legitimate heir. People may forget all the facts about their lives. But, do they forget how to pronounce words to the extent that they lose a British accent and speak with a Canadian one? I think speaking would be more of a reflex, and someone with amnesia would still speak the same language they learned. What if Patrick had been rescued by a Russian freighter? Would he have automatically known Russian? Don't think so.


I watched this week and can now honestly say that I do NOT understand the excitement about this show. Dialogue was stiff and corny and the situation was like a parody of a melodramatic soap opera, with everything including the kitchen sink (and the Titanic) thrown in for good measure.


Why has everyone lost the capacity to use the past tense of irregular verbs?? The past tense of sink (re the Titanic) is NOT sunk! It's sank.


This rollercoaster with Anna and Bates is starting to give me motion sickness--he's divorced, he's not divorced, he's working at Downton, he's not working at Downton, his wife's dead...oh wait a second...they won't write her back to life will they? I was wondering how long it would take for Richard to drop the other shoe--what a charmer he is, threatening to bring scandal upon his fiancee and her family. Oh...and "stealing" Carson to boot. And whether "Patrick" is truly Patrick, was it really necessary for Mary to be such a bitch to Ethel about it?

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Downton Abbey Season 2 Episode 5 Quotes

Mrs. O'Brien: I'm not jealous. I just don't want it to spoil things.
Bates: Why, because we've all been such pals untl now?

Mary: I shall have arms like Jack Johnson if I'm not careful.
Matthew: I'm strong enough to wheel myself.
Mary: I shall be the judge of that.