Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 9 Review: Grouse Hunting and Christmas!

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Downton Abbey started out so fresh and new for Downton Abbey Season 5, with many of the characters far removed from where they were when this show started.

Mary was trying to decide who to wed and went off on a week-long love trip with Tony. Edith was trying to figure out how to spend time with Marigold, while Tom and Mrs. Bunting were giving courtship a go.

However, for a season that seemed to start out so fresh and new Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 9 and the whole second half of the season were a bit slow. I know some of you mentioned this in the comments section and I admit that I held out on agreeing in the hope the finale would contain some exciting developments. 

The Sinderby's invited the Crawley's to Brancaster Castle for grouse hunting. Whenever the Crawleys travel somewhere, we can be sure there will be some drama or maybe even a secret or two revealed. While I always enjoy a change of setting (which there have been quite a few of this season), the storylines at Brancaster Castle were honestly a little boring.

Robert revealed to Edith that he knows Marigold is her daughter and that he is prepared to accept her into the family.This was a great relief to Edith and I am glad that after all she has been through in the past year, her anguish is finally paying off and she is getting exactly what she never thought she could have. 

The second secret revealed was that Lord Sinderby, after all, is not completely without sin. Rose thinks quickly on her feet and was able to turn this catastrophe into a huge win. I don't think she will be subject to nearly as much outward resentment from Lord Sinderby after this. I also really like Rachel and Atticus and would hate to see their family shaken to the core by this secret. 

What I didn't like about the mistress story was that it seemed so contrived. With so many people in the know, this secret is holding on by a mere thread. The show has made it pretty evident that rumors have a way of traveling among the aristocracy and the Sinderby's are outsiders. 

The stories that interested me the most took place at Downton. 

Princess Kuragin made her return, and it was both an awkward and hostile one. At first it was baffling how foggy Violet's memories of the past where, while Princess Kuragin remembered like it was yesterday. Violet was just being herself and pretending like the past didn't happen.  

I don't blame Princess Kuragin for being hostile at all. She traveled a long way only to be put in the same room with her husband and the woman he had a mad love affair with. Not to mention that she was wearing Violet's clothes because she had no belongings of her own, and her return was completely due to Violet's intent to save her. I would be grateful, but I wouldn't want to be in that room having tea. 

I was sad to see Isobel finally tell Lord Merton that she could not marry him. They were both hurt and I really wish things were different for them. The only good thing that came out of it was seeing Isobel and Violet discuss what a wild year it has been for them. I am so glad that these two became such good friends, it really has become the sort of breakout relationship of the show. 

Isobel: And you have never strayed again?
Violet: I never risked everything again.
Isobel: That is not quite what I asked.
Violet: That is all the answer you will get.

While Edith's story was completely wrapped up with the reveal that Gregson is dead and the secret of Marigold is out in the open, Mary's story stopped half way through when she told Tony she didn't want to marry him. Even though he continued to pursue her, we all knew that the relationship was dead.

Mary hasn't really had a whole lot to do except be mean to Edith, cut her hair and worry about Tom leaving to America. I am happy that Mary is comfortable being alone, won't settle for the wrong man and that she doesn't always have to be involved with a man, but I am excited to see what the next season has in store for her. 

I don't want to continue to see Mary be part of plots like the one to embarrass Stowell. I know Mary was just trying to win some respect for Tom, but there was almost a lot of collateral damage because of it. It just seems below her at this point. 

And in saving the best for last, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes are engaged! I have long wondered if their relationship was just platonic or if there were serious feelings there. I think at first it was platonic and the two greatly respected each other as friends and co-workers, but overtime as they both aged and started to think about retirement they both gradually realized they wanted to be together. Of course, neither one knew how to say it and needed a push. 

My least favorite thing was how much time Anna and Bates took up. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEIR STORY. It is too much for me to see them kept apart by the threat of prison again. Let these star-crossed lovers be together somehow, whether they have to leave to America or whatever. I thought they would be dealing with having children by now, not trying to figure out a way to escape a case built on circumstantial evidence. 

Overall I liked this installment of Downton Abbey, but quite frankly it was a little boring. The second half of the season felt like a filler, but I am not sure what it was building up too. 

There are a lot of rumors going around that next season might be the last and some fans have speculated that the next featured historical event to rock the family has to be the Great Depression. Whatever the case is and despite my disappointment with this season I am excited for the next one and would not think twice about giving up on this show. 

And so long Tom! Your down to earth sense will be dearly missed in the Crawley house. I hope you make a new life for yourself in America and come back for a visit. 

What did you think of the finale? Do you agree that it was slow? What was your favorite scene? How much will you miss Tom? What are your predictions for next season and have you heard any rumors? 

Fell free to hit the comments below to discuss the episode and don't forget you can watch Downton Abbey online via TV Fanatic! 

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