Recap: Downton Abbey, “A Moorland Holiday” (5×09)

“A Moorland Holiday” opens up on the festive image of… the prison. Lady Mary is visiting Anna and she’s losing hope. She believes they’ll weave a web of lies and innuendo to lock her up and her experience shows us that she’s not exactly wrong. While Bates is sad to miss his visit, he’d happily cut off his arm if it saved her. But Thomas cautions him, “We can’t have you wobbly on both ends.” Always the villain that Thomas, but a clever one.

Anna continues to lose hope. They’ve found something out about her past. Anna’s stepfather abused her and she threatened him with a knife. Bates and the lawyer are trying to get the past attack ruled as inadmissible but if the story is admitted as evidence, they have a very strong case.

Back at Downton, Princess Kuragin has been located and is coming straight to Violet. The prince will meet her at Violet’s house. “The presence of strangers is our only guarantee of good behavior.” Boy howdy is the princess a treat. No wonder Prince Kuragin wanted rid of her. But no matter how much he pleads, Violet won’t give in. Still, she’s sad to see him go. “I will never again receive an immoral proposition from a man. Was I so wrong to savor it?” No Violet, no you weren’t.

But the question still remains: why did Violet rescue the princess in the first place? Once the prince and princess are gone to France, she fesses up. When Violet met the prince, they fell madly in love. They resolved to elope. But her maid turned her in and Princess Kuragin gave chase and physically threw her out of their carriage. Violet, in the end, believes that the princess saved her from ruin, the loss of her children, and from a life in shadows. “She saved me. And I saved her.”

The family is going shooting with the Sinderbys and Thomas is taking Bates’s place as valet so Bates can deal with Anna’s troubles. Just as Anna did for him, it’s Bates’s turn to keep her spirits up. “I don’t doubt. I don’t doubt that the sun will rise in the east either.”

It seems stuffy butlers are not limited to Carson, though caring ones might be. Stowell, the Sinderby’s butler is more than happy to tell his employers what they’re doing wrong. He has quite the number of opinions about Tom and Anna and and and and….

Mary, seeing how Lord Sinderby’s butler Stowell treated Tom, asks Baxter to enlist Thomas to get him back. But the prank goes further than it ought to have and Thomas gets his feelings hurt along the way. He starts digging for dirt and comes up with quite a lot. In no time, a love child and a mistress appear on the doorstep mid-luncheon. Thomas, in his commitment to terrible, sent a telegram to Lord Sinderby’s mistress for her to come up – and bring his child. Rose saves the day quickly, with the help of Mary and Lord Grantham. Lord Sinderby is eternally grateful. “Rose, my dear, you are clever, kind and resourceful. I see now that we are lucky to have you in our family.” It’s nice to see.

Robert isn’t feeling well – it may be angina. He’s taking this as an opportunity to finally talk to Edith. Edith just wants her father’s forgiveness. “I’m sure I need your forgiveness quite as much as you need mine.” A kinder thing has never crossed his lips.  Robert’s not the only one who has figured it out. Tom figured it out about Marigold too and reminded her that he’ll always have her back. So now it’s just Mary who doesn’t know.

Mary’s walking with the uninvited guest, a beautiful, magnificent Matthew Goode (The Good Wife). Henry Talbot seems quite taken by Mary, amused by her charms and up for dishing it back to her when needed. As he’s leaving, Mary comes out to say goodbye. Seems he has other interests besides shooting, and Mary swoons just a little when he leaves in his awesome car. You’d think a woman who lost her husband in a car accident would be less attracted to men in fast cars. But Matthew Goode can do that to a woman.

Mosley wants to help Bates as he prepares to leave. He’s confessed and fled. Mosley goes to the cottage and gets a photo. He and Baxter have a scheme to help. Anna is released but only because Bates confessed. If she’s guilty, Bates is innocent; if he’s guilty, she’s innocent. Quite the pickle.

Robert has an ulcer. But the della Francesca sold well, with enough profit to pay for the refurbishment in the village and Andy the footman to come on full time.

Back at Downton, it’s Christmas.

Before going down to join the Christmas celebrations with the villagers, Tom, Mary and Edith share a beautiful moment in the nursery hanging the stockings and thinking of Sybil. The Christmas celebrations themselves are lovely, a sweet goodbye for Tom and a reminder of the part the upstairs family plays in the lives of their community.

Mosley and Baxter have been going door-to-door in York. They finally found the pub where Bates visited the day of Mr. Greene’s death and the landlord will testify to speaking with him. Lord Grantham gets the news to Bates in hiding and he’s able to show up by the end of the Christmas celebration to see his poor wife again.

Carson’s found several options for a bed and breakfast. Mrs. Hughes seems hesitant. It turns out that the plan for them both to go in on the house is unrealistic. Mrs. Hughes has a sister who was born unwell and when their mother died, she had to pay for her care. Mrs. Hughes has no savings – she can’t go in on the house. Mr. Carson buys it anyway, and puts it in both of their names. He wants them to have the house together. Mrs. Hughes cautions him that he doesn’t want to be stuck with her.

Carson: I do want to be stuck with you.

Mrs. Hughes: I’m not convinced I’m hearing this right.

Carson: You are if you think I’m asking you to marry me.  Well?

Mrs. Hughes: Well you could knock me down with a feather?

Carson: You’re not offended?

Mrs. Hughes: Mr. Carson, I can assure you, the very last think in the world I am at this moment is offended… Of course I’ll marry you, you old boobie. I thought you’d never ask.


Odds & Ends

– Did anyone else know that the words of Christmas carols were different in the UK? Or was it just the 1920’s?

– I know we’re losing Tom to Boston but must we lose Rose and Atticus as well? I really love them.

– Rumor is Season Six may be the last for Downton Abbey as Julian Fellows looks to shepherd a show for NBC in the fall. But knowing NBC, Fellows may have plenty of time on his hands sooner than he hopes.

– Daisy’s considering quitting her studies… again.

– Isabel puts her foot down with Lord Merton. She will not come between a father and his sons. Even if those sons are assholes.

– Spratt keeps poking at Denker, this time about a broth. Don’t care.