'Downton Abbey' Season 4 episode 5: Charles Blake breezes into town

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downton-abbey-season-4-episode-michelle-dockery-julian-ovenden.jpgIt's Lord Grantham's birthday this week on "Downton Abbey" and Lady Rose, the resident party girl of the manor, has taken it upon herself to plan a party for him -- which means the return of cute bandleader Jack Ross (guest star Gary Carr).

Upstairs

The birthday party goes off without a hitch, though Rose's hiring of Jack Ross' band to play for the evening certainly raises a few eyebrows. Luckily, no one is as ugly as the time he danced with her at the jazz club, though Carson is pretty funny this episode. He reminds us of how sometimes old people think they're being really progressive, when in actuality they're still being a little racist. Baby steps, though.

Two attendees for the party bring another possible Lady Mary suitor to the forefront in the shape of one Mr. Charles Blake (guest star Julian Ovenden). Blake is there studying landed estates and how they can continue in the post-World War I climate. He is of the opinion that these kinds of estates cannot possibly survive, and Mary is not keen on his attitude, busting out her razor-sharp wit and biting comments.

In the latest Violet-Isobel hijinks, Isobel is running around like Miss Marple, solving the case of the missing letter opener. Violet gets one up on her, though, by realizing the mistake and  hiring Pegg back as a gardener with her full apologies once she realizes he was not her thief.

And since poor Lady Edith just cannot catch a break (like, ever), Gregson is still missing in Germany and she's pregnant (because that's what happens when good girls have sex for the first time out of wedlock, you see. They either kill their paramour, like Mary, or get pregnant).

Finally, it would appear that Cora's brother Harold is embroiled in the Teapot Dome Scandal over in the States and Robert is going to head over there for moral support. Hmm.

Downstairs

The love quadrilateral that will not die may finally be gasping for its last breath, as Alfred has been offered a spot at the Ritz school after all and Ivy decides Jimmy is not the wonderful man she thought he was after he wants her to put out since he took her to the movies. Nobody loves poor Daisy, but with Alfred gone and Ivy no longer pining after Jimmy, maybe we can all move on.

Meanwhile, Baxter continues to report things back to Thomas, though she's not enjoying it at all. Wonder what secret he has that he's holding over her? Either way, Thomas now has gotten wind of Anna's attack, though he doesn't know all the details -- he merely knows there is trouble between Anna and Bates (who are struggling to rebuild and move on).

In a delightful small side plot, Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes conspire to hire Mr. Molesley to pour tea for the servants, which forces an exasperated Carson to hire Molesley as a footman now that Alfred has left. Yay for Mr. Molesley!

Thoughts & Tidbits

  • Poor Lady Edith. We sincerely hope Gregson is not dead in Germany. That would be so unfortunate. You know, it occurs to us that one of the last things he did before he went to Germany was take all of Mr. Sampson's money in that card game at the estate. You don't suppose Sampson went after him as revenge, do you?
  • Poor Lady Rose as well. We can't see anything good coming from her snogging Jack Ross in the servants' hall, particularly because Mary saw them.
  • Cora continues to be awesome, as she takes great pleasure to put a maitre'd in his place when he's snobby to Bates and Anna, who are just trying to have a nice night out and rebuild their lives.
  • While Lord Gillingham is certainly a looker, we much prefer Lady Mary's heated sparring with Charles Blake. Relationships need a certain amount of healthy tension, and Gillingham was mostly just staring at Mary like a love-starved puppy. Mary in particular needs someone who challenges her, which is why Blake reminds us of Matthew in that regard, without revisiting their relationship too closely. Thumbs up to Blake.
  • Is Bates going after Mr. Green? We have to wonder if the show would go down that route again, since the end of Season 2 and most of Season 3 had Bates in prison for killing his wife. We've actually thought that if Thomas were to learn the truth, he might go after Green. Thomas likes Anna, deep down, and it seems like rape is something that would greatly anger and offend him. Food for thought. That would be an interesting twist.
  • Lady Violet was at her sharp-tongued best this episode, she had almost all the good lines. Frankly, we'd watch a "Downton" spinoff starring Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton all day long.
  • Speaking of Wilton, the scene between Isobel, Tom and Mary where they say they were all sick with love for their late spouses was just beautiful. "Aren't we the lucky ones?", indeed.

Best Lines:


Bates: "Your husband is a brooder. And brooders brood."

Cousin Isobel
: "How you hate to be wrong."
Lady Violet: "I wouldn't know. I'm not familiar with the sensation."

Lady Violet: "If you wish to understand things, you must come out from behind your prejudice and listen."

Lady Violet, in re: jazz: "Do you think any of them know what the others are playing?"

What did you think of episode 5, "Downton" fans?

Photo/Video credit: PBS