Downton Abbey S4 Ep5 Review

Is it just me or is anyone else beginning to find this series of Downton Abbey a bit boring? It’s beginning to feel like we’re marking time waiting for the big storyline to come along. Every week it feels like we’re watching the same characters going through the same problems until the final 10 minutes when something actually happens. Is Mary still mourning for Matthew? Yes. Are we still being subjected to the Daisy-Alfred-Ivy-Jimmy love plot? Yes. Does Branson still feel like a fish-out-of-water? Yes. Is Thomas still acting like a pantomime villain without actually having a storyline? Yes. It’s the same thing every week.

One thing that did change in episode five, we saw Sybbie and baby George! After four episodes of barely a mention, the future Lord and Lady of the Abbey were allowed back on screen (briefly). Sybbie was even allowed a line ‘uh oh’, which makes me think she’s been spending her time off screen training as the new (or future) Tinky Winky.

Below stairs Anna’s rape storyline rumbled on, but at least this week Mr Bates has (sort of) found out the truth after threatening to leave if Mrs Hughes didn’t tell him what happened. At this point Mrs H, I’d have let him limp his way out of there.

Masterchef came to Downton as Alfred managed to escape the eternal love rectangle and travel to London to try out as a chef at The Ritz. Everyone above and below stairs seemed to think this was an excellent idea; they’re all obviously desperate to get rid of Alfred. Mr Carson even went so far as to offer down-on-his-luck Mr Molesley Alfred’s job as a footman. Unfortunately Mr M decided to ‘think about it’ and by the time he’d come to a decision, Alfred wasn’t leaving any more.

The upstairs inhabitants of the Abbey were busy plotting a birthday party for the Earl of Grantham, well, Lady Cora needs a plotline from somewhere. Lady Edith was seen dashing into a doctor’s in London – ‘uh oh’ as Sybbie would say – and Lady Mary was sort of flirting with Evelyn Napier who turned up out of the blue after not being seen since the first series.

We also had lots of strange little subplots this week including Lady Cora’s new maid, Baxter, who appears to be quite chummy with Thomas, and something between the Dowager and her gardener which was so boring I stopped paying attention to it after a few scenes.

All in all this was a bit of a ‘nothing’ episode which I hope was busy setting up some storylines for the final three episodes of this series. God knows we need some.