Downton Abbey 5.3 Review: Be Careful What You Wish For

Episode three is now in the record books, and I have to say that as much as I’ve been waving the flag for Downton to scale back on the over-the-top drama and shenanigans, after this week, I couldn’t help but wish they hadn’t taken me quite so literally. Think back on this episode. What happened in it? Anything?


Each and every plot line just sort of spun its wheels for the episode. The characters didn’t do a whole lot of anything, and after all was said and done, I wondered what in the world the writers thought was happening here. (My answer? It’s the only one that makes sense: this is a set up episode where they had to move pieces into places so that later things work in the season. Really clunky, if that’s the case.)

  • Mary finally figures out Gilligan is a complete idiot, and he’s not well suited for her at all. Apparently it took a week long sex romp for her to come to this conclusion, which seems to indicate she’s not quite as smart and sharp as I thought she was. I mean, I’m glad she’s done with him mentally and all, but this seems sort of like handing a loaded gun to your significant other at the same time you break up with him or her. “Hi! I don’t love you anymore! Please don’t ruin my life by revealing just how stupid I’ve been for the last week. kthxbai.” Ugh.
  • Anna being chosen as the “holder of the Thing” seems to indicate some dark days ahead. (Which is frustrating, because I’m just wondering why they didn’t burn it. Does Mary have any other sexcapades planned?) How will it ruin Anna’s life? Wild guess here: the rape comes up, the police search her place for some silly reason, and they find it and accuse her of being a loose woman. Then Mary has to decide whether to let Anna take the fall or to come clean and admit it was hers all along. That’s exactly the sort of lame plot I could see cropping up in early seasons. Please don’t let it happen this time. Please?
  • Mr. Bates’ murder investigation still feels like one big snooze fest. I don’t care if the first time around was enthralling (it wasn’t), doing it all again just makes me want to yawn. Imagine if at the end of Lord of the Rings, Frodo gets back and is told that a magic bracelet has cropped up, and he needs to go throw it in a different volcano. How ready would we all be for that story? Get a new plot, already.
  • I know there are some Edith fans out there, and more power to you. Rooting for Edith is sort of like being a Cubs fan. You might think it’s going to get better, but it’s just playing with you. The writers are going to let her be happy the day hell freezes over. And as soon as that happens, they’re going to then do something mean and awful to her to take all that happiness and turn it to dust. Because Edith.
  • Cora out gallivanting with Mr. Art was actually an interesting storyline for me and Denisa as we were watching. Mr. Art obviously is putting the moves on Cora, and she’d have to be a nincompoop not to notice. (I don’t think she’s a nincompoop.) So her going to dinner and walking around town with the guy wasn’t exactly on the up and up the way she’s trying to play it. At the same time. she didn’t do anything wrong, and her husband’s reaction is way over the top. Then again, we’ve seen how his views are, and so the reaction isn’t surprising. I think both characters are justified to an extent, and that makes for some interesting situations.
  • The mystery of the stolen jewels turned out to be so not worth the wait. It’s like the writers had a place holder they were using for a while: [INSERT REALLY COOL, INTRIGUING MYSTERY HERE], and then when it came time reveal it, they all went to grab a bite to eat, instead–leaving the intern behind to fill in the hole. Way to go, guys.
  • Violet and the Prince was a “surprise” that should have surprised no one. Still, it should make for some interesting situations as the season unfolds. Anything to shake Violet up a bit is a good thing at this point. She’s had it too easy for too long, and it’s nice to see her a tad rattled.
  • But seriously, what in the world is up with Schoolmarm? The woman has no tact in her body at all. Faced with Russian imperialist refugees, she takes all of three minutes to insult them to the point that they want to leave the house. I don’t care if you have strong political views or not, there are times to just keep your trap shut. I admire some spine and courage, but that’s just too much from anyone, schoolmarm or no.

Those were the plots that stood out to me the most. And again, when I look back at them all, there just was too much smoke and not enough fire in this episode. Which leads me to believe they’re going to make some awful decisions in some of the upcoming episodes to make up for it. Which do I prefer? DRAMA, or boring?

Can’t there be a middle ground?

2 thoughts on “Downton Abbey 5.3 Review: Be Careful What You Wish For”

  1. Can anyone tell me why Rose continues to invite the school marm to participate in family events? Does she have a thing for Branson so she wants to put the teacher in situations where she’ll anger and annoy the family? I swear Rose is the only one asking Ms. Bunting to come to dinner, tea etc.

    1. It’s an excellent question. For now, Rose seems to be more of a device the writers use for introduce conflict to Downton than a real person the other characters actually listen to and respect.

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