Tonight on PBS a new episode of their popular drama DOWNTON ABBEY airs with an all new Sunday, January 4 season 5 premiere episode called “Episode 1” and we have your weekly recap below. On tonight’s episode. See why old attitudes start to change and Robert is snubbed by the village.
On last season’s finale, it was the summer season and as part of Rose’s ‘coming out’ she had to be presented at Buckingham Palace. The family and servants were at Grantham House, their London residence, preparing for the busy social program. Not one to miss such a grand occasion, Cora’s mother, Martha Levinson made the journey from New York with her playboy son Harold, fresh from his recent brush with the law. Both outspoken and larger-than-life, they make quite an impression amongst certain members of London’s high society, in particular with Lord Aysgarth, played by James Fox. Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it, we have a full and detailed recap, right here for you.
On tonight’s episode as per the PBS synopsis, in the season 5 premiere, “everyone in the village begins to snub Robert.”
Tonight’s Downton Abbey season 5 premiere is going to be great, and you won’t want to miss it. So be sure to tune in for our coverage of Downton Abbey — tonight at 9 PM EST! While you wait for our recap, hit the comments and let us know how excited you are about the new season of the Downton Abbey.
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It’s 1924. Edith sees a young child playing with her mother and looks envious (it’s her daughter Marigold). The Earl complains about PM McDonald because he thinks the labor government is out to destroy the gentry. Mary thinks her dad is being a snob. Cora asks Rose if things are settled at the school and Tom says he should support is more. Rose invites Tom to come with her to give out awards.
Sibby is on the way in and calls her grandpa Donk after a game they play. He’s not happy about that either. Little George is there too. Daisy is grumbling about staff shortages and they discuss others leaving the service to work in factories because the hours are better. Mrs Hughes gives Mrs Patmore a heads up that it’s the Crawley’s 34th anniversary coming up in case she wants to make a cake.
Daisy is worried about losing her job but Mrs Patmore reminds her that she at least has Mason’s farm to go to. Daisy says she has no clue about life like that and Mrs Patmore tells her to just focus on dinner. Edith sits with her daughter and coddles her. Her parents say they’ve almost forgotten she’s not one of their own. Edith tells her she’s lovely and the adoptive parents say they also wonder where she got her coloring but say they don’t know the birth parents.
Tim sees to have an idea the baby is Edith’s but doesn’t speak up. Her mom takes Marigold for her nap and Edith makes her goodbyes. Edith cries as she gets on her bike to ride home. Violet tells Isobel that she’s been pulled into Lord Merton’s courtship activities. Isobel says she doesn’t see him that way and doesn’t care to be pursued. Merton asked Violet to throw a luncheon to get them together.
Isobel says he’s nice but she can’t give what he wants. Violet says he wants what all men want and Isobel thinks she’s talking about sex but then she clarifies she meant companionship. Thomas chats up Jimmy who tells him that he keeps getting letters from a former employer who wants to shag him. Carson catches them talking, calls them smutty and tells them to get to work.
Robert tells Edith, Mary and Rose that a delegation are coming about a war memorial and says he thinks they want him as chairman. Cora tells Robert that Tony Gillingham wants to come up but it’s their anniversary date. Robert says to bring him on in case he wants to propose to Mary. Anna and Bates talk about the possible proposal and Anna says she thinks it would be good for young George.
Bates says it’s hard to think about raising another man’s son. Thomas asks Baxter to tell her what he knows about Anna and Bates – she demurs. Molesley comes up and Thomas is annoyed. Jimmy asks what they’re talking about but Molesley won’t elaborate. Carson asks Mrs Hughes to arrange coffee for the delegation that’s coming and says he can’t because he’ll be in the meeting but doesn’t know why.
The staff discusses politics and before it gets heated, Carson shuts it down. Robert tells Cora he’s not comfortable chairing the monument committee since he wasn’t wounded and many others did a lot more in the effort. The delegation arrives the next day. What they want from Robert is the piece of land but they tell him they want Carson to be the committee chair. Carson says it should be Robert.
Robert says they want him. They tell Robert that Carson knew all of the young men that died and is a considerable figure in the village. Carson says he has to think about it and they ask him to not take too long but at the same time bully him over tea. Jimmy tells Thomas he has another lady from the randy lady who wants back in his bed. He tells Thomas he wrote her back and says it got out of hand.
Jimmy says one day he’ll learn to be a good boy. Robert shows up to see Violet and tells her about the war memorial delegation. He tells her they want Carson to chair and she asks why not him and he says the village wanted Carson. He asks about Merton trying to court Isobel and she says Isobel complains about him often which may be a good sign.
Daisy gets a package in the post but won’t show Carson and Mrs Patmore what she got. Carson tells Mrs Hughes he’s not comfortable being placed ahead of Robert on the committee. He says Robert seems let down and says this whole labor government is shaking the ground beneath them. Mrs Hughes encourages him to take the position to chair it.
Hughes finds Edith ready to head out and says she found a book – a German primer – she says it was Mr Gregson’s. She said she was going to give it to Cora but Edith takes it from her and asks her to put it in her room for her. Tom and Rose come down and the three head out together. Robert finds Cora in the library and he tells her he doesn’t think Tom visiting the school is a good idea.
He says Tom has made friends with one of the teachers when there were in London for Rose’s season and says the boy has disappointed him. Mary shows up and asks about the meeting. Robert says they want Carson to chair and him to just hand over some land. Mary thinks it’s lovely that Carson was asked. Robert isn’t that pleased.
Rose hands out the prizes at the school and the event ends. Tim sits in the crowd applauding politely but staring at Edith. She comes over to him and says she’s glad Peter won a prize for geography. He tells her they need to talk and she agrees to meet him tomorrow. Tom comes to greet Sarah Bunting and then Rose comes over to chat with them. Edith says they need to get back before the gong.
Tom tells Sarah she’ll see him again but she’s worried she upset the house by asking to see it. Violet asks Spratt to serve Dr Clarkson some cake after her servant snubs the man. After he goes, Clarkson says serving him seems to be below Spratt’s dignity. Violet asks how well Clarkson knows Merton and says he and Isobel have become friendly. Clarkson says that’s none of his business.
He says he’s surprised to learn she would engage in courtship activities. Violet tells him he needs to meet Lord Merton properly and invites him to luncheon. She says it will be fun. She says she’s hoping to get Lady Shackleton. After dinner, Robert asks Mary to sit and she asks if it bothers him about Carson. He says they’d be lucky to have him but says it would never have happened in his grandfather’s day.
Mary says that day is long gone and says they don’t want him at the school or the memorial. She talks to him about crop rotation and says they and Tom make a good team. Thomas corners Baxter and she tells him to stop bullying her. He reminds her that he got her the job and knew what he wanted in return and tells her not to complain about it now.
Edith looks at Gregson’s book alone in her room. Robert asks Cora if she knows about Merton wanting Isobel. Cora tells him that Violet wouldn’t like Isobel to get a ladyship and property. Robert dismisses her. Mrs Patmore finds Daisy up looking through the contents of her package. It’s arithmetic packets. She says she was rubbish at numbers in school and says she needs to be a grown up and needs to know.
Daisy says she can’t follow orders the rest of her life but is too stupid to read or do numbers. Mrs Patmore says she’s not stupid but Daisy says she’s pig ignorant and stalks off. Molesley is dying his hair. Ack! Rose comes to talk to Tom and he tells her that his life is very constricted because of Lord and Lady Grantham and feels he has no personal freedom.
Carson talks to Robert and Cora to seek permission about the chairmanship. He says it should have been Robert’s but he takes it well and encourages Carson to take on the role. Cora says she knows Robert hates not to be wanted and he takes offense and leaves. Tim tells Edith that he thinks his wife thinks she has a crush on him and not the real reason she’s coming around.
He tells her he knows she’s Marigold’s mother and should love her child. He says they need a way for her to live the truth without telling the truth. Carson tells Ms Hughes he’s decided to accept but says Robert seems sad about all the changes. Hughes says change happens whether you’re sad or not. Bates and Anna talk about having children and he says he would love one of his own.
Thomas approaches Baxter and Molesley intervenes to keep him off her. Jimmy tells Thomas he called the Lady to try and put her off. Jimmy says she hates getting older and he’s a break from that. Thomas says it’s embarrassing for her to be pining. Lady Shackleton shows up to see Violet but says she can’t stay long. Violet asks about Lord Merton and tells her that he’s been lonely since his wife died.
Lady S tells her that he didn’t seem to care too much about his wife and likely isn’t that distraught. She invites Lady S to come to the luncheon to try and cheer him up. That evil Violet! She’s trying to get Merton away from Isobel so she doesn’t get a title. Baxter seeks out Molesley’s advice and he tells her to tell Cora about his shenanigans. She says she can’t and it’s complicated.
She asks what he’s doing with his head. Seems the dye may be bothering him. He asks her how old she thinks he is and Baxter says 52. He says he’s 51. He seems humiliated. Cora tells Robert that Lady Anstruther called her and asked if she could come from tea. Robert asks if people think they’re a public house on the road. She says she agreed.
Mary asks her parents what they’re doing for their anniversary. She says since Tony is coming, they should have guests. Robert says to ask some young people instead of all the old duffers. Mrs Hughes, Patmore and Carson talk about Daisy. Mrs Hughes says it’s good that Daisy wants to learn. Carson says it’s useless and shouldn’t be encouraged.
Daisy comes in and Mrs Hughes tells her well done with her studies. Daisy says she’s a head like a kipper and leaves and Mrs Patmore says her confidence has been done in. The girls tell Cora they want to invite a lady friend of Tom’s who’s respectable and Cora says it sounds nice. Anna chats up Mary about Tony’s possible proposal. Mary says she feels like these things are done oddly.
She says you decide to spend your life with someone without really knowing them or sleeping with them. Then she tells her about a friend who was telling her graphic things about her sex life but Mary says it’s good to know that side of things are right before you say yes. She asks her not to repeat the conversation and Anna agrees.
Carson asks Bates to keep an eye on Gillingham in case he needs a valet then starts to ask Molesley about his hair but then drops it. Rose shows up to talk to Sarah about her refusal to come to the party. Sarah thinks they’re pranking her and Rose says Cora asked them to invite younger guests to liven up the evening. Sarah realizes Tom doesn’t know she’s coming and Rose tells her she’s wanted and it will be a nice surprise.
Molesley complains to Baxter about not getting chosen to be valet to Gillingham and she says she’s surprised Carson trusts Bates. Thomas bursts in and asks what that means but she won’t answer and goes. It’s luncheon time at Violet’s and she has Clarkson and Merton there with Isobel and then Lady Shackleton shows up. Violet positions her immediately with Merton and moves Clarkson to Isobel.
Isobel tells Violet she’s gone to a lot of trouble and Violet says she likes to help where she can, Tony shows up at Downton and they tell him he’s late for lunch but he says he ate. Mary tells Tony that Carson is chairing the war memorial committee. Mary tells Carson her dad is okay about it or will be. Tom offers to take Tony to shoot some rabbits and Mary asks to go along as well.
Carson asks Hughes to spare him so he can run to the post office and leaves. Merton chats up Clarkson and Isobel and Spratt snubs Clarkson for coffee twice. Violet notices and then goes to Spratt and tells him to serve him and stop being a snob. The lord and lady chat on the settee. Isobel gives them a stare – it’s hard to tell if she’s upset at losing her suitor or not.
Thomas corners Baxter again and asks her why she was talking about Bates again. He closes the door and says Molesley can’t help her now. He says she has until upstairs dinner and then says he’ll tell Cora her story. She says she can’t tell him what she doesn’t know. He says she knows something about the dead valet and will have it from her. He stomps out and Baxter breaks down crying.
Mary, Tom and Tony are out hunting and Tony asks about Tom’s plans to go to America. Tom says Mary has the estate well in hand once he decides to go. Mary tells Tony she understands her father better now and can handle him better. She says she wants to change the way they sell grain but has to research it properly to present to her father.
She tells him she loves him in her cold and unfeeling way and Tony asks her to say yes. She says she’d like to marry again but wants to make sure she’ll be as happy as she was with her first husband. He says life is always a risk. Mary tells Tony that Bates will take care of him if he needs a valet. He says he likes taking care of himself and says it makes life simpler and he’d like their life to be simpler.
Lady Anstruther shows up and tells Cora and Robert that her car was making a terrible noise. She says she needs to call and tell her host she can’t make it tonight and says she’ll stay at the public house but they insist she stay here. Robert comments on Molesley looking darker and asks if he has Latin blood. He says no. Jimmy comes in with a tray and Cora tells him to let Hughes know the lady is staying.
Molesley tells Baxter that she needs to tell Cora herself. He says whatever her story is, it will be worse if it comes from Thomas than her. She agrees and thanks him. Thomas asks why the Lady is there and tells Jimmy the woman is playing with her. Carson asks Jimmy if he knew about Lady Anstruther’s visit since he used to work for her. He says he didn’t and Carson says she’s causing extra work.
Baxter comes to Cora and tells her that Thomas wants to blab her secret to her ladyship. She says she was a friend of his sister’s when they were growing up. Cora sits and asks her to tell her. Baxter says she was a lady’s maid in London and says she was there for six months when she took some jewelry and was jailed. She says she tried to make it look like a burglary but it didn’t work.
She says she was arrested and never gave the stolen things back. She says she couldn’t because she didn’t have them anymore. She says she spent three years in prison. Cora thanks her for telling her the truth. Robert comes in and asks Cora what she thinks of Lady Anstruther. He says Tom checked the car and found nothing wrong with it. Cora says they should go down.
Bates helps Tony gets ready and he says he never replaced Green after he died. Bates asks how well he knew Green and Tony says not well and that he hadn’t been with him long. Baxter heads downstairs and tells Molesley she told her ladyship everything. He asks if she held anything back and she says no. She says Cora was shocked but not unkind and then Robert walked in.
Molesley says if she gets to stay her job won’t be based in a lie. She tells him she’ll tell him the story one day and he says later once she trusts him fully. Lady Anstruther asks Jimmy why he’s ignoring her letters. Carson sees and tells Jimmy to take her to the drawing room. He does. Lady Anstruther asks about cocktails and Mary tells her that her dad isn’t that modern yet.
Carson introduces Sarah and Robert asks why she’s here. Rose says she asked her with Cora’s permission. They go greet her. Cora asks if she did something wrong and Robert says she’s the teacher he told her about that Tom met in London. Tom asks her why she’s there and she says Rose invited her. Tom asks Rose if she got Robert’s permission and she says she got Cora’s.
Violet and Isobel show up and Mary asks if the luncheon was a success. Violet says that’s up to Isobel. Isobel heads over to talk to Sarah and Tom. Sarah is talking up the PM and Violet tells Robert she doesn’t like this alliance. Edith says they’re being snobbish but Violet says they’re being realistic. Anna tells Thomas the chauffeur says there’s nothing wrong with the car.
Thomas tells Jimmy he needs to keep Lady Anstruther quiet before she gets him in trouble. Robert toasts his wife on the event of their anniversary. Tony tells Cora it’s quite a tribute. Violet asks Robert about Molesley’s hair. Carson sees Lady Anstruther try to fondle Jimmy. Sarah says she’s not sure the memorials are a good idea. Tony asks why not and she says a stone edifice to remind us of death and a pointless war seems a waste of money.
Robert says she’s talking nonsense and Isobel defends her. Tom asks what the war achieved. Robert tells them they’re both wrong and Sarah says it’s a pity they didn’t want him on the committee. The room goes silent. Carson speaks up and says there was a meeting and he is wanted as the patron. Robert says he’ll be happy to accept. Isobel says she admires young people standing up for their principles.
Violet says principles are fine but are like prayers – awkward at a party. Carson asks Jimmy if the Lady passed him a note at dinner. He asks to see it but Thomas says he threw it away and says it was just about her working for him. Hughes asks Carson how he got the committee to agree to having him as patron. Carson says he made it a condition of his participation.
Isobel and Mary chat and Isobel tells Mary that Violet was keeping her away from Merton on purpose. Tom, Rose and Sarah chat nicely. Sarah comes over and thanks Robert and Cora for having her and asks to thank the servants. Robert tries to dissuade her but Cora says she should go and says they’d be delighted. Robert is offended. He finds Carson and tells him to keep Molesley in the kitchen until his hair stops turning blue.
Sarah comes downstairs to think everyone for cooking for them. She says she’s heard so much about them. Daisy is interested to hear that she’s a teacher. Thomas asks Cora for a private word. He tells her he’s learned something she needs to hear. She tells him if it’s about Baxter’s criminal record she knows. She says what she wants to know is why he placed a convicted felon in her house in her bedroom.
He says she deserved another chance and she says that’s up to her not him. She says if he’s using his knowledge against her, he should be worried about his future there. He later rages at Baxter and asks if she thinks he’s clever. Robert later complains to Tom about Sarah. Tom says her opinions remind him of how his used to be. He tells Robert that Sarah has never been his lover.
Robert says he’s sorry if he was wrong about it. He says he worries less about that and more that Sarah would take Tom back into the role of rebel and hater. Tom tells him he hates no one and least of all Robert. His father in law says he’s glad to hear it and heads to bed. Cora asks Baxter why she didn’t give the jewels back and why she did the robbery to start with.
Baxter says she can’t make excuses for her behavior. Cora says there is missing information and says she shocked her. Baxter says she has every reason to dismiss her but Cora says her work is excellent and she asks for her word that she won’t steal. Baxter says she will never commit any crime as long as she lives. Cora says she can’t promise to keep her but says she can stay while she thinks it over.
She says they can leave it there for now and Baxter leaves her for the night. Mary complains to Anna about Sarah. She says she makes Robert say things he doesn’t mean and that he hates himself for later. Carson tells Molesley that he needs to leave off with his hair. He says he has to remain below stairs until he takes steps to reverse it. He goes to rinse his head in the bathtub to rub out the dye.
Edith cries over Gregson’s book and then throws it across the room. She accidentally starts a small fire when it falls into the fire then out. Thomas and Jimmy lurk in the hall waiting on Anna to leave. They see Tony knock on and enter her room. Thomas says Mary isn’t so ladylike after all. Jimmy tells Thomas he can’t resist Anstruther. Thomas says he’ll stand guard while he gets access to her room.
Jimmy thanks Thomas and says he’s a real pal. Mary tells Tony he shouldn’t be in her room and he agrees. She asks why he’s there and he says she’s in love with him. He says the trouble is she wants to be surer than well-bred courtship will allow. He asks her to come away with him for a week to try things out – talking and sleeping together. He says he wants them to be lovers and know everything about each other.
He says after that he thinks she can be sure. She says Robert would hit him if he knew. He says he’s trying to seduce her into marrying him and nothing untoward. She agrees so long as no one ever finds out. Thomas is headed down the hall when he notices smoke from under a door. He knocks and finds Edith’s room aflame. He screams out that there’s a fire. Mary panics and runs for her son.
Thomas picks up Edith and carries her out. Tom has Sibby and George. Robert tells Tom to come with him and tells Tony to take the kids. Robert tells Thomas to take Edith outside. He tells Rose to alert the servants and call the estate firemen. Robert says he’ll check the rooms and Thomas offers to. He refuses and Robert bursts in on the Lady and Jimmy atop her. He tells them to come downstairs.
The fire picks up speed. They have the hose and Tom is manning it but coughing so Robert takes over. The power goes off as they hear sirens. The firemen show up and begin to fight the blaze. Edith tells them she’s stupid and Cora says not to worry about it. Lady Anstruther tells Robert she’s leaving now. Cora thanks Thomas for saving Edith and raising the alarm. She asks why he was upstairs.
He says he was keeping an eye on things. She says she was ready to ax him before but he’s more than made up for it with this. Anna and Bates show up worried and Mary says Edith burned her room down. Robert tells Bates he thinks Jimmy needs to be employed elsewhere. He says to give him a good reference and send him off.
The fire chief says there is no real damage beyond Edith’s bedroom. Robert calls the all clear. Edith goes to thank the firemen – it’s Tim that’s the chief. He tells her that she needs to take a great interest in Marigold so everyone accepts and believes it. Hughes tells Edith to sleep in her mother’s changing room. Hughes may have overheard Edith and Tim talking about Marigold but says nothing.