Downton Abbey Series 6, Ep 5 – Life is Short; Death is Sure

Downton Abbey 5As our favourite English TV Series iTV’s Downton Abbey rapidly progresses in this much loved English television series created by Julian Fellowes, our London correspondent reports Episode 5 begins with Daisy’s father in law Mr Mason finally arriving to take up his position as a farmer on the estate.

Don’t go any further if you don’t like spoilers.

Lady Mary and Tom Branson are walking on the estate they now manage jointly, and he’s asking whether she’s happy with the decision she made to allow Mr Mason to work Tree Farm.

Down in the kitchen Mrs Patmore is suggesting she and Daisy take a picnic lunch and go and help him move in. Andrew offers to help too.

He’s hoping to impress Daisy, who, he seems to be setting his cap for.

Edith gets a letter from Bertie Pelham and her father Lord Robert’s interest is peaked.

Dowager Violet arrives to let Earl Grantham know she is going to invite the Minister for Health Mr Chamberlain to visit Downton Abbey and have dinner. It appears the Minister’s wife’s godfather was the 6th Earl of Downton.

The Dowager wants to get him onto her side of the great health debate, which is fiercely ongoing between her, Lady Cora and Isobel Crawley

While the current Lord Robert doesn’t believe his mother can organise such an event we all know that you should never underestimate the Dowager.

Carson & HughesShe is no shrinking Violet and we immediately understand it will be a fait accompli.

Mrs Hughes is telling Mrs Patmore Mr Carson wants her to cook dinner and she offers to help with a basket of food and instructions how to prepare Bubble and Squeak and Lamb for Carson.

Lord Robert tells them all at breakfast Henry Talbot telephoned and wants Mary to come and see him driving.

Tom, who everyone nearly forgets used to be the chauffeur and a car enthusiast, offers to take her along.

Lord Robert also tells Lady Cora about Dowager Violet’s plan.

Baxter gets a letter from police Sargent Willis from the village will be picking her up to testify in court and Mosley has offered to go with her.

Downstairs the footman Andrew is still worried Mr Barrow is ‘after him’, although nothing could be further from the truth.

Isobel arrives with Lord Merton and Dr Clarkson and discover the Health Minister is definitely coming to Downton and what it means.

Tom ReturnsCora asks them to come to dinner and to support her against the Dowager.

Mrs Hughes is serving Carson his lamb dinner, which he complains about – cold plates, blunt knives and too pink for his liking!

Also, the ultimate insult. She doesn’t cook like his mother!

Denker, the Dowager’s maid is in a tizz over Dr Clarkson not being ‘loyal’ to her lady employer.

Edith tells the family at breakfast she is going up to London to interview women editors while Mary and Tom go off for the day together.

Mary reveals to Tom she doesn’t want to marry down. Tom tells her how despite him having no finances to rival that of his former wife,  he and Sybil made a marriage of equals and were very happy.

As Tom likes Talbot, he’s kept busy urging her to take a liberal view.

Baxter’s arrival at the trial in the town causes the defendant to change his plea.

Downton Abbey 1

What a relief, she and Mosley can leave without her giving evidence.

Edith and Bertie

She’s been spared any repercussions.

Mrs P, Daisy, Andrew are busy visiting Mr Mason and Mary and Tom arrive.

They want to talk about being concerned that handling the pigs may be too hard for him.

However Andrew hops in and says he has offered to be his helper and everyone is pleased.

Mr Mason wants Daisy to come and live with him and he gives Andy theory books on pigs to read.

Edith and Bertie Pelham go for a walk in the park in London, where they are surrounded by ancient Yew Trees (in reality Hampton Court Park). He talks to her about his cousin the heir to his aunt’s estate and she invites him to dinner.

Downton Abbey 4Mary tells Tom she hates car racing… as they watch Henry and his best friend Charles preparing for their upcoming appearance at Brooklands.

Downton Abbey 3Miss Edmonds comes to be interviewed for the job as Editor with Edith in London.

Impressed with her credentials and the fact she likes her immediately, Edith hires her immediately on the spot.

Lord Robert and Lady Cora are taking tea in the library with the children, who we don’t see much of these days. He tells her Chamberlain’s office rang and has organised his visit.

She tells him she will fight her mother in law because she believes the future of the hospital is important and she won’t back down like she has over the past 30 years!

Isobel visits the Dowager Violet, who has received a letter saying Denker has disgraced herself calling Dr Clarkson a traitor.

Summoned she tries to defend herself, the Dowager telling her it was not her place to do so and fires her on the spot. Isobel tries to defend the maid, but the Dowager says if and ‘when we unleash the dogs of war’ then we must go where they take us!

Tom and Mary join Henry at the local pub and discovers Tom’s love of cars.

Back at the Abbey Barrow discovers Andrew cannot read but stays quiet for the moment.

Up in town at the first opportunity Edith shows her London pad to Bernie, informing him she wants a life away from Downton Abbey. She believes it’s time for her to strike out in a new direction.

Lady EdithHe kisses her for the first time, before taking her out to the Café de Paris for dinner. He tells her he thinks about her all the time when they are apart and she is touched, but unsure if she’s worthy of his attention.

Mr Carson asks Mrs Patmore to teach Mrs Hughes how to cook! Sure to be trouble ahead.

Back at the Dowager’s Denker is asking the butler Spratt if he’s not going to help her.

She threatens Spratt that she can tell the Dowager about his sheltering his unfortunate nephew hiding out there. And if he doesn’t back her up she’ll take him down with her. So he gets her a second chance.

Lord Robert declares he’s feeling very ‘rough’ and Lady Cora tells him she can cancel the dinner, but he insists they go ahead.

Tom comes into Andrew’s room to tell him he knows he cannot read… he says he will keep his secret, surprising Andrew.

The young footman apologises for treating Barrow not well, agrees to him teaching him to read and write.

Walking to work from the cottage Bates declares he is a happy man… Anna has at last let him know that she is pregnant.

Everyone has assembled in the library to await the arrival of Mr Chamberlain, the Minister for Health.

The Dowager is busy changing the place cards for the dining room.

Everyone is dressed to the nine’s and its obvious that he’s scared to death of the Dowager.

Dear Tom comes to his rescue, offering him a drink and they share some special moments together.

Chamberlain at DowntonThe Dowager has the ‘bit between her teeth’ and declares ‘war’ on all the ladies at the table.

Lord-Robert-of-DowntonAs the ‘battle begins’ the Minister is alarmed at how the women around the table are rowing!

Then dramatically as Lord Grantham asks them to stop he collapses, vomiting blood at the dining table with great violence and we can only think it’s the beginning of the end.

Fortunately Dr Clarkson is there and the ambulance on its way.

Mr Carson is devastated over his Lordship’s collapse and all the servants are miserable.

Life is short; death is sure, that is all we know…quotes Carson… this is no time for philosophy – what can we do says Mrs Hughes?

Carson takes a call from the hospital where Lady Mary reports Lord Robert has been operated on.

It appears he had an ulcer that ruptured…she says thankfully, but his Lordship is in recovery and we all breathe a sigh of relief.

Mary tells Tom from now on they must take on the burden from the estate, as worrying is why Lord Robert had an ulcer in the first place.

Finally, as the curtain closes we are aware Mary has become suspicious about Marigold.

She has overheard the Dowager say something to Cora in the midst of the milieu. What will this mean for the family at Downton Abbey.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015

iTV  Downton Abbey


Lord Robert Crawley  Hugh Bonneville
Lady Cora Crawley  Elizabeth McGovern
Lady Violet Crawley  Maggie Smith
Lady Mary Crawley  Michelle Dockery
Lady Edith Crawley  Laura Carmichael

Lady Rosamund Painswick  Samantha Bond
Isobel Crawley  Penelope Wilton

Tom Branson  Allen Leech


Charles Carson  Jim Carter
John Bates  Brendan Coyle
Thomas Barrow  Robert James-Collier
Elsie Hughes  Phyllis Logan
Anna Bates  Joanne Froggatt

Mrs Patmore  Lesley Nicol
Daisy Mason  Sophie McShera
Molesley  Kevin Doyle
Andy Parker  Michael Fox

Images: Courtesy iTV



1 Comment

  • Joan says:

    That scene with Lord Grantham was a shocker, and I imagine alot of people did as I did and “Googled” about ruptured ulcers. Apparently, these ruptures really can cause violent vomiting of blood and the brightness of the red blood is brighter if the stomach contains little food, as at the beginning of the meal. If this teaches folks of the urgency of treating ulcer symptoms, Lord Grantham may save lives in real life!

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