Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey S2E5: The Night Of 1000 Stares

Let’s take a moment to appreciate this episode’s catalog of stink eyes and bitch faces, lustful gazes, scowls, snarls and mysterious stares – and that deer in the headlights look only Cora can give. The eyes have it, amirite?

Carson, giver of the stern stare and maker of the important decisions, must make the most important decision of his life…since he gave up his vaudevillian ways. Sir Richard has invited him to abandon Downton and join him and Mary at Haxby, the 1918 version of a McMansion which sits down the road from Downton. Mary is obviously into the idea, because who else will keep her in line and give her advice on how to escape her surely-to-be unhappy and verbally abusive marriage to a man who’s shaped like a ballpoint pen? And while Lord Grantham is not keen on losing a man whose moral compass points only to “Do the right thing, always, even if it means selling out Mrs. Hughes to Lady Cora over that whole ‘giving food to poor Ethel’ thing”, he seems at peace with the possible move.

Lord Grantham, he of the puzzling stare which seems to be landing on that chipper new maid Jane quite a lot. Like, a lot a lot. A LOT. And offering to help out her son by putting in a good word for him at the school he’s applying to. And staring at her some more. Allow me to get conspiracy theory-ish on your bums: is it possible that Lord Grantham is her child’s father? What with all of Ethel’s constant comparing the unfairness of the treatment she receives vs. Jane the Widow – could it be that Jane is indeed the same as she? And Lord Grantham and Cora have been so distant lately! But is he the kind of guy to step out on his mega-millionaire American wife? Am I reaching here? Tell me someone else had this thought. Please? Edith? Anyone?

Aw Edith, with her longing looks at the man who may be the cousin she so once desired in that sexy familial way that gives you a little bit o’ the creeps. Yes, with the arrival of a burned soldier claiming to be the Titanic-drowned cousin she once so desperately loved, we see a new side of Edith: the sweet side. The vulnerable side. The side that cries! A side I might even…LIKE? Something about Peter/Patrick isn’t right, and it’s not just because that terrible burn victim makeup makes him look way too much like the dude from Mask (tell me you’ve seen Mask, guys). Everything about his pushy personality is creepy-deeps, and Edith would be smart to listen to her sistenemy Mary for once, who is totally on to him.

Mary, she of the stern, stoic, stare who will protect her beloved Cousin Matthew at all costs, even if it means marrying my new least favorite person, ever – Sir Bleghhh. Let’s pretend we’re all girlfriends with Mary and we’re out together at that new hip place (but not too hip, it’s still got a down to earth vibe, just like us) and we’re wearing our Rachel Comey heels and Vena Cava dresses which is what Mary would do circa now and we’d do it too because, let’s be honest, she’d be the head of our clique and we’d all be her followers and would totally nod along to whatever she says – except when it comes to her relationship with Sir Richard. She’d take a sip of her Old Fashioned and would be all, “Guys, be honest…should I dump Sir Richard? He’s been acting a little…weird. Like, the other day, he grabbed my face and pushed me into a Grecian pillar and threatened to ruin me. And then he kissed me.” And we’d be like, “GTFO of that abusive, dysfunctional relationship NOW and wait – he kissed you after? He’s a sociopath, gurl!”

So yeah, she needs to get out of that mess. [If only Cora and Granny would make that their project instead of Operation Get Rid of Isobel.]

The problem is Cousin Matthew, he of the sad scowl, is not hitting on her and rekindling their love like he should be. Instead, he’s kinda in that pity party place that goes along with having something seriously sh*tty happen to you – like not being able to get free Amazon Prime or running out of paper towels right after you spill some Coke Zero, or you know – losing your ability to walk/have children, dumping your fiancee and then learning you may not be the heir to the gajillion dollar pound fortune you’ve thought was a sure thing for six years.

And then there is Bates, he of the possibly murderous stare! After traveling back and forth to London to deal with the one that won’t let herself get away and telling Lord G he wished Vera was his “late wife”, the woman ends up mysteriously dead. Duh duh duhhhhhon’t you worry – O’Brien is for sure snooping around to figure out what’s what.

Which brings me to the story that is almost too hard for me to watch: Ethel the single mom. Maybe it’s because I have an infant or a soul or possibly both, but Ethel’s suffering and ostracization (that might not be a real word) because of one night of mediocre Sargent sex is too hard for me to bear. She just wants to do right by her child and yet the entire world makes it impossible to do. Also, her baby daddy’s dead, which still sucks despite him being a Sir Richard-level douche. Here’s hoping Mrs. Hughes’s big heart opens up wide enough to offer Ethel a position back at Downton.

Speed round re-cap on everyone else!

Branson – still clingy
Sybill – still undecided
Moseley – still sad
Daisy – still guilty
Lavinia – still mousey
Mrs. Patmore – still sneaky
Anna – still the best
Thomas – still smoking (hot)
The Dog – still sitting at Lord Grantham’s feet

Dowager Countess Quote of the Week: “I don’t dislike him, I just don’t like him, which is quite different.”

Let’s talk Downton in the comments!

  • Sarah Gilbert

    I literally squealed when I saw this week’s Downton recap posted! I never want this show to end when I’m watching it but looking forward to your recaps makes coming back to reality a little bit better :)

    On another note, how about Matthew “feeling” something as Bates pushed him in his wheelchair at the end of the episode? Could it be his legs or…something else…?

    • Kate Spencer

      Agh, how did I forget about Matthew’s leg moment! And of course he was with Bates, the only other person who can understand the whole “legs ain’t working and it’s all war’s fault” thing.

  • Aimée Callander

    I’m British so I’ve already seen series 2 (and christmas special which is ZOMG amaze…) and ordered the boxset, but I enjoy reading your recaps sooo much despite this! dont worry, I wont give away spoilers, but these posts really are hilarious and reiterate everything I thought whilst watching! Looking forward to you guys’ thoughts on the rest of the series!!

    • Kate Spencer

      Thanks Aimee! “ZOMG amaze” is my phrase of the day.

    • Melanie Mccauley

      While I’m not from the UK, I found out that it had already aired there and spend an entire weekend illegally watching it online. I wholeheartedly second your “ZOMG amaze.”

      Also, am I the only one who remembers that, while he may be smoking hot, Thomas is also smoking gay. What in the world happened with THAT story line? Come on Downton writers, you can’t just drop a smoking hot homosexual bomb and then leave it like that! He could become the manipulative and probably heartless 1900’s version of Kurt!

  • Kirsten Zoe Hyer

    I was totally on to that whole Peter/ Patrick guy. He’s sketchy for reals. My mom on the other hand thinks he’s legit, cause she never thought Patrick died in the first place. (Yes I watch Downton with my mom, don’t judge.) But I still wanted to hug Edith cause she just wants to be loved! I think that’s why she’s so snippy, everyone ignores her, or gives the guy she loves to Mary. I’d be all kinds of mean to everyone too if that were the case. I mean, when my parents gave a car I was supposed to get to my brother… it wasn’t pretty. AND IT WAS JUST A CAR!

    So in short, I want to hug Edith, Slap Daisy (come ON we all know she loved him she just wasn’t ready to admit it and then he DIED) and sit Branson down and explain the definition of a stalker. (Seriously, he needs to CALM DOWN)

    • Kate Spencer

      I’m with you on all of this. HI MOM!

  • Korah Lombardi

    I will definitely be using the phrase “Sir Richard-level douche” more often.

    • Kate Spencer


  • Susy Shumaker Frey

    Don’t you think the Mary/Matthew/Richard triangle is sooo much like Scarlet/Ashley/Rhett triangle. (Ashley/Matthew -the cousin/meak and mild-Rhett/Richard- the rich ma/womanizer from “new” money-Scarlett/Mary-strong-willed eldest of three sisters. Even though most people think Matthew is the right one for Mary – his personality is too meek and mild for her. She needs someone to challenge her – just like Scarlett. Has anyone else thought of that! I love Gone With the Wind and Downton Abbey! As for Peter/Patrick story – don’t believe it. He probably was on the Titanic together and were lovers so he knows all the intimate details and stole his identity since he knows he is from $$. And so poor Edith/Suellen O’Hara will be devastated when she realizes she has fallen in love with a fraud who is gay!

    • Kate Spencer

      Wow – I haven’t read GWTW nor have I seen it…which probably makes me the worst woman in the world. Adding it to my To Do list so I can properly reply!

  • Christina Martinez

    I think Bates’ wife did the ultimate F*** you because I’m sure she set it up to look like a murder. The chick is hardcore when it comes to grudges, so much so she’ll kill herself just so that Bates has to spend the rest of his life in jail. Did anyone catch the hilarious spoof SNL did on Downton? It’s hilarious!

    • Kate Spencer

      Honestly, in the back of my mind I kept wondering if O’Brien had something to do with it, but that would be too crazy – even for this show!

  • Kathryn Hellmann Snider

    I had exactly the same thought about Lord Grantham and Jane, something is defintely up there!

    • Kate Spencer

      Something is WAY fishy!

  • Kate Spencer

    Guys, some genius on Tumblr just connected some big ol dots and I have to share: if — A BIG IF — Lord Grantham did father Jane’s son, then that kid is the TRUE HEIR OF DOWNTON!

    People who have already seen this season are surely laughing at my conspiracy theories right now.

  • Terry Marr

    I agree that Vera can hold a grudge like nobody’s biz sooo what better way to get back at Bates than frame him for her own murder? Problem is — how will you know if it worked? And speaking of Ethel — Did anybody else notice that she has the BIGGEST DANG BABY in the world!!! I mean seriously — that kid’s head has it’s own planetary system. Mary seems in quite the pickle now what with Sir Newspaper holding all the scandal cards and all.

  • Jacqueline Sandoval

    bahahhah too funny! I too don’t want this show to end but I found a great list of some similar Downton Abbey shows and such to help me get my fix 😉

  • Danielle Walker

    YUCK WHY DO YOU THINK THOMAS IS SMOKING HOT. am i the only one who thinks he is repulsive???

  • Donna Dean

    Poor Ethel. I wish she could work for Downton Abbey again instead of that shady Jane lady! And who doesn’t love having a big, cute baby around? Can’t you just imagine Mr. Carson holding that child? That would send the show’s ratings even higher through the roof!

  • Donna Dean

    Oh wait, Carson might have to go live with the real-life version of Mr. Peanut. Boooo

  • Susy Shumaker Frey

    Oh my Kate – Are you American and a woman? You definitely have to read (watch it for now-will be faster) GWTW-actually the movie is better than book but still read it about 5 times. Get back with me on it – you will see a huge comparison!

  • Julia Gazdag

    What the hell kind of crazy bitch kills herself to get back at her ex-husband? Ladies, he’s never worth that.

  • Elise McCarthy

    I thought the exact same thing! Bates’ wife is just crazy/desperate enough to kill herself to make it look like a murder. I mean, she didn’t have anything else going on, right? AND if he was convicted of murder, he would be unhappy forever. Mission accomplished, from her perspective.

  • Cristal Bernal

    Mask! Eric Stoltz! (Love) Thought I’d share that. I love Downton Abbey.

  • Carol Florence

    I do NOT think that his Lordship is capable of stepping out. I thought their exchange about her son had more to do with the changing times. Lord Grantham is always ahead of the curve when it comes to treating is staff well. He paid for Mrs Patmore’s surgery… I don’t think they were doing it.

  • Carol Florence

    on the whole though i like your recap 😉

  • Rebecca Adam Teames

    What was that creepy finger-to-the-lips thing that Peter/Patrick did? Lord G Money was completely creeped out and so was I. Looked like a secret society-type hand sign to me. Between that and his heinous burn makeup I thought I had switched to a Stephen King movie for a second!

    • Carol Florence

      i remember seeing mary do it to earlier in season 2… maybe some weird family gesture? i was kinda weirded out too…

    • Rebecca Adam Teames

      Hmmm don’t remember that, thanks for telling me! I’ll have to investigate :)

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