“Downton Abbey” Season 5, episode 7 revealed an illegitimate child might not be the only thing hurting the reputation of the family at the estate. While Edith (Laura Carmichael) created an elaborate plan to come home, Lord Merton’s (Douglas Reith) son revealed Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) isn’t as conservative as many believe him to be.
After Edith disappeared, Lady Violet (Maggie Smith) went down to Rosamund (Samantha Bond) in London and said they should tell Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) about Edith’s baby. Rosamund thought that might be a betrayal, but the Dowager Countess felt it was Cora’s right as a mother to know. So Rosamund asked why they weren’t telling Robert, Edith’s father. “Men don’t have rights,” Lady Violet responded.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Drewe (Emma Lowndes) came over and told Cora before Rosamund and Violet got the chance. Cora was livid, but she decided they weren’t going to tell Robert. Edith had to be the one to tell him.
Rosamund and Cora went to London to Michael Gregson’s publishing house, which he left to Edith. She was already taking it over. They confronted her and forced her to take them to tea and explain herself.
Edith revealed she didn’t have a plan, so Cora came up with one. Edith could claim the child was belonged to a friend who could not afford to raise her. They didn’t have to tell anyone the truth. She would bring the child home in broad daylight. They almost ran into Lady Mary at the station, but luckily Mr. Drewe (Andrew Scarborough) was nearby to take Marigold and hide her for a bit.
When they got home, it was revealed the family dog, Isis, has cancer. Robert wouldn’t let the vet put her down. With Lord Grantham distracted, he wasn’t willing to make a decision about Edith bringing a child to Downton. He passed the decision off to Cora, who obviously agreed.
Lady Mary's (Michelle Dockery) struggles were much less dire. Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden) and Tony Gillingham (Tom Cullen) were still fighting for Mary’s affections. Tony wasn’t convinced that Mary really wanted to break up. Blake called Mary and revealed he was being sent to Poland, but he wanted to see Mary one last time. He claimed Mabel (Catherine Steadman) gave him an idea about “how to settle it once an for all.”
In London, Lady Mary went to the cinema with Blake. He pulled her out early to make sure they’d be seen when they left. Suddenly, Blake kissed Lady Mary, much to her shock, and Tony and Mabel saw them together.
“If you’d just told me to walk away, then I’d have gone without any silly games,” Tony said. Mary reminded him that she told him plenty of times. Tony finally took the hint and let her go.
The downstairs staff of Downton had plenty of drama as well. Miss Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) revealed to Anna (Joanne Froggatt) she had to talk to the police about Mr. Green’s murder. Miss Baxter apologized to Bates (Brendan Coyle) and Anna about talking to the authorities, but they weren’t about to forgive her. With no explanation as to why she was “in a difficult position,” they couldn’t feel much sympathy. They did, however, try to plan their future together. Bates thought about selling his mother’s London house to buy a place near Downton. With no news from Scotland Yard, they assumed the investigation was over.
Yet Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) was still worried about proving Bates’ innocence. She asked Mary for Bates' ticket to London. She revealed it was proof of his innocence, and Mary had to tell her she had burned it.
Elsewhere downstairs, Daisy (Sophie McShera) worried about the changing government. If the Labour Party wasn’t in the government after the next election, was there any point in getting an education? With Mrs. Patmore’s (Leslie Nicol) help, Mr. Mason (Paul Copley) decided to step in. Moesley (Kevin Doyle) was trying to teach Daisy, but she was losing interest in her studies. Mr. Mason requested she and Moesley come to lunch, and together they convinced Daisy an education would be good for her.
Meanwhile, the upstairs family still had to entertain plenty of guests despite Edith’s disappearance and “adoption.” The Sinderbys still came by for dinner while Edith was missing. Lord and Lady Grantham had to maintain appearances, after all. Rose (Lily James) was thrilled Atticus’ mother (Penny Downie) and Robert hit it off. He revealed Cora’s father was Jewish, and they were accepting of those who practiced Judaism. While that was good, Mr. Sinderby (James Faulkner) still wasn’t sure the pairing was a good idea. At the same dinner Isobel (Penelope Wilton) announced her engagement to Lord Merton.
Later, Lady Mary confronted Lady Violet about Isobel’s engagement. “If you must know, I’ve gotten used to having a companion. A friend, someone to talk things over with,” Violet admitted. Though she had family, no one understands her like Isobel.
Violet tried to support her friend, but others weren’t so accepting. At another dinner after Edith returned, Lord Merton’s son Larry (Charlie Anson) came to dinner. He pointed out that religious differences between Atticus and Rose could lead to their separation. He also said class differences could lead to a divide between his father and Isobel. “Well, she seems very nice, and I wish you both every happiness,” he said. “But that doesn’t prevent me from seeing that the wide disparity in class and background may prove your undoing.”
When Lord Grantham pointed out that Matthew had been Robert's heir and Isobel was Matthew’s mother, Larry was unimpressed. “What does that prove? Everyone has distant cousins who are fairly odd,” he said.
He insulted the entire family by saying they already had weird in-laws with an Irish chauffeur as a son-in-law and a Jewish family would soon be added to the mix. Tom (Allen Leech) called him a b------ and Robert kicked him out.
The insult pushed Atticus (Matt Barber) and Rose to take the next step. Atticus decided if they were going to have to defend their relationship all the time, they might as well make it official. Atticus proposed to Rose, and of course, she said yes. Unfortunately, the insults may not have strengthened Isobel’s relationship. She told Lord Merton she couldn’t talk about the incident, and the only future nuptials on which she could focus was Rose’s wedding.
“Downton Abbey” Season 5 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on PBS. Do you think Edith will get away with this plan? Sound off in the comments section below!