Downton Abbey, Season 5, Ep. 3: “Well I Probably Shouldn’t But I Guess I Will…”

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Cora: “I especially love the color. White is just so pure.”

A lot happened in this episode. I don’t think anyone sat down the entire time. The housemaids actually had to clean the couches since the dust was accumulating for the first time since the end of the war, which only made their burden greater and Miz Bunting’s beliefs about the proletariat stronger.

“Well I probably shouldn’t, but I guess I will.” Lady Grantham delivers one of the most telling lines in Downton history, summarizing the motivation of every single one of these confused souls in pretty much everything they have ever undertaken. Speaking of Lady Grantham, her character offered the most dramatic developments in this episode. We were able to watch Lady G, known as Cora in American terms, emerge from decades of being smothered by brocade, heavy jewelry, tea parties and terrifying life choices and show some real spark. Unfortunately, she only came alive due to the gently emotive ministrations of Lord Toothy Brickman, Art Expert. She was inspired by those dumb magpies (her words, not mine) in an old painting. She was happy until Lord G the Elder, also known as Old Donk, managed to muck things up in his usual fashion, insulting everyone from his wife to Miz Bunting.

Miz Bunting, however, deserves all the insults that anyone could dream up. Where is Granny Grantham when you need her? Miz Bunting is truly detestable, and makes the aristocracy seem more deserving of their place in the scheme of things each and every time she shows up. And why anyone, even Our Rose (not the brightest of bulbs), thinks it would be a good idea to have this raving socialist in the room with a bunch of czarist Russians who lost everything they ever had, including family members, to raving socialists, is a puzzle. For once Old Donk is right: put Miz Bunting out of the house, pronto. And what’s all this about Miz Bunting guiding Daisy to a better life through math? According to Miz Bunting, if only Daisy could do algebra, oh the possibilities! She could leave the kitchen and do equations on her own terms, as a free, unfettered woman.

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Sad Week in Boston

But then, we are reminded, every week is a sad week, somewhere in the world.  Earthquakes, shootings, bombings — at any moment, the world may be too much with us. And through all the unthinkable messes that we create, or the ones foisted upon us by nature, it seems to be an imperative for human beings to look for goodness, even in all the rubble.

The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
 — William Wordsworth, 1806

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