Downton Abbey

8.6 / 10
50 min
Drama, History
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8.5
" gives "Downton Abbey" a 8.5."
Written by on 31 December 2015.
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Downton Abbey

To the delight of many fans of historical dramas, Julian Fellowes decided to write a fifth series of the successful ITV series Downton Abbey. Once again we could follow the lives of the members of the noble Crawley family. The arrival of the fifth season didn't come as a big surprise, because the last episode of the fourth season, after all, ended with many unanswered questions, as opposed to the endings of previous seasons.

First of all, there is Edith (Laura Carmichael, Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy), the middle daughter of Lord Grantham, the head of the Crawley family, as you may remember. He is being played by Hugh Bonneville, who is also great in the film Notting Hill. Edith plays a big part in the fifth season, but rather a dramatic one. In the meantime she has given birth to her bastard child, that has been tucked far away with a family with the help of her aunt Rosamund ((Samantha Bond, Moneypenny, Goldeneye) who played as you may have guessed in several James Bond films). The child's father, who went missing at the end of the previous season, is still missing. So Edith has to deal with her grief alone, which is very hard, even impossible. So she is doing everything she can to get her child back, or at least close by.

Big sister Mary (Michelle Dockery) doesn't know anything about this. As a viewer you don't really care. After all, you sympathize deeply with Edith and you know Mary isn't too empathic towards her younger sister. Besides, Mary has worries of her own: the two men who are competing with each other over her, at least at the beginning of the season. Mary's interest in both gentlemen slowly fades away and eventually it is more a matter of getting rid of them than catch one of them.

These are the most important story lines upstairs. Downstairs it's all sorrow and misery again for Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Bates (Brendan Coyle). Both of them are in danger of being accused of murdering the servant Green, the man who raped Anna in season four, remember? It feels a bit like deja vu: again Anna and Bates, again a wrongful accusation of murder and again the gay footman Thomas (Rob James-Collier) behaving in an underhand way. Fortunately the butler Carson (Jim Carter) and the cook Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) provide the necessary comic relief among the servants.

The real star in the series is still of course the grandmother: the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Maggie Smith (Harry Potter, Sister Act) still plays this part magnificently. She exudes sheer aristocracy and she sneers at everyone and everything, but she utters her statements in an ever so unique way, in a dry tone and with virtuosity of language. Despite her limited story line, she meets among other things an old lover and the love-hate relationship with Isobel Crawley remains the same, she is a vital character.


In short, season five may be a repetition of sorts, but it still deserves your full attention instead of ironing or doing other household chores while watching. Downton Abbey keeps treading that thin line between being corny, sometimes even syrupy and displaying a high level of quality, but it remains on the side of the latter. The ending of this fifth season is double. It's mostly positive, which doesn't necessarily tempt you to watch the next season. But some story lines are left unfinished, mainly regarding love and relationships. But don't worry, the sixth season has been confirmed, but it's supposed to be the last one. Thanks to the invention of the DVD we can enjoy this series again and again.
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