Downton Abbey: Season 5/ Episode 9 [The Christmas Special] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Overview As Christmas rolls around, as usual at Downton, there is much more sadness than joy. However, the few moments of joy put on a strong effort against the unfortunate events. Topic 1: Rose’s New Family Drama – Rose Topic 2: The Joy – Ms. Hughes & Mr. Carson, Edith, The Bates Topic 3: The…

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As Christmas rolls around, as usual at Downton, there is much more sadness than joy. However, the few moments of joy put on a strong effort against the unfortunate events.

Topic 1: Rose’s New Family Drama – Rose

Topic 2: The Joy – Ms. Hughes & Mr. Carson, Edith, The Bates

Topic 3: The Sorrow – Tom, Ms. Crawley, and the Dowager

Review (with Spoilers) – Below

Topic 1: Rose’s New Family Drama – Rose

As much as Rose’s father in law looks down upon her family’s divorce troubles, we learn this episode Lord Sinderby had a child out of wedlock, one around the same age as Mary and Tom’s child. An issue which leads to him finally warming up to Rose as she handles the situation, caused by Sinderby’s butler Stowell, who, with Tom Barrow’s push, almost led to Sinderby being exposed.


Though we know Rose is likely to not be active in the next season, at the very least it does seem the Christmas episode left us reassured that she will be happy in her new family. Albeit with a secret which could cripple it as bad as her biological family, but at the very least her smile can stay genuine. Though, one must wonder, when Rose does become active once more on the show, will this secret come out? Much less, how damaging will it be to what looked like a rather stable family?

Topic 2: The Joy – Ms. Hughes & Mr. Carson, Edith, The Bates

To begin, by the end of the episode both Bates find themselves out of prison, but it wasn’t an easy journey. For in order to get Anna out, after she hit a major road block [1], Mr. Bates had to confess. Something he does then decides to run to Ireland. Though, by the end of the episode, he returns to dance with his wife on Christmas and share a little joy before whatever is to come next. As for Edith, now pretty much all of the family, except Mary, know about her secret. Something which relieves her for with Robert accepting her, and the child, it is a loud off for her.

Leaving Mr. Carson and Ms. Hughes. For a long time these two seemed so close it was hard to say if they were like brother and sister or two people who just meshed well together. Well, the answer is they were actually two timid people in love with one another, but waiting on the other to say something. So, after Ms. Hughes’ confession [2], and Mr. Carson buying a house with their name on it, he proposes. Leading to a yes and many smiles not yet shared with the rest of the house by episode’s end.


Considering most of the staff likely won’t be surprised by Ms. Hughes and Mr. Carson, I don’t expect a big hoopla when it comes to that. However, I do wonder where is the Bates story going to go from here? For there still remains the issue of Mr. Green’s murder and though Mr. Bates remains protected by witnesses and other things, Anna still is vulnerable. So perhaps all we may have seen was the calm before the next storm. One which hopefully is a bit more interesting than the last.

Now, as for Edith, considering how cruel Mary always is to her, you have to wonder if this maybe the secret which may break the malice. For with Tom leaving, and all the slights over the years, you can see Mary has such a strong dislike of Edith to the point it makes you want to rewatch old episodes to see why. For, unless I’m missing something, Edith has never landed any major blow against Mary to be more than a boring and annoying sister. So the constant attacks really don’t seem justified. Though I’m sure someone knows of an exact moment which led to this vendetta.

Topic 3: The Sorrow – Tom, Ms. Crawley, and the Dowager

As said for quite some time, Tom is ready to go with his daughter to America. And with it seemingly he plans to start the New Year in Boston, he says his goodbyes, takes note of how he will be missed, and hears one last plea from Robert to keep the last remnant of his daughter’s life. Leading to Ms. Crawley. Someone who, for quite some time, seemed on the way to bliss and marriage. However, being that Lord Merton’s sons refuse to accept her, and her not wanting to be in the middle of the family feud, she decides to end things with him. Leaving Dowager Violet. Someone who reunites the prince with the princess, all the while never explaining why she kept pushing for the man she loved to be with another woman. That is until the Christmas party when she confesses she nearly eloped and went into hiding with Igor, that is until the princess snatched her out the carriage and sent her home. Something the Dowager believes was the princess saving her, so her saving the princess was her returning the favor. Even if it was against the possible happiness of the dowager.


It’s sad to see Tom go, but at the same time this show has such a large ensemble cast and really does need people to leave every now and then. Especially once their character has peaked and now they just, as Tom often did, just awkwardly stand around waiting for something to happen. With that said though, I almost feel like with Tom leaving, perhaps Ms. Crawley should be on her way soon as well. For while being the Dowager’s side kick has always been a good place for her, unless she bounces back into her old mood, as well as the Dowager, it just won’t be the same. And while this show doesn’t do 24 episodes a season, and overstay its welcome, you can see how there is now just enough direction to get by, but certainly not enough for the show to thrive.

Things To Note

[1] Said road block being that her step father tried to molest her and she cut him, giving her a history of violence.

[2] Ms. Hughes confesses she has no savings due to her having a sister who isn’t all there. Someone who pretty much has drained her finances to the point not only is the house not an option, but also retiring is something not really possible.

  • Spratt and Denker get into quite a little spat over Denker’s ability to cook. Something which Spratt ultimately loses, but it seems now maybe him and Denker may get along. If not just learn to tolerate each other a bit more, especially since the Dowager seemingly is growing tired of their fights.
  • Both Edith and Mary, during the Rose segment, meet men who may become suitors. It is too early to tell if anything may come of it though.
  • We learn Robert has an ulcer, and who knows how this may play a role in his future as head of Downton.
  • Thanks to some money made, Andy has now joined the Downton staff. Something I’m sure Tom Barrow is quite happy about.

Collected Quote(s)

“The presence of strangers is our only guarantee of good behavior.”

—  “Christmas Special – Season 5.” Downton Abbey

“I don’t lie, but there are things I don’t say.”

—  “Christmas Special – Season 5.” Downton Abbey

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