Maybe the writers of "Downton Abbey" knew they needed a shocker to re-interest viewers in this final and disappointing season. So, tonight in the 5th episode, there is the Earl of Grantham engaged in sustained projectile vomiting at a dinner party. In attendance is Neville Chamberlain, whom Cora has pulled in for her hospital fight.
And it's off to the hospital for the Earl. He recovers from the ulcer, for now. But it's clear that the combination of Lady Mary and son in law Tom will take over the run of the business. This health problem makes the clueless Earl even more of a lame duck.
To everyone's surprise, Mary is allowing Tom into her life. He even provides coaching on relationships. Mary has been ambivalent about the budding romance with Henry Talbot. He is lower in class status than she. But Tom is pushing them together, reminding Mary what a wonderful bonding he and the late Sybil had had.
Meanwhile, Lady Edith is truly ahead of her time. She is hiring a female editor. And she entertains Bernie Pelham in her single-lady flat. That, of course, is verboten. Yet, Edith keeps returning to Downton Abbey. We all wonder when she will gain the strength to break free of that negative undertow.
Mary is finally connecting the dots on Marigold's origins. She was out of the loop on that one. Now she has something big to bully Edith with. Mary can be quite generous with the servants such as Anna but remains mean-spirited with Edith.
It will be remarkable if the Earl finishes out the season. So, we might be able to look forward to Cora's finding her true soulmate. Maybe it will be a nice American chap who returns her to the U.S. Edith can sell her publishing business and also migrate with Marigold to the land of freedom. And away from Mary, who is bound to become even more bossy as she takes control of the business.