TV Club: Downton Abbey: “Season Five, Episode Nine”

In this last gasp of season five, there’s plenty to grouse about, then—as befits Downton Abbey’s Christmas special—tidings of comfort and joy. That’s especially fitting since the months covered in this episode lead up to Tom and Sybbie Branson’s last Christmas before they leave for Boston.

In the autumn of 1924, the Crawley family joins Rose’s new in-laws for hunting season in Northumberland, and more than the grouse is under fire. Even Rose allows that Daniel Aldridge, Lord Sinderby, is “a difficult man.” He barks orders to his servants, directs his guests rigidly, and refuses to see Rose’s divorced parents socially. He reminds Rose of their differences at every turn. She entreats him to call her family by “Christian names”; he retorts, “Mine is not a Christian name.”

He scorns trite cordiality, which means he and Mary get on well. They speak …

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