Downton Abbey has always been about showing how the Crawley family deals with changes, and second episode of season five addressed that head on with the wireless scene, reminding viewers that “wireless” once meant something completely different, and the Dowager Countess probably wouldn’t be able to comprehend wifi any better than the radio. What came with the technical advances that took us from broadcasts to podcasts though, was the accessibility of information and so I thought it was an interesting parallel that so many characters this episode were wrapped up trying to keep secrets at a time when maybe that was possible, but not now, when the word “wireless” means that any information could potentially be at your fingertips. And while no one at Downton has any form of social media (could you image Rose on Instagram… it’d be tons of sefies) I doubt it will be long before anyone’s secrets aren’t all that secret.
First and foremost let’s briefly look at how Rose, though successful in getting the radio in Downton, was ridiculously about as subtle as Charles Blake was, when basically telling Mary she better be sure about Tony Gilliam before sleeping with him. To that end, I don’t think Mary knows him well enough and I that she’s making a huge mistake. Not simply because she’s having sex before marriage and that’s the sort of thing that simply wasn’t done in that era, (I didn’t feel the same way about Edith and the now presumed dead father of her child… though that alone is proof that choices have consequences) but because she thinks no one will find out, and that’s ridiculous. I’m sure that Anna’s concern was correct, about someone in the village spotting her, and questioning why, if she’s never purchased it before, she’s getting a contraceptive now.
So someone is bound to discover just how sketchy her sketching trip was!
Oh and speaking of Edith, I think it’s nice that she may have an opportunity to spend time with her daughter, but she’s fooling herself if she thinks that no one will figure things out. Even Mrs. Drewe thinks things are a bit off, but she’s still assuming that Edith is interested in her husband, who’s being a bit daft by hiding from his wife the real reason that Edith has taken an intense interest in Marigold.
And it’s not like none of the staff will figure things out, considering Mrs. Hughes was in the room when Anna found the picture among the sooty mess of Edith’s room. It would honestly surprise me though if Mrs. Hughes did say anything, considering she’s helping keep Mr. Bates’ trip to London (when he likely gave that good for nothing raping valet a shove into traffic) hidden from Mr. Carson and the authorities. Regarding Carson, I find it hilarious at this point that anytime Mrs. Hughes disagrees with him (as with her support of Daisy’s learning from Ms. Bunting, hooray for Mrs. Patmore making that happen, by the way!) that he says he’s surprised. Honestly at this point the only thing that would surprise me more than Mrs. Hughes agreeing with Carson, would be Thomas not being a jerk when he doesn’t get his way. His outing of Baxter to Moseley wasn’t that surprising, and I’m sure the full truth about her not so secret stealing will be out soon enough, or at least by the season’s end.
And with that readers, I’m off to watch more Downton, and take bets on who’s secret will last the longest… currently my money’s on Baxter.