‘Downton Abbey’ season 5, episode 3 review (PBS): Elizabeth McGovern at center of changing world

Cora -Note: If you are new to CarterMatt, we tend to spend our time with our “Downton Abbey” reviews doing something a little bit different. Rather than looking at the whole episode, we like to pinpoint specific events to discuss.

If you want to read our full review from this episode, you can check out the ITV version over at the link here.

Now that we’ve said this, who found this to be a very strong episode of the show? One of the reasons why this one is so strong to us is seeing how Cora is starting to take more and more of a position of authority within this world. Seasons ago, she was even more quiet and repressed to a certain degree by both Robert and society. She had a voice, but it was often a quiet one.

The remarkable thing about this season, however, is that she is the decision-maker in many ways. She had a decision to make first and foremost when it comes to Baxter, after learning that she had a controversial past that included breaking the law. She was shrewd enough to realize that Baxter herself was not a criminal, though. Instead, her actions came more out of a misguided place because of feelings that she had.

Elizabeth McGovern’s character also displayed more of her authority in choosing to spend time with Simon Bricker, even though the manner in which she did so may not have been necessarily approved by everyone. Why would a married woman spend time with a man who seemingly had an interest in other things beyond just art? In a sense, Cora may have been somewhat naive; however, she made the bold decision to be appreciated rather than ignored. Through these actions, Cora could command more respect, at least so long as she does not cross any inappropriate line.

After a somewhat-off season last year, season 5, at least through the first three episodes, feels much more like Cora’s time to shine.

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