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5 Things to Know Before Watching ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 5 Premiere

TheWrap’s guide to what you need to remember from the PBS series’ fourth season before Sunday’s return

After nearly a year away, it’s finally time to revisit the upstairs-downstairs drama of PBS’s “Downton Abbey.”

The new season continues in the Roarin’ 20s, an age of dramatic social and political change – guaranteed to annoy the Earl of Grantham, Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville). Radio will begin permeating homes and it’s bound to hit the Abbey sooner than later, further filling its occupants’ minds with ideas and visuals from far flung places.

Starting in 1924, Season 5 ties up several mysteries that have been haunting the Abbey for years and also settles some romantic storylines. Downstairs, alliances will form and be broken while several of their own are suspected in a murder plot; and others imagine greener pastures in the new, more labor-friendly world beyond Yorkshire.

So, where did we leave the Crawleys and their servants last? And what do you really need to know going into Season 5?

Here’s TheWrap’s guide to what really matters going into Sunday’s premiere:

1. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) is still the most eligible bachelorette in Yorkshire
The Widow Crawley may be more interested in preparing Downton Abbey to survive the turbulent financial future ahead than romance, but that doesn’t mean the men have lost interest. In fact, her money and position — she owns half the estate now — only adds that much more desirability to her.

As far as Season 5, you’ll just need to remember Anthony Foyle aka Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen), who although Mary has turned him down several times, is still very much in pursuit of her. And, there’s Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden), the government surveyor who was studying the Abbey last season. After also having his affections turned away by Mary, he continues to pursue her, believing that Anthony isn’t a good fit for her.

2. Lady Edith’s (Laura Carmichael) maternal woes.
After becoming pregnant with missing magazine publisher Michael Gregson’s (Charles Edwards) daughter, Edith hatched a plan with her aunt to have the baby abroad and give it away to a French family. But afterward, Edith decided that was a mistake and placed the baby with a local man who worked on the Grantham’s farm and his family. Although probably dead, Michael’s fate in Germany had not been confirmed yet.

3. Tom’s (Allen Leech) revolutionary roots call to him.
Now an accepted member of the Grantham family, Tom’s budding friendship with town schoolteacher Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis) begins pulling at his revolutionary roots. He wonders how much longer he can pass as part of the elite family before he loses his self-respect.

4. Bates (Brendan Coyle) isn’t in the clear for murdering Green (Nigel Harman).
The current theory is that Bates killed Gillingham’s valet, Alex Green, after he sexually assaulted Anna (Joanne Froggatt). But, did Bates really do it? The investigation continues and may affect people Bates cares about.

5. Thomas (Rob James-Collier) Knows Baxter’s (Raquel Cassidy) big secret.
Cora’s (Elizabeth McGovern) new lady’s maid has a secret so damning that she allows herself to be bullied by Thomas. He wants her to eavesdrop on his enemy Bates in order to find something bad enough to bring his enemy down. With Moseley’s (Kevin Doyle) support, she may be able to beat Thomas at his own game. But, will her secret come out before then?

“Downton Abbey” Season 5 premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on PBS.

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