Season five of “Downton Abbey” is at the halfway point by the end of this week’s episode, which is fitting, as this week seemed to have transitioning as an overarching theme. Many of our favorite characters are presented with new choices and decisions that will not only shape the rest of the season, but their lives as well.

Downstairs, Thomas was far from his conniving self this week, as Ms. Baxter discovers he is taking some sort of medication that’s painful to administer. We’re left without an explanation (a hot topic in Sunday’s chat room this past week!) until a glimpse of a magazine advertisement proves Thomas is taking medication in hopes of changing his sexual orientation. It’s not often that we sympathize with and worry about Thomas, but the distress in Ms. Baxter’s words and expression said it for us.

Mrs. Patmore also experienced distress, as the committee for the war memorial still refused her request that her nephew be mentioned with the rest of the fallen soldiers from World War I.

But not all of the downstairs plot lines were depressing this week. In a humorous turn, Mr. Molesley is presented with all of the duties of his coveted first footman position, as well as the duties of every footman following him in rank. With the departure of Jimmy, Mr. Carson has placed nearly every footman responsibility on Molesley’s shoulders, causing him to reconsider how important the first footman position really is. Daisy excels at her studies with Miss Bunting and has no trouble sharing her excitement with both the downstairs and upstairs casts. She believes she has possibilities now for a different future, if that’s one she wants. You can’t help but cheer for Daisy.

For the upstairs cast, transitioning is depicted often in forms of romance and relationships: relationships that are at an end or a beginning. Last week Mary participated in the scandalous decision to sleep with Tony Gillingham while being an unmarried woman, which was followed by her rejection of their courtship during this week. But not before she indulged in a dress show in London with Rosamund, where she met Charles Blake with Gillingham’s ex-fiancée, Mabel Lane Fox.

The meeting of Mary and Mabel is one fans didn’t see coming, but provides a new layer to Mary’s courtships with Gillingham and Blake. Charles skillfully convinces Mary to dine with him, proving his reluctance to give up on her. In a disturbing turn, Tony also refuses to give up, despite Mary’s direct refusal of his proposal and firm insistence that she has no interest to see him again. It’s startling to see Tony dismiss her concerns, convinced that she will change her mind.

Romantic intrigue isn’t just on Mary’s mind, though. Mr. Bricker has returned to Downton to inspect additional beautiful paintings while commenting on Cora’s beauty as well. It infuriates Robert, but Bricker isn’t the only one. At Isobel’s suggestion, Miss Bunting is invited back to Downton to an upstairs dinner. While she wants to inspire Daisy and Tom to consider different lives, the way she expresses that sentiment finally causes Robert to snap, bellowing to her that she should leave and never come back (the chat room came together to cheer for this scene!). Tom is left in the middle, wanting a friendship with Bunting but caring for his family as well.

But my favorite romantic liaisons this week came from Isobel and Violet’s stories. Downton is unique in so many ways, and featuring love and relationships for characters of all ages is just one of them.

Violet (after insisting Isobel join her) visits the Russian refugees and listens to Prince Kuragin’s story, discovering his wife, Princess Irina, has also fled Russia but is nowhere to be found. The Prince compares their lives, Violet’s successful one as a woman of status and his penniless one, and we begin to understand why Violet insisted Isobel join her as support. Her story with Prince Kuragin is far from over, and it will be interesting to see how it further unfolds during the second half of the season.

Isobel isn’t left without romance either, as Lord Merton finally makes his proposal (though getting down on one knee proves troublesome!). She’s reluctant to say yes, but Merton begs her to take time and consider and she agrees. He seems like a worthwhile, supportive partner for her, but it’s questionable whether Isobel will truly want to be married again, as well as becoming a woman of social status.

Lord Merton is also the father to Larry Grey, whom you may remember being very rude to Tom before Matthew and Mary’s wedding, so his family may also add a layer of complications as well. Like Violet, Isobel’s romance is also yet to be resolved, but it’s something I’m looking forward to this season.

It’s another painful week for Edith. We’re close to figuring out what happened to Michael Gregson, and Edith isn’t taking it well. Without a definite answer, she still holds onto hope that he’ll be alive and returned to her. After all, her child is still in the care of the Drewes, who have now limited her time spent with Marigold. Mr. Drewe tries to explain the frustrations his wife has with Edith, worried that her constant exposure to Marigold will confuse the child as to why Edith is constantly around. Mrs. Drewe is still in the dark about Edith being Marigold’s birth mother, a secret still only revealed to Violet, Rosamund, and Mr. Drewe. We hope things will look up for Edith, but it doesn’t seem likely.

The episode ends with another visit from the police inspector, claiming that Anna (while accompanying Mary in London for her dress show) spent a considerable amount of time in Piccadilly Square, where the death of Mr. Green occurred, with no discernable reason. The inspector may want to get the facts, but we definitely know they’re trying to place Anna at the scene of Green’s murder.

Haven’t Mr. and Mrs. Bates been through enough? Like Edith, it’s skeptical if they’re allowed a moment of happiness and it seems like the police won’t be leaving the Bates’ alone anytime soon.

That’s all for this week, but please join us next week as we enter the second half of season five and discover what’s in store next for our favorite Yorkshire house. Don’t forget that Rosemary and I will be attending the Downton Abbey weekend at Sea Island, Georgia this weekend, and we can’t wait to cover the event for everyone at Desperate for Downton!