Robert confronting the Duke of Crowborough for being a gold digger and leading Mary on.
Later his response when Carson asks if Bates can ride in the same carriage with the Duke.
Of course. And if [the Duke] doesnt like it, his Grace can lump it.
Isobel saving a local man in the hospital by convincing Dr. Clarkson to remove the fluid blocking his heart then administering adrenaline.
Bates threatening Thomas to stop bullying William. Granted, it doesnt work but its still awesome.
It's a beautiful moment when William finally gives Thomas the beatdown he's been asking for all along after Thomas makes an insensitive comment about Cora's miscarriage. Made all the better by the fact that everyone stands around watching in tacit approval until Thomas starts to hit back. Then everyone jumps in to pull them apart.
After it's over, Carson pats William on the arm.
Robert chewing out the white feather girls in the series 2 premiere. The white feather girls are rude, stuck-up pricks who hand out white feathers to men not in uniform and quickly inform them that it's for cowards who were too chicken to enter the army. They do this to William during a fundraiser for the war, and Lord Grantham FLIPS OUT ON THEM, interrupting the entire orchestra as he loudly orders them to get lost.
Cora supporting the free kitchen for convalescing soldiers that some of the servants have set up, and forcing O'Brien to work in it.
When a dying William wants the local vicar to wed him and Daisy, the Vicar refuses, because he's of the opinion that Daisy just wants to reap the financial benefits of being a war widow by marrying William. Cue The Lady Grantham inviting him for tea and letting him know PRECISELY why you should never mess with the Dowager Countess.
Violet playing upon Isobel's need to help people to get her to abandon her plans to permanently convert Downton into a hospital.
Anna finally laying down the law and telling Bates that he was going to marry her, now, because she's stood by him come what may for seven years, and she absolutely will not face their coming trials as anything but his wife because she refuses to be pushed to the sidelines with no proper place in his life. Guh.
Sybil fighting for her love of Branson every step of the way in the season 2 finale.
Robert: Know this, there will be no more money. From here on in, your life will be very different.
Matthew laying the smackdown on a very smug Sir Richard, after Mary breaks their engagement and Sir Richard insults both her andLavinia. This is followed by Sir Richard trying to scrape together his dignity to tell the Countess Dowager that he's leaving and will most likely never meet her again. She shoots him down with "Do you promise?"
Anthony Strallan spotting a nasty prank to make Branson appear drunk, and turning everyone in the room against the asshole who did it, including his own father.
Martha Levinson showing some extraordinary quick-thinking and improvising skills when she reorganizes the Crawley's entire fancy dinner for dozens of guests after the ovens stop working and there is no dinner cooked. For all her early cattiness and impertinence, she really saves the day for the Crawleys on more than one occasion.
All the Crawley women standing up to Robert when he tries to shame them into leaving a meal prepared by Ethel.
When Thomas tells Carson that, while he may not be like other people, he is not foul. The quiet dignity in the line makes it a CMOA whether you're a Thomas fan or not.
Wilkins tries to out O'Brien O'Brien by getting her drunk; O'Brien, for her part, detects Wilkins' plan to get her drunk, and tells her that now she isn't bound by any sense of loyalty to her. Do not try to out-O'Brien O'Brien, it will not work. Only Thomas can - on occasions - manage to out O'Brien O'Brien!
For 3.08: three words - "Her Ladyship's soap."
Cora's swift firing of Nanny West, after she discovers her being abusive towards baby Sybie, whom she spitefully refers to as "that chauffeur's daughter" and a "wicked little crossbreed". Do not talk shit about Sybil's daughter when Cora's around. Cora takes over the situation, chews Nanny West out, gives instructions to Mrs Hughes, and sacks West all without raising her voice.
Carson and Branson repeatedly standing up for Mary in 4.01-02, letting her know that they are on her side.
Edith gets a powerful one when she reminds Isobel, following Matthew's death, that she still has a lot to live for — "You're a grandmother."
Mrs. Hughes seeing through Edna's Baby Trap ploy, and sending her packing out of Downton on nothing more than a guide to contraceptives and threats.
Daisy giving Ivy the telling-off she's had coming for a while, with Mrs. Hughes backing her up.
Mrs. Hughestearing into Mr Green telling him exactly what she thinks of him, and to keep a low profile if he values his life. She's in a room alone with this man. And she completely loses her shit when he claims that both he and Anna were to blame. If Mrs. Hughes was a violent woman, this would be where she'd attack him with something.
Bates singlehandedly saving the royal family from an adultery scandal.
Molesley forcefully telling Thomas to leave Miss Baxter alone when he sees him harrassing her, especially because Molesley is usually quite timid.
Rose sticks it to her mother by having a flawless debut in front of the King. Her mother had written her off - Cora didn't... and Rose performed the act she needed too with supreme fabulousness. And pleased the King by mentioning her father, whom the King likes.
Thomas rescuing Edith from the fire. He charges right in with no thought for himself and scoops her up, then, after she's safe, volunteers to keep helping. Doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.
In Series 5, Robert telling Miss Bunting to get the hell out of his house after she trolls him one time too many.
When Robert finds that Mr. Bricker has forced is way into Cora's bedroom while he was away, he gives him a truly epic thrashing.
When Cora had enough of Robert basically blaming her for Mr. Bricker's flirtation. In a steely but soft voice, she tells Robert that she'll stop pestering him to come back to their marital bedroom if he's never, ever been in a situation where a flirtation got out of hand or a woman got the wrong impression from him. Otherwise, she expects him back in bed. Robert's Oh, Crap! face as he remembers his indiscretions with the maid Jane Moorsum from season two is something to behold, and it only takes him a few seconds after Cora leaves to grumpily leave the spare bedroom.
Cora in Series 5 Episode 7. Right after finding out that Edith has an illegitimate daughter, she rightly chews out Rosamond and Violet for not telling her ("What makes you think I'll ever trust you again?"), is properly aghast at all their "respectable" solutions that have only made Edith more miserable, and determines to find Edith and ask her what she wants. After finding Edith, and learning that what Edith wants is to raise her own daughter while still staying in England to keep Gregson's publishing firm afloat, Cora instantly comes up with a cover story that will allow Edith to do just that. One gets the feeling that Edith could've avoided much of her usual misery if she and her Secret Keepers had just confided in Cora in the first place.
Violet to Mary after a season of her being exceptionally bitchy: "My dear, a lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears."
Rose telling off her awful mother after she tried to say her actions were all in the name of love.
"I suppose we have different definitions of the word."
Thomas protecting Andy after Mrs. Denker has lured the latter to the Velvet Violin casino where he'd been taken to the cleaners. he goes with them to the Violin on the second night, wins back all of Andy's losses at pontoon, hands those winnings over to Andy, then lies to the casino owner, telling him Denker was only standing outside the Violin's door waiting to come in with the first person she saw so she could get free drinks for being The Roper, leaving Denker to pay up her now considerable bar tab.
After Rose and Atticus' wedding, a guest comes up to Robert and Cora and commends them from 'putting on a brave face' from their cousin marrying into a Jewish family. Cora smiles serenely, and gently asks the woman if she can remember that her father was a Jewish man.
Shrimpie Flintshire tearing a new one into his wife - who deserved every bit of it.
Lady Sinderby defusing the tension at the wedding when Lady Flintshire loudly declares that she and her husband are getting a divorce. As Lord Sinderby is about to blow a gasket and call the wedding off, she fixes him with a steely glare and tells him that he will allow the wedding, or she'll divorce him and put him through as much scandal and shame as the Flintshires.
Robert gets two Awesome Moments that double as Heartwarming Moments in the Series 5 Finale. First, while going over the samples of the tombstone maker he's hired to make Isis' tombstone, Robert discovers the maker also makes small World War I memorials for individuals. Robert quickly realizes he can use this to get around all the objections to Mrs. Patmore's request to include her nephew in the main memorial, and at the end of the Remembrance ceremony, is able to announce the separate memorial for Patmore's nephew while giving a respectable reason why he isn't on the main memorial ("he was not from here...but he does have family here.") Cue Mrs. Patmore's Tears of Joy. The second moment is when he figures out all by himself that Marigold is Edith and Gregson's illegitimate child, and promises Cora not to make a row about it.
Robert: It's an unusual sensation, having a secret in the house I'm actually privy to.
Rose saving Lord Sinderby from the scandal of his illegitimate child. Before anyone else can find out, she immediately claims the mother was her friend she even gets the entire Crawley family to help her pull it off. That took some quick thinking.
Molesly and Baxter working tirelessly to help prove Anna and Bates' innocence - and their work ends up proving fruitful! Not bad for Molesly, someone who was considered by most to be a bit of a joke.
This moment in Season 5 Episode 8 when Anna is arrested and Inspector Vyner learns that you do not mess with Lady Mary Crawley.
Mary: I'm not "Miss", I'm Lady Mary Crawley.
Also equally awesome, Mary sticking up for Anna the whole way through and visiting her in jail.
Violet firing Denker for deliberately spreading unrest in the staff, ironically over the need to let some of them go.
Thomas' plan to embarrass Gwen upon her return blowing up in his face spectacularly, as everyone both upstairs and downstairs is nothing but proud of all she's achieved, and he's left looking like a complete ass.
Tom and Edith telling off Mary as she deserves to be after she destroys Edith's engagement by revealing Marigold's parentage.
Tom: You're a coward, Mary. Like all bullies, you're a coward.
Edith: Who do you think youre talking to? I know you. I know you to be a nasty, jealous, scheming bitch.
Edith ends up getting the ultimate revenge on Mary by becoming a Marchioness through her marriage (which Mary herself tried and failed to sabotage), thus having the highest social rank of the entire family, including her father!
Robert calling out Thomas for exposing Gwen, who had come to Downton as a guest with her husband, as a former housemaid at Downton.
Violet decides that Isobel is going to be happy with Lord Merton. even if she has to use force to physically force the two together (which is, fortunately, something they both want!) This results in her barging in to his house and putting his family exactly where they belong — on the bottom of her shoe like a peace of dog excrement — while his son and daughter-in-law try to keep her out. As you can expect, it all goes swimmingly; Lord Merton agrees to marry Isobel and leaves the huge empty house to his children. Violet just ends it with "and who can argue with that?!" and looks rather smug. Her explanation for doing so put simply.
Violet: As my late father used to say if reason fails try force!
Mr. Molesley originally began getting involved with the exams to help Daisy. Not only did he help her pass but he did so good that he is offered a teaching position. As the head of the school tells him, there are college graduates who aren't as smart as Molseley is!
When Baxter realises that Thomas has tried to kill himself, she can't get into the bathroom to save him. So Andy, who's with her, kicks open the door.
The opening. In a beautiful Mythology Gag to the first episode, the camera follows the journey of a letter from London, to its nighttime train trip, to the village, all this while the actors' names scroll on the screen and the music builds up in a crescendo. When the postman arrives to his destination, just as the Abbey finally appears from behind the hill, the main theme plays and the title appears in golden letters. We're home.
Tom and Mary foiling the regicide attempt.
The Downton staff successfully put the royal household staff out of commission and manage to serve dinner to the King and Queen themselves (notwithstanding Molesley's Open Mouth, Insert Foot moment).