Downton-Courtesy Tom and LorenzoHere we go—series three! And even though series two was a sad, sad disappointment, my heart still soars when I hear that theme music. Downton, don’t let me down.

It’s spring 1920 and Mary and Matthew are rehearsing their wedding at the local church. There’s some talk of Sybil, who apparently can’t come over because she and Branson can’t afford it. Mary asks her dad if they can do anything to get her to the wedding, and you’d really think that, considering this is a request coming from the bride herself Robert might actually give it some consideration, but no, he’s a dick now, and he’s totally unwilling to help his youngest attend her own sister’s wedding because Branson is “still an object of curiosity in the neighborhood.” He wants to wait until they can properly prep the servants for his arrival. Jerk. And Robert, no amount of prepping is going to make that go easier for the likes of O’Brien, so don’t even try. Lame excuse, really. Isobel, awesomely, hisses to her son that Robert’s making a problem where none exists and that everyone just needs to get used to this situation. Please, please let her improve over last season. My hopes are high.

Back at the house, the servants are having lunch. Anna’s away, getting Bates’s mother’s house ready to let. Thomas sneers that he thought the court confiscated the profits of murder but apparently Bates had the sense to sign the house over to Anna before the trial started. Thomas says he still thinks it’s wrong but Carson’s all Team Bates and snaps that, if Thomas won’t speak well of Bates, he can jolly well take his dinner in the yard. Amen!

Isobel, Violet and Cora are having a visit and talking about Sybil, yet again. Isobel guesses Violet’s on Robert’s side and Violet snaps that she’s wrong about that, but she’s not keen on the family being the subject of gossip. Too late for that, I’m afraid. Violet thinks the young couple should be there, because she thinks that if Branson shows up and acts “normal” than everyone will lose interest. Isobel, ever the contrarian, thinks Branson shouldn’t be expected to act “normal” he should be allowed to come and find his corner. Well, there’s something to be said for both these points of view, but honestly, I think the first visit with the in-laws who don’t like him might not be the time to act like a firebrand, you know? Sometimes conformity is the best policy, at least for the time being. Isobel offers to send them the money to come over and Cora asks her not to, because Robert expressly forbade it. Hold up—wasn’t Cora the one insisting on having them come over during the Christmas special? Why isn’t she sticking to that gun? And also—screw Robert! What Isobel does with her own damn money is her business!

That evening, Robert’s on the phone with someone, and whatever they’re talking about, it doesn’t sound good. Mary comes in as he’s hanging up and asks if everything’s ok. He says it is. It’s totally not.

Belowstairs, Hughes and Anna return and get caught up on wedding prep and the fact that there’s no footman. O’Brien pipes up that her sister has a son who’d be perfect. Carson tells her they’re about to host a society wedding and he doesn’t have time for training someone new. So, he’d rather have no footman than one who might not be fully trained for this big wedding? How hard would it be just to tell the guy to stand there with champagne flutes?

O’Brien takes the case to Cora, who takes the case to Robert, who seems a bit out of it. He tells her fine, whatever, and then says he has to go up to London on some mysterious business for a day or two.

Anna goes to visit her husband in jail and hands over some notes or something that Vera wrote, which she found while she was clearing out the house. She asks Bates to make notes of who the people named might be so she can deliver them to Murray. She asks him if he’s got any news and he doesn’t, aside from the fact that he’s got a new cellmate he’s not too sure of. Anna drops some wisdom from her mother: never make an enemy by accident, which is kind of foolish considering he’s been making enemies by accident since he showed up at Downton. She asks him to get the notes done by the time of her next visit. He’s defeatist and doesn’t see what could come of it, but she won’t be beaten down and will continue to fight, fight, fight for her man!

Alfred, O’Brien’s nephew, has arrived and is being examined by Carson, who thinks he’s too tall to be a footman. The guy is pretty huge, but that doesn’t seem like a good reason to reject someone (though apparently being too short was a reason to reject someone, once upon a time). Carson begrudgingly agrees to take him on, not that it’s really his choice, since it had already been decided anyway.

Mary and Matthew stroll the grounds and discuss post-wedding plans. They’ll live at Downton, apparently. No surprise there—I find it hard to believe Mary would slum it at Crawley House with Isobel in the next room. He seems a little worried that having the family around all the time will get in the way of them getting to know each other. Uh, what? You guys don’t think you know each other? Then maybe you shouldn’t be getting married. Mary reassures him that the house isn’t too crowded, but Matthew doesn’t seem too sure.

Robert arrives in London and heads to Chancery Lane, where he meets with Murray, who has bad news: a massive investment Robert made in Canadian railways has gone bust, in large part because the man who was steering its expansion, Charles Hayes, died. Died how, you may ask? On the Titanic (though that’s not mentioned here—it’s like a history nerd bonus). We’ve come full circle, folks. So, Robert’s just lost the lion’s share of Cora’s money. He absorbs that and then says he’ll figure something out, because he won’t be the failure who lost the estate. Murray lays out some hard truth: he’ll have to sell Downton, if there’s no money to run it. But Robert’s determined. Guess he needed a project.

Looks like the village is getting all dressed up for the wedding. Wow, I guess not much happens there. Edith’s walking down the street, admiring all the white bunting going up, when Strallen drives past and pulls over. She climbs right into the car with him and laughs that she wanted to escape wedding panic for a bit. He asks if she doesn’t like weddings and she says she does, but she’s a bit burned out. He politely asks if her American grandmother’s coming (yes) and whether Sybil’s coming over. Edith says she wasn’t going to, but apparently she is now, without Robert’s knowledge. Well, good. He needs to get over this.

Matthew and Molesley chat while Matthew dresses for dinner. Matthew says that he’ll be staying at Downton for a little while after the wedding, but he hopes to move elsewhere a little while after. He asks Molesley to make sure to look after his mother and Molesley’s face practically collapses to hear he won’t be valeting for Matthew anymore. Matthew says he always thought of Molesley as more of a butler than a valet, and anyway, he wants to live a bit more simply after he’s married. Wow, he really doesn’t know Mary well at all, does he? Good luck with that.

Robert’s getting ready for dinner as well, having returned from London. He gets caught up on the arrival of the new footman from Thomas, who’s his valet now. Robert has no memory of agreeing to a new footman but he lets it go, at least until he catches up with Cora on the way downstairs. He scolds her for hiring someone new, which confuses her, since he agreed to it. He tells her not to do any more hiring and then complains about the costs of the wedding. Cora smirks that Mary was never going to get married on the cheap (and yet, Matthew expects her to live that way…)

O’Brien gives her nephew a pep talk belowstairs, only to be nearly undermined by Thomas being his usual douchy self. She tells Alfred not to listen to him, because he’s just a vain ass. Nice to see her eyes have finally been fully opened.

Thomas wanders into the kitchen, where he notices Daisy pissily knocking around. She snaps that she was promised a promotion; that they’d get a new kitchen maid and she’d be Patmore’s assistant. Thomas suggests she go on strike and then slithers off, having sown enough seeds of discord for one evening.

At the family dinner table, Mary reports Sybil’s imminent arrival. Isobel pointedly asks if she’ll be coming alone and Matthew warns her not to make trouble. Heh. Violet notes the new footman’s height and asks if he’s really that tall, or walking on stilts. He’s having a bit of trouble with serving, and Carson rather inappropriately scolds him in front of the family. I really doubt a butler would have done that during that time. Cora mentions her mother’s arriving the day before the wedding and Violet smiles and says she loves seeing Cora’s mother, because she always reminds her of the virtues of the English (because she’s an American—har har.) Cora asks Carson if he has all the help he needs for the wedding and he tells her he wouldn’t mind another footman. Matthew comments that he thinks it’s time to start living more simply, but Violet says it’s an aristocrat’s duty to provide employment in the neighborhood.

Downstairs, Thomas arrives in the servants’ hall in a snit, trailed by Molesley and bitching that now he’s going to have to take care of Matthew too. Oh, wah wah wah. Molesley thinks it’s a terrible idea for Matthew not to keep a valet on. In comes Carson, who snipes that Alfred thought he was still working in a hotel. The poor guy looks crestfallen. Carson, how about you do a little less bellyaching and a little more training, if you’re so worried about the guy’s performance? Running him down isn’t going to help anything. Anna, of course, comforts him by saying he’ll get the hang of it.

Upstairs, Mary and Matthew discuss some imminent appointment Matthew’s having with Lavinia’s father’s lawyer. Mary figures Mr. Swire left him something. He changes subjects and asks if she’s looking forward to the wedding. She says she is and asks if he is. “I’m looking forward to all sorts of things,” he says before demurely kissing her on the cheek and heading out.

Sybil, sporting a really, really terrible hairstyle, arrives with Branson and rushes to kiss her father, smiling and asking if he sent the money. He can’t even crack a smile for his own kid, so I guess that’s her answer, then. Cora’s a little more human and greets Branson as “Tom” and welcomes him to the house. Branson looks a little uncertain but seems to appreciate the gesture. Mary tells the chauffeur to take in the luggage. Edith chimes in to tell them tea’s laid out in the library. As everyone goes in, Branson takes a moment to exchange glances with Carson, who can barely acknowledge Branson’s greeting.

Matthew has his meeting with Swire’s lawyer and reports back to Isobel: Swire left him his whole fortune, and it was a considerable one.

At Downton, the servants are tussling over who’s going to have the chore of helping Branson get ready for dinner. Thomas flat-out refuses to do so, and instead of, oh, I don’t know, making him do it, Hughes tells Carson it’ll be on him, then. Carson refuses as well, which is a great example to set for the other servants, so Hughes says Alfred will have to do it instead.

Dinner again, and with Branson there, it’s awkward. Violet asks if it’s an Irish tradition not to dress for dinner. Branson admits he doesn’t own a dinner jacket or tails. Robert rudely says he hopes Branson at least owns a morning coat for the wedding, but of course he doesn’t. Sybil chimes in to remind her father that they live a rather different life. Proving just how little clue she has about how the 99% live, Mary suggests he buy a Downton wardrobe to leave at the house, so they won’t have to pack so much when they come. Branson tells them he can’t change just to please them. Now, Branson, nobody’s asking you to become a Tory or anything. Yes, they’re being clueless, but they’re not asking you to actually change anything more substantial than your outfit. When you’re staying at someone else’s house, you abide by their rules and you don’t get all stubborn about it. That’s rude. Isobel, naturally, backs him on that and asks how things are in Ireland. “We’re within sight of throwing off the English yoke,” he says, to a table full of English people. With his English wife sitting right next to him. Sigh. There’s discussion of the Home Rule bill, which Branson isn’t a fan of, because it doesn’t make all of Ireland free. Sybil looks like she wants to die. Cora, thankfully, brings the conversation around to a more innocuous subject.

At servants’ dinner, Alfred thinks the family was a bit hard on Branson. Carson, rather rightly, thinks Branson was hard on them, too. And then Branson comes in to say hello, which is awkward, because all the servants have to stand now. He says his greetings and departs so O’Brien and Carson can sneer that he’s putting on airs. Yes, he’s so above himself he came downstairs to say hello to all of you. Arrogant bastard.

Upstairs, Violet makes fun of Branson a bit too, to Sybil, no less. Mary goes to ask Matthew what the lawyer wanted. He dodges the subject and steers her back to wedding topics.

In the kitchen, Daisy’s got a huge chip on her shoulder and asks Patmore where the new kitchen maid is. Patmore apologizes but says they’re in a hiring freeze. Daisy doesn’t seem appeased by that.

Sybil’s having a heart-to-heart with Mary, telling her things are simpler in Dublin, because everyone just knows her as Mrs. Branson, but in England, he feels totally at sea. She doesn’t regret anything, though, and is clearly happy. Mary sweetly tells her the family will come around, eventually. Sybil goes to get ready for bed and Mary warns her that the Grey family will be coming for dinner the next day, and she might want to warn Branson.

Upstairs, Sybil explains that Larry Grey used to be keen on her, but she was never into him. She suggests they head into Ripon to get Branson some tails, but he puts his foot down because apparently his wife’s feelings matter very little to him. She also asks him to tone down the Ireland talk a bit, but he won’t even do that and goes on to tell her not to “disappoint” him. Ick. She seems to think this is all sweet, which I find very, very worrying.

Mary and Matthew are alone downstairs, and Matthew’s apparently told her about the inheritance. I forgot to mention earlier that there was another potential heir, but nobody seems to be able to find him. Mary asks him what he’ll do with the money if he does get it and Matthew says he’s not sure, but he can’t keep it. Why not? Swire wanted you to have it.

Robert’s apparently come clean with Cora about that bad investment. He admits that almost all of her money’s been lost and completely breaks down in tears. Cora hurries to comfort him and he kisses her hands and is thankful for her, which is sweet. Smiling beatifically, she tells him they’ll just really, really enjoy this wedding and their friends and family, if this might be their last big bash.

The next day, Matthew runs into Branson in town and Branson tells him he thought it would be better if he stayed at the pub. He can’t face another dinner like the previous night’s. Matthew tells him to suck it up, stop making it so hard on himself, and look to Matthew as a buddy. Aww.

Prison. Anna’s back, and Bates tells her he doesn’t see how a list of tradesmen can help them. Anna thinks Vera must have mentioned her suicide plans to someone else. Not necessarily, Anna. Usually people who are really serious about that don’t mention it to anyone else because that person might stop them. Bates asks why she’s so sure it’s suicide and Anna tells him it’s the only thing that makes any sense. She’s going to write to everyone Vera knew and see if she mentioned her plans to kill herself. You think someone’s actually going to admit that someone they knew told them of their suicide plans before successfully committing suicide? I’d think they’d feel to guilty or responsible or be afraid they were going to be held accountable.

At the house, Alfred’s telling his auntie that he had some talent in the kitchen, and Daisy and her Attitude ask why he didn’t pursue it, then? O’Brien says it’s a pretty hard ladder to climb and he agrees, saying he’d rather be a butler.

Upstairs, Anna’s helping Edith with her hair. Apparently Strallen’s coming to dinner as well. Edith comments that everyone thinks Strallen’s too old for her, but he’s not. And anyway, Bates is older than Anna, and look how happy they are! You know, aside from the whole being in prison for murder bit.

In the hallway, O’Brien asks Thomas to give Alfred some pointers, in the hope he might be able to take over valeting for Matthew. Thomas, of course, is unwilling to help anyone else get ahead when he had to work so hard for it, and he turns her down flat. Careful, Thomas, she’s deadly with a bar of soap.

Guests arrive at the house for dinner, in a long line of cars. Inside, over cocktails, Matthew’s apparently telling Mary that his groomsman’s gone and gotten sick. Larry, meanwhile, is baiting Branson, who’s having none of it. He neatly cuts the man off at the knees and stomps off. Violet observes that he’s still dressed for the street and Isobel snips that it’s nice to have someone from the real world there. She then goes over to Strallen to be pretty embarrassing by drawing attention to his bum arm. What happened to this woman? She used to be able to function properly in social situations. She asks if Strallen’s coming to the wedding and he says he will, if Edith wants him. She does, of course. He smiles and notices how nice her hair looks. Aww. But then something mysterious and possibly related to Larry catches his attention.

Belowstairs, Alfred reports to Daisy that Branson seems to be a little wasted.

Indeed he is, and he’s being seriously embarrassing at the dinner table, shouting about how the black and tans are going around murdering civilians. Violet wonders if there’s any way to shut him up. Even Matthew tries to step in and calm him down, but Branson won’t be appeased. Larry snickers that this is such a marvelous display of Irish character and Sybil quietly tries to get her husband back in line. Strallen, awesomely, realizes that this is all Larry’s fault, because he saw him put something in Branson’s drink before they came in to dinner. Not sure why he didn’t mention that to Branson before he drank it, but it’s nice of him to call the guy out. The Crawley girls stick up for Branson and ask everyone to forgive him for being the unwitting subject of a cruel prank. Sybil goes to take Branson upstairs and Larry says he can’t understand why everyone’s so upset when Branson’s just a grubby chauffeur. Larry’s father yells at him to shut the hell up already and then apologizes on behalf of his son. Matthew further gets Branson’s back by asking him to be his best man right then and there. The look on Robert’s face is priceless. Both Sybil and Branson are touched and Mary smiles and thanks him sincerely.

As everyone’s leaving, Edith thanks Strallen for exposing Larry like that and says she hopes they’ll see more of him, after the wedding. And then she seriously finds her gumption and kisses him on the cheek before he goes. Yes! Go Edith!

Robert and Cora dissect the evening in the library. Cora says it was nice of Matthew to show solidarity with Branson. Robert says they’re all going to need it soon. Talk turns to how they’re going to break this news to the girls. Robert plans to tell Mary and Matthew immediately, so they can discuss their plans more sensibly during the honeymoon. He wonders if they should say something to Cora’s mother but Cora says they shouldn’t, because then she’ll just cast a pall over the whole wedding.

Bates is at work on those names, despite the fact that his cellmate keeps telling him it’s hopeless. He won’t lose faith, though. “Why do you have to be so pious?” the cellmate asks, echoing a question asked by many a fan about this exact character over the years. Cellmate further observes that Bates is a touchy man and Bates warns him not to push him too hard. Hmmm.

Mary’s trying on some new clothes that Edith doesn’t quite approve of. Sybil does, naturally. Robert comes in, and all he says about the outfit is that it looks expensive. He clears the room and drops the bombshell as gently as he can.

Isobel’s summoned Branson, who arrives while she’s visiting with Violet. Isobel greets him cheerfully and Branson immediately apologizes for the night before. Violet kindly tells him he’s not the first drunk to have been in that dining room. Isobel tells him they want to see if one of Matthew’s old morning coats will fit him. He says thanks, but no thanks, because he “doesn’t approve of these costumes.” Branson, SHUT THE HELL UP! Jesus, he’s gotten tiresome. It’s one thing to be conspicuously nonconformist at dinner at someone else’s house or as a member of the congregation at someone else’s wedding. That’s enough to land you in Etiquette Hell, believe me, but it might be overlooked. But to refuse to dress appropriately when you’re a groomsman? Stop being such an asshole. This is not about you, astonishingly enough. Stop making everything a political statement. Stop humiliating your wife and being a horrible guest/friend/family member. Haven’t you done enough? SHUT UP!

Violet lets him finish talking and then tells Molesley to take off Branson’s coat. Molesley does, and because he’s actually a total wuss, Branson lets him. And then he lets him put the morning coat on after all. Matthew arrives just then and asks what’s going on. “They’re forcing me into a morning coat,” Branson sulks. Yes, look how he’s being tied down and forced into that coat, the poor darling. Matthew indignantly asks if Branson has no say in this. “No, he doesn’t, and nor do you,” Violet tells them. Thank God for her. Someone has to say it. She and Molesley discuss alterations. Branson just stands there.

Cora’s mother, Mrs. Levinson, arrives in her shiny car with its white-walled tires. She greets her daughter and son-in-law and then moves on to Carson and Mrs. Hughes, both of whom she remembers. She introduces her maid, Reid, and then goes to say hi to Sybil, telling her she has to keep her informed of all the arrangements she’s made for the birth of the Branspawn. “We do these things so much better in the States,” she says. From what I understand, no, you don’t. Not anymore. On to Edith: “Still no one special? Well, never mind, you can be a modern girl.” And then Mary: “Tell me all your wedding plans!”

Belowstairs, Reid tells Patmore she’s going to need goat’s milk every morning, and Mrs. L only drinks boiled water in England. Also, no fats, no crab, and nothing in the marrow family. Oh, geez, she’s one of those obnoxious rich women.

Upstairs, Mrs. L’s trying to figure out just how Matthew’s related to the Crawleys. She’s not too happy, it seems, that he’s going to inherit all her late husband’s money. Isobel tightly says it shouldn’t matter, since now he’s marrying Mary. And with that, Mary hustles Matthew out before things get more uncomfortable.

Mrs. L’s next target is Branson, and Sybil proudly explains he’s a journalist. Mrs. L doesn’t seem to think too highly of him. And she hasn’t even seen him at dinner yet.

Out in the hall, Mary not-so-subtly asks how the search for the other Swire heir is. Matthew’s received a telegram that says the man’s dead. If he died after Swire, his heirs will get the money, but if he died before, then Matthew will get it. People are looking into it. Matthew doesn’t think it’s a big deal, because he’s not keeping the cash anyway. Mary tells him he damn well is, because otherwise the Crawleys are going to be broke.

Matthew, however, won’t profit from Lavinia’s death because he thinks she died of a broken heart. Come again? What kind of fairytale world does he live in? Sorry, but she died of Influenza, like millions of others. It was a terrible, tragic thing, but it’s not like she seemed all that robust to begin with. Mary gets hysterical and tells Matthew her father will be disgraced and what will this mean for them and their children? Well, Mary, it would mean you’re going to live in a little terraced house somewhere as the wife of a country lawyer. Sorry! She calls him disappointing and weeps that this means he’s not on their side. She runs upstairs, crying, passing Edith along the way. Edith looks a bit bewildered. Matthew looks exhausted, probably imagining another 50 years of this kind of thing.

Prison. Anna asks Bates how he’s getting along with his cellmate. He lies that he’s been hiding his distain and asks about the wedding, because that’s all he has to cling to just now. She tells him Mary and Matthew will be going to London for a couple of days after the wedding, and then going to the south of France. They’d take Anna, but Anna plans to stay behind, to be near Bates. He urges her to go, telling her she has to live his life as well as her own. No pressure! She seems uncertain but he keeps pressing.

Violet arrives at Downton for dinner and runs into Mrs. L so they can start their passive aggressive face-off. Mrs. L—oh, hell, it’s Martha, that’s her first name—observes that no tradition ever seems to change there and urges them all to let go of the past, just a little. She sweeps off so Edith can come in, wearing a fabulous dress.

Over dinner, Robert’s unnecessarily denying that he was the one who sent Sybil and Tom the money to come over. He thinks it was Isobel. Tired of the debate, Violet finally confesses that it was her. Branson’s amazed she wanted him there. She pointedly says she wanted Sybil and her husband there, and after all, Branson’s a member of the family, and the Crawleys always stick together. “Not always,” Mary sniffs. Cora asks what she means and she refuses to answer, instead throwing down her napkin and running upstairs.

In the kitchens, Patmore’s trying to get some work done and involve Daisy, who sits there in a snit and does not a damn thing. Guess what, Daisy? People who don’t do their work get fired. Going on strike is all well and good when you have a strike fund and a union backing you up. You have neither. Might be time for some tough love, Patmore.

In the dining room, Cora thinks Mary’s just having an attack of nerves while Martha grills Edith on the argument. She admits she didn’t hear most of it. Robert offers to go talk to Matthew but Branson thinks he should go, since he’s the best man and knows what it’s like to marry into this family.

Kitchens. Daisy accuses Patmore of not responding to her protest. Patmore correctly guesses that Daisy’s been listening to Thomas again, and Daisy crumbles like a stale biscuit and offers to dry the dishes. Whatever. Pointless subplot.

Anna’s helping Mary get ready for bed while Mary cries and complains that Matthew’s refusing to bail out her father and is selfishly putting himself above the rest of them. Ok, let’s just back down for a second here, Mary, and consider this: you’re asking Matthew to entrust his entire nest egg to a man who’s already squandered his own fortune through a terrible investment. Surely you can understand his reluctance, just a little? Don’t get me wrong, I think Matthew’s holier-than-thou self-flagellating excuse for not accepting the inheritance is absurd and annoying, but I can understand his reluctance to fork the cash over to Robert. The man has not made good choices lately. Anna tells Mary that Matthew’s a good guy, and if she lets him go again, another one is unlikely to come along before it’s too late.

Branson, meanwhile, is telling Matthew that he and Mary belong together, and frankly, this on/off thing is getting tiresome. Seriously.

Matthew, thankfully, takes the advice and goes to see Mary, who tells him he can’t come in. Jesus, Anna, slap her for me, will you? They talk through the door, because it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride, though I think we’re all past that by now. Matthew tells her they’re going to fight about a lot of things over the next several dozen years. She wonders if they should call the whole thing off anyway, but Matthew tells her he won’t ever be happy with anyone else, and he’s fairly sure she feels the same way. She obviously agrees, though silently. He asks if he can kiss her, offering to close his eyes, so he won’t see her. She agrees and closes hers, and they kiss. They smile, he bids her goodnight and withdraws.

Wedding day! Branson comes down in his morning suit, looking very dashing indeed. He runs into Robert and tells him he’s going to collect Matthew. Robert tells him he looks good, and Branson grins and says he’s totally uncomfortable. Before he goes, Robert thanks him for intervening the night before. It seems the two have reached a sort of détente.

Cora, wearing the exact same colour my mother wore at my wedding, is watching Mary get dressed (I covet the diamond headband she’s wearing) and awkwardly offering to answer any last-minute questions Mary might have. I think they were answered quite a while ago. Sybil sweetly tells Mary this is all very romantic and Edith is…a little less sweet. Cora wishes Mary good luck and heads out so Anna can help Mary into her dress.

Downstairs, O’Brien and Hughes are ushering the itty bitty bridesmaids into the car for their trip to the church. In the kitchens, Patmore and Daisy are putting the finishing touches on a hell of a wedding feast. Patmore lets Daisy go see Mary off, which is nice.

In the hall, Robert and Carson wait for Mary, who comes floating down looking absolutely stunning. Seriously, Michelle Dockery should always wear white, it’s a great colour on her. Carson and Robert are actually struck dumb by the sight of her. Mary asks Carson if she’ll do and he tells her she looks great. Robert goes to her, kisses her on the cheek, and tells her he’s so happy he thinks his heart might burst. Awww.

At the church, Edith locates Strallen and drags him to the family seats. Pushing a little hard there, Edith. Matthew arrives and thanks Molesley for getting Branson all kitted out. Carson and Hughes are there as well, and Carson says this is a proud day. “I don’t know if I’m proud, but I’m very happy you’re pleased,” says Hughes. Ha! Cora tells Edith she’ll be next. We can only hope. Violet observes that it’s so exciting to watch the future unfurl. “As long as you’re aware it’ll bear no resemblance to the past,” says Martha, like she’s the one who gets to decide these things.

Looks like the whole village has turned out to cheer Mary on her way to the church in a horse-drawn carriage. She smiles happily. I guess it was a rather exciting thing when the earl’s daughter got married. Robert helps her out at the church and inside Branson and Matthew hear the cheers and exchange a look. Everyone stands and Mary heads down the aisle on her father’s arm. She arrives at Matthew’s side and he jokingly whispers he wasn’t sure she’d come. Mary jokes back that she would hate to be predictable. And with that, episode one draws to a close.

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4 thoughts on “Downton Abbey: A Family Affair

  1. [” Uh, what? You guys don’t think you know each other? Then maybe you shouldn’t be getting married.”]

    Most couples don’t get to know one another until after the wedding ceremony.

    I see that Thomas is still the one-dimensional villain. How tiresome. Fellowes couldn’t make his character more complex?

    [“Matthew, however, won’t profit from Lavinia’s death because he thinks she died of a broken heart. Come again? What kind of fairytale world does he live in? Sorry, but she died of Influenza, like millions of others.”]

    Lavinia did die of influenza . . . and a broken heart. While she seemed to be recovering, she spotted Matthew and Mary’s kiss. And then her health took a quick nosedive.

    [“Might be time for some tough love, Patmore.”]

    Or give Daisy a promotion.

    [“Kitchens. Daisy accuses Patmore of not responding to her protest. Patmore correctly guesses that Daisy’s been listening to Thomas again, and Daisy crumbles like a stale biscuit and offers to dry the dishes. “]

    I thought it was Thomas who originally listened to Daisy’s complaints.

    I see that the quality of the show has not improved since Season 2.

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