Finally, Matthew and Mary have their dream wedding but before you rejoice, more drama is set to tie your stomach in knots in the third season of Downton Abbey.

It’s 1920 in Downton Abbey and things are starting off with a roar. The attitudes have changed, the food and drinks have become more opulent (hello, champagne) and the fashion is in full swing. Even the ladies are sporting those now famous Marcel curls, that apparently still need to be mastered by the servants.

But even though life and culture seems to be moving forward, Lord Grantham’s stubborn urge to stay in the past is threatening the very future of his family and Downton.

With the now love angst between golden boy Matthew and Mary now over, more obstacles pose a threat to them as a couple, which involves Lord G. We find out that Lord Grantham has lost the family fortune, including his wife’s money, in a bad investment in the Canadian trunk line. Keeping things under wraps so as not to spoil the upcoming nuptials of Matthew and Mary, Lord G plays along as though everything is normal.

Now that Mary has secured the Crawley inheritance by marrying Matthew, the story needs some kind of drama to shake things up. And to kick things off, the Dowager Countess Violet gets a proper sparring partner in Shirley MacLaine who barges into Downton as Cora’s mother Martha Levinson.

There for the wedding, Martha’s frivolous attitude shows she has no cash flow problems. In fact, she’s still spending cash like it’s water. Her progressive ways seem to have more of an effect on Edith, who, still single, is trying to actively change her fate as a future spinster by going after what, or who, she wants. The who being Sir Anthony. Yes, the old guy with the bum arm. He’s not right for her, really, but you’ve got to hand it to Edith, she’s becoming a formidable character that has more guts and integrity in her little finger than Mary does in her stiff body.

While all the drama is being set up, downstairs also has some newcomers. New chap, Alfred, who is O’Brien’s nephew, gets a job as a valet and is under the watchful eye of Carson. Under O’Brien’s influence, Alfred is headed for some trouble. The guy doesn’t stand a chance! Since O’Brien has it in for Thomas, expect some action involving Alfred and newcomer Jimmy (Ed Speleers). There’s also a new kitchen maid, which has Daisy green with envy. Daisy has her eyes set on Jimmy who basically flirts with everyone (emphasis on everyone) including the new maid.

Meanwhile, Anna is still pursuing a way out for her husband, Bates, who is still annoyingly nice as ever. Will he ever get out of jail for the murder of his ex wife Vera? I suppose it’s all up to Anna.

As season three forges ahead, expect some more backstabbing, some fireworks between Lord Grantham and Matthew and tragic fates. Please have Kleenex on hand.

What’s ahead for episode two?
Expect some bad news regarding someone’s health downtstairs and a jacket fiasco that stirs up Carson’s order of things. Oh and Anna continues her “Free Bates” campaign.

Downton Abbey airs on Sundays at 9 pm on PBS.


—Toni-Marie Ippolito




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