Episode three of Downton Abbey lays more groundwork for troubled times ahead for our favourite upper crust lot and their downstairs servants.

With Lady Mary and Matthew now married, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. But now that the issue of the entail (or in our terms, inheritance) is now resolved with Mary being the wife of the Downton heir, there may be no cash to even inherit. Even so, Matthew and Mary return to Downton in [gasp] a motor vehicle! But according to Lord Grantham, “at least its English.

(Read about the premiere - episodes one and two - here)

In the first two episodes (aired together) we learned that Lord Grantham lost the bulk of the estate in a bad investment, and now going into episode two that Downton may have to be sold. Say what! What’s worse is that Matthew has the power to save it but has decided he won’t! He seems to feel unworthy of inheriting Lavinia’s father’s cash.

There hasn’t been a point in the series where I’ve wanted to slap Matthew so hard than with this storyline. His righteous nature is nauseating. But if anyone’s convincing it’s Mary. And no doubt, she’ll get her way in the end and force Matthew to save her beloved estate for their future.

But enough of them, let’s get on to Edith.

After Lady Mary’s and Matthew’s nuptials last week, Edith is more determined than ever to have her moment in the sun, no matter who the target is. Edith has managed to convince Sir Anthony that they are meant for each other. He proposes and she accepts. He’s her way out of spinster-hood. But can she pull it off? Not everyone is happy with this union since he’s too old, and Lord Grantham does everything in his power to try to convince them both that he’s too old. Even with everyone opposing the union, the planning continued and everyone, including Mary, held their tongues long enough to get to the church. It was sad but also nice when Edith said:  “For once, something happening in this house is about me!”

I admire Edith and love her character. She’s tenacious and fearless and goes for what she wants no matter what anyone else thinks. But when we catch Sir Anthony at the church looking strange, the feeling that something bad is about to happen while Edith is walking down the aisle becomes realized.

As Edith reaches Sir Anthony and the vows get under way, he ditches. He tells Edith that he can’t marry her and that he: “can’t let you throw away your life like this.” The Dowager Countess Violet stands and tells Edith to let him go. Poor Edith! Although Edith is devastated something tells me she’ll be all right. She’s consoled by her American, progressive granny, Martha. Notice that there isn’t much to say about Martha? That’s because Shirley MacLaine’s character seems to be blowing in and out of the story with not much relevance, which is a waste of talent.

Downstairs, we find out that Mrs. Hughes’ tumor is benign and all is well. Carson breathes a sigh of relief but not before he deals with trouble concerning Alfred and Thomas. Seems Thomas wants Alfred to fail at this job and a bunch of childish antic go on concerning the ruin and missing of Matthew’s dinner jackets. Oh no Matthew has to wear an informal dinner jacket to dinner! Of course the Dowager has a quick snappy response at dinner saying that Matthew is in his “play clothes.”

Back in jail, things aren’t going well for Bates. His cellmate is in cahoots with one of the guards and both are stirring up trouble for him. Anna is trying her best to get new evidence that will clear his name.

What to expect in episode 4?
Thomas continues to scheme against O’Brien, the Granthams check out what will be their new downsized digs, and Anna no longer gets letters from Bates. Is he letting her go? Stay tuned.

Downton Abbey airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on Masterpiece PBS.

—Toni-Marie Ippolito





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