For the most part, episode three of this farewell season was a joyous affair. There was a wedding, a few different triumphs for Edith, the possibility of a Baby Bates, and a surprising return from a favorite pair. There was also the sad and strange job interview Thomas went on at a mansion that appears to be either haunted, deserted or both. Isn’t there any other manor still operating like Downton in the entire English countryside? And curse you, Fellowes, for making me feel so bad for Thomas Barrow. The poor guy is finally mellowing a bit and it turns out he just can’t catch a break. Maybe that’s why he’s always been kind of a jerk.
Before we get to the big stories of the week, let’s touch quickly on the other minor one, which is the ongoing feud between the Dowager Countess’ two key staffers, Spratt and Denker. Those two really can’t stand each other (with good reason), but now she’s got dirt on him, and therefore, the upper hand. It appears as though Spratt’s got a nephew that just broke out of jail and he obviously won’t want that information to be made public. So, Denker knowing about it is the worst news ol’ Septimus Spratt could receive. More updates as news warrants.
Moving on to the more exciting developments, it’s finally time for Charles and Elsie–that is, Carson and Mrs. Hughes–to be married! Naturally, there is a bit of drama before the big day, starting with Mrs. Patmore saving the day once again on behalf of her friend. When she meets with Cora to discuss the wedding menu, she shares with her ladyship the fact that Mrs. Hughes really doesn’t want to get married at the Abbey and she really wants a wedding breakfast, not the snooty party Mary is envisioning for them. Cora decides to ambush Mrs. Hughes in the nicest possible way, calling her into the drawing room after dinner, and getting her to tell the truth about what she really wants on her big day. Mary is outraged, thinking her mother simply doesn’t want two servants getting married in the great hall, when the fact is that she’s so caught up in her own good deeds that she never thought to check whether or not they are what the couple actually wants. Carson admits the school sounds lovely and that’s all Mrs. Hughes needs, aside from a lovely breakfast and a nicer dress. But we’ll get back to that in a second.
As this is going on, Edith heads for London again to deal with her cranky, sexist editor and runs into Bertie Pelham, the agent from Brancaster Castle. He’s flirty from the jump and so is she. He asks her to meet for a drink that evening and she agrees.After another run-in with the lazy turd running her magazine, Edith fires him and is suddenly left with the task of getting the magazine completely laid out in time for a 4 am printing deadline. She has help, but her decision not to stand Bertie up completely (she goes to the restaurant to tell him she can’t stay) proves to be quite fortuitous. First of all, he offers to come help, even if it’s just to make coffee or fetch sandwiches, and secondly, she finds out she didn’t ruin his dinner plans after all. He was going to ask her halfway through drinks because he didn’t think she’d say yes to dinner if he’d asked her earlier. These two are adorable, but they also seem to be quite a duo when it comes to publishing. And if anyone deserves happiness as much as Anna and Bates do, it’s Edith. She’s definitely become one of my favorites over the years.
Cora is having a rough one, having gotten up at the crack of dawn to head into York for a tour of the hospital and then having a very trying conversation with Lady Violet and Dr. Clarkson about the future of their little hospital. She comes home with a headache and heads to lie down. At that point, she walks in on a scene that could have been completely avoided had Mary acted less like a teenager surfing Instagram and more like an adult with working legs who should have told her mother that three of the servants were in her room trying on coats.
But Mary is lazy, so instead Anna, Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore got ripped a new one by Lady Grantham for rummaging through her things. And, later, when she realized she’d overreacted and went to both apologize to Mrs. Hughes and offer her a lovely coat to set off her plain brown dress for her wedding day, she didn’t give Mary one ounce of crap for causing the whole problem. Man, Mary is exhausting. (Please don’t tell Mr. Carson I said so.)
The wedding goes off without a hitch and everyone is all smiles. Those smiles get even bigger (I’ll admit I audibly gasped with joy) when Branson and Sibby show up to offer their congratulations to the happy couple and announce they’re moving back. No one is happier than good ol’ Donk, who can’t wait to scoop Sibby up into his arms. Let’s just hope his recent complaints of indigestion aren’t a bad sign. Maybe that hospital and all the modern medicine that’s being debated will play a bigger part in the season than the opportunity to have Violet and Isobel argue and give Cora something to focus on other than tea.