As the sun rose on Edith's big day, how excited she was. "Something happening in this house is actually about me!" she beamed. In series two, the Great War magically converted Edith from a bitch to a saint – so some good came of it all – which means we want her to be happy. But, really, she might as well have been cycling gaily on a crumbling cliff edge. Poor Edith.
Before the inevitable wedding fiasco, there was downstairs business to take care of. Thomas launched another of his incredibly unsubtle schemes, putting Molesley up to starting a rumour that O'Brien was about to resign.
There were only three flaws in this brilliant plan. One, moving jobs isn't actually an intrinsically bad thing to be doing. (Spreading it around that O'Brien was putting turmeric in Lady Cora's eyeshadow, or that she had five children born out of wedlock living under her dress - that might have done damage.) Two, as soon as someone asked O'Brien about it, she said it was bunk and the talk stopped. Three, Molesley was always going to grass Thomas up.
O'Brien confronted her former ally and promised revenge – their new Alien v Predator relationship should boil up nicely in the near future, especially since O'Brien's payback is likely to involve broken bones at a minimum.
The other big servant scheme was Carson going Columbo on Mrs Hughes's illness, in a return to the series one glory days of a plotline being set in motion by eaves-dropping. Mrs Hughes and Mrs Patmore were minding their own business, shouting about cancer in the middle of a passageway. Unbeknownst to them, Carson was standing in plain sight fourteen inches away and overheard. He sprang into action.
The wily sleuthing butler first hoodwinked the reassuringly Scottish doctor, then Mrs Patmore, into revealing details using the old pretending-to-know-already trick. "I know all about that thing, y'know," said Carson, eyebrows oscillating. "Oh, you mean Mrs Hughes's cancer?" they replied. I paraphrase, but that was the gist.
The Hughes news brought out Downton's best enduring theme: people expressing how much they love each other when professional or class boundaries say they shouldn't. In a lovely scene between Cora and Mrs Hughes, the lady of the house told her employee that there'd always be a death bed for her at Downton if necessary.
Below stairs, it's been fairly obvious since day one that Carson is gooey for Hughesy, but this was now overt. He fretted over her prognosis as if they'd been married for decades, which they basically have been.