How could Lord Grantham have allowed Tom Branson into the family? He was always a triple threat: he's working-class, he has views and worst of all, he's Irish. Last week he was sitting at the dinner table calmly passing the port and inviting Matthew to play billiards like a normal, posh person: a dreadful subterfuge. Lord G should have shot him there and then.
This week's top crisis was heralded by Tom banging on the door late on a wet night, halfway through dinner with the Archbishop of York. This was already a fraught occasion, with Carson having whined about still being short-staffed and Lord G replying that they would, upon the visit of the region's top man of God, "fudge it".
Now, though, the problem of the cigar box being opened three seconds later than is proper faded away, as Tom announced that he'd left Sybil in Ireland because they were both on the run from the Garda. Tom hadn't done anything wrong: yes, he was there when some British toffs were run out of their house and it was burnt down, and yes, he'd been to all the planning meetings, but when it happened he felt bad. He was basically totally innocent.
Lord G and the Crawleys feared, however, that the law might not agree, so off he went on the overnight crisis train to knobble the Home Secretary.
Anna Bates and her husband, Bates Bates, were upset when they both found that letters from the other had dried up, but neither knew why, making them fear they'd gone from the sickliest couple of the between-war era to a divorce, overnight. Bates also didn't know why Anna hadn't visited. Anna did, but didn't connect this with the lack of letters, the shortage of housemaids at Downton having left her too busy to analyse holes in the plot.
Over a bowl of gruel, Bates got wind of a plot against him. It turned out his cellmate was the Harry Grout of the nick – the last guy you want to angrily piledrive into your cell wall. The conspiracy against Bates went right to the top. What their revenge would be was TBC, but it would be the terrors of the earth.
Bates would have to be on his mettle like never before. Then it happened: the screws came in just like last week and turned over the beds, hunting for illicit snuff that looks like bits of old carpet. Was Bates doomed? No! He'd found the incriminating bundle and moved it into the other guy's bedding, so he got carted off instead, Bates and Anna's letters were released by the crooked prison officers and now everything's more or less fine.