During Sunday’s episode, in the aftermath of Lady Sybil’s shocking death, Downton was a dreary place. The episode opened at the close of Sybil’s funeral, with a distraught Tom saying he was beyond help and Cora shunning her husband.
While Mary and Matthew took time to tell each other how much they loved each other, Cora and Robert were doing the opposite. Still refusing to let him sleep in their bed, a tearful Cora wanted as little to do with her husband as possible.
As the episode went on, Robert quickly marched on from one faux pas to the next, insulting Tom’s “ghoulish” choice of name for the baby (Sybil, after her mother) and aggravating even Mary by disagreeing with Branson’s decision to have the newest Crawley christened Catholic.
Down the road, Ethel’s presence caused something of a controversy. With the help of kindly Mrs Patmore, the ex-prostitute actually managed to cook a palatable dinner for the ladies of Downton Abbey in spite of her lack of flair in the kitchen. But the success was soon marred by the arrival of a self righteous Robert who insisted the women left the house at once. Embarrasingly for him, they refused, leaving him and Carson the only two who were concerned by Ethel’s peppered past.
In an attempt to recover, Robert went in search of Violet’s marital advice. She first suggested Cora go to New York and visit “that woman” but soon decided that emotionally blackmailing Dr Clarkson into saying he could never have saved Sybil was the way to go.
Meanwhile, Matthew and Robert sparred about the future of Downton while Edith took tentative steps towards a career in journalism. And while Anna’s plan to free Bates seemed to fall apart at the seams, the newly violent inmate took matters into his own hands and soon got his release secured…
So what’s next? We’ve got pictures of the drama to come this Sunday, so as usual we’ve made some spurious predictions…
Ah. Who is this? With that sweep of hair, he’s a relation of Branson’s no doubt. Maybe he’s come to even out the Irish/English, Catholic/Church of England balance?
Whatever his motive the poor man doesn’t look best pleased with whatever is going on here. But to be honest, we’d look a bit peeved if we were served up a pudding as small as that too…
Gosh, what a menacing trio… It looks like the baby has been taken over to the dark side.
Chances are the Earl has got well and truly fed up with everyone ignoring his outbursts. First the baby’s name and then the baby’s faith all followed up by the women eating a meal prepared by an ex-prositute – nothing is going his way.
Perhaps he’s taken matters into his own hands, stolen the baby and run off to get a Church of England christening done and dusted? By the looks on their disdainful faces though, they’ve been caught in the act. Either that or Ethel’s just walked past the chapel…
Did no one ever tell you it was rude (let alone incredibly creepy) to watch people while they are sleeping, Thomas?
Why is he skulking around in the doorway? Could he be summing up the courage to interrupt the new footman’s dreams? Checking whether Jimmy’s hair is still as shiny and bouffant after dark? Or just peeking a look at those muscly arms out of uniform?
Hasn’t Thomas noticed the revulsion on Jimmy’s face whenever his hand lingers on the footman’s shoulder for too long? Well if he’s asleep, I guess that’s not a problem…
From this self important expression and snooty shot up Carson’s nose it’s clear that his war on women with weak morals is well and truly waged.
Wonder what’s upset him this week? Has he caught Daisy fraternising with gamblers? Maybe Mrs Patmore has developed a penchant for mini skirts? Or, worst of all, maybe Carson has caught Thomas creeping around outside Jimmy’s room after dark…
What are O’Brien and Alfred up to here?
We’d almost forgotten that these two were cut from the same cloth. Most likely O’Brien is further sowing the seeds of Thomas’s downfall. Maybe she’s trying to convince Alfred that Thomas has got the hots for him too?
Or could that be some damning evidence we spy in Alfred’s hand…? Perhaps Alfred is more of a chip off the old block than we’d realised and is taking advice on how to plot and scheme his way to first footman? It’s a dog-eat-dog world after all – and it’s likely that with Thomas and Jimmy otherwise engaged the position is guaranteed to be his.
Oooh look who’s back in the Downton kitchen. And doesn’t he look like the cat who’s got the cream (or the secret murderer who’s got a fry up…)
This looks like a “congrats, you (probably) didn’t kill your wife” soirée. But who has interrupted it?
And what will become of Bates’ new violent ways now he is back in polite society? He might just leave his strange new personality behind bars but our guess is that Bates’ story is only just beginning…
Ellie is an entertainment, TV and film journalist writing news and (hopefully incredibly witty) comment for RadioTimes.com. She loves light-hearted dramas and glossy US series - and is more than a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey. Foodie, sun-seeker and aspiring novelist in her own time. Likes the fact that her name rhymes with telly.