Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson finally said ‘I do’ during last week’s instalment. After dramas over the reception and Elsie’s drab dress choice were put to rest, the pair made it down the aisle for an understated ceremony. I suppose we should be calling them Mr and Mrs Carson now. Or The Carsons.
Lady Edith ditched her grouchy editor and found herself having to put together an entire magazine on her own. Luckily, she bumped into Bertie (from Christmas 2014, remember?) and he stayed up all night to help her.
Tom Branson made a surprise appearance, announcing that he’d returned to the Abbey for good after finally realising it was his home, and that the Crawley’s were his family. While Anna revealed she might be pregnant, and Cora, Isobel, Merton, Clarkson and Violet continued to scrap over the hospital. Nothing major happened there. Isobel snapped at Clarkson, Violet accused Isobel of being drunk, Clarkson told Isobel he might be coming over to her side. (Presumably this is going to be one long-running storyline.)
But what’s going to happen next week? Time to make some spurious suggestions…
Gwen Dawson is back (fingers crossed, with Jon Snow by her side) but she’s far from a housemaid these days. In fact, she’s masquerading as an aristocrat and the Crawley’s are none the wiser. She’s sipping cocktails in the dining room and Robert Crawley, the simple fellow, is quite taken with his new companion. She’s a clever lass but her blue-blooded cover will soon be blown, we assume. One mention of Lady Cora’s undergarments, Mrs Patmore’s culinary prowess – or that business with poor old Pamuk – and she’ll be sent packing, sharpish.
Mary is terribly distressed. She slipped downstairs to chide the staff for letting standards slip in Carson’s absence and she’s found herself in the middle of some sort of party. While the cat’s away the mice are playing up. A staff member she’s never crossed paths with before handed her a cup of sticky punch so she took one, so as not to draw too much attention to herself. She doesn’t know what upsets her more, the fact that the staff are so flagrantly ignoring Carson’s instructions – or that she was mistaken for a member of the working classes…
Branson’s barely been back half and hour and he’s already brooding. Sure, in Boston he thought he wanted to be back with the Crawleys but now he’s at Downton they aren’t half winding him up. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and all that. We’ve all been there. He’s already retreated to the servants staircase – halfway between upstairs and down, both physically and metaphorically – to frown quietly in the shadows.
Job hunting is a tough business. Thomas isn’t the sprightliest of under butlers and, let’s face it, he doesn’t make the best first impression. Plus there are all these young, newly graduated under butlers snapping at his heels. They’ll do the same job for less, his careers advisor keeps telling him. What’s his USP? Can he prove he can work on his own and as part of a team? Perhaps he needs a Masters in Parlour Management if he’s going to be taken seriously in the current market?
Mary is sick of Edith’s success in the big city. Sure, winning Fat Stock rosettes gives her a tremendous thrill but if she’s honest, she can’t stand getting dirt under her fingernails. She’s after some glamour in her life, a little celebrity perhaps. Modelling in upmarket clothes catalogues is naturally the way forward. Luckily Mary’s already an expert when it comes to pulling lifeless expressions and staring into the middle distance. She is now channelling the ‘shop mannequin’ look 24/7.
With the upper classes crumbling around them, the Crawleys are struggling to find couples to double date with. The Carsons aren’t their usual calibre of companions, but desperate times call for desperate measures and lowered expectations. Of course, the newly-weds would rather gossip with Mrs Patmore or chatter with Moseley and Baxter in their down time, but it’s hard to say no when your employer insists you embark on a spot of competitive boardgame playing. Cluedo is a four-player business after all…
Downton Abbey continues on Sunday at 9:00pm on ITV