Downton Abbey series three, episode eight – preview pictures and predictions

Ellie Walker-Arnott takes a look at Sunday's final episode of Downton, and makes some spurious guesses about what happens next...

Can you believe it’s already time for the last episode in the series? It seems only yesterday we were caught up in Matthew and Mary’s will-they-won’t-they engagement and now, eight weeks later, everything is coming to an end. Time flies when you’re having fun… 

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Last week saw O’Brien’s scheming come to a head when Thomas crept into Jimmy’s room and stole a kiss while he was sleeping. In light of O’Brien’s promise to bring him down just weeks earlier, it was a bold move – which didn’t go down at all well and might end with him being sacked from the Abbey this week… 

Meanwhile Edith received yet another letter asking her to write a column for a London newspaper (it seems it was easier to get into journalism in those days…) and, ignoring the advice of her elders, popped off to London where she met the charming editor and agreed to join the other “toffs” who have taken up writing too. 

Back at the Abbey, we were treated to (or subjected to, depending on your opinion…) more snuggly shots of Matthew and Mary, who are still concerned about whether their dreams of having a family will ever come true. 

In other news, Matthew’s insistence that Downton evolves with the times leads to Robert’s trusty employee Jarvis flouncing out. Which, handily, opened up a position on the estate for Branson – so that worked out quite nicely. 

While all this was going on, Alfred, Jimmy, Ivy and Daisy flirted with the wrong people and got cross about it, Branson’s brother turned up and was a bit rude to everyone and, much to Robert’s annoyance, baby Sybil got her Catholic christening. 

So what’s next as the series draws to a close? We’ve got pictures of the drama to come this Sunday, so as usual we’ve made some spurious predictions… 

The last episode of series three is set to be a corker, though how it will tie up all these loose ends is anyone’s guess… What is Thomas’s fate? Will Bates be reinstated as Lord Grantham’s valet? Might Ethel find herself going to pastures new? Will Edith flourish as a working woman? Can Matthew and Mary have children? Will Alfred ever accept that Ivy’s not interested..? 

These are grave times in the Abbey kitchens… It looks as though Carson is spilling the beans about Downton’s peeping Thomas. No wonder Mrs Hughes is in need of a stiff drink. 

As senior staff, Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes have a moral dilemma on their hands. Who should they trust with the Earl’s wardrobe: a (probably) wrongly convicted murderer or a valet who sneaks around the house at night kissing other members of staff in their sleep? It’s a decision we wouldn’t wish on anyone, Carson… 

Oh dear. What has Bates gone and done now? Bought the wrong colour paint, flicked a bit on the floor? Whatever it is, Anna doesn’t look best pleased. 

Maybe married life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be now that there is nothing standing in their way. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. Perhaps Bates keeps leaving the toilet seat up and refusing to help with the washing up.

And what are they doing out of the Abbey anyway? Could a new house mean that Bates isn’t as welcome at Downton as he had assumed? The Crawleys are forever thinking of their reputation and there’s no denying having a possible murderer below stairs could tarnish that somewhat…

Spirits seem to be on the up at the Downton dinner table. Just look at Branson’s gleeful face.

Has his new position helped him put his troubles behind him and embrace life as an aristocrat? Perhaps he’s finding that all the luxurious fabric, fine wine and fancy flavours are actually fairly easy to stomach.

Or maybe he is just incredibly excited about the annual cricket match, poor lamb. Evidently, Matthew’s been before and knows it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. He’s barely hiding a snigger… 

Ah and here Matthew is – all dressed up in his cricket whites but clearly slacking off from the game…

Looks like him and Mary have snuck off behind the cricket pavilion for more besotted stares, stolen kisses and sweet nothings. It’s all getting a bit much if you ask us… They were a lot less soppy before this whole marriage malarky. 

Old Matthew does look rather pleased with himself though. Could their family planning woes be over? Maybe we’ll be hearing the pitter patter of more tiny Crawley feet before too long… 

Has anyone else noticed how much Edith’s charming new editor looks like her old fiancé? But he’s younger and, as far as we know, has two functioning arms – so Robert is bound to approve. 

Chances are she’ll be skipping down the aisle in no time – either that or just skipping the formalities and falling into his arms. This is the twenties after all – times are a-changing. 

Gosh. And how they are changing… 

What on earth is this? Jazz dancing, feathers and Chinese lanterns…Whatever next?! If it wasn’t for Edith and Matthew we’d say we were looking at the wrong photos. 

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We’re feeling all disapproving but, luckily, our characters do seem to be taking more of an observing role. This room is a million miles away from Downton’s drawing room. Perhaps they’ve stumbled in here by accident.