Last night was the premiere episode of Downton Abbey, season three. And what a great two-hour episode it was! You can catch up on the first two seasons here.
The episode begins with the rehearsal for Mary and Matthew’s wedding. Finally! I was over the back and forth of their relationship. I mean, they’re cousins. I can only pretend to support this for so long. Meanwhile, we find out that Robert has lost most of the family fortune on a bad investment. He’s concerned about the cost of the wedding, the cost of the hiring new staff, and pretty much everything. Like a normal dad. But this is serious and it looks like they may lose Downton. Oh shiiiit.
Matthew has the opportunity to save the estate as he’s been named the heir to his ex-fiance’s fortune. Of course, that was when her family thought they’d be married and she’d be, you know, not dead. So he doesn’t feel that he can accept the money. Mary goes all bitchcakes and now the wedding might not happen. I sustain a massive eye injury due to excessive rolling.
Did I mention that people traveled to see this wedding? Dow-Count pays for Sybil and
the chauffer husband Branson to attend and their presence causes many waves. The family is not cool with Branson still and his drunken meltdown at the dinner table doesn’t help matters. Oh, but he was drugged, so it’s all good. Matthew makes him best man.
Cora’s mother, Martha, comes all the way from America, and holy shit I LOVE HER SO MUCH! I never met a Shirley MacLaine role I didn’t like and she is so fabulous in this. Martha is rich and sassy and modern. She is a great counterpart for the Dow-Count and the two of them battle on tradition vs. change. Obviously, as an American she’s all about change and ending stuffy British practices. She even brings her own maid, Miss Reed, who is equally sassy and modern. Oh, those Americans can be so forward.
After a few touching scenes and conversations about love the wedding happens!
They honeymoon in the south of France and pick up a snazzy little car in London. They seem blissfully happy, other than that whole going broke thang. Matthew isn’t really attached to the money or the lifestyle. This is really Mary’s problem.
Edith is still hanging out with Sir Anthony. When he asks about her jolly hair I laugh so hard my monocle falls off. The family is so embarrassed by this courtship that Robert asks Oldie to break it off, which he does. Edith is so devastated that they just let it happen and they decide to get married. Good for you, Edith.
Bates is still in jail and Anna dutifully visits often. She spends the rest of her time searching for evidence that will prove his innocence. I hope this happens quickly, because the prison scenes are dark and yucky. I want to see Bates back in his finery helping Robert get dressed.
They hire a new footman, Alfred, who happens to be Miss O’Brien’s nephew. He seems to be a nice fellow, although his height makes it hard for him to serve dinner. He’s a giant. Then he starts helping Matthew get dressed, which pushes Thomas over the edge. He tricks
Alfred Lurch into burning a hole in his dress jacket and Carson replaces him. I love this storyline as O’Brien has turned against Thomas. The evil team is no longer united! Revenge is sought against Thomas and when he goes to dress Robert, all of his dress shirts are gone. My favorite line of the night is when Robert asks Thomas, “Are you not popular downstairs?” Ha! Also, there are major sparks flying between Lurch and Miss Reed.
What’s happening with Daisy? She’s on strike most of the episode. No, I’m not kidding. Maybe they can just kill her off this season.
In sad news, Mrs. Hughes finds a lump in her breast. Mrs. Patmore accompanies her to the doctor a couple times and is the only one who knows what’s happening. While they wait for test results, Mrs. Hughes starts to falter at work and continually enrages Carson. She is too stubborn to tell him what’s up and it’s just heartbreaking. I hope she’s okay.
In an effort to save Downton and their wealth, Mary and Dow-Count decide to hit up
Shirley MacLaine fancy American Grandma for money. They know that if she meets the townsfolk and sees how special Downton is, she’ll open her wallet. They plan a huge dinner and the staff bustles with the preparations. Alas, Matthew’s jacket is burned and Robert’s shirts have been taken, so they have to wear black tie, rather than the required white tie. How embarrassing for all of us! Martha says they have dressed for a barbecue, which makes my whole night. And then the oven breaks and there’s no food. Martha saves the day by switching up the party plans. Instead of a fancy, formal dinner in the dining room, the guests spread out throughout the house and nibble on cheese, fruit, meats, and whatever else is on hand. They sing and have a merry old time. It’s a great party. USA! USA!
But Martha can’t save the day as her husband locked down their money. Waaaa!
Looks like next week we’ll see the family disapprove of Edith and Oldie and stress about money. I’m so glad Downton Abbey is back!