Downton Abbey

Season 3 Episode 4

Episode 4

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 07, 2012 on PBS

Episode Recap

Anna distresses when there is no mail for her.  In prison, Bates has a similar experience.

Matthew asks Anna about Bates, but she can't tell him anything as his visitors aren't being allowed access and she's had no letters to explain why.  Matthew is dreading speaking with Lord Grantham about the management of the house now that they are co-owners.  Carson clarifies that he is still to answer to Lord Grantham.  With that cleared up, he asks for permission to finally replenish the needed staff, such as a new maid, new footman and kitchen girl.  Matthew isn't sure it's needed, but Carson would very much like to go back to being a butler again.  Grantham allows for it, but warns him they won't have time before entertaining the Archbishop of York.

Isobel passes on a letter to Mrs. Hughes from Ethel and asks she be told if there's anything that she can do to help her.

Edith is trooping off to breakfast where her father reads in the paper that the U.S. is about to give women the right to vote.  Since only English women over 30 who are property-owners can vote, Edith decides to write to the paper to express her views.  Her father would rather she help her mother prepare for dinner and suggests they sit Countess Violet next to the Archbishop.

Carson tells Anna that they are hiring a new maid that will give her the opportunity to move into a new position as Mary's Lady's Maid.  He will not commit to the new footman being second to Alfred, though.  Mrs. Hughes tells Carson that Ethel has agreed to a meeting, but won't come to Downton.  She decides to ask Isobel if they can use Crawley House.

Mary is turning the nursery room into a sitting room for her and Matthew.  Matthew had thought she was making other arrangements as he'd heard she been to the doctor.  She tells him it was just for hay fever and they'll worry about what to use for a nursery if the time comes.

Edith has gone to visit her grandmother who, while expressing her sympathy over being left at the altar, tells Edith in no uncertain terms to stop whining and find something to do.

Mrs. Hughes finds Anna looking upset.  Anna admits it's bothering her that she's heard nothing from her husband in weeks and cannot visit him.  She worries that he is trying to be noble and cut her loose so she can live her life unburdened by him.  Mrs. Hughes thinks there must be another reason.  Meanwhile, in prison, the same prisoner who warned Bates that he was being set up, tells him to be careful as Craig has friends who conspired with him to arrange that planted package.  Further, he reported Bates for shoving him and now Bates is considered a violent offender which is why he cannot have visitors and why all his mail has been stopped.  He doesn't understand when Bates is happily relieved.

Carson is helping Alfred identify various spoons when Thomas comes by.  Thomas mentions how Carson never helped him out.  Carson tells him that, unlike Alfred, Thomas never asked for help.

At Crawley House, Mrs. Bird is not agreeable to having anything to do with fallen Ethel who has come to ask Mrs. Hughes to write to the Bryants.  She has decided that she is unable to support her little boy, Charlie, in the way he deserves and plans to give him to his grandparents.  Isobel would rather she not do anything rash, but Ethel doubts any opportunity she has to improve her life will be comparable to what the Bryants can offer her son.    Isobel suggests that, perhaps, Mrs. Hughes just indicate Ethel would like Charlie to have contact with his grandparents and see what happens.

After the Archbishop arrives, Robert engages him in small talk that includes his opposition to the Catholics.  Edith gets a strange phone call from Sybil who hangs up quickly while a dark figure runs through the night rain.    He arrives as dinner is commencing.  Mary goes with Alfred to the door to find Branson standing there, soaked.  Tom explains that he had to leave Sybil behind, but that she will be coming by now.    Mary sends him up to one of the rooms and gives her family minimal information at the table until they can get rid of their guest.
The servants begin speculating what happened when Mr. Carson arrives to take Branson's tray of food to him.

When the family is alone, Branson explains that Irish revolutionaries forced an English family out of their manor and burned it to the ground.   He tries to downplay his involvement, but the family knows he was there and the police would hardly be after him for no reason.  He is sure that Sybil will be here soon.  Cora insists Robert go to see the Home Secretary quickly.  Robert isn't so certain that he wants to intercede on behalf of a man who takes pleasure in destroying private property.  Tom reminds him that, where the Granthams see grace and gentility, he sees an example of the oppression of his people.  Nevertheless, he hadn't counted on how bad he'd feel to see the English family weeping over the loss of their home.

Since it was important for him to get out of there as quickly as possible, Sybil stayed to close up their flat while he took the last boat.  Grantham explodes at this point, accusing Tom of leaving his pregnant wife to fend for herself in another land while he runs for his life.  He orders Branson to go to bed and he'll figure out how to handle this.  In his room, Tom breaks down in tears.

The servants are hardly surprised. Molesley comments how Sybil married beneath her.  Carson admonishes how he knew Branson would cause trouble for the family.  Mrs. Hughes changes the subject by pulling out her new electric toaster which horrifies Carson.

The next morning, the staff is stunned by the arrival of a candidate for footman, a particularly attractive young man named Jimmy Kent.  His looks get the attention of Thomas and the maids still at the table.  Mr. Carson interviews him and finds that Jimmy was sort of a pet to the lady under which he previously served.  Carson mentions that Jimmy seems to rely a lot on his appearance to get by in life.

With no other choice but to intervene for the sake of his daughter, Grantham grouses at Branson before taking off for London.

At Crawley House, Ethel brings Charlie to see the Bryants who have kept tabs on Ethel long enough to know she's working as a prostitute.  They've decided to offer her money to keep her respectable.  Isobel thinks that's a good alternative to Ethel's plan, but it doesn't seem to have much affect.  She suggests the two of them help Mrs. Bird with the tea.

As she and Ethel leave the room, Mr. Bryant adoringly plays with Charlie and gives him a toy.  Isobel tries to pursuade Ethel that the Bryants have offered a good solution to her problem, but Ethel knows the amount of money she will get will only be enough to get by.  When Isobel points out that Charlie will have his mother's love even if it means he won't attend a prominent university.  Ethel pointedly asks if Matthew went to a prominent university.

She returns to the Bryants, explaining that she cannot accept their money or friendship. She also doesn't think Bryant is a nice man.  However, despite that, she can see that he loves Charlie.  With that said, she takes them up on their previous offer to raise the little boy.  The brief farewell is full of tears.  Mrs. Bryant assures Ethel she will keep in touch and that, as difficult as her husband can be, Ethel is right that he does love his grandson.   As they drive away, Ethel weeps, while Mrs. Hughes reminds Mrs. Crawley that, it may not have been the decision Isobel would have made, but, until options for women like Ethel improve, there's nothing else she could have done.

In prison, Bates and his new friend, whose motive seems to be that he hates Craig, plot to get rid of the problem.

While Matthew goes over Downton's books, Carson comes to tell Mary about the two footman candidates, describing one as steady and the other being the one the women downstairs want.  Mary suggests he go with the good-looking one then so as to cheer people up.  Carson agrees, but points out that Alfred isn't too bad for a man who is Miss O'Brien's nephew.  After he leaves, Mary and Matthew burst into laughter at the uncharacteristically blunt comment.

Meanwhile, Bates is ready for the next cell check where the guards now find the incriminating small package in Craig's bunk and drag him off as he threatens revenge.

Branson is overjoyed when Sybil walks into Downton Abbey.  With Sybil safe, Cora rebukes him for leaving her alone and insists that her daughter go nowhere else until the baby is born.   Branson would rather the baby be born in Dublin, but Mary reminds him that he's pretty much given that option up and chastises him for celebrating the destruction of the home of a family she knows personally.    Carson delivers a telegram from Robert who only confirms he's seen the Home Secretary, will be home that evening and that the Bransons are to go nowhere.

Upon his return, the family gathers for news, while Molesley presses Thomas for gossip.  Thomas isn't biting, but he does stop to appreciate the sight of Jimmy getting into his footman's livery.  Jimmy, knowing that Thomas was once a footman here, asks for some tips which Thomas eagerly agrees to provide.  After he moves on, O'Brien follows, appraising Jimmy and making a mental note of how to get back at Thomas for trying to get rid of her.

Meanwhile, Grantham tells the family what Tom failed to mention.  Not only did he attend meetings in Dublin where the attacks were planned, but he'd also advocated them, even if he didn't promote violence against persons.  Not wanting to turn Tom into a martyr or risk his well-connected wife becoming a high-profile revolutionary widow, the authorities will not prosecute him if he agrees not to return to Ireland.   Tom hates to miss the birth pains of his homeland, but Robert warns him he'll be arrested the minute he arrives on Irish soil and he does have a pregnant wife to think about.

While Alfred snits about whether he is or isn't first footman, Daisy reminds Mrs. Patmore that the staff isn't considered full until there's a kitchen maid.

Edith causes her own snit upstairs when she announces she's written to the paper about women's rights, something even her mother isn't sure was the best thing to do.  Grantham doubts it will be printed before noticing the new footman who starts to call himself Jimmy when Carson interjects that he is to be called James.  The ladies upstairs can appreciate his good looks as much as the ones downstairs.  Edith, however, does suggest that people not overlook Alfred and Carson agrees.

Downstairs, Jimmy balks at being called James, but Carson's not budging.  Alfred isn't particularly sympathetic and Thomas is suspicious when O'Brien comments how nice the new fellow is.

After the women excuse themselves, Branson thanks Grantham for his help.  Robert isn't sure he is truly grateful, but he doesn't make an issue of it as he only rescued Tom for the sake of his daughter.  When they are alone, Matthew tries to bring up some financial aspects of the running of Downton that Robert doesn't seem particularly interested in.

A guard appears in Bates's cell, gives him his backlog of letters from Anna, and tells him that he's back in favor now, but should watch his back as Craig's friends aren't happy.

Carson smells smoke and, certain Branson has struck again, runs into the smokey room to find Mrs. Hughes practicing making toast with her new toaster.

Sybil confronts her husband about the meetings he never told her about and tells him they need to stay here for the time being for the sake of her child.

The next morning, Lord Grantham gets an unpleasant surprise when Edith's letter is printed in full.  The only one sympathetic to his outrage is Carson who manages a dissenting grunt that he'd rather not elaborate on.   Mrs. Hughes delivers a stack of letters from Bates to Anna.  Alfred thanks Daisy for her support of him and, while she steels up the nerve to tell him she likes him, Mrs. Patmore finally brings forward the new kitchen maid, Ivy Stewart, who catches Alfred's eye and instantly becomes Daisy's new enemy.

Matthew goes to Countess Violet about his concerns that Downton is being mismanaged, but he has no way of knowing how to address it without bending everyone's noses out of joint.  Violet tells him he has to do what he must, but there's really no way to avoid upsetting people.

Meanwhile, both Anna and Bates, in their separate venues, bask in the joy of reading their long-held-back letters.