Downton Abbey

Season 3 Episode 7

Episode 7

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 28, 2012 on PBS

Episode Recap

Anna waits at the prison in the Downton car until her husband appears at the gates, then she runs to him.

When he returns to Downton, he finds the servants wondering how to handle the awkwardness of the prison sentence.  Carson admits there's been some staffing changes and mentions Sybil's death which Bates had learned of and sent a letter to Lady Grantham.  Lord Grantham is delighted to see Bates after having a horrible morning feeling marginalized by Matthew's plans for the estate and Edith's interest in pursuing journalism.

He urges his old friend to rest for a bit before returning to work as it will give them time to sort out what to do with Thomas and promises to have his agent, Jarvis, find a cottage for the married couple.

Isobel is hosting the Dowager Countess who explains she didn't walk out on the luncheon out of support for Cora, but she really doesn't think it's wise for Ethel to be working here.  It makes the Crawley family look bad and, in fact, Ethel's reputation is all over the village which doesn't make things easy for her either.  Isobel argues that she should like to stand on principle, but Violet asks if those principles are worth Ethel being mistreated.

As Thomas bristles over the prospect of being replaced by Bates, Alfred invites Ivy to the late movies.  She's not eager to go, but Mrs. Hughes gives her permission so long as a couple of other girls go with them.

Matthew has invited Grantham's land agent, Jarvis, to a meeting without telling Robert first.  Neither of them is happy with the overhaul of the estate that Matthew has planned.    Jarvis points out how new Matthew is to this and, when Robert agrees, Matthew argues that Cora's money propped up the place for years.  If they want to save Downton for future generations, it will have to be self-sufficient.
On the way home, Violet spots a weeping Ethel on the street in the rain.  When she arrives, she has tea with Edith, agreeing with her father that the newspaper job is inappropriate.  Edith is adamant that she is still going to meet the man and will take the job if she likes the offer.  Her grandmother acquiesces to supporting her if Edith will do a favor for her.

At Crawley House, Isobel sees Ethel's drawn face and asks what has happened.  Ethel admits that a local baker's wife refused to serve her.  Her husband ultimately did, but it wasn't a pleasant experience.  When Isobel states they will go elsewhere for their business, Ethel isn't sure it will help.  She is becoming used to this treatment.

Mrs. Patmore gives her blessing for the movie trip and Alfred some cooking tips when Jimmy comes in to mock him for being interested in the kitchen.  Carson confronts him over his attitude, then lets Alfred do first footman work by serving the meat.   The indignant Jimmy is backed up by Ivy which earns Alfred a lecture by Daisy over wanting to take such an unsupportive girl to the movies.

Branson plans to take the baby to a Catholic church in Ripon for her Christening, but only plans to invite Mary and Matthew.  Mary encourages him to give the rest of the family a chance to show they can be more reasonable.  Branson asks if she will be the baby's godmother.  Only one godparent needs to be Catholic and that will be his brother in Liverpool who will be coming for the ceremony.  Mary offers to let him stay at Downton, despite Tom's expression that his brother, Kieran, is not refined.

Bates and Anna enjoy some time together walking through the woods, wondering which of the cottages will be theirs.  Anna is certain that Lord Grantham will let Thomas go and her husband will not be sorry to see that happen.  Meanwhile, Thomas, noting how Jimmy keeps grousing about Alfred, advises him to handle the matter without losing his temper. O'Brien overhears this and comments to Thomas about what a cute couple they are, explaining that Alfred has been complaining about how Jimmy gushes about Thomas.  Thomas accuses Alfred of lying.

Jimmy adjusts the positions of the spoons on the seafood tray as Alfred starts to bring it in, resulting in seafood falling on the Dowager Countess's lap.  A mortified Carson helps her clean up as Jimmy takes the tray from Alfred.  Violet brushes the concern off, then turns to Isobel about how she saw Ethel in town that day, looking unhappy. Isobel admits what happened, quipping that some people can be very unforgiving.    Grantham takes that as a shot at him and is further annoyed that Edith is still planning to go to London.

Cora reminds him that nothing is official yet.  Edith's grandmother, however, while admitting that she does think that a woman's place is in the home, doesn't think Edith can't have fun for now and, in her case, marriage may not necessarily be in the cards anyway.

Meanwhile, Robert's dinner is further disrupted when he learns that Mary has invited Branson's brother to stay with them for the baby's Catholic Christening.

Downstairs, Carson lectures Jimmy for rearranging the spoons and taking charge when he wasn't asked.  He also suggests Alfred use his time at the movie to think about his mistakes.

That nght, Mary rebukes Matthew for going above her father's head to summon Mr. Murray.  The conversation then turns to Matthew's fear that their inability to conceive a child is related to his war injury.  He wonders if he should see a specialist.

The moviegoers are on their way back when Jimmy frets to Thomas that Carson doesn't seem to like him.  Thomas assures him that Carson is the only one. Everyone else prefers him over Alfred and asks about Jimmy's family.  Jimmy admits that he's an orphan with a father who died in the war and a mother who succumbed to the flu.  He has no siblings or very close relatives.  Thomas empathizes being alone in the world.  When O'Brien enters the room, Jimmy exits and she takes the opportunity to bring up Alfred again.  Thomas is certain that Jimmy is interested in women, but O'Brien can only tell him what she says Alfred told her.  Then she halts and wonders if she perhaps accidentally spilled a secret.

Alfred insists Jimmy isn't interested in Ivy, but she wants to hear it from Jimmy himself.

Torn between his infatuation with Jimmy and what his mind knows, Thomas sneaks into Jimmy's room to plant a kiss on his lips just as Alfred walks in from the movie.  Jimmy wakes up, pushes Thomas off and angrily orders him to leave his room.   The ruckus brings Mr. Carson out, but Thomas, realizing he's been played, tells him it was just a nightmare.

Everyone knows something's up the next morning at breakfast, but none of the men involved are talking.  Jimmy makes an overt comment to Ivy on her appearance to make it clear where his interests lie.  Knowing there's more going on here than he's being told, Carson expects to be given the story by that evening.

Edith meets with the editor, Michael Gregson, who compliments her writing and assures her that many people of her station are writing columns these days.  She is still not committing as she does want to take her father's objections into consideration, but agrees to meet him for lunch the next day as she's staying to do an errand for her grandmother.

Grantham believes Thomas's glum expression is due to uncertainty about his job here.  He promises to discuss how to handle the return of Mr. Bates with Carson soon and work something out.

While Matthew and Branson look over the property map with Mary to explain the situation, Cora plans for the arrival of both Mr. Murray and Tom's brother, Kieran.  Robert isn't happy that Branson agrees with Matthew, but isn't surprised given his political views.  His mother points out that Tom seems to have modulated his beliefs of late and asks if Tom knows anything about farming.  When Branson admits his grandfather was a sheep farmer, Robert isn't impressed, but Violet seems rather interested.  While this is going on, Carson quietly, but firmly, confronts Alfred and Jimmy on their obvious lack of attention to their duties.  Once again, neither will tell him what's going on.   That night, Robert admits to his wife that he feels he's being pushed out of the management of his home.  Cora reminds him how he keeps insisting that he and Matthew are co-managers of the place.  If he really means it, then he should be receptive to what his son-in-law has to say.  Even his mother isn't adamantly opposed to Edith working.  He assures her that his mother has an ulterior motive.

Edith's errand takes longer than expected, but she arrives for her lunch with Gregson. He notes how important her family is and mentions he saw her sister's wedding picture in the paper.  Edith admits that Mary has always been the beautiful one while she herself was left at the altar.  She brushes off his concern as it's refreshing to know that the whole world doesn't know about it.  Then she accepts the job.

Grantham isn't opposed to change so much as he doesn't want it to happen to quickly.  Murray is frank when reminding Robert that this family has a centuries-old history of financial difficulties of which Grantham's bad investment is the most recent.  Matthew agrees that the estate has a lot of waste, earning him the ire of Jarvis who believes he's being accused of criminal activity.  Robert tries to placate him, but Jarvis sees that he is being pushed out in favor of the young man and resigns.

Mrs.  Hughes and Mr. Carson are annoyed to find Kieran Branson in the servants' dining room entertaining the staff.  When Mary and Tom come down to invite him up, he declines in favor of the little people and accuses his brother of forgetting where he came from.  Tom insists that he hasn't changed, but he will not allow his mother-in-law's graciousness to be shown disrespect.  Even Carson has nothing negative to say about Branson after that.

Mary and Matthew discuss Jarvis's resignation.  She does love her father, but will support Matthew in his efforts to make Downton safe for their children when they do have them.

O'Brien expected Thomas to be gone by now, so goes to Alfred with her belief that Carson will find out what happened eventually.  When he does, he will be unhappy if he learns that Alfred knew about it and didn't say anything.  Alfred thinks that it's Jimmy's place to make a complaint as he was the victim.  His aunt suggests that Jimmy may have just been pretending to spurn Thomas since Alfred was there.

At dinner, Kiernan discusses his auto repair shop in Liverpool, above which there are a couple of rooms in which he, his brother and baby Sybil will live.  Countess Violet is reminded of an unpleasant experience years ago when she was forced to stay in a ramshackle inn when a sudden blizzard stopped their train from Scotland.  She does, however, wish to attend the Christening if Branson wants her.  He admits he would want all of them to be there, including Sybil's father, whom she loved and would want his presence.   Edith announces her acceptance of the newspaper job.  With a lawyer and an auto mechanic in the family, Violet doesn't think a journalist is too much of a stretch.

While Alfred confesses to his aunt that he's decided to take her advice, Isobel is fuming upstairs when she learns that Edith's errand for Violet in London was to place an ad in a Ladies magazine so that Ethel can find another job.    Violet asks Carson to get Mrs. Hughes for her around the same time that Kieran asks for a beer.  The put-upon Carson heads downstairs as the equally-put-upon Lord Grantham is rebuked by his wife.  If he doesn't want Tom and the baby to move in with his testy brother, he needs to stop pushing Tom away.  She tells him how it was Sybil herself who wanted them to look after her husband and child.

Mrs. Hughes heads up and Carson delays the delivery of the beer when Alfred asks to speak with him.

Violet wants Mrs. Hughes to support her in dealing with Mrs. Crawley.  Mrs. Hughes is forced to admit that she does believe Ethel would be better off working far from here so she can have a fresh start away from everyone who knows her secret.

Meanwhile, Carson is horrified to hear Alfred's tale, but isn't convinced O'Brien is correct in thinking that Jimmy was a willing part of it.  He swears Alfred to silence for the time being.

That evening, Isobel asks Ethel if she's happy.  Ethel admits she's happier now than what she was doing before.

At Downton, Violet prepares to leave, but not before telling her son that Jarvis worked for his father and has never really seen Robert as a grown man.  She suggests that they replace him with Branson who has some knowledge of farmland and is young enough to connect with Matthew's ideas.  Besides which, the alternative to hiring Tom is to allow baby Sybil to grow up above a garage with a drunken uncle.  Robert agrees so long as Matthew does and that both she and Cora will admit to being wrong when the time comes.  His mother accepts readily as she's never wrong.

Carson hotly lectures Thomas for his offense, which is criminal and could involve the police.  Thomas assures him that it was just a mistake and that he has no choice but to read signals as best he can since he can't really discuss his attraction openly.  Carson isn't interested in the details, but, after confirming that Jimmy is innocent, he will need time to consider what to do.  He will have to make sure Jimmy isn't going to go to the police, but doubts it will come to that.

At the church in Ripon, the family emerges from the Christening to a photographer who takes several photos before suggesting one with Grandfather Robert and Great-Grandmother Violet with the baby.  They are happy to pose for this generational picture until he also has the priest step in.  Cora chuckles at her husband for fearing that he'll be converted without looking.