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Sunday, December 15, 2013
Episode 1 Season 3 – Downton Abbey Episode Summary 3.1
Episode Summary: Rehearsals for Matthew Crawley and Lady Mary’s wedding ensue. Lord Grantham brings in an Archbishop to officiate the wedding, but makes no effort to have Lady Sybil and Tom Branson attend. He argues that the spectacle of Lady Sybil running off with the chauffer has not yet died down. In fact, Lord Grantham finds it a relief that the subjects of the scandal will not be at the ceremony. Isobel Crawley takes issue with the Crawleys decision to keep Lady Sybil and Branson from returning to Downton Abbey. It appears that the family still considers Branson an outsider due to his lack of status despite marrying one of their own. Knowing that only reason Lady Sybil and Branson could not return on their own accord is due to their finances, Isobel expresses her desire to sponsor their trip. Lady Cora warns her against it declaring that Robert has forbidden it.
Thomas questions the fact that Anna was able to keep the house Mr. Bates shared with his deceased wife whom he was accused of murdering. The other servants, however, stand with the belief that Mr. Bates was wrongly accused. Anna and Mrs. Hughes return from London where they settled the matter about Mr.Bates’ house. Mrs. Hughes wastes no time to go over the things that need to be done for the wedding, and makes note of Mr. Carson’s lack of a footman. Miss O’Brien offers the services of her nephew, but Mr. Carson turns it down citing that he is in need of someone with experience. She brings this to the attention of Lady Cora who speaks to Lord Grantham in her behalf. Robert, preoccupied with an issue stemming from a phone conversation he had that evening, agrees to hire Miss O’Brien’s nephew, Alfred Nugent. Much to Mr. Carson’s dismay, the inexperienced young man whom he finds too tall to be a footman arrives at Downton Abbey. He makes it clear to Miss O’Brien that although Lord Grantham has agreed to hire Alfred the young man has yet to prove himself worthy of the position.
Anna pays a visit to her incarcerated husband and informs him of a book she found hidden behind the bureau. She asks Mr. Bates to make note of the people Vera had mentioned in her entries, believing that the information they would gather might help prove her husband’s innocence. Mr. Bates takes pleasure in knowing that his new wife is certain of his innocence. In fact, Anna had expressed her desire never to cease working to prove it.
Lord Grantham arrives in London to meet with George Murray, the trustee of his estate. Mr. Murray regretfully informs him that the investment with the Canadian Grand Trunk Line that Lord Grantham insisted on making fell through for the company has gone bankrupt. Lord Grantham is in disbelief that the investment he thought to be secure was not, and that he had just squandered the lion’s share of Cora’s fortune. More importantly, there is no longer enough money to keep Downton Abbey. The only other way to keep it is to sell it off in piecemeal, but Lord Grantham will not allow it. He believes that there is no point of having Downton if it can no longer be a major employer and can no longer support the house. Robert returns from London and hears of having hired a new footman, one that he has no recollection of approving. Having been made aware of their troublesome financial situation, Robert tells Cora not to hire any more people, but says nothing of the reason behind it.
Matthew learns that Lord Grantham had offered to have him and Mary stay at Downton. Although he finds this a generous offer, he would rather they reside somewhere else. Matthew would not want to take Mary away from her family, but he finds it necessary for the two of them to learn more about each other without the prying eyes of her family. Mary assures him that the arrangement is only temporary. Matthew is relieved to hear this for he desires to live more simply after the wedding. In fact, he has decided not to keep a valet. Molesley could not help but be concerned about this despite Matthew’s attempt at providing reassurance. The valet shares the news to the other servants upsetting Thomas who believes that he will be serving both Lord Grantham and Matthew after the wedding. Dissatisfaction looms over the servants for Daisy is dismayed as well after learning that a new kitchen maid has not been hired, which means that her promotion as Mrs. Patmore’s assistant has not been fulfilled. Thomas suggests that withdrawing her services might help her cause. The fact that a new footman was hired over the longstanding request for a kitchen maid continues to upset Daisy that she confronts Mrs. Patmore about it. However, the woman’s apologetic answer neither shed light to the issue nor appeased Daisy. The young kitchen maid takes Thomas’ ill-advised suggestion, and goes on a strike. Her protest, however, fails as Mrs. Patmore refuses to concede leading Daisy to swallow her pride and gets back to work.
Mary learns that Mr. Charkham, Mr. Swire’s lawyer, is anxious to meet with Matthew about matters he did not want to discuss on the telephone. Mary is convinced that Mr. Swire has left Matthew an inheritance, a prospect Matthew does not welcome. Matthew meets with Mr. Charkham and discovers that Reggie Swire made a list of three possible heirs after his daughter passed away; Matthew is the third heir on the list. Mr. Charkham met with Matthew, because the first heir passed away before Reggie Swire and the second one has not been heard of since he left for India. Matthew now faces the prospect of inheriting a large amount of money from the father of his deceased fiancée.
Lady Sybil arrives at Downton with her husband, Tom Branson. She learns immediately that her father did not send the money. Mr. Carson and Thomas take issue at having to serve their former colleague, and both refuse to become his valet. It seems, however, that there is no need for a valet, because Tom did not change his clothes for dinner. In fact, he does not own a set of tails, a dinner jacket, or anything formal, not even one for the wedding. If Tom not having any wardrobe suitable for an aristocrat was already in contention, his political stand regarding Ireland’s independence proved to cause even more strife. Although now a member of an aristocratic family, Tom has not changed. He pays a visit to his former colleagues some of whom disapprove of him namely Mr. Carson. Luckily, Mrs. Hughes and Anna receive him warmly.
Lady Sybil confides in Lady Mary that social status is not an issue in Dublin, but it is at Downton. Despite the conflict in her family for her choice of a husband, Lady Sybil informs Lady Mary that she has no regrets for Tom is a wonderful man. Lady Mary, however, thought it best to apprise her sister of the presence of the Greys at tomorrow’s dinner party that Lady Sybil may prepare Tom only because Larry Grey used to be keen on Lady Sybil. Meanwhile, Lady Mary cannot get the possibility of Matthew inheriting Reggie Swire’s fortune out of her head that she brings the matter up again with her fiancé who clearly does not want to discuss it. She, however, learns that Matthew does not intend to keep it. That same evening, Robert finally discloses to his wife the subject of his meeting with Mr. Murray, and with great regret confesses to have lost nearly all of Cora’s fortune after investing it all in one enterprise. Robert breaks down in tears after admitting his failure, but Cora instead of chastising her husband comforts him instead, which is a relief to the defeated Earl of Grantham.
Anna pays a visit to Mr. Bates and receives a list of names her husband recognized from Vera’s book. She explains to her husband her belief that Vera had mentioned her suicide plan to someone else. She supposes that the person Vera confided in might be in the list. Learning of this, Mr. Bates pores over the list once again to help his wife’s cause. Mr. Bates’ new cellmate, Craig, finds him bent over the documents that may help prove his innocence and advises that he just admit his guilt. Mr. Bates’ unease over his new cellmate may not be unfounded. He warns Craig of not crossing him.
Alfred is having a hard time being a footman. Miss O’Brien takes it upon herself to help her nephew and decides to seek Thomas’ help. Thomas, however, learning of Miss O’Brien’s plan to make her nephew Matthew’s valet refuses to provide assistance knowing very well the trouble he went through to become one.
Matthew sees Tom making his way to the pub and learns that the young man has decided to spend his stay in there instead. The discomfited dinner the previous night was what drove him to this decision. Matthew convinces him not to do so. The dinner party ensues, and Tom learns quickly why Lady Sybil forewarned him about Larry Grey. The young man may be of noble blood and he may be wearing a more appropriate outfit for the occasion, but Tom showed more class for having manners. Sir Anthony Strallan is at the party as well, and he sees something that alarms him. Alfred informs the servants that Tom is misbehaving at the dinner and appears to be inebriated after just one cocktail. Much to everyone’s chagrin, Tom has lost his manners, and has become very agitated. He rambles on about the situation in Ireland. Lady Mary notices Larry snickering, only then did Sir Anthony put the pieces of what he saw earlier that evening. Sir Anthony accuses Larry of putting something in Tom’s drink, and the young man does not deny doing so. Moreover, he insults Tom and his new family by calling him just a chauffeur. His father, Lord Merton, reprimands his son and apologizes for him. Lady Sybil helps Tom back to his room. Matthew shows his support for the belittled brother-in-law by announcing that Tom will be his best man.
Martha Levinson, Lady Cora’s mother, arrives at Downton Abbey with the candor of an American. Having saved Downton from financial ruin before with the money of her late husband, she questions how Matthew, the new heir apparent, stands to inherit her deceased husband’s money. Fortunately, his marriage to Lady Mary makes this fact a nonissue. Her openness, however, is well received by Tom and Lady Sybil. She delights in knowing that Tom, a former chauffeur, managed to become a journalist. It is a feat that is not farfetched and, more importantly, celebrated in America.
Having been kept abreast of their financial situation, Lady Mary becomes even more interested in Matthew’s inheritance of Mr. Swire’s fortune, and learns that Matthew had received a telegram from Mr. Charkham informing him that Mr. Pulbrook has indeed passed away, but the date of his death still needs to be determined. Matthew may inherit Mr. Swire’s money if Mr. Pulbrook died before Mr. Swire. However, Matthew has no plans of keeping the money. Lady Mary, however, apprises him of the regrettable news of Lord Grantham squandering their wealth in a bad investment. Matthew’s inheritance is the key in saving Downton Abbey. Despite this knowledge, Matthew still refuses to use Mr. Swire’s money. He cannot accept the inheritance, because it came from a man who thought Matthew to be his daughter’s one true love. Matthew could not bear himself to profit from the family of the woman whose heart he broke. He believes that his betrayal had led to her death. Lady Mary, however, could not believe that Matthew would allow her family to go into financial ruin to appease his conscience. Matthew’s choice made it clear to Lady Mary that her fiancé is not on their side.
Dinner ensues, and the great matriarchs of the family are already on each other’s nerves. Mrs. Levinson criticizes the English’s unwillingness to accept change after learning that Matthew will not be joining them for dinner for it is tradition for the groom not to see the bride the night before their wedding. She along with the rest of the family, however, is surprised to learn that it was Lady Violet who sponsored Lady Sybil and Tom’s trip that they may attend Lady Mary’s wedding. Lady Violet even goes as far as to call Branson by his first name, acknowledging that he is now part of the family. She declares that Crawleys stick together. This, however, leads Lady Mary to comment that not all Crawleys do so. She says nothing more and she leaves the table in tears. All wonder about the cause of Lady Mary’s distress. Lady Edith, having been witness to Lady Mary accusing Matthew of not being on their side, confirms that the couple had a fight earlier that day. Lord Grantham declares going to see Matthew to speak with him, but Tom volunteers to do it given his role as best man. Lord Grantham becomes indignant towards Tom, but agrees to it thanks to Mrs. Levinson’s support of Tom.
Anna pays a visit to Mr. Bates who longs for stories from Downton Abbey. She informs him that she is planning to hire a replacement for her to go with Lady Mary on her honeymoon so she can be near Mr. Bates instead. Mr. Bates, however, would not accept this for he wants to live vicariously through Anna. Anna returns to Downton in time to be by Lady Mary’s side at her time of need. She learns that Lady Mary’s unhappiness is not because of the prospect of losing the money, but Matthew’s refusal to help her family. Anna, however, sees Matthew’s point. She makes Lady Mary see that he is a good man, and that there are not many men like him. Meanwhile, Tom goes to see Matthew and learns of the trouble that caused the rift between the couple. Tom could not care less about statuses and estates, but having witnessed the growth of their relationship, he is certain that Lady Mary and Matthew are meant to be together. He tells Matthew that he will never be happy with anyone else as long as Lady Mary walks the earth. Matthew with Tom goes to speak with Lady Mary, but because it is bad luck to see the bride before the wedding, they decide to speak behind the bedroom door. Lady Mary tells Matthew that she is prepared to cancel the wedding if that is what he wants, but that is the opposite of what Matthew desires. He shares with her Tom’s insight, which made it clear to both of them what truly is important. The two close their eyes that they may not see each other, and they share a kiss. The next day, family and friends gather inside the church, while the townspeople line the streets to see Lady Mary off. Lady Mary arrives at the church, and Lord Grantham walks her down the aisle to deliver her to Matthew who is relieved to see his bride.
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