Season Three and Laura Linney is so excited to see what will happen!
It’s Spring of 1920 and Mary and Matthew are having their wedding rehearsal. Sybil is not coming to the wedding due to lack of funds and Mary prods her father to do something but he believes Branson’s arrival would lead to too much gossip from the neighbors. Cousin Isobel of course thinks it’s all ridiculous and wants to pay for the couple to visit. However, someone sends them the money because Sybil arrives with Branson in tow, but neither the family nor the servants welcome him warmly.
The family is obviously shocked at Branson’s lack of proper wardrobe and he is his usual charming self at dinner talking about hopes that Ireland will finally be free of English rule. Carson is appalled by his conduct and his opinion doesn’t change when he comes to show the servants he’s still one of them.
Sybil wants the family to see man she sees and encourages Branson to buy proper clothes for the wedding and, maybe, stop dissing Mother England for a few days, but Branson stays firm. The next day, Matthew runs into Branson in town and they discuss the awkwardness at dinner. Matthew points out Branson doesn’t make it easy for the Granthams to like him but says brothers-in-laws should stick together.
At a pre-wedding party, (featuring colorful cocktails!), Sybil’s old beau, Larry, takes some pot shots at Branson’s wardrobe and slips something into his drink so at dinner he appears drunk as a skunk, carrying on about his political leanings until Sir Anthony announces that he has been drugged by Larry! Despite Larry claims that it was just a joke, the family is shocked and Matthew decides to make Branson his best man to show solidarity.
Cousin Isobel and Maggie Smith offer Branson some of Matthew’s old clothing to wear to the wedding but he politely declines, calling them the chains of oppression, or some political nonsense that will go ignored, because when Maggie Smith tells you to wear a jacket you wear the jacket! We later discover that Maggie Smith paid for the couple to come to the wedding. Yay, everyone tolerates Branson now!
Lord Grantham gets a suspicious phone call and has suspicious business to tend to in London. Turns out his fortune is all but gone due to bad investments. Downton’s fate is unsure but the Lord refuses to be the one who let it fall. When he returns home, he basically looks at everyone as if they are eating him money.
While the Lord is having money troubles, Matthew is rolling in it, as he discover he may inherit his former fiancé’s father’s fortune but he feels too guilty to accept it seeing that he is marrying the other woman from that relationship. Matthew is also on a whole “I’m a big boy, I can put on my own pants!” kick and wants to live a simpler life after the wedding.
When Mary learns of both men’s conundrums, she sees one as the solution to the other. Matthew will save Downton! But Matthew doesn’t want to accept money from a man after breaking his daughter’s heart and stealing her will to live. The two fight and Edith walks in on them with a total “Are you fighting?” smile on her face.
At dinner, Mary becomes upset and leaves the table crying. The wedding might not happen, damn you Mary and Matthew!!!! But wait, Best Man Branson comes to the rescue and helps the two realize their stupid for each other and the two patch up.
With the wedding fast approaching, Carson needs a new footman and O’Brien suggests her nephew, Alfred. Carson doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but when has a no ever gotten in O’Brien’s way? She brings up the matter with Lady Crawley who hires him immediately. O’Brien thinks Thomas could help show her nephew the way and maybe help his rise to valet. Despite their previous alliance Thomas has no interest in helping another person. And poof goes that friendship. This is going to get ugly.
And we have found something that makes Maggie Smith shake in her boots- Lady Crawley’s American mother Shirley MacLaine! She swoops down on Downton insulting the house, the entire country of England, and all three of her granddaughters in record time. She is anti-tradition, being a very modern women 20th century woman (possibly the world’s oldest flapper). Before the episode it over she gets into a bitch off with Maggie Smith and wins! This woman is a goddess.
In other happenings: Anna has discovered Vera’s diary and hopes she will find a way to prove Bates’ innocence. Bates has a new roommate and the two are like two peas in a pod- not!
Edith is still trying to woo Sir Anthony with flattering words and a new hairstyle! Can something nice happen to this chick, she bums me out!
Daisy was promised a promotion and will not stop pouting until she gets it!
Episode Two brings us the Matthew and Mary wedding… finally! Lady Crawley tries to give Mary THE TALK but Mary reminds her this is not necessary- classy, Mary. The whole house is buzzing with excited, except Mrs. Hughes who always thought Mary was a brat. But we don’t even get to see the whole wedding or a wedding night love scene! Boo, Downton, boo!
Matthew still refuses to use his newly gained inheritance to save Downton, so Mary and Maggie Smith decided to ask Shirley MacLaine for the money. Mary believes they must show her grandma how grand Downton is so they plan a dinner to win her over.
However, as the guests arrive Matthew and Lord Grantham are without tails! And the stove is broken so there will be no food! The dinner is a disaster! But Shirley MacLaine to the rescue with her modern American ways! They will have an indoor picnic, where guests can eat anywhere they want and there will be singing! She basically wants to mortify Maggie Smith to death.
While Shirley MacLaine saved the dinner, she cannot save Downton, as her late husband made it so no more of the family money could go into the home.
Meanwhile, Thomas makes the first move in a prank war with O’Brien’s nephew but giving him advice that leads the lad to burn a hole in Matthews tails! However, the guy’s first mistake we trusting Thomas. Carson is furious at Alfred’s mistake, but O’Brien smells a rat.
O’Brien steals all of the Lord’s shirts putting Thomas in quiet the spot the night of the dinner. This is going to be an interesting battle as Alfred seems to have taken after his aunt in the scheming department so it’s two against one.
The Lord wants Edith’s Sir Anthony obsession to be nipped in the bud so he asks him to break up with her via a letter. But Edith sees through the letter and knows it is her father’s doing and she begs the Lord to let her have the man she wants lest she end up an old maid. With Shirley MacLaine’s insistence, the Lord agrees to stop interfering and Sir Anthony finally promises a proposal. He’s going to die isn’t he?
Also in this episode: Cousin Isobel is now helping disgrace women and former maid Ethel may need her assistance.
Also, Mrs. Hughes may have cancer and Mrs. Paddmore is the best person ever to have by your side during such a delicate time- NOT she talks to her like a child and freaks at the first sign of concern. But Mrs. Hughes does not want the rest of the staff to know and take pity on her.
And it continues to be nothing but giggle with Bates and his cellmate. But at least at night Bates can dream about Anna and her new garter, oh la la!