Spoiler alert, as always.
Downton has become a strange little show, moving at a fast pace with short scenes, and yet not seeming to go anywhere. There's seems to be more foreshadowing than actual plot. But it's still fun to watch — don't ask me why.
So we had a scene where Mary was again frosty to Matthew. Hard to tell why. He's already acquiesced in helping to save Downton with his new inheritance. All he did was mention using the nursery for its intended purpose. Does Mary know something about her ability to bear fruit, that we don't?
There's also a subtle scene where Matthew hints that there might be some mismanagement in the running of the estate by his father-in-law. It can't be like the old days, he suggests, but then he quickly backs off so as not to be a pain. Why not, I wonder? Lord Crawley lost his own fortune (before the series started), then his wife's. Now he is frittering away Matthew's money by fully staffing Downton. Matthew should say something.
Then there's Tom. The struggle for Ireland's independence is heating up, and poor Tom in conflicted about which side of the fence he's on. I guess spending a few weeks in a tux shooting pool with Matthew makes one forget their political leanings. But worse than his internal conflict, he's wanted by the police, and flees from Ireland to Downton, leaving poor pregnant Sybil behind. That's quickly resolved (mostly off-camera) and the couple is reunited. At least he and Sybil make a cute couple and they are stuck at Downton, although their story line is, as always, a bit clunky.
Mrs. Crawley's quest to save Ethel, the fallen ex-maid, continues unabated.
And speaking of "unabated", someone has been preventing the mail from going to/from Daisy and prison. We learn more about the forces against Bates, and the attempts to hide drugs in his cell.
But getting back to Ethel, it looks like Baby Bighead will be left in the care of Grandpa Walrus Moustache (Sob, sniff, sob). There's an interesting dynamic surrounding Ethel — everyone talks about her as a "fallen" woman yet no woman on this show (save Mrs. Crawley's maid) is judgmental of her. She walks off at the end of her big dramatic scene, but I suspect we'll see her again.
On the cheerier side, I love it when a new invention comes to Downton, and someone remarks on it like it is a parasite. With this episode, it was a toaster.
And the downstairs gets a new character, the new footman for Carson. All the maids drool, but I think Thomas is planning on getting to him first. Ewww.