Downton Abbey season premiere recap: Get Her To The Church On Time

As Matthew and Mary get ready to walk down the aisle, Robert receives some devastating news for the estate
Ep. 01 | Aired Jan 6, 2013

WEDDING BELLS Will Mary and Matthew's eight-year back and forth come to an end?

PBS

Fighting back tears, Robert informs his wife that they are broke. She takes it surprisingly well. "Don't worry about me, I'm an American. 'Have gun, will travel.'" He really doesn't deserve her. But curiously, they seem to have enough money to throw a very expensive wedding and many more fancy dinners.

The next one of those fancy dinners features Sybil's ex-boyfriend Larry, who mocks Tom's clothes and asks him if his suitcase arrived. "Along with my manners," Tom quips back. Nice zinger for a lowly chauffeur. At the table, Tom starts yelling and slurring his words, making a fool out of himself. But he's not drunk. Nope. Larry put something in Tom's drink, Sir Anthony revealed quite dramatically. Then Larry's father stands up and starts shouting at his son, and Matthew decides to ask Tom to be his best man. Because"if we're mad enough to take on the Crawley girls, we have to stick together," he proclaims. This makes total sense.

Robert then picks a great moment to tell Mary that they aren't rich anymore -- as she is trying on her very expensive going away outfit. Poor little rich girl.

As part of their "let's make Branson more presentable" campaign, Cousin Isobel and the Dowager Countess force him into one of Matthew's old suits for the wedding. He's a little too reluctant for me, here. It's not a "uniform of oppression," it's a suit to wear to a wedding.

After the ladies play dress up with Tom, we get the big entrance of the season as Cora's American mother Martha Levinson arrives at the household. "Come war and peace, Downton still stands and the Crawleys are still in it," she says as she enters. (If you hadn't memorized that line from all the promos before the season aired ...) Unfortunately Violet is not there to welcome her, so we don't get the great Maggie Smith versus Shirley MacLaine showdown quite yet. Oh but you know it's coming.

What we do get before that, however, is the question we've been dying to know the answer to. "Do explain again how exactly you are related to all of us, Mr. Crawley," Martha asks Matthew. "Rather distantly, I'm afraid. My great-great-grandfather was the younger son of the third earl," Matthew says to our relief. (That is distant enough for it not to be gross, right?)

Matthew is then turned out of the house since it's the day before the wedding . But not fast enough. Mary tries to pressure him into keeping the Swire fortune if he is to receive it in order to save Downton. He balks because he doesn't want to "profit" from Lavinia's death, which doesn't please Mary.

"Don't you see what this means? Don't you see what a difference this makes. It means that you're not on our side, Matthew. It means that deep down you're not on our side," Mary yells before storming off. And of course, Edith is there to witness this outburst.

NEXT: The first meeting of MacLaine and Smith 

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