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K-I-S-S-I-N-G Branson and Sybil reunite at Downton, but that doesn't mean the ex-chauffeur is happy to be back with his in-laws. And they're not really happy to have him, either.
As for the rest of the members of the household, here's how they fared this week.
Edith: Matthew questions why she comes downstairs for breakfast, when her sister and her mother don't. "Because I'm not married," Edith replies tersely. Matthew, has life at Downton taught you nothing? It's at breakfast, though, when Lord Grantham mentions that every woman in America will be granted the right to vote soon. (The 19th amendment was ratified in the States in 1920, and at the time in England, only women over 30 who were either graduates of university, married to members of the Local Government Register, or members themselves could vote.) Edith voices her opinion on the subject, and Matthew encourages her to write to the Times. She does, the letter gets printed, and the Crawleys have another budding "journalist" in the family.
Matthew and Mary: First Mary wants him to be involved with the economic welfare of the estate. Then, when Mathew shows an interest, she becomes angry with him. Women, am I right? He appeals to the Dowager Countess with the news that Downton is being mismanaged and he's worried. Mo money, mo problems, as they say.
Ethel: Remember last season when she had the soldier's baby, Charlie? Then the soldier died, and his parents -- the Bryants -- offered to take the child and she refused. However, after turning into a prostitute and struggling to care for Charlie, Ethel comes to the realization that his grandparents could give him a better life. Mrs. Hughes and Isobel act as go-betweens, and Ethel ends up handing her son over to Mr. and Mrs. Bryant. "I give you my blessings for your whole life long, my darling boy," she tells Charlie as her parting words. Try not to tear up now, just try.
The new staff: Due to Matthew's investment, Lord Grantham allows Carson to hire a few more servants. Jimmy Kent, the new footman, is so good looking that even Mrs. Hughes is affected. And just as Daisy is about to confess her feelings to Alfred, Mrs. Patmore introduces the new kitchen maid, Ivy Stuart. Ivy catches Alfred's eye immediately, upsetting Daisy and souring her toward the girl. Romantic intrigue, all around!
And now for the Dowager Countess' best quotes:
A guinea? For a bottle of scent? Did he have a mask and a gun?
Edith, dear. You're a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do.
No family is ever what it seems from the outside.
What do you mean you wrote to a newspaper? No lady writes to a newspaper.
He looks like a footman in a musical revue.
I think I can safely say a great many noses will be out of joint.
Until next week, fellow Downton Abbey lovers!