Last time on Yellington Abbey! Carson and Lord Robert yelled because Ethel got her whore hands all over Harriet Jones’ luncheon. Half the family yelled at Branson for wanting his daughter to be Catholic and everyone yelled at Edith for having an opinion.
We open up with Bates receiving his freedom and being escorted out of prison. Anna comes to pick him up and I hope to god that I’m not the only one who’s upset that she’s not sitting in the Pussy Wagon eating a Honey Bun.
At Downton, the servants are talking about Bates and his impending freedom, while Bates interrupts by walking in. Everyone looks awkward, especially Thomas who is giving us incredible stank face.
Upstairs, the Breakfast Club is enjoying a passive aggressive meal. Edith has gotten a7nother letter to write for some paper in London. Lord Robert tells Matthew not to encourage her in her unlady-like pursuits. Branson, once again, talks about grabbing the baby and running, and once again, NO ONE mentions this. Lord Robert leaves the breakfast room and ends up running into Bates. The way they are talking, it’s not clear if Bates will no longer be employed or if Lord Robert is concerned that the Bates’ will no longer fit in the dorm rooms the other servants have to sleep in. Maybe we’re not supposed to be sure.
Later, Violet confronts Harriet Jones about Ethel and her whore cooking. Harriet Jones is confused, since Violet didn’t bother to say anything during the luncheon. However, it turns out that Ethel is “notorious” in the village, and I’m unclear as to how big this town is if it’s big enough to have what seems to be a fairly active red light district, but small enough that Ethel has made a name for herself. Unless she was the hooker who was known for doing what none of the other girls would. This conversation is interrupted by Ethel walking in, with a look on her face that she clearly knows what’s been going on. Violet makes some sort of working woman joke.
In the servants’ quarters, Alfred and Bates are eating and That One Footman Guy walks in and “confusedly” asks Thomas what is he going to do now that Bates is back and can take on valet duties. Thomas gives us more stank face. Alfred decides to change the subject by asking if anyone, and by anyone he means Ivy, wants to go see a movie with him. Carson has words to say on this, but allows the outing, as long as it’s a group thing.
In the parlor, Matthew and Lord Robert and two random older guys are arguing about the fate of the Abbey. Matthew wants to modernize all the things, and Lord Robert is totally against this. One of the old men pipes up saying that he feels that everything has been done perfectly, previous financial crisis non-withstanding. Matthew is dismissed and everyone disperses.
While Violet is leaving Harriet Jones’ place, she sees Ethel carrying a bushel of veggies, sobbing and feels bad. She meets Edith for tea and Edith begs her to talk to Lord Robert about letting her write her op-ed column. Edith complains that everyone tells her to *do* something and Violet says that she was thinking more along the lines of watercolours. Edith mentally resolves herself to become Liz Lemon.
Harriet Jones comes home and asks about Ethel’s day, finding out that the green grocer’s wife was a bitch while selling kale. Not cool greengrocer’s wife.
Mrs. Patmore is talking to Ivy and Alfred and is allowing them to go on their “date” as long as it isn’t a real date. Alfred interrupts to show off his cooking prowess and ask why Mrs. Patmore isn’t putting parsley in the béchamel sauce. Is that a thing? I’ve never made béchamel sauce with parsley, but I’m one of those weirdoes where parsley tastes like soap. Rolf comes in to make some dumb cracks about male chefs and Patmore shuts him down. Carson interrupts this group, again, to rearrange the serving course, for reasons that are beyond me, except it has something to do with Rolf being a jerkface. Ivy is a bitch to everyone and Daisy does what every Nice Girl longs to do and flat out asks Alfred why he’s in love with such a bitch.
Upstairs, Branson’s with the baby when Mary enters. Apparently, Branson’s gone behind everyone’s back, if you can call it that, to set up the christening. Mary is somewhat shocked but somewhat approving, and as she gazes at the baby, you can hear her biological clock ticking louder and louder. Branson asks Mary to be the baby’s godmother, and Mary is confused since she’s not Catholic. Apparently, it’s ok because only one of the godparents has to be Catholic and Branson’s brother Kiernan is coming. He warns Mary that Kiernan is a diamond in the rough, and Mary responds that she loves diamonds. I’m not sure that’s what he meant.
Outside, Anna and Bates are taking a walk and looking at what may or may not be their new house. In the servants’ quarters, Thomas is musing on his future and Rolf comes in being extremely pissy about life. After he leaves, O’Brien sneaks in to egg Thomas on.
During dinner, Rolf sabotages Alfred’s serving platter, landing lobster right in Violet’s lap. Carson is indignant. Violet and Harriet Jones proceed to spar over Ethel. Cora sees where this is going and quickly changes the subject to a safer topic, Edith’s future. Lord Robert begs Violet to read everyone, but she responds by being as supportive as she can, which prompts Harriet Jones to ask if someone’s changed Violet’s medications. Violet ignores this and parts with a shot at Edith’s age, which just piles onto Edith’s Jan complex.
Downstairs, Carson finds out that Rolf messed with the spoon layout, causing Alfred’s distress. Carson allows the group to leave, but informs them to all ruminate on the devastation that messed up serving spoons can cause. Hughes interrupts this to ask Carson if he’s never been mellow.
On the way back from the movies, the servants are bitching about American actors, though Ivy’s happy that someone famous has her name. Ivy is also being super nice to Alfred which I’m sure is confusing as hell to Alfred. Back at Downton, Rolf and Thomas have a moment alone in the servants’ dining room. Rolf is being nice and normal and slightly vulnerable, which confuses Thomas to no end. O’Brien sweeps in to egg Thomas on and give him a whole slew of shower nozzle fantasies for later.
This means we switch to a shirtless Rolf getting ready for bed, which isn’t a bad sight. Thomas, sensing hot male undressing going on, angrily takes off his shirt but leaves the undershirt on. Alfred is flirting with Ivy and then turns around and negs her about her feelings towards Rolf. She admits that she’s carrying a torch and won’t let it go. Meanwhile, Thomas, showing off his pecs in a tight white shirt, sneaks into Rolf’s room, while our little Aryan boy is sleeping, and leans down to kiss him. It’s at this exact point when Alfred comes in, having been rejected by Ivy. Rolf wakes up and goes into immediate Straight Boy on the Bait Bus mode and tries to punch things. Thomas leaves and Alfred is just confused.
The next morning, everyone is having tension for breakfast. I mean everyone. The entire staff notices, but no one has the first clue what’s going on. Ivy walks in and Rolf immediately sets about trying to prove his heterosexuality on the dinner table.
Edith is in London, meeting with the editor, which immediately makes me wonder what happened to that maid who went to typing school from the first season. The editor is a charming, handsome older man, and you can just see Edith’s eyes light up from the get go. They’re really pushing the daddy issues with this one.
Downstairs, Thomas is sulking, and Carson is yelling at Rolf. Upstairs, the young people of Downton are arguing about the future of the Estate and we get a lot of posturing on what socialism is and isn’t. Lord Robert is just irked by all this modern thinking.
Back in London, Edith is having lunch at the December-May club with the editor, and there’s lots of flirting and mentioning of Lady Rosamund, whom I miss. Edith brings up her wedding in conjunction with her sisters and does her best to not middle child all over everything.
Lord Robert and Matthew are arguing over the estate with two older men. Jarvis and . . . someone. Jarvis hates all this new stuff and feels that Downton has been run well for centuries and takes all this very personally. Matthew and other guy point out all the mishaps of Downton and Jarvis quits while making some dumb comment about new brooms vs. old brooms.
Carson and Mrs. Hughes can hear the sounds of merriment and rush into the servants dining quarters to put a stop to that nonsense. It turns out that Branson’s brother, Kiernan, has joined us but feels that upstairs is too fancy for his country mouse tastes. Branson is much much younger than his brother but ends up shaming him into coming back upstairs. Carson is impressed.
Upstairs, Mary’s biological clock is ticking and she and Matthew talk while he tries to get some lovin’ and she begs him not to smudge her make-up. Downstairs, O’Brien convinces Alfred to take his homosexual roommate problems to Carson, so that Thomas and possibly Rolf can be sent away to be shocked or put into gay people’s prison.
Edith comes back to Downton positively glowing with her big news. Of course, it gets overshadowed by everyone taking pot shots at Kiernan, who asks Carson to bring him a beer, and at Catholicism in general. During all this, however, Edith manages to announce that, yes, she is well on her way to becoming a newspaper columnist.
Later, Violet pulls Harriet Jones aside to say that she put out an ad to find Ethel a new job in a new town where her whorish ways won’t be known. While Carson is grabbing Kiernan’s beer, Alfred tries to flag him down, and Hughes is dragged into Violet and Harriet Jones’ whore maid fight. Carson is rather shocked and Mrs. Hughes agrees, mostly, with Violet, but for more compassionate reasons. Harriet Jones leaves to go talk to Ethel. When she gets home, Harriet Jones starts to talk to Ethel about the position, but then thinks better of it, and simply bids her good night. A fight’s brewing and I’m rooting for our Prime Minister/Whore Maid team.
Meanwhile, the rest of the family tries to figure out what to do with Jarvis’ open position. The answer seems clear in that most people think to offer it to Branson, since someone in his family was a farmer at some point in time, and this will keep him from running away with the baby. There’s more bad talking of Kiernan and we find out, again, that Violet is never wrong.
Alfred and Carson discuss Thomas and Rolf’s little escapade and Carson goes into full on Upset White Male Mode. Carson later talks to Thomas, reminding him of Downton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Thomas does a pretty good job here and actually seems sympathetic for a bit.
After the christening, there’s a photo opp and Matthew and Lord Robert offer Branson a job. There are more photos with the baby and Lord Robert looks overwhelmed by the future. The rest of the family seems happy.
Next time! Thomas gets canned! Some wild young woman with curly hair shows up. Her hair is curly, so you know she’s a wild woman! There’s a speakeasy and Rolf may or may not press homosexual charges against Thomas!