Downton Abbey Recap: Revenge Is Bittersweet

Downton Abbey Season 3 Thomas James BedThis week on Downton Abbey, it looks as if Mrs. O’Brien’s plot to rid the household of Thomas is going to be a rousing success… that is, until the absolute last person you’d expect to intervene on his behalf does exactly that! Here are the deets: 

EPILOGUE TO A KISS | Finally swallowing Mrs. O’Brien’s lies that James fancies him, Thomas sneaks into the hunklet’s room while he’s sleeping and kisses him — just as Alfred bursts in! After the dust settles and what color there ever was returns to Alfred’s face, Carson suggests that, though he considers Thomas “something foul,” he use Bates’ homecoming as an excuse to leave Downton gracefully. Of course, that isn’t enough for Mrs. O’Brien! The wicked witch tells James to tell Carson that, if he gives Thomas a reference, he’ll tell the police what happened! Rendered unemployable, Thomas is, in essence, ruined! Or is he? Though Bates is only too happy to see his nemesis skedaddle, he can’t abide these circumstances. “Why do you have to be such a big girl’s blouse about it?” he (hilariously) asks James. In the end, Thomas remembers the three little words that Bates can use to strong-arm Mrs. O’Brien into setting things right: her ladyship’s soap! Unfortunately for Bates, his good deed doesn’t go unpunished: Not only does Thomas get the slate wiped clean, he gets a promotion that makes him his savior’s superior!

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AN ESTATE OF FLUX | As Matthew’s plans to make Downton self-sustaining move forward, Robert continues to sulk like a very proper 5-year-old. But, really, it all seems like it’s going to work out just fine. Heck, it only matters for about a minute and a half that the old estate manager resigns in a huff, because Tom is the ideal chap to take over his duties, isn’t he? In fact, he is! (A point that’s nicely underscored by the pep talk that Sybil’s widower gives her father.) Speaking of Tom, he makes Mary Sybil 2.0’s godmother and manages to get both Robert and Violet to attend the baby’s Christening. (Is there nothing he can’t do?!) Later, he delights Cora by choosing to remain in the main house with Sybil 2.0 until she’s older. (All together now, for the millionth time this episode: “It’s what Sybil would have wanted.”)

COOK OUT | After spotting Ethel crying on the street — the ex-hooker had been refused service at a shop, it turns out — Violet infuriates Isobel by finding her cook a new post far away from Downton. At first, Ethel wants to turn down the position — it puts her too close to her babydaddy’s family. But, when Mrs. Bryant assures her that she’ll handle her husband, supervillain mustache and all, Ethel is only too happy to relocate to a town where she might occasionally catch a glimpse of her son, Charlie!

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THIS ’N’ THAT | No sooner has Edith begun her job as a newspaper columnist than she’s learned that her besotted editor, Michael, is hitched to a madwoman. (Literally, a madwoman — she’s in an asylum and has been for years.) Violet’s great-niece, wild child Rose, visits, gets busted with her married lover at a jazz club and is sent away with (apparently) the stodgiest relative in the history of stodginess. And, at last, Matthew catches Mary visiting the same London doctor that he’s consulting and learns that a) she, not he, was the reason that they couldn’t conceive, and b) the problem has been solved. So they should be preggers in no time, right? Er, right?

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised that Bates rode to Thomas’ rescue? Would you have liked to have seen more of Sybil 2.0’s godfather — Tom’s coarse brother, Kieran? What about Rose? (She was a hoot!) And how nice is it to see Edith happy for a change? Sound off below!