Alfred calls Thomas evil.
"Evil?! Thomas does not choose to be who he is," Robert says. Look, we know Lord Grantham is a good guy, but this seems very unbelievable. As liberal as one could be in 1920, did anyone believe (or speak out) about being gay as being something other than a choice?
It works though. Alfred backs down, the police are (somewhat) satisfied and Thomas remains on. What an interesting conclusion to everything with Thomas and O'Brien and Jimmy. The question remains, though, as to how Jimmy and Thomas will resolve things or how, more interestingly, Thomas and O'Brien will act around each other.
And I want to learn more about Robert's Eton days. Does Cora know?
The rest of the episode centered around two more dramatic situations: what will happen with Branson and the fight between Matthew and Robert about how best to deal with Downton's financial situation.
The Branson situation: Is there any fan who really wants him to leave the house, especially if it means moving into a garage with his scary brother Kieran to start a car repair business?
But that seems to be the plan until Branson comes to his senses. First, the Dowager suggests that Branson takes over for Mr. Jarvis, the agent of Downton who supervises all the land and property and quits in a huff when Matthew tries to change things. Perfect!
Secondly, he realizes that his place is increasingly at Downton. He has become part of the family enough to tell Robert that he wants to property to succeed, that he wants baby Sybil to have a good life, that he likes it there. Aww. It all comes to fruition when, at the cricket match, he asks Cora if it will be cool if he and the baby stay.
She's overjoyed. And so is the viewer. Branson's pretty much everyone's favorite at this point, right?
More tedious is Matthew and Robert's fight about what to do next about Downton. Matthew wants to invest in new machinery, wants to make everything more efficient, etc. Reasonable, right? But Robert seems immune to change at first, until Cora convinces him that things really, really (really, really) need to change.
I like this dynamic trio of Matthew, Robert and Branson. Matthew, the briiliant financial mind; Branson, the property manager; Robert, the guy who understands the history of the house and land and how to deal with the residents.
I like where this is going.
Mary and Matthew's "problem"
Since every other scene this season involving Mary and Matthew have just been them in bed or reaffiriming their deep love for each other, it was nice to see something different happen to these two.
They still want a baby, desperately. Matthew is afraid that he's war injuries are to blame for his, um, equipment not working. He goes to the doctor in London, who tells him not to worry, and that a Crawley baby will be "yowling" in a crib soon. Not sure how I feel about the "yowling" part, but that's good news, I think.
Leaving the office, he runs into ... dun dun dun ... Mary, using a false name to see the doctor in secret. Later, they lunch together and Mary reveals that the problem is not with Matthew but with her, and that she got a "small operation" to take care of the issue.
Side note: She doesn't say what this "small operation" was. Chatter on the interwebs suggest that it was perhaps a hymenectomy. Or something. Sure.
Either way, she assures her hubby that a baby will be happening soon. Guess we'll find out.