I think the house is going to be fine. In Scotland, Robert realizes that Matthew's leadership and modernization have saved the house (Shrimpy reveals that he did nothing to modernize Duneagle and now he's about to lose it all). It looks as though Branson will have to step up even more; he's now even further entrenched in a family he was hesitant to become loyal to.
But what about Mary? And the baby? Will she feel up to motherhood now? Will she move on with a new husband who will formally adopt the baby? And will the family welcome him?
And how exactly will the family cope with yet another death of a b23eloved family member?
It's not going to be easy. But it'll be easy to be excited to see how everything plays out in Season 4. Side note: Don't worry about Dan Stevens' career. He's starring in "The Heiress" on Broadway with Jessica Chastain and is reportedly set to play Darcy in a sequel to "Pride and Prejudice."
HIGH(LANDS) SCOTLAND DRAMA:
Mr. Carson informs us that the Duneagle trip is the "high spot of his Lordship's calendar." And sure, it's beautiful (we see so much hunting and "stalking" in the heather that the episode could double as a tourism campaign for Scotland), but it also brings a lot of dramatic moments.
Unhappily married: The owners of the estate are Susan, whom the Dowager seems to have a close relationship with, and her husband Hugh "Shrimpy" MacClare, the marquess of Flintshire (best title ever). And the couple pretty much hates each other, or, as Shrimpy kindly says later when Robert asks what's going on, "We don't like each other."
They're together because it's proper to do so. The elite don't divorce, you see, especially when they have to accept royal appointments. Shrimpy and Susan are preparing to move to Bombay, India, for a foreign post. And they don't know what to do with their free-spirited daughter, Lady Rose.
Yes, Lady Rose. Again. We saw her in the last episode gallavanting around London with a married man. And she's still pretty annoying (which is different than just being a "free spirit"). And yet, we feel sorry for her in this episode. It's not that she just doesn't get along with her mother, it's that her mother criticizes her every move. Susan even says she looks like a "slut," when she disapproves of her dress for the ball.
In the end, both Shrimpy and Susan agree that Rose will be better off at Downton when they're in India. Looks like we have a new Downtonian to deal with next season! For Robert's part, he not only realizes that Matthew's modernization plans for the estate were right, but that he loves and appreciates Cora even more.
Yeah, seeing a high-bred couple bicker all the time will make you appreciate the love you still have for your wife.
Edith and Gregson: Despite Edith being all, "Dude, you have a wife in an asylum. Back off," Michael Gregson is still hell-bent on courting his columnist.
Not so smoothly, he informs Edith that he'll just happen to be in Scotland at the same time the Crawleys are there. And he'll be close to Duneagle. His reason: He's on a "Sketching holiday. He's sketching and fishing." Ha, sure. P.S.: What, exactly, is a sketching holiday?
Still, he's welcomed at Duneagle and greeted by Mary's sneers; she makes mean comments about the situation to Edith. In an understatement, Matthew says to her, "You can be quite horrid when you want to be." But, you know, he still loves her, because he has seen her "naked and held you in my arms. I know the real you." OK.
Matthew decides to sort-of adopt Gregson, who sticks around even though Edith tells him that she just can't see a happy ending in this situation. While fishing, Gregson tells Matthew about the wife-in-asylum situation and Matthew just can't let him pursue Edith any longer (it'll be such a scandal!).
Gregson fully intends to tell Edith he's backing off, but at the ball, after Gregson tells her that even Matthew won't let this happen, Edith decides that this will not be their final evening together.
Good for Edith, standing up to her family and such, though it's really tough to tell whether she even feels the same way about Gregson. Still, I like Gregson. He seems like a nice, loving guy. We'll see what the family thinks of him.
Miss O'Brien and the Scottish O'Brien: Though I really wanted to see O'Brien and Thomas have some sort of showdown (it's a year later, so maybe they've made up or come to some sort of understanding), instead we see O'Brien become friends with Susan's lady's maid, Miss Wilkins.
Wilkins, somehow, is less attractive than O'Brien, but seems to mirror her personality (at one point, Wilkins even calls O'Brien her kindred spirit, which was weird).
But O'Brien doesn't quite see things the same way, especially after a chat between the two where Wilkins describes just how set she is in her miserly, angry-angsty way. Things get even more heated between the two after Wilkins gets jealous when Susan wants O'Brien to do her hair like Cora's