I mean, he didn't even have a bedazzled eye-patch, but OK.
Gregson is there, too and Edith strives for most of the episode to get her father to even look at her love. I mean, there is a party and he needs to check on the wine list and all, but Grantham can't even engage Gregson for longer than 10 seconds.
But our attention is more on Gillingham (eye patch or not). More specifically, on Mary and Gillingham. They get along well, they go riding together (trivia: Mary rides side-saddle) and later dance before she gets emotional after the servants bring down Matthew's gramophone to play some music.
We also learn that Gillingham is nearly engaged to someone named Mabel Lane Fox (which is tragic, name-wise). Mary calls her "the greatest heiress of the season" in her very snobbish, 1922-snarky Mary way. I would eventually like to see Mary square off against other heiresses in some sort of battle royale of the acid-tongues. She'd totally win.
Gillingham has quickly taken a shine to Mary (take that, Mabel Lane!), and later asks her out on a date. She says she's flattered and laughs to the delight of Branson, who remarks that it's the first time she has laughed since Matthew died. Isobel, still deep in grief for her son, watches the scene sadly.
No no, Branson
Speaking of Branson, there was a bit of rehash this episode of his whole, "I don't belong with high-class people" plot lines from, well, all previous episodes he has ever been in. Yes, it's clearly weird for him to have to make small talk with the duchess and wear fancy cothes all the time (he just wants to be out with the farmers, dang it!), but I thought he had moved past it all.
Instead, we see him mope around, tell Lord Grantham he has let him down with his behavior and whine that he doesn't belong. No-good Edna lurks in the shadows and is ready to pounce. She asks if they can be "friends," she's there with a large glass of whiskey to give Branson when he's moping in some room.
"You understand me, don't you?" Branson asks Edna.
"I'd like to think so," she says.
If this conversation sounds familiar it was because I'm pretty sure the exact same thing was said between the two last season. Branson, she's awful.
So it's dissapointing to see Edna sneak into Branson's room later. Well, we don't actually see the two together, but you know it's them. "Are you awake?" Edna asks before sneaking in. Tom! You can kind of predict where this will go.
The latest Lord Grantham battle with modernity
Besides disagreeing with his daughter about how to handle taxes and land better, Robert sort of unwittingly lets Carson decide that Dame Nellie Melba, the singer, who is, again, world famous, shouldn't eat with the family and guests upstairs, but in her room. Alone. With food on a tray.
Cora is outraged and puts a stop to that, but Robert still doesn't expect her to, you know, be a human being with intelligence when she sits next to him at dinner. What changes his perception? The fact that she knows about wine. Sure.
Best related Carson line: "An Australian singer?! Eating with her ladyship!"
Best Dowager Countess lines
On Branson's lack of small talk skills: "Not everyone can be Oscar Wilde." -- Lord Grantham
DC: "That's a relief."
On music choices: "I prefer Bartok." -- Isobel