Let the battle commence, she tells Charles. (Sidenote: No sight of Mabel Lane Fox. I kind of wanted some epic acid-tongue battle between Mary and Mabel.)
So basically, we will presumably have a Season 5 Tony Vs. Charles throwdown. You ready?
Much of the extended episode was taken up with nonsense involving the Prince of Wales, his mistress, Freda Dudley Ward (yes, a real person who really was the real prince's mistress), and a lost love letter from the prince to Freda.
(Another sidenote: The Prince of Wales in this episode is Edward, the Duke of Windsor, who would go on to abdicate the throne to marry Wallis Simpson).
Rose befriends Freda, who shares with her some embarrassingly cute love letter, later to be stolen by Terence Sampson, the shifty card shark from earlier in the season. (Aunt Rosamund brings him to a party. Ew. Are they dating?).
This brings about this scheme to steal the letter from Sampson before he can either blackmail Freda or sell it to the foreign press.
The Crawleys must rescue the monarchy!
Everyone is involved: Robert gets Bates to have a friend forge a note from Sampson that will let Mary and Rose into his apartment to try to steal it. Because of course Bates would know someone who can do that.
Meanwhile, Robert concocts a game of cards to get Sampson out of his apartment. Bates later saves the day by finding the letter in Sampson's jacket pocket.
The point of this was what?
It did yield this funny (in historical context) line from Robert: "All the public wants is a happy marriage at the palace. Is it too much to ask?!"
Invasion of the Levinsons
Cora's mom, Martha Levinson has arrived ... to do basically what she did last season -- be very modern and toy with the fragile petty emotions of the Brits.
This time, though, she is pursued by the gold-digging (and super old) Lord Aysgarth, who is bankrupt and looking for some good old fashioned American money.
Martha immediately knows what he's up to, but hilariously strings him along until ultimately turning down his proposal, saying she has no desire to be the latest Lady Aysgarth. Instead, she offers to have him visit her Newport "cottage" (read: huge mansion) where she will set him up with suitable old ladies wanting a title.
So, she won't marry him. But she'll gladly be his pimp. A rich pimp, but still.
And she has another standoff with the Dowager Countess that was a little disappointing and basically amounted to "I'm modern, and your way of life is vanishing" -- stuff we've heard before.
More interestingly, Martha brings along her son, Harold (played nicely by Paul Giamatti), who has never met the Crawley daughters and has just escaped being punished for his role in the Teapot Dome scandal.
Harold's a playboy -- not because he's handsome (again, he's played by Paul Giamattii), but because he's filthy rich. This catches the eye of Lord Aysgarth's daughter, Madeleine Allsopp, who is pushed by her father to claim him as her husband (Aysgarth double attack!).