Madeleine, though, has a heart and knows what she's doing is wrong. Still she actually takes a shine to Harold and his kind, light-hearted ways. This is the kind of role that Paul Giamatti usually plays, by the way (a bit rough around the edges, but with a big heart and sympathetic and what not).
In the end, she decides to remove herself from her fathers schemes, and promises to write Harold. Though this was a random and oddly developed subplot, I found myself wanting to see more of Harold-Madeleine, so kudos Julian Fellowes.
The issue with Thomas
Disappointingly, "Downton" has decided to revert Thomas back to being a one-dimensional bad guy. I expected more after his interesting character development last season with the whole Jimmy Kent situation.
But instead he has reverted to the guy who just tries to get information from Baxter (to no avail -- she finally, emphatically stands up to him and says she wont do his bidding) and being really angry for no reason at Branson.
Apparently, he's seething with anger that he has to serve Branson. So when Branson brings Sarah Bunting home to check out Downton, Thomas concocts a lie to tell Robert, implying that something scandalous was going on between Branson and Sarah in the house while the family was away.
Robert seems upset, and he only hints at what he knows to Branson. But will anything come of this?
The characterization of Thomas has been a low point this year. Do we not know what to do with him any longer? Must we have taken him back to his very old (and tired) Season 1 ways? Also, is there a point to withholding the Baxter Secret?
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SEASON FINALE
Most annoying valet ever: The Jar Jar Binks of the episode was Ethan Slade, Harold Levinson's valet. He's super-wide eyed and forward and really American and loud. And extremely irritating.
Brought in for (supposed) comic relief, we have to watch him try to ask Carson "what's going on" between Alfred and Daisy ("Nothing's going on!" Carson says), not know that he's supposed to be silent while offering food and being generally there.
His one function of consequence is trying to persuade Daisy to move to New York to become Harold's cook. She declines, but Ivy readily accepts. Yes, no more Ivy!
Although, to be fair, we did get this one funny exchange:
Ethan: Are you excited?
Daisy: I'm never excited.
BFFs: How cute are Isobel and the Dowager Countess? They deserve their own spinoff. My idea: Downton finally falls into financial ruin, forcing Violet and Isobel to move in together in a small one bedroom apartment. Working title: "Cramped Style."
This interaction, while the two traveled together to London, was priceless:
Violet: "Cora insisted I come without a maid. I can't believe she understood the implications."
Isobel: "Which are?"
Violet: "How do I get a guard to take my luggage? And when we arrive in London, what happens then?"
Isobel: "Fear not. I've never traveled with a maid, you can share my knowledge of the jungle."
Best moment: How cute was seeing Carson and Mrs. Hughes hold hands as they waded into the sea?
Also coming on Season 5: Will we ever find out what will happen to Bates and Anna and if Bates actually killed Green? In this episode, Mrs. Hughes find a ticket that shows that Bates was in London the day Green was killed. Hughes refuses to tell Anna (or condemn Bates for what he may or may not have done). She shows the ticket to Mary, who also doesn't tell Anna, but makes it clear to Bates what she knows.
Best new couple: Lord Merton, preciously awkward, continues his wooing of Isobel, also preciously awkward. Get on it, you too.