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Marriage Lost, Estate Gained: 'Downton Abbey',' Episode 3

By Liz Crumpacker,
'Spinsters get up for breakfast'

This week on Downton Abbey, Edith learns the hard way that even as the daughter of an Earl, she isn't guaranteed a life of happiness. After much preparation for the marriage between Edith and Anthony Strallen, he changes his mind at the alter and tells Edith that he can't go through with the marriage. Leading up to the unfortunately timed change of heart, there had been comments from many Crawley family members that Edith deserves to be with someone younger. Despite Edith reassuring him that, "I don't love you in spite of you needing looking after, I love you because of it," Strallen couldn't go through with the marriage. By the end of the episode, Edith is still in mourning for her future, feeling as if her misfortune with love will lead to life as a spinster.

While his daughter grieves, Lord Grantham receives some happy news from Matthew. A few days prior, Matthew received a letter from the now deceased Reggie Swire, but refused to open it for fear of what praise it might contain. Not having the patience to wait for Matthew to get over himself, Lady Mary opened the letter to find that Reggie was completely aware of Matthew and Lavinia's situation at the time of her death. Matthew was refusing to accept Reggie's inheritance because he felt it would be out of bad faith, assuming Lavinia's father never knew the truth of their relationship. He felt incredibly guilty that Lavinia knew he was in love with Mary. With this letter, Matthew tells Lord Grantham he will give him the inherited money so the family can continue to live at Downton. Lord Grantham happily agrees, but under the condition that they will be joint masters of the estate.

Always keeping busy, Mrs. Isabel Crawley is shown helping out at a reform center for prostitutes, where she tries to help women who are seeking a different life. Mysteriously, Ethel Park - a past servant at Downton who became pregnant from a soldier during the War - comes to the center asking for help, but leaves before she reveals the actual purpose of her visit. Isabel finds Ethel's last known address from Mrs. Hughes, but when she goes to the house Ethel insists she is past help and the audience remains as confused as Isabel about her troubles.

Meanwhile, during wedding preparations and the hurried clean up, the servants are dealing with their own drama. Thomas tells Molesley that O'Brien plans to leave Downton, and Molesley rushes to Cora to ask if he can suggest a family member to be considered for O'Brien's replacement. Of course, O'Brien isn't leaving and has to work to smooth over the confusion Thomas has caused. By the end of the episode, O'Brien is out for revenge, and we can be certain it won't be sweet.

In much more serious concerns, Mrs. Hughes is constantly worrying about her diagnosis as she waits to hear from the doctor. Carson overhears a conversation between Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes and quickly puts the pieces together - he seems even more stressed about a potential cancer diagnosis than Mrs. Hughes herself. Fortunately, at the very end of the episode, Mrs. Hughes learns the lump she discovered is nothing more than a benign cyst.

Working tirelessly to free Bates, Anna continues her search for evidence confirming his late wife's suicide. She visits a grouchy neighbor hoping for answers, yet discovers very little other than Mrs. Bates' nervous behavior shortly before her death. Bates continues to deal with a troublesome cellmate, who tries to frame Bates for an unknown reason.

Although this week provided more answers than the two-hour premiere, Episode 3 of Downton Abbey continues to raise some tricky questions. Where questions exist, drama thrives, and there is much more to be had in the coming season. Will Edith end up alone? Have her sisters taken all of the happiness, or will they face troubles of their own? What could cunning Mrs. O'Brien have up her sleeve? We might not find out next week, but we will tune in with great expectations nonetheless. One thing we can be sure of - the Crawley Family and their staff will not disappoint.

 
 

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