TV: Downton Abbey S3 – Episode 1 Summary + Review

“Wedding bells ring”

(A couple that managed to get together during the first two series, surely not)

Airing on: ITV

Genre: Family, Slice of Life, Drama, Age: All ages

Released: 16th September 2012 – onwards (UK Version)

Mary and Matthew’s wedding is being prepared by everyone at Downton, and everything is well underway. The happy couple are looking forward to their new lives, but everything can’t be straightforward. Not at Downton Abbey…

Warning! May contain spoilers!




Lady Grantham’s maid, O’Brien asks if her nephew can join the staff at Downton as a footman. Lord Grantham agrees, but he seems distracted with another issue.

(O’Brien will make sure to only chop a couple of inches off from the back… of the neck)

Anna visits her husband, John Bates, who has been imprisoned on accusation of murdering his first wife. Although Anna claims that it is suicide, she must prove it to the authorities.

Attempting to locate anyone who might be able to verify Mr Bates’s first wife was suicidal, she asks him to write down names and occupations of everyone known to them.

(“Can’t we just break you out? Be fugitives? It’ll be faster…”)

Alfred, O’Bien’s nephew, is hired a footman despite having no experience. He will find life at Downton tough, and must learn quickly.

(Little did Alfred know, he had a career afterwards as Batman’s butler)

Lord Grantham travels to London to converse with his financial adviser about the loss of Grantham funds. His investments have taken a dive and lost him too much money to be able to keep Downton after the wedding.

(“Now that I’m poor, this drama is no longer about rich people. The shock!”)

Matthew and Mary discuss where they will go after their wedding, and a holiday to France is planned. They look forward to knowing each other more intimately outside the walls of Downton.

Matthew tells Mary about news of potential inheritance money, worth a lot, and potentially his if other heirs cannot be found. He plans on giving the money away.

(It takes a long time to travel during this era, so plan wisely…)

The youngest of the Crawley sisters, Sybil Crawley, arrives with her Irish husband, Tom Branson. Due to the scandal they caused when they eloped, Sybil was almost estranged from the family, but some mysterious person has sent them the money they needed to travel from Ireland for Mary’s wedding.

They are already walking on eggshells, but Tom’s stark views about the monarchy and Irish politics soon alienate the guests at Downton.

(“We’re broke and we need money, so can we crash here for a couple of years?”)

In the servant’s quarters, Daisy the kitchen maid is having a protest at the hire of a new footman, rather than a new kitchen maid, who was promised. Mrs Patmore, the cook, tells her that nothing can be done, and no-one else will be hired.

(A lot more than a new maid was needed to help this kitchen)

Sybil tells Mary about her life in Ireland and the new freedoms that it grants. she also passes her blessings on for Mary’s marriage.

(“There are no riots in Ireland… Kind of…”)

Lord Grantham reveals the house’s debts to Lady Cora Grantham. He feels that he let down the house and staff in finances. Later that night Lord Grantham breaks the news to Mary, after the wedding, it is likely that Downton will have to shut and sold.

(“You mean, we’re poor now? But we finally got rid of the girls… Except Edith.”)

After his terrible impression during dinner, Tom Branson decides to move into the local pub rather than stay at Downton. Matthew finds him in the local village, and backs him as being a member of the family, saying that they should display comradary as brother-in-laws.

(Both men managed to swag the richest and prettiest girls in the county. *Bro-fist!*)

At a dinner party a few days before the wedding, the Grey’s are invited to dine. Edith Crawley, the second daughter, talks to a potential suitor, Sir Anthony Strallan. Sir Anthony spots one of the guests, Mr Grey, dropping something into Tom Branson’s cup.

(This series needs to make Edith fans happy. Come on!)

Later that evening, Tom displays symptoms of being drunk, and cannot control his outbursts. As Sybil helps him to their room, Matthew declares that Branson should be his Best Man at the wedding.

(“Sorry about the vomit in your lap, Edith”)

Tom Branson is later apologising to the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Lady Violet, when he is stuffed into a morning suit for the wedding. Matthew doesn’t agree that it should be done without Tom’s consent, but both eventually give in.

(Matthew tells of his own vomiting after seeing Tom barf)

Cora’s mother, and the Crawley sisters’ grandmother, arrives from America with a lot of fuss.

(“In America, we get servants to kill our animals for the new coats”)

Matthew reveals to Mary that he is the heir, and when asked to use the money to help save Downton, he refuses. Mary cannot acknowledge that he would let her family become homeless, and the two get into an argument.

(“I guess, you could start selling things on eBay…?”)

Daisy finishes her unsuccessful protest over the lack of the kitchen maid, and begins helping with the wedding preparations.

(“Daisy… what are you going to do with that knife.. Err.. Daisy..?!”)

Anna comforts Lady Mary over her fight with Matthew, but convinces her that he is a good man. Later that evening, the two make up.

(“Just marry him. We already put the wedding in the promos for this series” )

The day of the wedding, Mary arrives downstairs to her stunned family.

(If you don’t like this dress, there are three others. Just. In. Case.)

The wedding takes place with jubilation from the village. The stunning bride and groom take their vows.

(“Psst! This series will be awesome.”   “Agreed.”)

Overall, the first episode of the third series starts off with a jumble of story lines, and not so much as hint of what happened in previous series. If you’re just tuning in to the lives at Downton Abbey, you might feel a bit lost.

The cast is as rich, and vibrant as ever, with great performances from everyone. A new character is introduced right off the bat, though Alfred hasn’t had much time on screen.

Clearly the entire focus was on the spectacularly chic wedding of Matthew and Mary. The entire episodes leaps up and down whilst travelling to this one moment.

They didn’t figure out the money problems, so there’s more financial woes for future episodes. Hopefully Lord Grantham can make his fortune back himself, but that doesn’t make for a tantilising drama series.

I can’t wait to see this drama unfold. I have been following Downton Abbey since the original series, so it clearly has charm and has me hooked.

Rated 4/5 – Luscious locations. Classy costumes. Timely elegance.

See the next episode!

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