Downton Abbey commenced last night’s episode with honored guests making their arrival for a party at the British estate. Among the guests is Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen), who brings along his valet Green (Nigel Harman).

Lord Gillingham & Lady Mary

The affable Lord Gillingham, who’s single – unless you count the woman he’s courting – does his best to win over Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). If his first attempt is any indication, he’s going to need some help. After telling Mary he has no wife or children, he asks, “What about you?” Remembering her husband Matthew Crawley’s (Dan Stevens) death, he adds, “I just wasn’t thinking. Please forgive.”

Things take a positive turn for Gillingham when only he and Mary end up going horseback riding. Mary opens up in the alone time, telling her childhood friend about the many ways in which her late husband changed her. She then gladly takes advice Gillingham offers about how to manage the estate and taxes.

Later on, Gillingham asks Mary for a dance. She initially declines, but goes back to the dance floor at the encouragement of the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). When she sees that it’s Matthew’s gramophone playing the music, she flees the room. “Sometimes I don’t know whom I’m most in mourning for: Matthew or the person I used to be when I was with him,” she explains to Anna (Joanne Froggatt).

Michael Gregson Wins Over Lord Grantham

At Edith’s (Laura Carmichael) behest, Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards) comes to the party with the ambition of getting Lord Grantham to warm to him. Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), as Michael expected, wants nothing to do with him and manages to elude him all day. However, a late night card game brings the two together. Lord Grantham manages to lose a large sum of money to Mr. Sampson (Patrick Kennedy) and asks that no one report his losses back to Lady Grantham. Michael, who reveals a shadier past, challenges Sampson to a game and wins back all of Lord Grantham’s money, and the IOUs Sampson owed some of the other men.

“Mr. Gregson has saved my bacon – but don’t tell your mother,” Lord Grantham tells Edith , clearly taking to her lower-class beau.

Branson Struggles Among The Aristocrats

Since marrying Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) and running in the aristocratic circles, Branson (Allen Leech) has yet to adjust to the customs. Edna (MyAnna Buring) chides him about his white tie and asks hopefully if they can resume their friendship. He later makes a fool of himself when he calls the Duchess of Yeovil “Your Grace” instead of simply “Duchess.” When he complains of the inane rules of the when and where to call people by this title or that, the Dowager Countess replies, “If I were to search for logic, I should not look for it in the English upper class.”

After a day and night of feeling out of place, Branson receives a healthy glass of whiskey from Edna. Later on, Edna taps on the door of Branson’s room, asking him if he’s awake before slipping inside.

Green Gets Between Anna & Bates

Green wastes little time before introducing himself to Anna and subtly mocking her marriage to Bates (Brendan Coyle). Wanting to enliven the downstairs, Green offers to get some games going, entertaining Anna with his chatter and starting a card game for the staff. Bates watches on suspiciously and later tells Anna that he doesn’t have a good feeling about Gillingham’s valet.

The party upstairs, organized by Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), is to feature performances from Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. The servants were also able to enjoy the Dame’s soprano, but Anna is forced to excuse herself when a headache becomes unbearable. Green followers her downstairs. “You look to me like you could use a bit of real fun for once,” he tells her, as though that would cure her headache. After calling Bates a cripple, he tries to kiss her. When Anna attempts to fend him off, he clobbers her with a punch before dragging her off to another room.

When Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) finds Anna hiding in a vacant room, her clothing is tattered and bloody. Anna tells her everything that happened, and asks for Mrs. Hughes to help her, but to not tell Bates about what happened. Anna tells Mrs. Hughes that if Bates were to find out that Green raped her, he’d kill him and end up in jail before getting carted off to the gallows. Bates notices the scratches on Anna’s face and that she’s wearing a new dress. She chalks it up to a fainting spell, and then recoils when he goes to touch her.

– Chelsea Regan

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