Downton Abbey returned from last season’s tear fest with Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) still recovering from Matthew’s (Dan Stevens) fatal celebratory drive after the birth of their firstborn son.

'Downton Abbey' Recap

Upstairs, Isobel (Penelope Wilton), like Mary, grieves for Matthew. Robert (Hugh Bonneville), however, seems almost glad that Mary’s husband and potential future head of the English estate is out of the picture. His wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), meanwhile, is preoccupied with finding a new maid in light of O’Brien’s (Siobhan Finneran) departure to India with Lady Flintshire.

In the servants’ area downstairs there’s still trouble brewing in the four-pointed love story involving Alfred (Matt Milne), Ivy (Cara Theobold), Jimmy (Ed Speleers) and Daisy (Sophie McShera). Thomas (Rob James-Collier) has made it his mission to drum up as much drama between the foursome as possible, causing concern for Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol). Meanwhile, Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Bates’ (Brendan Coyle) love continues to shine. Returning to Downton’s staff is the perpetually unlikeable Edna (MyAnna Buring).

In the aftermath of her son’s death, Isobel has taken it upon herself to help a friend of Carson’s (Jim Carter) acquire employment. The friend, Charlie Grigg (Nicky Henson), was in a workhouse and wrote to Carson asking for help. Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) came upon the letter in the trash and enlists Isobel to help the fellow out. Ultimately, she gets Griggs work as a stagehand in Belfast.

While Isobel is making strides towards accepting Matthew’s untimely demise, Mary continues to struggle to move on from the loss. Tom (Allen Leech) attempts to help her recovery by getting Carson to try to engage her. Unsurprisingly she quickly reems him out. Robert's efforts at soothing his windowed daughter involve trying to leave her as much out of the future of Downton as possible. He wants the estate to himself until her infant son George eventually takes over.

Violet Helps Lady Mary Move On

Violet (Maggie Smith) is the one who finally manages to pull Mary out of the depths of her despair after she tries to dodge taking her mother’s place at the tenant luncheon. She’s overwhelmed at the prospect and descends into tears. When Violet tells her she must choose life or death, she trades in her black ensemble for a purple gown and goes to the luncheon.

Robert is sorely disappointed when he learns that Matthew had in fact made a living will, which lists Mary as the rightful heir of Downton. He tries to argue that telling her of this revelation would only upset her, but Violet tells him that Mary must know the truth. The will is legitimate and Mary will inherit the estate.

Meanwhile, Edith’s (Laura Carmichael) affair with Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards) could one day become a marriage, as he’s set in motion a plan to divorce his wife. He believes that if he can become a German citizen, he’ll be able to get the divorce and legally marry her.

Downton Abbey returns next Sunday on PBS at 9/8c.

– Chelsea Regan

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