This episode begins in bed. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) is sleeping with Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen) in Liverpool.
“Did you sleep well?” Gillingham asks Mary.
“Very, it’s taken me long to get used to sharing a bed again,” Mary replies and yet they haven’t been together that long. Yet we can already tell that Gillingham is beginning to annoy Mary. He wants to observe and remember everything as these rituals and habits will rule his life, he think.
A knock at the door brings breakfast and Gillingham hastily removes to his adjoining room while Mary wraps herself up to accept her breakfast. She doesn’t allow the maid in, a mistake, no doubt.
Mary reveals that level of carelessness of the two, commenting, “We’ve driven around …dined in public” and yet she warns that “I’ve been tarnished once, I won’t be tarnished again.”
Yet Spratt (Jeremy Swift) just happens to be in Liverpool for his niece’s wedding and sees Mary and Gillingham kissing in front of the hotel before Mary departs. Spratt reports this back to Violet, who, ever-composed and quick-witted, assures Spratt that Mary was at a conference and Violet was well aware of her trip. If Spratt had more friends he might realize that Mary was supposedly away doing sketches.
Back at Downton Abbey, Daisy (Sophie McShera) is delighted with her studies. We learn that she left school at 11. Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol), who, if you recall, had encouraged Daisy’s lessons with Miss Bunting (Daisy Lewis), is hardly paying any attention to Daisy now; Mrs. Patmore is reading a troubling letter.
Upstairs, the Crawleys are having breakfast. Robert (Hugh Bonneville) has received an intriguing request for land to be developed. Rose (Lily James) is going to York for her charity work with the impoverished Russian aristocratic refugees. Tom (Allen Leech) takes Edith (Laura Carmichel) to the farm because she wants to see Marigold.
Without his friend Jimmy and now unable to control Miss Baxter (Raquel Cassidy), Thomas (Rob James-Collier) decides to take extreme measures. He asks Mr. Carson to make a private call and later asks to be allowed to see his ailing father. Yet we know that Thomas has been looking at an advert that encourages people to “Choose your own path.”
Mary returns to Downton but has she sufficiently covered her trail?
Lady Edith asks, “You can show us your sketches; where are they?” She’s not the only one asking questions.
Violet (Maggie Smith) will later confront Mary, and Mary is forced to admit that she and Gillingham were taking their relationship for a pre-marital trial. Violet asks, “Can we be confident of no unwanted epilogue?”
And yet while Gillingham is eager to marry, Mary has second and third thoughts. Do you think that means that while she was having sex with Gillingham, she was thinking of her dead husband or of Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden)?
Edith can’t keep away from her own little epilogue, distressing Mrs. Drewe (Emma Lowndes) and she’s told to stay away by Mr. Drewe (Andrew Scarborough) but her mother’s instinct turns her into stalker-mom in the closet.
During a tea for a group of refugee Russian aristocrats, Violet finds there is a loose end from her past in the form of Prince Kuragin (Rade Sherbedgia). He knew her when she was much younger and they both were married. Isobel (Penelope Wilton) teases her but one senses that there was an old romance perhaps?
Downstairs, Mrs. Patmore is upset. Her nephew died a coward’s death while suffering from shell shock and his own town won’t put his name on a memorial. Mrs. Patmore asks Carson if he could do something for the local memorial, but he’s reluctant to press for the matter. Should a poor young boy have no epilogue and be completely forgotten by his own country? As you recall, Carson (Jim Carter) is the head of the committee for the village memorial.
The last episode ended with a constable telling Carson and Mrs. Hughes that a witness has come forward in the death of Mr. Green. The witness heard Green speaking with someone just before his death. The man, Sergeant Willis, indicates that Green had told people that he had been treated poorly at Downton and was disliked by Mr. Bates. Green tried to cover his tracks and this might lead to unfortunate consequences for the Bates. Of course, Green couldn’t have known that his dirty deeds would lead to his death. The mystery is who killed Green and our foremost suspect is Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle). Mr. Bates seems to have been born under a black cloud or an unlucky star.
Will anyone at Downton emerge untarnished?
“Downton Abbey” Season/Series 5, episode 3 premieres on PBS, Sunday, 18 January 2015, 8/9C. Check local listings. After the broadcast, it is available VoD.