refresher course

What Happened on Downton Abbey Season 3, and Where We Hope It’s Headed

Photo: PBS

Okay, yes — you probably remember what happened at the very end of season three, when Matthew Crawley crashed into a giant truck and died mere hours after the birth of his first child. It was horrible. We’ve been mourning all year. But can you remember anything else that happened last season? Don’t worry; grief makes us forget all sorts of things. Here is a quick refresher course to get you up to speed before season four (starting Sunday on PBS).

Where he left off: Like we said — he died.
Where we hope he’s headed: To the afterlife, or any other happy realm that prevents him from returning to the show as a ghost/zombie/undead creature of your choosing. We do not want that.

Lady Sybil
Where she left off: She died, too (during childbirth). It was a rough season.
Where we hope she’s headed: See Matthew, above.

Lady Mary
Where she left off: Mary just gave birth to a healthy boy, the new heir to Downton, and was last seen cradling him while saying lovey-dovey things to Matthew. She has absolutely no clue that her husband just died in a car crash.
Where we hope she’s headed: Oh God, this is too horrible to contemplate. Mary without Matthew is unthinkable, like the Dowager Countess without her side-eye. But … we probably have to want a new life for Mary, just because it would be boring to watch her sit around in mourning clothes. And she hates mourning clothes. So why don’t they send her to America, where she can say snotty things to socialites and then finally meet someone with the requisite indifference to her position? Mary needs to be challenged.

Lord Grantham
Where he left off: Robert reconciled with his wife, Cora, who spent a lot of time blaming him for Sybil’s death. (Lord Grantham sided with a hoity-toity doctor and refused to consider the advice of the trusted Dr. Clarkson.) And he has his estate back, thanks to Matthew and his Lavinia money.
Where he hope he’s headed: To a quiet chair in the library where he will read happily while Tom Branson runs Downton.

Lady Grantham
Where she left off: She forgave Robert, and then agreed to let the trouble-making Rose come live at Downton.
Where we hope she’s headed: The library, with Robert, so that she can shush him every time he tries to intervene and make trouble.

Tom Branson
Where he left off: Let’s just ignore the annoying subplot with the maid who tried to kiss Branson and then got fired. Tom is the new business agent at Downton! He has lots of ideas for modernization, as they keep saying. This is a good thing.
Where we hope he’s headed: Anywhere but Ireland. Do not go back to Ireland, Tom. They will arrest you, and Lord Grantham will ruin Downton all over again, and someone else will have to die in order to prove the magical inheritance that saves the estate. We’ve been down that road, and it was silly the first time we watched it.

Lady Edith
Where she left off: Michael Gregson, the dashing but married to an insane woman newspaper editor, showed up in England and declared his love for Edith. The hitch: He can’t get a divorce, because of the insanity. So Edith more or less agreed to be his mistress, because she got jilted at the altar and also because she is tired of being ignored on this show.
Where we hope she’s headed: To a glamourous flapper life in London with her new boyfriend. Who cares about conventions? It is 1921. Let Edith be great!

Where he left off: He got out of prison, finally. It was so boring when he was in prison.
Where we hope he’s headed: Remember when he and Anna wanted to buy a little inn and make a life there? That seems like a great idea. No need to film any of it.

Where she left off: She learned to dance in Scotland.
Where we hope she’s headed: To the inn with Bates, or to Paris, where she can dance in a former ladies-maid revue and make sense of that subplot.

Where he left off: He made a pass at Jimmy, the flirty footman, and was almost arrested. But then he saved Jimmy’s life in a drunken fight, so now they’re friends.
Where we hope he’s headed: To London, with Edith. They’ll spend a lot of time griping about how horrible everyone at Downton was to them and then have illicit affairs with the men of their choosing.

Where she left off: Dr. Clarkson proposed to her, but she wasn’t interested. And then her son died.
Where we hope she’s headed: Dr. Clarkson’s doorstep. Reconsider this, Isobel. You love medicine, and you love practical people, and it is going to be so lonely without Matthew.

Carson and Mrs. Hughes
Where they left off: Still not in love.
Where we hope they’re headed: To love. Come on, it’s a long life. They deserve it.

Ivy and Daisy
Where they left off: Fighting over Alfred. And carnival games.
Where we hope they’re headed: On a road trip with Mrs. Patmore. Road trips bring people together, and Mrs. Patmore has demonstrated a surprising capacity for fun. (Remember the fancyman?)

The Dowager Countess
Where she left off: Sneakily helping the young people rebel against societal conventions.
Where we hope she’s headed: To the London party house with Edith and Thomas. Don’t you want to see the Dowager Countess in a jazz club? You do.

What Happened on Downton Abbey Season 3