What Happens Next in Downton Abbey? Season (Series) 3 Future Plots, Storylines, Spoilers 2012
Dowagers, Debutants Plus Mary's Wedding!
Downton Abbey, in case you have never heard of it, is an award winning British TV Drama written by Julian Fellowes, the guy who wrote the screenplay for the movie Gosford Park. Here you'll find out what happens next in Season 3.
Downton is sumptuously filmed and scripted in the best traditions of British costume drama with an all star cast that includes Dame Maggie Smith, Ellie the dog and, for season 3, Shirley MacLaine.
Downton has been sold to 100 countries and has won several awards including UK BAFTA and Emmy awards.
The second series (season) set in the first World War, finished its run in the UK at the end of last year. This was followed by the 2 hour Christmas Special (not surprisingly screened on Christmas Day!).
Season 3 of Downton will kick off in the Autumn (Fall) of 2012 in the UK and in January 2013 on PBS in the USA. This series will be set in the 1920s with the first episode being set in 1920. Endless rumours are doing the rounds. For example that Maggie Smith wants out after season 3 and may be 'written out' at some point. Also that Matthew and Mary will marry in season 3.
For fans who just can’t wait, then here is what really happens next!
(Be warned that there are plenty of spoilers ahead)
Carson - shamed by the other half of the 'Cheerful Charlies'
The Plot of Series 3
Lady Sybil Crawley, the youngest daughter of the Earl of Grantham, the one who dressed as a nurse throughout the Great War, has confounded her family by marrying the Crawley family Irish chauffeur, Tom Branson. The Christmas special reveals that they are living in Ireland and Lady Sybil is pregnant.
Tom, with a chip on his shoulder against the British, the size of a large potato, decides to buy up the local pub in Downton, return with his bride and turn it into a music hall in order to humiliate the Crawley clan.
When she hears the scandalous news of the music hall over dinner, The Rt Hon The Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley murmurs,
“A music hall! Dear God tell me its not true. Lets hope and pray that Sybil sees fit not to perform on the stage! And if she does she limits herself merely to singing!”
Carson the Butler, normally implacable, visibly winces and stumbles, nearly dropping the port, at the painful thought of the lovely aristocratic Sybil disporting herself on a stage in front of the local proletariat.
Carson is particularly sensitive to the humilation of being a music hall performer as in series 1 we find out Carson himself walked the boards in a double act known as the 'Cheerful Charlies'.
Carson's ex stage partner comes to Dowton to blackmail Carson but Lord Grantham sends him packing. (Please note I didn't make this up, it really happened!).
Lady Sybil with Tom Branson the Chaffeur
Matthew and Mary Crawley
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Lady Mary and Matthew
Lady Mary Crawley, the Earl’s oldest daughter listens in shocked silence to the dreadful news about her sister and the music hall. But Mary's thoughts are really elsewhere.
At the other end of the table Matthew Crawley, her distant cousin and the true object of her affections (what you didn't know?), sits pensively with his latest flame Lady Silvia Plum.
Mary’s alabaster face betrays no clue as to her inner turmoil. Only her moist eyes and the slight quiver of her lips betray her true feelings.
If you remember, Lavinia, Matthew’s fiance died tragically and unexpectedly of Spanish Flu at the end of series 2. We were supposed think Cora, the Earl’s wife, would be the one to perish, opening the way for the Earl’s affair with one of the maids. You know, the pretty widow who’s name you don’t remember.
Matthew, he who was totally paralysed in the war but was mysteriously restored to health, danced with then snogged the delicious Mary; a lady with oodles of passion hidden beneath her cold exterior and pale complexion.
Mary is a dormant volcano ready to erupt should the right man, for example a Turkish Diplomat, pass her room at the wrong moment.
Unfortunately, the passionate kiss was observed by poor Lavinia, as she walked down the stairs, who then died of a broken heart (plus the Spanish flu).
Mary was so mortified about her part in Lavinia’s death she once again ignores her true feelings and vows to marry her grasping, manipulative fiance Sir Richard Carlisle, whom Violet detests because he is middle class and owns newspapers and in her view, is no more than a superior tradesman.
Christmas Kisses at Downton - Mary and Matthew Finally Together?
Matthew and Mary Poll
What Do You Think Will Happen?
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Matthew and Mary - Christmas
The Christmas special reveals Sir Richard and Mary’s relationship crumbling. Richard demands she sets a date or else he will reveal her ‘Turkish delight’ scandal to the world via his newspaper empire.
Meanwhile, Mary tells her Father the dreadful truth. Mary and Lord Grantham decide she should not marry Sir Richard but move to America to escape the worst of the scandal. Matthew and Richard have a punch up and Richard is sent packing. Mary now only has eyes for Matthew and they dance together at the servant’s ball.
Outside, in the snow, Mary confesses all to Matthew. Matthew says there is nothing to forgive and proposes to Mary, kneeling in the snow.
Their passionate kiss makes a perfect end to the Christmas Special that and knowing that Mary and Matthew are finally engaged (if only life and costume dramas were that simple!).
Matthew and Mary - Season 3
Unfortunately, Series 3, episode 1 will find the dastardly Sir Richard visiting Downton once more to talk to Mary. He is still madly in love with her and he has some shocking pictures taken at the British Embassy in Paris 2 years ago.
Mary is distressed. She recalls a game of sardines that went horribly wrong. It began innocently enough with several people squeezing with Mary into the wardrobe of her guest room at the Embassy.
Mary had no idea pictures were taken. Those present appear in the pictures to be in various states of undress and Mary in one appears to be being pleasured by the Dutch ambassador.
Another appears to shows Mary performing an intimate act with the wife of a Brazilian diplomat. The whole thing is being avidly observed by the French Minister for Sport and Recreation.
Mary is shocked as she doesn’t remember the game being half so lewd. However Sir Richard assures her that photographic experts have checked to make sure the pictures are not a fakes.
The upshot is that Richard is still in love with Mary and can’t let her go. He threatens to publish all the Downton scandals in his papers including the shocking photographs.
Mary therefore breaks off her engagement to Matthew knowing that this latest scandal, together with the photos, would be too much for her parents or Matthew to live with (you knew the Christmas episode was too good to be true!)
Matthew, thwarted once more in his quest for Mary, has turned his attentions to a series of bland Lavinia lookalikes. The latest being Lady Silvia, whom he has bought home for the weekend.
Carson the Butler, who has a distinctly over-fond affection for Lady Mary, glares subtly and icely alternately at Lady Silvia and then at Sir Richard, seated next to Mary.
But at this moment, Matthew is daydreaming and recalling the day he and Mary first met. They shared a picnic on the lawn at Downton and Mary had got cream from the strawberries in her hair. Mary laughed as she wiped the cream away, Matthew turned to his Mother and whispered,
"There's Something About Mary"
Lady Mary Allowing Carsen to Lend an Ear to Her Phonograph Horn
The Crawley Daughters, from the left Sybil, Mary and Edith
Lady Edith Crawley
Later that evening, we see a shadowy dark figure full of menace, stealing into the back entrance leading to the servant’s area.
It is none other than the sinister (but essentially good) John Bates, Lord Grantham's Valet, who was charged with murdering his first wife in the last series. In the The Christmas Special he is found guilty and facing the death penalty, later commuted to life in prison.
Bates, unable to control his feelings for Anna, has escaped from prison. He sneaks into Anna Bates's bedroom (his new wife) for a secret night of passion.
Meanwhile, Lady Edith (the middle Crawley daughter) finds herself strangely drawn to the new housemaid, Janet Egge. Edith is generally disappointed in love and feels inferior to her prettier sisters.
Janet is strikingly attractive with strong features and a masterful manner, unusual in housemaids. She has a way with Edith’s hair and always chooses the right gown to make Edith look her best.
Janet also has firm hands and as she dresses Edith she often caresses Edith’s neck and other parts of her anatomy.
Tonight Edith has a slight headache and Janet kindly massages the back of her neck and her temples in order relieve the discomfort. “You’re very pretty” said the maid, casually.
“No, No I’m so plain compared to my sisters.”
“That’s just the way you’re made to look, said Janet, straying dangerously from the script. “They make you up to look plain but you’re not. To me you’re much more beautiful than your ‘sisters’ and you have fabulous legs!”
Edith is confused by such strange talk by a maid but at the same time deeply flattered. As she rises from the bed, Janet kisses her warmly on the cheek. Without knowing what she is doing Edith returns the kiss, hungrily finding Janet’s sensuous lips.
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Cora the Countess
Cora and Isabel
Meanwhile downstairs, Isabel Crawley, Mother of Matthew (he who really loves Mary) is sharing with Cora the Countess, wife to the Earl, how she wishes to start a school at Downton for the wayward village children.
“We’ll teach them in the drawing room, they can dine with family and sleep in the guest bedrooms..”
Cora is having none of it. After all, she spent the entire war with a house full of injured soldiers. She grasps poor Isabel firmly by her collar and, With her Mother Martha Levinson's help (played by Shirley MacLaine), drags Isabel from her chair and propels here to the front door. Carson opens the door and Isabel is unceremoniously ejected from Downton Abbey.
Edith wakes up in bed. She is very drowsy, naked and recalls a strange, sensuous dream about Janet her maid. She remembers the phrase ’Tipping the Velvet’ then becomes aware of something or someone warm beside her, under the covers.
Later, as Janet dresses Edith, Janet tells her that soon everything will be different. In the 1920’s they will be able to wear short skirts and kiss in public. She talks of the Jazz age and the Charleston and how women will soon have the vote and one day girls will be able to marry each other. How the shortage of men, due to the carnage of the Great War, makes it inevitable that the status of women must change.
These cultural and historical references, whilst helpful to the viewer, confuse poor Edith. However, Edith emerges into the dining room at dinner with a 'cat that got the cream' smile. She is looking forward to an early bedtime and being tucked in by Janet.
Robert Crawley, The Earl of Grantham with Carson His Butler
Robert, the Earl of Grantham
Meanwhile, Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham (husband to Cora) is returning from London on the train. He is secretly delighted to find his first class carriage invaded by a noisy party of young women.
Whilst suspecting they don’t have first class tickets, their vivacious personalities and good looks make him decide not to summon the guard.
He soon finds that his fellow travellers are all actresses and are on the way to the village music hall at Downton run by his new son in law, Tom, to perform in the Christmas Pantomime.
The girls produce a bottle of gin that is passed around. The Earl quickly learns the pantomime is Dick Whittington and in turn passes round a bag of acid drops.
“So which one of you girls takes Dick?” he asks innocently, trying to deduce which actress will don thigh boots and cross dress to play Whittington.
“We all do dearie says the blond in the corner,” with a naughty wink, “but not for acid drops!”
Lady Mary, Thinking about Matthew?
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The next day is Mary’s wedding. With a heavy heart and accompanied by her Father, Mary is driven to the village church to Marry Sir Richard.
Everyone who is anyone is there but, for Mary, the service passes by like a bad dream. The couple say their ‘I dos’ and the Archdeacon declares Richard and Mary man and wife.
Mary gives Sir Richard a cursory peck on the lips and they walk slowly down the aisle to the muted applause of the congregation.
Suddenly there is the sound of a violent struggle in the porch and a dishevelled, breathless Matthew appears at the church door.
“I object!” he rages angrily, striding down the aisle in riding boots towards the altar.
"Too late!" shouts Sir Richard Carlisle, "we're already married!"
Matthew runs towards Sir Richard, who pushes his new wife aside and draws a 9mm pistol from his pocket. Carlisle strides towards Matthew, his face blazing with anger, aiming the pistol. Suddenly, Carson sticks his leg into the aisle bringing Carlisle crashing down.
Two plain clothes policemen fall on top of Sir Richard, (they were there hoping to apprehend Bates) and lead Sir Richard from the church in handcuffs.
Mary looks lost and confused as Matthew takes her in his arms in front of the altar. There is rising buzz of conversation and exclamations from the scandalised congregation.
Carson moves swiftly to the front of the church and guides Matthew and Mary out through the vestry. He then hands Matthew a handful of coins and points out an Omnibus, due to leave the Post Office in 5 minutes.
Matthew grabs Mary's hand, she hitches her wedding gown above her knees and they sprint for the bus.
Violet and The Earl emerge, running, from the church just in time to see the couple board the bus.
"An Omnibus!" Remarked Violet, dryly. "They could at least have run off in an automobile. I warned you, Robert not to marry an American. See what her Yankee blood has done to your daughters? And why could they not have run away before the wedding?"
"Oh well," she added with a sigh, "at least Edith is free of any scandal."
As the bus draws away, all the passengers turn and stare, open mouthed at the somewhat dishevelled Matthew and the beautiful bride in her ornate wedding dress sitting next to him on the back seat.
The couple grin back like naughty children. Matthew waves through the window in the direction of Violet as the Omnibus picks up speed.