RECAP: A Tragic End to DOWNTON ABBEY's Season 3
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The men of Downton also sign up for a tug-of-war. Jimmy places a BET on his team and then quickly recruits the burly Tufton to anchor the rope for his side. After a lot of strenuous pulling the Downton team finally overcomes their opponents. Jimmy collects his spoils and they all celebrate with a beer. But defeat does not sit well with the other team. When a slightly drunken Jimmy stumbles under a bridge and encounters his rivals, they immediately attack. Luckily, Thomas appears to interfere. They turn their attentions on him and he receives the full brunt of their aggressions while Jimmy escapes to find Dr. Clarkson.
Before he does, the doctor is enjoying the afternoon with Isobel. When they finally sit to have a drink, he works up the courage to ask her to marry him. The match would actually work quite nicely. Isobel was the wife of a doctor once before and they have a mutual respect for and understanding of one another. But Isobel senses his intentions and quickly nips them in the bud. She explains that she is happy in her life and does not want to jeopardize her friendship with Dr. Clarkson. He would later thank her for her consideration and agree this path is for the best. In the meantime, Jimmy finds them and brings them to Thomas who has been badly beaten.
Later at Downton, Jimmy goes to check on Thomas and thank him for his courage. When he discovers that Thomas' appearance that afternoon was not a right-place-right-time coincidence, but rather that he had in fact been following him, Jimmy decides to confront the elephant in the room. He explains that he could never give Thomas what he desires, a fact that Thomas accepts but asks if they can perhaps at least be friends. Jimmy agrees and the two carry on amiably.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Hughes is forced to confront Mrs. Patmore about Mr. Tufton's inappropriate behavior when she finds out that he had asked for her hand. When she hears of his behavior, it seems at first that Mrs. Patmore is crushed. Then the look of shock on her face quickly melts away and she breaks into laughter, telling Mrs. Hughes that she is actually quite relieved. As it turns out, the man had only been interested in her cooking and she was dreading a life of catering to his every whim.
Mrs. Hughes' issues with Edna become more complicated after the fair. The housemaid enters Tom's room while he is changing for bed. She thanks him for a lovely day, kisses him quickly, and asks him to meet her for lunch the next day. Before he can give an answer she leaves the room. When Carson and Mrs. Hughes find out about this plan, they decide her dismissal is unavoidable. She has broken one of the fundamental laws of service and she cannot stay.
Branson is distressed by Edna's termination because he holds himself partially accountable. Mrs. Hughes comforts him. She can see that the episode has left him feeling lost in his new life. She tells him he has nothing to be ashamed of and that Lady Sybil would be proud of what he has become. The thought of his late wife brings him to tears. Mrs. Hughes grasps his hands firmly and assures him that he will find his way through and that one day, with Sybil's blessing, he will meet somebody to help carry the weight. Branson, who has been longing for somebody to speak with him candidly, as they would when he was in service, is boosted by her words.
In Scotland, the rest of the staff and family are enjoying the ghillies' ball, some perhaps more than others. O'Brien settles the score with a new enemy, Susan's lady's maid, Wilkins. Wilkins has been spiteful toward O'Brien ever since she was overshadowed by her in hairdressing skills. Feeling undermined, Wilkins seeks vengeance at the ball by pouring a healthy dash of whiskey into O'Brien's drink. But the queen of conniving cannot be that easily duped; the smallest sip lets her onto Wilkins' plan and she sets the cup aside. An unsuspecting Mr. Molesley picks up the drink and gulps it down in one shot. Soon he is unleashing "the wild man inside" on the dance floor and causing quite a scene. O'Brien gets her Revenge by making suggestions to Susan on how to better Style her hair, nitpicking faults in Wilkins' work.
Anna finally unveils her secret to her husband and Mary and impresses them both with her newfound reeling skills. Soon, everyone joins in the dance. Suddenly, however, Mary is overcome by an uneasy feeling and must sit down. She and Matthew decide that it would best for her to return home early. The next day, she and Anna board a train to Downton.
When she arrives at the station she realizes that she is going into labor and asks Anna to get her to the hospital immediately. The rest of the family is contacted and they all arrange to return the next morning. In the meantime, Mary comes through the birth safely, much to the delight of Carson and his staff. When Matthew finally arrives, both he and Mary are overwhelmed with joy to welcome a son and heir into the world. Back at Downton, Isobel delivers the good news to the family.
Before he leaves his wife and son, Matthew shares a tender moment and expresses his love for them both. In that instant, Mary is perfect in his eyes and she hopes forever to stay that way. With one last kiss, he leaves her to share the joy with his family. As he drives blissfully down the road, back at the house Robert reflects fondly on how positively their lives have changed in the past few months. But reality is cruel, and just when life cannot seem more perfect for Matthew, it is taken away from him. A truck hits his car in a head-on collision and throws him into the wood beside the road, crushed by the weight of his vehicle. Meanwhile, an unknowing Mary sits cradling her newborn child in the hospital, dreaming of the world ahead.
What will go down at Downton Abbey next...season (ugh)? How will the Crawleys possibly cope with the loss of another cherished family member? Will O'Brien take Wilkins' place with Lady Flintshire in Bombay? Will Rose's modern ways raise Mr. Carson's bushy eyebrows? Tune in Sunday...oh sod it! We're all going into Downton withdrawal anyway!