No sooner has Lady Mary been hitched, honeymooned, and had her new husband gush over the wedding-night details with her father (yeeesh!) than Edith wants her chance at all the fun. At the episode?s start, the lone single Crawley girl is beamingly surveying the wedding prep?towering urns of blue, pink, and green flowers, champagne glasses polished in neat rows, and several scullery maids scrubbing down the wide-planked floors for a dance. Her wedding dress has also just arrived (the Dowager was ?rather disappointed you decided against Patou?I would have paid,? by whom she means couturier Jean Patou. Cora is against Patou designs for their tendency to make the wearer look like a ?chorus girl.?)
Still, despite the excitement among the womenfolk at the wedding prep, there is a distinct gloom over the family about Edith?s choice. Sir Antony Strallan is the most traditional of the Crawley girls? beaux, Lord Grantham points out?he?s a landed aristocrat, he?s not a close blood relative, and he?s not a servant. The Dowager Countess has other views: ?Robert, Edith is beginning her life as an old man?s drudge. I should not have thought a large drawing room much compensation.?
And there?s even more of a melancholy tone, as Edith?s wedding (unbeknownst to the servants) will be the very last big party chez Crawley. The house will soon go on sale, listed in the Extra-Starch Gazette as ?desirable nobleman?s property,? with photos of the new spa bathrooms and screening room. The plan is to move someplace very sad-sounding, ?near Durham,? which they?ve all taken to euphemistically calling ?Downton Place.? To see it before the move, the ladies organize a picnic on their new grounds the day before Edith?s wedding.
And . . . it?s not so bad! Cora, scrappy American, warms to the brick-eaved place immediately??Downton Place, how lovely,? she says. But Robert cheerlessly turns away, and Mary of course immediately says, ?Won?t it be a bit cramped?? as soon as she sees it, stalking the groups with champagne, aerating the lawns with her expensive pumps. Tom, as usual, is the voice of reason: ?You do realize that for most people, it looks like a fairy palace??
And speaking of reason, let?s talk Matthew. First of all, married life agrees with him, and he?s never looked better?all of his handsome suits and his silly little stripe-y robes, he looks so dishy out of the same old yellowing evening shirt we used to see him in every week. But we?re sort of tiring of his dithering-dolt shtick. It turns out he definitely won the Swire Mega Millions, signed-sealed-delivered, and it came with a personal letter to him from Reggie Swire, Lavinia?s now deceased father. Mary may have ulterior motives here in wanting the fortune to save Downton, but she at least rightly sees that Matthew is a lunatic to not read the letter. Matthew would so prefer to tune out Reggie?s words, he says, as they might give him a reason not to stew, and there is nothing Matthew loves so much as to stew. In several scenes, Mary responds to his constant preference to wallow for wallowing?s sake with merely her Aghast Face and a cute side braid. In the end, she triumphs, but we sense that Matthew?s relenting was at some cost. Beware, those who come between Matthew and his stew.