Downton Abbey is back, and there is no better way to begin than with a wedding.
It’s not just any couple tying the knot. It’s Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens).
It only took hours upon hours of eager viewing across series for the pair to walk down the aisle, but this episode did not just belong to church bells and white veils.
The first episode of the third series brought us to the 1920’s and saw Anna’s (Joanne Froggatt) continued attempts to get Bate’s (Brendan Coyle) freedom returned to him, a new footman tear the terrible twosome of O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran) and Thomas (Rob James-Collier) apart and the hilarious landing of the Countess of Grantham’s, Cora’s, (Elizabeth McGovern) mother, Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine). She is one to watch, especially with the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) on fine form as always.
In Cora’s words, “She’ll bring enough trouble for Rome.”
Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) is back and her husband, Branson (Allen Leech), the former chauffeur, sets off by getting himself into trouble. Talk of Irish repression is not a popular subject when dining at Downton.
Yet the chauffeur-turned-journalist redeems himself most spectacularly and is responsible for Matthew telling Mary: “I’d never be happy with anyone else for as long as you walked the earth.”
Branson could be one to warm to.
All this happens while the future of Downton is threatened by the loss of the family’s fortune.
A misjudgement in buying shares sees the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) lose “the lion’s share of Cora’s fortune.” With their wealth disappearing, the Crawley family’s Downton Abbey is unstable and whispers of selling rise throughout the episode.
Maybe next Sunday we’ll see the matter resolved, maybe not, but we’ll be watching as enthusiastically as ever.