Robert's summons to America gave the Earl's brow even more reason than usual to be furrowed. If his journey to the bosom of Cora's family wasn't enough, it transpired he'd have to do with - more smelling salts, please - Barrow, not Bates at his side. But at least it put the shy smiles back on Bates' and Anna's faces. For now...
Robert was off to America, but Mr Bates was staying at home by Anna's side
His departure cleared the decks for all sorts of shenanigans at 'Downton Abbey', particularly for the strongest plot currently, that of Lady Edith, who hot-footed it to London and an illegal medical appointment. Writer Julian Fellowes continues his deft touch for setting family narrative in a wider social context, and reminding us just what women had to go through... Good acting from Laura Carmichael, with Lady Edith definitely the more interesting of the two sisters in this series so far, leaving Lady Mary to juggle suitors and perform her usual convincing impression of C3P0, even slipping over in the pigsty for heaven's sake.
Oh, how we giggled when they started flinging the mud around. And guffawed when the 'saving the bacon' gag turned up. And beamed as they gained a fresh understanding of each other over scrambled eggs. This whole scenario felt like 'Downton' beginning to repeat itself.
Lady Rose was left 'in charge of fun' following Robert's departure to America
On a lighter note, Lady Rose, left "in charge of fun" by Robert, found plenty of her own, on an idyllic boating outing with her musician gentleman friend. I wonder, out of these two stories, those of Lady Edith and Lady Rose and their current romantic entanglements, which would cause the greater consternation at the Downton dinner table?
The Dowager's illness brought worry, but also some light relief
Most worryingly of all, the Dowager's cough... but she STILL had all the best lines, fending off the tender administrations of Mrs Crawley. Give this pair their own series!