But, Just as soon as the peons finishing picking the rice off the church steps, Matthew and Mary are back from their honeymoon. Lord Grantham and the rest of the clan have been waiting patiently for them out on the gravel, their own miserable lives on hold until the happy couple returns.
“So, how’d you like slipping your ol’ pickled gerkin in my daughter’s plum pudding for the first time ever?” Old Man Grannypanties asks Matthew in an exceptionally gross way upon arrival.
“Oh, Lord Grantham, you do go on!” Cousin Mattress simpers, disguising a blush with his lace fan.
At dinner, Dowager Empress Maggie Smith shrieks in horror as Shirley MacLaine stuffs her face, spews chunks of food from her craw, and spills wine everywhere. See, in America, we don’t know how to use cutlery or speak without our mouths full. Despite these barnyard manners, we have lots and lots of money, apparently—and that gives Lady Mary an idea! “Grannykins, let’s do try and swindle some money out of Shirley MacLaine to save Downton,” she whispers to Dame Maggie, and the pair set about to scheming.
Meanwhile, on a sound stage far away, Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes are enjoying a little under-the-sweater-over-the-bra quality time, when—what’s this?—a lump is discovered in Mrs. Hughes’ plumptious bosom!
Could it be the Big C? “A cancer storyline,” Laura Linney scoffs from that weird red room where she introduces every episode. “Very original!”
The ladies go to the doctor, who sticks some pins in Mrs. Hughes and slaps some leeches on her. “Cancer?” the doctor asks. “Who knows? It’s 1612!” So they trundle on home and decide not to tell anyone about what’s going on with old Hughes’ boob.
Have you been wondering what happened to that ginger maid? No, not Season One’s ginger maid who wanted to be a secretary and was forced to go live beyond The Wall. Season Two’s ginger maid, who got knocked up by a soldier who then got killed.
Man, those Crawleys can’t keep their ginger maids!
Season Two’s firecrotch is now a desperately poor single mother. How desperately poor? Like, prostitution desperately poor. And the British really aren’t fans of the carrottops, so business can’t be good. Oh, the poverty and desperation!
But here’s the thing: Cousin Isabel has found a job as a madam, tightening and tucking the girls and sending them back out on the streets. Guess who she spots on her turf? It’s Ginger Maid 2! “Hey sweet thing, don’t I know you?” Cousin Isabel purrs, running her talon down GM’s silken cheek. “No! I’m not ready!” GM squeaks, and runs off into the night.
“She’ll be back,” Cousin Isabel chuckles as she lighting up a blunt. “They all come back.”
“What could Lady Edith be up to right about now?” asks absolutely no one. Well, she’s still trying desperately to get the crippled Sir Anthony to notice her through his ether haze. No one approves of their union, of course, since Little Edie has been destined since birth for spinsterhood.
“But daddy, I love him!” Lady Edith cries, as Lord Grantham destroys her secret grotto filled with Sir Anthony’s cast-off clothes and knickknacks. “Nope!” he bellows, “Spinsterhood!”
You know how on Gossip Girl there was a party in every single episode? Well, on Uptown Abbey there’s a grand dinner every episode. And something always goes terribly awry. This time, Dame Maggie and Miss Mary’s brilliant plot to grift Shirley MacLaine with a big fancy Downton banquet gets screwed up. Evil Thomas has tricked poor Alfonso into ruining Matthews’ dinner jacket!
Things are not shaping up well for this very impressive dinner party at all. And then the oven breaks.
An ice wind sweeps through Castle Downton, and all the lights dim as Lady Mary prepares to unleash her frigid wrath.
“Relax, doll,” Shirley MacLaine says, and promptly invents the cocktail party. The day is saved!
“Oh sure, I’ll help save Dunston Arby’s!” MacMemaw says misleadingly. Turns out she meant she’s not giving you any money at all and you’re pretty much on your own. MacLaine Out! She’s off back to America never to be heard from again. (Kinda makes you feel like they blew their stunt-casting wad a bit early, huh?)
Of course one good thing that nobody cares about happened: Lady Edith managed to trick dottering old Sir Anthony into marrying her! Could yet more wedding bells be on the horizon for Dumbledor Abbot?