Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013

The January 26 episode of Downton Abbey turns up the drama downstairs with the addition of a new lady’s maid for Cora (Elizabeth McGovern). This season the Countess has had a particularly hard time keeping help around (not that we were sorry to see any of them go). Now perhaps things will improve with the reserved Phyllis Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) hired on. 

Unfortunately for Baxter, however, the manipulative underbutler Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) holds some kind of sway over her. He looks particularly happy in the preview and as any long-time Downton fan knows, Thomas smiling rarely means something good for anyone but Thomas.

We will also continue with the horrible story line currently unfolding for Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) and his wife, Anna (Joanne Froggatt). The once high-spirited lady’s maid was raped during the January 12 episode, a brutal trauma she’s only disclosed — and then only vaguely — to Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan).

The secret has driven a wedge between the formerly happy couple. Anna left their cozy cottage for a single room at Downton and, understandably, Mr. Bates is worried and confused by the sudden change in his wife.

He is also committed to uncovering what has happened. As he vowed at the end of the January 19 show, Bates will find answers. This latest installment looks to mark the start of that fact-finding mission. Let’s hope justice for Anna and no prison time for Bates waits at the end of this quest.

Also featured in the promo: the Dowager (Maggie Smith) and the woman she’s taken under her wing, Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) in a lovely English garden and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) trying on her estate runnin' boots.

What do you make of the January 26 episode promo? Are your questions answered or were you hoping for more action? Sound off in the comments below.


Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!