Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013

Downton Abbey’s February 2 episode set us up for an overseas departure. More than one member of the Crawley household hinted at an upcoming trip to the United States, but the journey west arrived much sooner than we expected. In the very next episode, one character sets sail!

But don’t shed too many tears at the dock. Despite his talk of leaving England forever, Tom Branson (Allen Leech) isn’t the one getting on a boat this episode. Instead saying bon voyage is Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and, thankfully, it’s only for a short trip to help his brother-in-law, Harold Levinson (Paul Giamatti), get out of a tough fix.

In a clip from the episode we caught while the show aired in the U.K., we see Robert bidding his family farewell as he heads to the train station. Visitors to the house, Evelyn Napier (Brendan Patricks) and Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden), say they’ll be staying “a few weeks more” a promising development for Lady Mary’s (Michelle Dockery) love life.

Robert tells daughter Edith (Laura Carmichael) to “stay strong” as they wait to hear of news of her beau, Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards). If only Daddy knew how very important that news is for Edith...

“Try not to let those Yankees drive you mad,” the Dowager (Maggie Smith) advises her son as he bids her adieu. We already know that soon after Robert’s departure, his mother takes ill. Let’s hope it’s just from nerves at her son facing down those Yankees and nothing more serious.

One additional note of interest: Thomas (Rob James-Collier) and not Robert’s valet, Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle), is accompanying the Earl of Grantham to America. It’s a perplexing change but one we’re happy to see since the evil Mr. Green (Nigel Harmen) is expected to return in this very same episode and once again terrorize dear Anna Bates’s (Joanne Froggatt).

Want to know more about the February 9 episode? We have all the latest spoilers thanks to our in last fall while the show aired in the U.K.

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