Downton Abbey Season 3 aired double episodes last Sunday (on the same night as the Grammys and The Walking Dead midseason premiere — why, PBS, why?!), which just leaves us with the finale, called the Christmas special in the UK, to air on Sunday, February 17.
Do you want major spoiler details? Here's an abbreviated version, adapted from Heroes and Heartbreakers.
ONE YEAR LATER: Yep, we're doin' the timewarp. Baby Sybil is a year old and Mary is 8 months pregnant. The family takes off for a vacation to "Shrimpie's" place, Duneagle Castle in Scotland. Branson wasn't invited.
IS ROSE STICKING AROUND?: Apparently there's tension between Shrimpie and his wife, Susan, and wild Rose (Shrimpie's daughter, and Violet's great-niece, who was seen last week) is under watch to hopefully stay out of trouble. Later, Rose repays a favor to Anna by teaching her how to dance the Scottish reel in advance of the upcoming ball. Shrimpie's family is moving to India, but it's decided that Rose will stay at Downton when they go. So Downton will have a new permanent resident?
EDITH'S MARRIED EDITOR IS IN LOVE WITH HER: This woman cannot catch a break. Edith's editor, Michael Gregson, is also in Scotland and is invited for dinner. Edith asks him what he's really doing there and he said he's in love with her and wanted to get to know her family. But he's married. The rest of the family doesn't know he's married, though, until Gregson tells Matthew. Matthew suggests Gregson use the ball to cut the cord with Edith. But Edith doesn't want to end things. She's not going to be his mistress, is she?
MRS. PATMORE HAS A ROMANCE: The new delivery man flirts with her, but he seems to just want a cook to take care of him.
LEAVE BRANSON ALONE! The new maid, Edna, has a thing for Branson and flirts and gossips too much. She even gets way too forward and kisses him. Later, Carson tells Mrs. Hughes to fire Edna. Side note: Edna, Ethel, Edith — they really need to branch out in the name department.
ISOBEL AND DR. CLARKSON? Everyone is getting it on in this episode, and apparently Isobel has been having Dr. Clarkson over for dinner and they are getting along well. He even asks Isobel to go to the fair in town with him. Go on, girl!
THOMAS GETS BEATEN UP FOR JAMES: At this fair, James gets drunk and attacked by thugs. Thomas jumps in to save James, but gets beaten up himself. His money and watch are stolen. James and Thomas have a talk; James says they can never have a romantic relationship, but they can be friends. Aww.
ROBERT IS GRATEFUL FOR ONCE: Being at Duneagle has shown Lord Grantham that he owes Matthew a lot for saving Downton (since Duneagle is going under and will have to be sold) and he's grateful for Cora and his family around him.
MARY DELIVERS A HEALTHY BOY! Yay! Mary goes into early labor and has a baby boy. Matthew is thrilled. Downton has a male heir.
HOWEVER...: The family is all gathered at Downton, waiting for Matthew to return from the hospital. They are celebrating. Matthew is driving back home when he misses a truck coming down the road toward him. Then we see the driver jump out of the truck and run over the side of the road where Matthew lies underneath the overturned car. He's dead. Well, we knew he was leaving the show! Dang it. The season ends with Mary holding her baby son, not aware of Matthew's death.
Ugh. However, things are not all dark for Mary on Season 4. Apparently she'll be hitting a reset button and starting again, with a new boyfriend. Hopefully things will be good for Edith on Season 4, too. Not everything has to be about Mary, you know. Read some spoilers on Season 4 here.
Source: Heroes and Heartbreakers