Beyond the crazy fact that the U.S. had to wait a few extra months to see the latest installment of BBC’s Downton Abbey, is the fantastic realization that we finally get to see the marriage of Mary Crawley and Matthew. These two have been through hell and back and yet they still find things to be dramatic over. Rich people sure don’t know proper drama when they see it. This season Shirley Maclaine showed up to really tick off the English aristocrats and it was fabulous.
Pan in on preparations for the wedding and Lord Grantham scuttling away to meet with his accountant. Apparently, after all this kerfuffle about Mary marrying the heir of their fortune, her dad went and blew his wad on Canadian train lines. He tells Cora, who of course doesn’t care at all, but when he tells Mary she nearly loses her shit as per usual.
Oddly enough, Matthew just found out that his dead ex-girlfriend’s father named him as a possible heir to his fortune and now he may be the recipient just in time to save Lord Grantham’s money gambling ass. I don’t know what is so charming about this guy that everyone in England wants to hand him their estate, but whatever.
Naturally Mary makes a very quick rich girl assumption that he will accept this dead girlfriend money (as awkward as that would be for the rest of their lives) and Matthew is insulted. The day before their wedding she throws a hissy fit before storming up to her room. Matthew doesn’t want to accept the dead girlfriend money because her father didn’t know Crawley was going to break up with her before she died, but then she did in fact conveniently die, saving him the trouble. So yeah, it’s weird and Mary doesn’t get it.
Meanwhile Sybil shows up to the estate knocked up and dragging along her Irish car boy husband Tom Branson. Carson is completely aghast that this kid is now considered his superior and somewhat infuriated that he broke social code and messed up Sybil’s life. But boy are they adorable! Grantham is all up in arms about how they afforded the trip, seeing as he can’t give them any money. Turns out the Dowager paid for them to attend the wedding. And to make matters more stressful, before Grantham could tell Cora about their money woes she gave the okay for a new footman to be hired, a really tall dude named Alfred.
Of course drama queen Thomas starts bitching and feeling threatened by the freakishly tall red headed footman, Carson is all embarrassed that the dude can’t serve food properly, and the kitchen maid failingly attempts to go on strike for more pay.
During dinner, Tom Branson is making the family feel super awkward as the topic of the Irish continuously getting their asses handed to them by the English keeps coming up in conversation. The night of the rehearsal dinner, Tom still refuses to wear a proper dinner jacket because he doesn’t want to be fake and one of Sybil’s douche bag ex-boyfriends puts something in his drink. He is drunk as a skunk and ranting about how jerky the English are. The Dowager is hilariously entertained by this and has some great one liners throughout the episode. Everyone feels badly for Tom when the poisoned drink debacle is revealed and Matthew tries to make it right by announcing Tom as his best man.
Once Mary and Matthew have their pre-wedding argument about money, Tom decides to repay the favor to Matthew by visiting him and telling him to apologize to his wife-to-be. Matthew visits Mary’s bedroom, but makes sure not to see her because it is considered bad luck. She tells him that she will give him a kiss if he promises to keep his eyes closed and he holds true to his word. It’s a sweet moment.
The next day the whole house is excited to witness the nuptials between Mary and Mattew, but first they all need to pile their asses into separate cars and get to the church. Mary finally emerges from her bed chamber with Anna in tow and both Lord Grantham as well as Carson are completely stupefied at her beauty when she descends the staircase in her gorgeous wedding gown and veil.
So here is a small minute problem, WHERE THE HELL WERE THE WEDDING VOWS? This show allowed us to wait all this time, finally see Mary approach the church happily in a car and then walk down the aisle so they could flash forward to post-honeymoon? Dick move BBC, dick freaking move!
After the honeymoon in the south of France, Mary decides she is going to convince her American maternal grandmother to give them money and save Downton Abbey. She tells Cora her plan and immediately her mother realizes it’s a bad idea. First, Matthew lets Grantham know that he isn’t going to accept the dead girlfriend money. Then Mary plans a fun BBQ style dinner in which she makes Grantham wear a ‘Chicago bootlegger’ get up. American Martha the mother-in-law gets into it and starts serving people, anything to stir the pot between England and well… anyone. As it turns out, the plan is worthless because Martha can’t give any of her money to Matthew and Mary, so they’re back to square one aka a fiscal cliff!
Some other less important yet still interesting stuff: Edith is trying to bag an old dude, very desperately so. We know that she’s the awkward middle sister who doesn’t have the good looks of Mary or the gumption of Sybil, but come on! Have a little dignity Edith. The Dowager tells Grantham to get rid of the old dude and he does through a letter, but Edith finds out and freaks. She wants to marry the guy and can have the wedding planned in a month. So in a way, we are all happy for her.
Also, sad Bates is still sad and he has a crappy cell mate to prove it. He tells Anna to go to France with Mary even though she’ll be gone for a month. Anna has Bates’ ex-wife’s journal and is trying to prove that she did indeed kill herself by tracking down anyone mentioned in the pages. Bates’ cellmate steals money from a prison guard and threatens Bates about narcing, but instead Bates slams him up against a wall. Well played sir.
Oh yeah and Mrs. Hughes found an inconclusive lump in her breast, but refuses to let Carson know that this is why she is being slow around the estate.
Regardless of the lack of wedding footage, we still can’t get over Lord Grantham’s sweet father-of-the-bride line, ”I’m so happy, so very happy, I feel my chest will explode.” Worth the wait any way you slice it!