Every good story has peaks and troughs and last night's episode was a much needed dose of calm, after the brutal attack Anna suffered last week.
In episode 4 - sadly we are already half-way through the series - the outfits, particularly of Cora and Lady Mary really stood out. I'm not a person much interested in fashion, but I love the whole ambiance of the Twenties with the flapper dresses and jazz bands...
Carson got us off to a good start, with his wry observation that "There's something rather foreign about high spirits at breakfast" - I couldn't agree more! Every house could do with a member of staff like him - and how touching it was, to see him stroke the photo of his true love. Finally we are seeing the tender side to this gruff man.
Mary seems to be taking an increasing interest in the running of the estate and one comment of hers rang true to the circumstances of Lord Edward from my upcoming novel "Doubting Abbey", who strives not to let down his ancestors by failing to save the future of Applebridge Hall - Mary said her father often commented that the Crawleys were "not owners but caretakers" of Downton Abbey. In other words, everything should be done to preserve the estate, in its entirety, for future generations.
It looks like ghastly Barrow is back on form, next week, bringing in a devious-looking new Lady's maid for Cora, since - THANK GOODNESS - Braithwaite left. I felt the plot was stretched a little with Mrs Hughes conveniently happening to stumble across the Stopes book on contraception. However, I can forgive the loyal, kindhearted Mrs Hughes anything. Yet I wonder if that really was the last we saw of Braithwaite.
As for Lady Mary's rejection of Lord Gillingham... Oh please, at least give him some hope, woman! He's clearly a good-un - despite there being a high price to pay for him being a regular feature on the estate (namely the presence of Nigel Harman's dastardly valet character).
Yet again we see Rose getting into trouble, dancing with dashing Jack Ross, the bandstand singer. I feel Fellowes is building up to something really controversial happening with her.
So yes, all in all, another excellent episode with plenty of questions left open about the next four weeks' programmes.
Please, let Bates find out about Green and... Oh come on, we all want it to happen - Mrs Hughes and Carson get together!