Downton Abbey (2010–2015)
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Episode #3.8 

Change arrives in a big way for several key characters at Downton Abbey. A yearly cricket match with the village sees old scores settled and new plots are hatched.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lady Mary Crawley
Joseph Molesley
Sarah O'Brien
Thomas Barrow (as Rob James-Collier)
Mrs. Hughes
Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham
Daisy Mason
Alfred Nugent
Mrs. Patmore


Carson promises Thomas that if he resigns, citing John's return as the reason, he will give him a good reference. However, O'Brien persuades Jimmy to tell the butler that he will call the police unless the reference is withdrawn. Violet's great-niece Rose comes to stay, apparently bored with London, though she is keen to accompany Edith to town for a day, staying with Rosamund. However, she gives them the slip to go to a club with her married boyfriend who was the reason her mother sent her to Violet, and, along with Matthew, they lean on her to return. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Drama | Romance


TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 February 2013 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
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Did You Know?


The fact that Thomas would be exceptionally good at cricket is not a coincidence as historically footmen were chosen primarily for their physical attributes, since their job was similar to a lackey. They were also selected for show as much as use and factors such as athleticism, height and good looks played a large part in their employment. See more »


During Violet and Rose's talk Rose's necklace keeps changing place. See more »


Charles Carson: [catching O'Brien spying] Come along, Miss O'Brien. Time to stop eavesdropping and do some work.
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Downton Abbey - The Suite
Written by John Lunn
Performed by The Chamber Orchestra of London
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User Reviews

"Let's give it a go and see what the future brings."
6 November 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The question: is this, the season three finale of Downton Abbey, actually the season three finale, or will there be, come December 25, an episode that is the actual season finale? British television is admittedly first-rate, but British television programming has something of Lewis Carroll about it. Whatever it is, episode eight moves past the oddities of episode seven and has many of the grace notes that made season one and the Christmas episode of season two so pleasurable. If we are to have another Christmas treat, and if it includes Shirley MacLaine, and if it's as good as the last time around, then season three may end up being the best overall, so far.

Lady Rose is the only jarring note. It's rarely a good idea to introduce a new character near the end of something, but, nonetheless, here comes Rose Somebody's-Distant-Relation. Who she is, what she's doing, and where she's going is anybody's guess. Looking a bit like a demented Bo Peep, she does give us entry into the inferno (Matthew references Dante in describing it) of a Jazz Age London nightclub, complete with black trumpet player, gyrating flappers, and a man that looks vaguely like the old Prince of Wales. It's a nice bit of twenties local color, but that's all it is.

Violet's meddling in Isobel's household comes up good, albeit through a series of accidents. As it turns out, a very nice lady has answered Violet's employment ad regarding Ethel. This very nice lady happens to live near Ethel's son's grandparents, a situation fraught with possibility and anxiety. At Violet's instigation, Grandmother Blimp arrives just in time to announce that everything will work out fine (she'll deal with Grandfather Blimp, no worries). Violet is vindicated (through sheer luck), and Isobel is out a housekeeper-cook. Perhaps Mrs. Patmore can teach Mr. Molesley—since he can't play cricket or do much of anything else.

Poor Edith's editor and love interest turns out to be married to a woman locked away in a madhouse (what else). It's becoming a running joke—a good one, mind you—that any man Edith shows an interest in will be peculiar and disastrous. We still don't know why Anthony Strallan bolted from the marriage chapel—perhaps he'll make a surprise appearance in the Christmas episode, like he did last year, and reveal all. In other news of the Downton sisters, Mary and Matthew have had the plumbing fixed (quick, secret operation for Mary, no fuss) and Downton's future is that much closer to security.

Tom Branson was most articulate again, finally making Robert understand that interlopers such as himself and Matthew only want to use their particular skills to make the place a success. Of course, what finally turns the tide is Tom's reluctant agreement to play in the local cricket match, with which Robert is rather obsessed. Allen Leech is talented and handsome, and Tom's character is a pleasure—beautiful, eloquent, sensitive, oh my! Hugh Bonneville continues to bring depth to Robert, especially when he takes over the situation with Thomas. It's good to see Robert take charge of something and have it work out well. He is good with the servants, one must admit. (He's still not good with finance, mentioning as a possible investment for Downton the fraudulent scheme of the now infamous Charles Ponzi.)

Miss O'Brien's machinations come to a satisfyingly abrupt halt with the whispered mention by Mr. Bates of a certain bar of soap from season one. With that bit of intimidation he saves rival Thomas from the fate of Oscar Wilde. Several people, including Mrs. Hughes and Lord Grantham, deserve praise for the intelligent way they react to Thomas's predicament and the now-official acknowledgment of his homosexuality. There will be those who scoff at Robert's ease of understanding, but, in all fairness, it has always been the prudish middle classes that have had the most problems with sexuality, whatever its manifestation. The upper class has almost always been more flexible. Thomas's revelation to Bates, saying he envies the fact that Bates' and Anna's love is openly celebrated, will evoke feelings recognizable to anyone who has been unfairly and arbitrarily denied the right to love as nature intended them to love. It's one of the best moments in the series. Every gay man will know it acutely. The fear that writer Julian Fellowes was not handling the Thomas character with finesse disappeared completely. Nicely done, Mr. Fellowes.

We end with a quintessentially English event, the summer cricket match between village and house. The women are pale and lovely in cream-colored frocks. The men are pale and overweight (not Tom, Thomas, or Matthew, of course) in their cream-colored knit jumpers. Nothing much happens. Tea is served. Delightful.

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