Downton Abbey returned to the British airwaves last night.  Episode 3.1 was, in my not-so-humble opinion, rather interesting and I liked it.  Yes, even Shirley MacLaine.

The episode begins in 1920, just before Mary and Matthew’s wedding.  The household is in a tizzy getting ready, but Robert is called away to London to speak with the people who oversee his investments.  It appears that he made some very bad decisions during the war, and invested a huge amount of money in a railroad company that is now about to go bankrupt.  As a result, he’s lost most of his and Cora’s money.  He tells Cora and Mary (who, of course, tells Matthew), but nobody else in the household knows anything. It should be interesting to see how Robert and Cora manage without all that money going forward.  I wonder if Martha will do something for them.  Edith needs to marry Sir Anthony soon so that they won’t need to continue supporting her anymore.  And how will Violet react to there being no money?  That should be interesting, to say the least!

So Mary and Matthew do manage to get married.  Obviously, it won’t go completely smoothly (otherwise they could end the entire thing now!), but they’ve at least crossed one hurdle.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens with Mr. Swire’s money.

Shallowness alert — how Bates manages to look adorable even in his prison uni is beyond me, but he does.  And poor Anna — all those ideas for how to get him out.  My heart really goes out to her.  Bates’s cellmate is rather creepy, and, of course, I think something will happen because of this.

Another plot element that could be interesting is seeing O’Brien and Thomas’s relationship fade away.  She has Alfred (her nephew, who’s been hired as a footman) to focus on now, and you can see that Thomas is more than slightly resentful.  I honestly don’t think he’s smart enough to plot on his own, so this could definitely be interesting going forward.

Sibyl and Branson, er, Tom come over from Dublin.  At first, nobody knows who sent the money, but then we find out it’s Violet.  It’s rather fitting, but also somewhat surprising.

As an aside, here is the press pack from ITV.  I see that Lady Rosamund (Samantha Bond) will appear in the series.  I’d heard that she might have left the show.

OK.  That’s my take.  What about yours?