'Downton Abbey' Season 3 episode 4 spoilers: Some new faces at the estate

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downton-abbey-season-3-ethel-charlie.jpgThe latest episode of "Downton Abbey" was quite good, if you ask us. Don't keep reading if you don't want to be spoiled as to the goings-on of everyone's favorite British family and their staff.

Upstairs

The big drama this week is that Tom was on the scene of Irish rebels burning down the house of some aristocrats and now the police are looking for him. He runs for it and leaves Sybil behind to travel separate from him. When he shows up at Downton, Robert cannot believe he would leave her and frankly, neither can we.

We get that Sybil is a strong-willed, strong-minded person and she was as much involved in the travel arrangements as Tom was, but still. Not cool, Tom.

Robert pulls some strings and manages to keep Tom out of jail, but he can never go back to Ireland, which obviously is a huge problem for Tom. Sybil doesn't see why they can't just stay at Downton indefinitely to provide a better life for their child, so we fully expect this rift to come to a head. Hopefully it does not end with Tom abandoning Sybil because of his principles.

In other aristocratic news, Matthew has been going over Downton's books, as he is now a co-owner of the estate, and he thinks it is being mismanaged. Robert brushes him off, so he turns to Lady Violet for help, which is rather awesome and a storyline we are most interested in seeing play out.

Finally, Lady Edith takes it upon herself to pen a letter to the paper about women's voting rights and it gets printed. Robert is kind of outraged, though as Matthew points out, he's also kind of proud. Grandpa Carson doesn't approve either. Heh.

Downstairs

Bates turns the tables on Craig, his cellmate, and returns to favor with the guards (except the one helping to set him up). Not much else happens, but at least in the previews for next week it looks as though there might FINALLY be something moving on his case.

The house, thanks to Matthew's money, is free to hire a new footman and new kitchen maid. James is the new footman and his good looks do not go unnoticed by the women -- or Thomas, who can barely keep his tongue in his mouth. And just when Daisy is about to tell Alfred she fancies him, Alfred meets Ivy, the new kitchen maid, and is clearly interested in her. Poor Daisy.

But the big storyline this week is that Ethel has decided the best course of action for baby Charlie is to give him to the Bryants. Mr. Bryant knows how Ethel has been making her money and goes to no lengths to hide his disdain and disgust. He's such a charming man. But in the end, Ethel sends Charlie with his grandparents.

Thoughts & Tidbits

  • Lady Violet encouraging Edith to stop whining and find something to do was hilarious. We suspect she'll be in favor of Edith's writing to the paper.
  • We're also glad Matthew turned to Violet for reinforcements. It's nice to see Violet get something more to do than make snarky remarks every week. We hope she continues to help him in this endeavor.
  • While the Ethel storyline was rather annoying for the first few episodes, the scenes in this episode were very well done. Gut-wrenching. A few tears were shed at our house.
  • Speaking of well done, Bates and Anna finally getting each other's letters at the end was also really beautifully done.

What did you think of the latest episode of "Downton Abbey"?

Photo/Video credit: ITV