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Our Favorite Moments from Downton Abbey’s Season 3 Premiere: Shirley MacLaine, Branson’s Bed Clothes, and Mary and Matthew’s Adorable Antics

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(Photo: PBS.com)

I don’t know about you, but when the latest installment of Downton Abbey premiered last night I felt like I was awaking after an 11-month slumber. (You may have noticed that our obsession the show didn’t stop while it was off the air. Not even a little.) That theme music! Those elegant credits! Laura Linney’s slightly ill-fitting blouse in the intro!

The upstairs/downstairs gang is all back for Season 3 with the war thankfully behind them and Matthew and Mary prepared to finally cement their will-they-or-won’t-they relationship. Read on for our favorite and not-so-favorite moments of the season opener. Warning: Spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t yet watched the episode, don’t click through! 

Favorite Moments:
  • The dowager countess on the arrival of Lady Grantham’s American mother (the inimitable Shirley MacLaine): “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I’m with her, I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.” 
  • Branson in that long-underwear-type shirt he wears to bed. Can Birchbox Man source that and encourage more guys to wear it? Plus, the Dowager Countess and Mrs. Crawley teaming up to get him out of his “man from the Prudential” suit—priceless.
  • Lady Mary and Matthew talking through a door the night before their wedding. There’s something to be said for old-fashioned romance.  
  • Thomas and O’Brien on opposite teams, scheming against each other? Yes please. Bring on more missing evening shirts and burnt tails.
  • Edith’s updated ‘do was rather fetching. And didn’t it sort of match Sir Anthony’s hair?
  • Lady (Mary) in red. I loved her wedding dress, but her crimson numbers stole the show. The big winner: her sleeveless burgundy dress with embroidered embellishment, which prompted her fiancé to make quite the cheeky comment two days before the wedding. Don’t make us blush, Cousin Matthew! 
Not-So-Favorite Moments: 
  • Cora reacting to the news the family has lost all its (which is to say her) money by embracing her husband and suggesting they enjoy their last moments in this house. Your husband just lost your fortune by investing in a lame railway company, and you’re not even a tiny bit miffed?
  • Matthew Crawley is a surprise heir to a great fortune twice in his life? Even I can’t swallow this one. 
  • The interplay between the Dowager Countess and Martha Levinson. Surely Julian Fellowes can come up with better material than the British tradition vs. American change theme he beat to death.
What did you think of the episode? Tell us your favorite (or less-than-favorite) moments in the comments below!
—Bene
Loving the new pin-curls look on the ladies from the show? Here’s how to create a vintage-inspired faux bob à la Lady Mary.

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