Series 3 introduces Cora's mother Martha,in 1920, superbly played by Shirley MacLaine. A challenge for the Dowager Violet (Maggie Smith) who can speak volumes with an aside frown or one-liner? Full of thrills, emotion, sharp-tongued wit, it sets the episodes to follow. Matthew and Mary return from their honeymoon, all lovey-dovey, with Martha doing things in the American style, not to everyones taste.
Violet sets to work with attacking charm. Of course, this revolves around the rest of the cast, magnificently written by Julian Fellowes. Matthew (Dan Stevens) has the money to bail the financial Downton disaster but is not forthcoming. Anna Bates (Jeanne Froggatt) never says die and gets her reward with Bates. Matthew and Robert (Hugh Bonneville) have short shrift on the estate. Thomas (Rob James-Collier) and O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran) seem to be in cahoots but the situation takes a change.
Thank goodness for the female intuition. The sparkling and tense above and below stairs works wonders. Sense has the final say. Lady Edith is almost content with new work and potential romance, Lady Mary still strong, butler Carson demonstrable and Violet's great niece Rose adds another dimension. Takes a cricket match to sort it all out. Where do we go from here? The ending leaves another series wide open. A Christmas Day Special is eagerly awaited. I'm sure Julian Fellowes has more up his sleeve. Wonderful fun and entertainment. Another hole in Sunday night programmes. Enjoy the recordings. Say no more apart from an hour plus of extras.