The usually low-key Cora Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) is taking center stage! In Episode 3 of Downton Abbey's final season, the matron of the manor is driving story lines and wearing the most fabulous frocks, as dilemmas introduced last week rumble on.
Mrs. Hughes (soon to be Mrs. Carson) wants her wedding reception to be an unpretentious sit-down lunch in the village schoolhouse, but her groom, under the influence of a typically bossy Lady Mary (Michele Dockery), argues for cocktails and canapés at Downton.
The bride's resulting lack of enthusiasm means that she chooses a nondescript beige day dress for her big day, prompting Mrs Patmore to observe, "you're not wasting money, that's for sure." But Lady Cora straightens everything out, telling Mary to stop being a bully and let the bride have the wedding she wants.
Mary tries to make amends by giving Mrs. Hughes an ornamental coat of Lady Cora's to wear over the drab dress but neglects to clear it with her mother first. So when Cora, temper frayed after being caught in the middle a dispute between the Dowager Countess and Cousin Isobel, finds Mrs. Hughes trying on the coat, she puts her foot down.
Downstairs, Barrett goes to another doomed job interview, turning up at a beautiful but run-down stately home that resembles an upscale jumble sale, (with His Lordship's long underwear drying in front of the living room fire), while Daisy, under Mr. Moseley's guidance, studies for her exams.
Meanwhile, Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) is in London looking after her magazine, the picture of the 1920s career girl in a long blue sleeveless tunic over an ivory crepe blouse with stock collar, when she bumps into Bertie Pelham, a handsome and kind estate manager. After Edith fires her rude and insubordinate editor, Bertie supportively offers to help her pull an all-nighter to finish producing the magazine in time. Could romance be on the cards for Edith at last?
Finally, the Carson-Hughes wedding proves to be hugely touching. Cora has relented and the bride looks lovely in her brown velvet coat (Cora herself turns up in a beautiful apricot lace-pattern dress and opera-length apricot pearls), Carson makes a speech that proves he's an old softie beneath that crusty exterior, and, to top it off, Branson and little Sybbie make a surprise return from America. And Anna (Joanne Frogatt) may be pregnant!