Over at Crawley House, Mrs. Patmore sighs that she doesn't know what she's doing there and Ethel tells her she's there because she's kind. Mrs. Patmore: "Am I." Heh. I mean, she is -- just ask Mrs. Hughes -- but she doesn't exactly present that way and even she knows it. Mrs. Patmore gives her a list of ingredients and Ethel wonders if she's really up to preparing the dishes on the list, but when Mrs. Patmore suggests she just serve some bread and cheese, then, Ethel agrees to give it a go. Mrs. Patmore takes off and I'm surprised she doesn't tell Ethel to leave her name out of any mention of the prep, but maybe she thinks it goes without saying.
As promised, Isobel turns up to Downton, but she's chagrined to realize she's improperly dressed, adding that it must be later than she realized. Yes, recovering from Ethel's lunch probably was a bit involved. Cora explains that Lord Grantham has invited Travis to dine with them -- real subtle, Lord Grantham -- but then asks what's up, and Isobel plows on with her lunch invitation for Cora and the girls. From a spot on the couch heretofore unseen, the Dowager Countess pipes up, "Do I count as one of the girls?" I'm sure I don't speak solely for myself when I say that I certainly hope so. Isobel recovers from the fright to tell her of course, but Cora says she's not really going out at the moment. Isobel assures her that there will be no one else there, but Cora sadly says she'd only bring her troubles with her. Isobel looks at a bit of a loss, so it's good timing when Matthew and Mary enter and when the Dowager Countess informs Mary of the invitation, Mary happily tells her it's very kind of her, so I think we can rely on her to talk her mother into accepting. Lord Grantham and Edith quickly join them, and despite her attire, Isobel is asked -- begged, in Mary's case -- to stay for dinner. She smiles, probably as much at the chance to avoid one of Ethel's meals as the warm gesture.