...but rather than observe a full run through, we cut back to an establishing shot of Daisy, now riding the bike and returning to Downton. Inside, Carson thanks Mrs. Patmore for the treacle tart she apparently just served, and we get a bit more exposition as we learn that Mrs. Hughes and Anna are down in London getting the Bates Motel ready to let. (It isn't a motel, of course, but given the rental situation and the... other thing that happened, it seems fitting enough.) Thomas, subtle as always, expresses surprise that Anna still has the place. "I thought they confiscated the profits of murder." Carson is like, first off, Bates transferred the deed to Anna before the trial and second, as far as Downton is concerned, Bates is a wronged man seeking justice. "If you have any problems with that definition, I suggest you eat in the yard." That doesn't sound so terrible in spring, but I think it's actually physically necessary for Thomas to be near enough other people to insult them at all times, so it makes sense that he lets this battle go.
Isobel has come to call on the Dowager Countess -- knowing their interactions, it does seem unfortunate that this time period predated the word "frenemy" by rather a lot -- and says she supposes the Dowager Countess agrees with Robert in regards to Sybil not attending the wedding. The reply: "Then not for the first time, you suppose wrongly." I've been waiting months for a withering barb from Dame Maggie Smith and that's an excellent warm-up entry. The Dowager Countess explains that they mustn't allow their family to be the subject of gossip -- might want to discuss that with the writers -- but Lady Cora, also in attendance, sighs that Sybil has pretty much already seen to that. The Dowager Countess, however, is of the opinion that if they can show the county that Branson can behave "normally," people will lose interest in him as a subject. "And I shall make sure he behaves normally, because I shall hold his hand on the radiator until he does." Okay, but if "behaving normally" includes sitting through dinner without going off half-cocked on a political bent about English-Irish relations, the smell of burnt flesh is going to put people off their food. Isobel is like, well, I don't know him from Adam, but he still strikes me as an interesting addition to the family, and he should come and express his beliefs honestly. The Dowager Countess gives Cora her patented "What is she like" look, but when Isobel goes on that she's got a mind to send Sybil and Branson the money to attend, the Dowager Countess looks interested, despite the fact that Lady Cora begs Isobel not even to think about it. Even considering Lord Grantham's feelings, I am surprised Lady Cora is so willing to have Sybil stay away, but maybe she's having a moment of financial prescience.