Outside, Thomas tips his hat to "Nanny West" and her underling, who are pushing the two kids along in their strollers, but when Thomas stops the younger woman and has a moment with young Sybil, Nanny West asks him not to touch the children without her permission. Thomas is unimpressed with her broad smile and drops his own as he informs her he knew the girl's mother (it's been a while between seasons so I hope you don't mind the reminder of how closely Thomas valued Sybil), but Nanny West is similarly unmoved as she says they have to get on, and would he ask Mrs. Patmore to send up the kids' lunch in half an hour? Given that he's not on duty at the moment and not clearly headed back to the house, it seems like an odd request, so I'm not sure she should be entirely blown away when he suggests she ask Mrs. Patmore herself. That's doesn't mean it's unamusing, though.
In the kitchen, people are still talking about O'Brien, and Jimmy James is the only one to take up for her, as he says she obviously wanted an adventure and he doesn't see the problem. Alfred points out that it's not what she did, but how she did it. Jimmy James counters, "You're only talking like that so we'll think you didn't know." Hee. I'm tired of him using Ivy to do it, but I generally like how Jimmy James continually tries (and succeeds) to get under Alfred's skin. Surely happy to be free of O'Brien and just as happy not to talk about her, Bates asks Anna how Mary was that morning, and Anna sighs that she was no different; she supposes she must come out of her funk eventually, but she sounds more like she wants to believe it than she actually does. Talk turns to the nanny, and Daisy thinks it's a hard job, as you're not one of the family but not really thrown in with the servants either. Thomas, hearing this last bit, regally takes a seat and announces that Nanny West thinks an awful lot of herself: "She only tried to give me orders." This time it's Bates spiking the beach ball: "You mean she mistook you for a servant?" Hee. Alfred is slow enough to require an explanation of this punch line, which only adds to the mystery of how he and O'Brien could possibly be related.
Outside, Lord Grantham, Branson and Isis have just wrapped up a meeting with a tenant farmer, after which Branson asks if Lord Grantham really wants to "abandon the whole plan." Lord Grantham replies that their hands are tied, as they have to find death duties on half the estate, and I suppose there's not much point in going into the philosophy of estate taxes, but given that the land isn't being liquidated it does seem a little unfair and counterproductive to the local economy. Branson thinks it would be better if Mary were back in play, but Lord Grantham sniffs that she never was -- she owns a third of Matthew's share of Downton by law, but the rest of it belongs to her son, and since Matthew died intestate there's nothing to be done about it. Branson tries to play audience surrogate as he asks if the fact that Mary is George's guardian changes anything, but it doesn't, according to Lord Grantham, and since he owns a full half and Mary's in emotional pieces, it's better for him to handle this crisis on his own.