However, at least one of those parties' moods is about to improve, as Lord Grantham's stomping out of the breakfast room leads him right into Bates, whom he greets as warmly as you'd expect. That is to say, no hug. After Bates explains that he's there so early because of the dawn release time (like, nice symbolism there, prison), he thanks Lord Grantham for the car and Lord Grantham asks where he's staying. He tells him he's back in his old room, but -- presumably referring to his marital status -- Lord Grantham says that won't do and that he'll ask Jarvis how they're doing in the effort to find him and Anna a cottage. He manages not to add, "If it's okay with Matthew," but that comment would probably be lost on Bates at the moment now anyway. Bates starts to ask about Thomas, but even though Lord Grantham promises to sort it out in time, he suggests Bates take the opportunity to rest and read some books for the moment. From the way Bates just stands there after Lord Grantham leaves him, I'm wondering if maybe he doesn't think much of that suggestion, which makes me want to turn to him and say in a Homer Simpson voice, "You know, Bates, in some ways you and I are very different people."
Seeing a car pull up, Ethel rushes in from outside to inform her mistress and then we cut to the Dowager Countess in with Isobel, and she's apparently made a complaint about the Ethel situation as Isobel notes in reply that she didn't walk out of the luncheon when she found out about her. The Dowager Countess, however, replies that she was there to support Cora. "It didn't seem appropriate to let the whole thing end in chaos and a quarrel." If I didn't love the propriety of British nobility, I wouldn't watch this show, but I have occasionally to admit that it does have its drawbacks. She goes on that while she doesn't criticize Isobel's motives, she doesn't think she considered the consequences, adding that Ethel is "notorious" in the village. Isobel doesn't think so, but the Dowager Countess informs her that she knows so and it's true this episode is long enough, but I still would have liked to hear exactly what made her so sure. Isobel gives us the banner headline that she feels like one should do battle for one's beliefs, but the Dowager Countess isn't so easily deterred: "And is poor Ethel to be the cudgel by which you fight your foes?" Just then, said cudgel comes in with tea and Isobel rises and says she was just telling the Dowager Countess how Ethel's cooking is coming along. Ethel happily says she's been studying, as these days a working woman must have a skill. The Dowager Countess: "But you seem to have so many!" As Isobel's and Ethel's falling faces clearly indicate, that was rather unkind, but to quote pretty much every character on Archer at one time or another: You just gonna softball it in like that?