Upstairs, Alfred is about to take some seafood in when Jimmy James adjusts the position of the spoons on the tray. Inside, Matthew has just informed Lord Grantham that he's asked Murray to come up to the house, as he felt he wasn't explaining his position on the running of Downton well and he knows Murray gets it. Lord Grantham, of course, is not thrilled that Matthew went behind his back, but that sentiment is forestalled when the Dowager Countess -- as was Jimmy James' general plan -- knocks the tongs and some of the food off the tray and let's just say that Alfred isn't the most nimble at dealing with the ensuing developments. Carson rushes over, aghast, but the Dowager Countess is a champ about the whole thing and Jimmy James smugly takes the tray from Alfred as the Dowager Countess gets the attention off the bits of shellfish on her dress by telling Isobel that she saw Ethel in town that day. Isobel informs the group what happened and proclaims it a shame that people can be so unforgiving, but Lord Grantham demurs: "Some people are unforgiving; others are insensitive." Given his performance at her luncheon, you can hardly blame Isobel for taking that as a shot in her direction, but that only makes me wonder who arranged the seating plan to have the two of them next to each other. Cora then asks Edith when she's heading to London and after Edith tells her she's thinking to get the 10 AM train, Lord Grantham tells Cora she can't be encouraging this. Cora nimbly replies that Edith hasn't agreed to anything yet, so Lord Grantham asks the Dowager Countess to talk some sense into everyone and after Lord Grantham's comment a few moments ago, you can hardly expect Isobel to hold back: "Yes, let's hear how a woman's place is in the home." The Dowager Countess, however, while agreeing that women should eventually end up domesticated, there's nothing wrong with Edith having a little fun beforehand.
Edith thanks her as Isobel asks the Dowager Countess if she's changed her pills, but the Dowager Countess goes on that Edith's not getting any younger, so maybe she's just not cut out for domestic life. So the answer to Isobel's question is "no," then. Matthew is the first to recover from this bit of awkwardness as he asks Branson how his plans are going, and Branson replies that he was telling Cora that his brother has a garage in Liverpool and he's asked Branson to go into business with him. It's interesting and perhaps a tad convenient that the brother lives in England given Branson's staunch devotion to Ireland, but as we'll see, depth of character is just one of the things of which Branson got the lion's share. Mary asks if that's the same brother who's coming to stay with them and Branson pauses just long enough to make it seem like he doesn't think this is the ideal time or place to discuss it, but he does acknowledge that "Kiernan" is the same guy. Lord Grantham asks why he's coming, as of course one Branson is more than enough for him already, so Mary tells him it's for the christening, and in response, Lord Grantham just about rolls his eyes before downing his entire glass of white wine in one gulp. Lucky thing it's the fish course -- that's harder to do with red.