From the back, we see a young man walking toward the servants' dining area, and from the way a maid looks at him, either he's got mouths where his eyes should be or he's very good-looking. When we switch to a front view, we see his eyes are in the right spot, and when everyone gets a look... I mean, the kid's not exactly material for The Tudors, but he's fresh-faced and quite cute. Still, I'm not sure he merits the jaw-dropping cartoon-hearts reaction he's obviously getting, but I also don't blame Thomas for lighting up like a Christmas tree once "Jimmy Kent" has introduced himself. He's looking for Carson, as he's applying to be Lord Grantham's footman, and then Mrs. Hughes comes in and she manages to keep her wits and voice about her while nonetheless getting in a good once-over. That's how you do it, kids.
Upstairs, Lord Grantham has a bit more barking at Branson to get through, but Mary's like, if you're done, you need to keep Branson out of prison and Lord Grantham agrees to head to London and not to come back until he's seen the Home Secretary. He asks for them to let him know if Sybil gets in touch, but Branson thinks she won't give "them" anything by which to trace her. Lord Grantham squints at Branson and notes that he lives in a harsh world, but Branson says that's true for all of them. "But at least I know I do." I don't claim he's not got a point, but he is the one who sought refuge at Downton. Having to face a bit of Lord Grantham's ire while being waited on hand and foot isn't exactly Les Misérables here.
Carson is going over young Mr. Kent's last position and if you read between the lines, sounds like he was kind of a houseboy to a Dowager of a Certain Age. He tells Carson he knows what women are like, and Carson -- measuring each syllable twice before biting them off once -- replies that he probably doesn't quite as well as Mr. Kent does. Jimmy shifts uncomfortably, and sorry, kid, women's rights may be on the move, but it'll be a while before you'll have a female interviewer you can charm for a footman job. You'd be better off hoping Thomas becomes a butler one day.
Oh, dear, here's Ethel leading little Charlie along, who's actually not quite so little anymore -- he can walk and talk and be generally adorable as Ethel stops for a moment to fix his hat. They then resume walking...
...and then we're back at Crawley House, with Isobel and Mrs. Hughes in attendance as we're reunited with the odious Mr. Bryant and his long-suffering wife. Bryant wastes no time in sneering that they're well aware of what Ethel is now and how far she's fallen, so she can save any righteous speeches about a mother's love. Ethel's shocked to learn that Bryant has had her followed, but Bryant tells her of course they were going to keep tabs on her. If that's the case, I wonder why we hadn't heard from them earlier -- if he did this out of concern for the boy, wouldn't his mother turning tricks have stirred him to action? When her husband takes a moment to recharge his horrible batteries, Mrs. Bryant gently tells Ethel that they've decided to offer her some money so that she won't have to, um, work such a heavy schedule. Isobel, obviously hoping this means Ethel will change her mind, smiles that that's very generous, but Ethel's face remains rigid and Isobel's face falls before she hears Mrs. Byrd outside with the tea. She asks Ethel if she wouldn't mind helping her, so Ethel puts Charlie down and as terrible as he has been, Bryant lights up, becoming a completely different person as he presents Charlie with a teddy bear. If he's that big a fan, I wish he'd learn to speak softly.