Downstairs, Jimmy complains that he's never been "James," but Carson appears unexpectedly and informs him that he will be James as long as Jimmy James is at Downton. Jimmy James then whispers to Alfred that Carson thinks he's the big cheese, to which Alfred replies that he is, in fact, the big cheese. And that explains why Alfred likes him so much! Down the hall, O'Brien remarks to Thomas that Jimmy James is nice and Thomas warily asks why she'd say that. O'Brien airily tells him it's only an impression and while she might genuinely believe it, I don't buy for a minute that she's stopped hating Thomas with the fire of a thousand suns.
Upstairs, Branson excuses himself and when Lord Grantham says they'll make plans in the morning, Branson's bitter reply is that he doesn't know how. Matthew points out that Branson has lived away from Ireland before, but Branson counters that Ireland is "coming of age" now and he needs to be there. However, he does sincerely -- if a bit raggedly -- thank Lord Grantham for what he did for him, and Lord Grantham at least has the good grace to wait until Branson's left the room before he sniffs that Branson isn't actually grateful (not sure I buy that), but it's just as well because he only rescued him for Sybil's sake (this, I'll accept). The subject of the books comes up and when Matthew gingerly says that there were some aspects of the financial management he wasn't sure about, Lord Grantham replies that he sounds like Murray, the financial adviser. The offhand way in which he makes the comment only serves to make it all the more telling. Matthew wants to delve deeper into the subject, but it obviously makes Lord Grantham uncomfortable to discuss it, so he suggests they let the women in and talk about it later "if you really want to." I don't think Matthew "really wants to" at all -- it's just that he already seems to sense that the alternative could be far worse. Surely, Lord Grantham, one near miss with moving to Downton Place was enough?