Downton seems to sit in the shadow of a looming rain cloud and everyone feels the ominous threat of whatever that means. Tension is mounting as plots twist like a basket of cobras just waiting to pounce. This week’s Downton Abbey has an air of mystery.

The Curious Case of Patrick Gordon Well, let’s get right down to it. A half melted Shabbat candle of a man showed up at Downton and he’s Canadian. As if that weren’t enough, this talking wad of silly putty calls himself Patrick Gordon, and claims to be the infamous Cousin Patrick: he who died on the Titanic, next in line to inherit the Abbey, and root cause of all this commotion with Mary and Matthew. This does throw a wrench in things doesn’t it, since conveniently enough he’s been burned beyond recognition and arrives with an airtight story about suffering amnesia and becoming Canadian, only to have his true identity blasted right back into his supposedly English little brain in battle. No one’s inclined to believe him though, because this would throw the now crippled Cousin Matthew out on the street, and he’s quite grown on all of us here at Downton. Melting Mummy Patrick Gordon makes a smart move in appealing to Lady Edith, who’s deep into a sincerity streak and ready to latch on to just about any sob story worth its weight in daytime soap B-plots. They wander the grounds together reminiscing about vague details applicable to any childhood at a vast manor in the English countryside. Hiding amongst the statues in the hedge maze, setting aflame the skirts of some governess or another. Pile of bacon Patrick Gordon makes a concerted effort, but his story doesn’t hold up with anyone but Lady Edith, and let’s face it – no one listens to her anyway. He runs off as soon as the war is over.

Newsbreak: The war is over!

The Evil Threats of Sir Richard Newspaper Sir Newspaper is inserting himself more forcefully than ever into the proceedings, insisting on taking Lady Mary out on a House Hunters International themed date to nearby dead person’s estate Hacksby Park. What a magnificent shot of Lady Mary and Sir Newspaper slowly circling this vast and beautiful sadly empty cavern of a house. Voices echoing across the hall, ephemeral sounds that fail to fill a home: it’s a sad metaphor for the sham of a life the two are angling to build together. Lady Mary is so depressingly resigned to all of this, her ruling on the home: One must live somewhere. With the house all picked out, Sir Richard moves down to the next item on his to-do list, secure Lady Mary the ideal wedding present – in this case, Carson. He successfully poaches Carson with the superficial offer of a significant raise, but really, all Carson has to hear is that Lady Mary desires it and he’s there in a heartbeat. As Cousin Matthew so aptly put it, Carson would empty his veins for that girl. So Mary gets one nice thing out of this whole deal. That is until Sir Richard goes all Black Snake Moan on her with his threats of violence (the prim English gentry kind) and psychological manipulation. He suspects she may be holding out for Cousin Matthew and reminds her in his best Severus Snape impersonation that he now has the power to destroy Lady Mary. He gets extra creepy when he says, “I want to be a good husband and for you to be happy, but do not cross me. I will ruin you.” And then they kiss. Whoa.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Cora, Dowager Countess team up to determine the best way to rid themselves once and for all of cousin Isobel, who has just about overstayed her welcome, what with her good intentions and all. The turks are about to capitulate, Austria will fall any minute, the war’s end is nearly upon us, and all Isobel can think about is keeping Downton filled with broken, maimed, recovering soldiers. Dowager Countess and Cora team up with a brilliant scheme to convince Cousin Isobel that it’s her own idea to leave. Dowager Countess does a spectacular job needling Cousin Isobel until her obsession with refugees comes out, and we have her neatly packaging and shipping herself off somewhere else dirty and crowded and filled with sadness. For all their bickering, Cora and Lady Violet make quite a team.

The Mysterious Stirring in Cousin Matthew The next Earl of Grantham is getting seriously cynical these days, though who can blame him. He threatens to jump in a river, or otherwise disappear multiple times this week. Lady Mary is so very committed to him, though there are forces threatening to tear them apart. Most notably, the scheme to throw Miss Lavinia (her?) back into the mix, so as to distract Matthew and put off Mary and appease Sir Newspaper, and give Cora something to change her clothes for. We end the episode on a curious note, an unresolved dissonant chord hanging in the air, as Matthew may in fact feel a stirring down below! Wait and see what develops!

Downstairs Drama:

–       Daisy is a disaster. Haunted by an ever present envelope for war widows, she’s getting dark and angsty following the end of her 7-hour marriage. How very Kardashian of her.

–       Mrs. Hughes continues to deliver care packages to Teen Mom Ethel, who’s in quite a way, especially once we learn that Major Mustache finally got what’s coming to him and died.

–       Lord Grantham has just the saddest loneliest of luncheons, and finds himself actually talking to a maid. Ugh.

–       O’Brien and Thomas take their smoke break, but O’Briend seems to be flying solo at her part-time job: lurking.

–       Carson and Mrs. Hughes bid preliminary farewell as he makes his decision to be Mary’s wedding present. Their fondness for one another is heartwarming.

–       Sybil respects Branson’s aspirations to terrorism, but doesn’t want to talk about them just now, so could he just calm down for a second?

 Bates and Anna Update: After a mysterious trip to London, Bates returns all beat up. Days later, Evil Dragon Mrs. Bates is found slain in her cave. The plot thickens.

Next time on: What are those stirrings in Cousin Matthew’s loins? That’s really all I want to know.