The series has been renewed for a fourth season, but if you're anti-spoilers, don't go searching the internet for any more information until you've seen next week's finale. And be prepared that all good things come to those who wait, as The U.S. won't get to see the series for another year.
|Thomas read all the signals wrong|
Thomas's former co-conspirator, and now adversary O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran), Lady Grantham's lady's maid, has been plotting all season for Thomas's downfall, by planting false romantic hopes in him, and encouraging the very straight James to seek out Thomas for advice. When Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) returned to Downton and his post as Lord Grantham's valet, Thomas was suddenly put in a very vulnerable position. Even though the Earl assured him they would find him a suitable position in the house, he was ripe for O'Brien's nudges, and he made a fast and very unwelcome move on James — with O'Brien's nephew and other footman Alfred (Matt Milne) as a witness.
What ensued was an interesting look at who exactly was shocked by the incident, and, much like the other storyline of "fallen woman" Ethel, a very ominous possibility of no job future prospects looming over Thomas. There were as many folks at Downton shocked by the discovery of Thomas's sexuality (Mr. Carson, Alfred) as there were folks not the least bit put off by it (Mrs. Hughes, Lord Grantham). Things looked very bleak for a while when Mr. Carson, at the prodding of James (nudged by O'Brien) informed Thomas that he would have to leave, without a job recommendation. After working at Downton for 10 years. Fully knowing that without a recommendation he would never get another job. But luckily for Thomas he found an unlikely ally in former rival Mr. Bates and the full support of Lord Grantham, and not just for his wicked cricket skills (although that certainly helped.)
|Cricket can solve all the world's problems|
Not so cool or interesting was a subplot involving cousin Rose and her involvement with a married man. Thomas's gripping story dominated, but a few other cool things happened:
Tom Branson was made the new estate manager at Downton, allowing him and baby Sybil to remain with the family
Edith took the job at the paper (yay!), but immediately started to fall for her married (in the vein of Jane Eyre's Rochester) editor (boo)
The coolest, most enigmatic (to the characters, not the audience) threat ever, "Her Ladyship's soap"
Thanks to the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith), Ethel is being given a post near her son, and will be able to watch him grow up
|Lord Grantham, inching towards modernity|