Downton Abbey Recap: We look back at the tiaras, feather headdresses and Blossom hats in the season 3 premiere!

Downton Abbey Season 3 Shirley Maclaine
Downton Abbey Season 3 Shirley Maclaine
Photography courtesy of eOne Films

By Randi Bergman and Paige Dzenis

After a long, agonizing and spoiler-avoiding wait since we watched Matthew Crawley propose to Mary outside in the glistening snow, we’ve been rewarded with the Downton Abbey season three premiere! Last night’s two-hour episode featured all the hallmark plotline teasers of a premiere episode, providing plenty of shades of the season to come (Flirting! Cancer! Being poor!). It also featured some seriously amazing fashion statements, from fancy headwear to embroidered gowns and new, stylish 1920s attire. As usual, our Downton Abby recaps will tackle the best and worst moments of each episode.

Best headpieces:
With the introduction of Cora’s mother Martha into the mix, it’s more than the British traditions that look out of date. Next to Edith and Sybil’s Blossom-esque floppy wedding day hats, grandmama’s flapper feathers look simply revolutionary.

Biggest first world problem this episode:
Aside from money problems, Irish revolution conversations at the dinner table and one last will-they-won’t-they-get-married moment, every other blunder this episode was about the men of Downton not having the right shirts to wear. Branson refuses to dress in a “costume of repression,” Alfred is tricked into burning Matthew’s dinner jacket and the Earl is forced to dress like a waiter (in a tuxedo, no less) when Thomas loses his shirts. What a sartorial nightmare!

Best old timey word we want to bring back:
Last night’s episode sure was a record in awesome one-liners, but we were complete awestruck by Carson’s “I have no intention of training young hobbledehoys,” in reference to O’Brien’s nephew Alfred being added to the staff. What is a hobbledehoy? Can you wear it? Drink it? Put it in your hair? According to Webster, it means “an awkward gawky youth.” We’d, however, like to pretend it refers to a jaunty accessory.

Biggest style shocker:
Edith! How did our least favourite sister manage to look the most put-together this entire episode? First there was the periwinkle-blue ensemble she wore to meet Sir Anthony Strallan at the train station. The drop-waist coat and matching hat was very fashion forward for Edith. By all accounts, she’s going to take full advantage of the changing times and be a true 1920s gal. Edith also debuted a new hairstyle: a pinned-up faux bob with finger curls. Will she eventually go all the way and cut her hair into a shorter style, like Sybil did, or just keep taking advantage of Anna’s impressive skills? We’ll be watching.

Downton Abbey Season 3 Mary Matthew Wedding

Best line we thought meant something else:
When grandmamma is welcomed by the three Crawley girls at Downton, she greets Edith with “Still no one special” which we at first thought meant Edith herself. It took us a second to realize that she was referring to Edith’s lack of lover, but in that second we were so totally with grandmamma.

Moment requiring a historical fact check, pronto:
When Anna is trying to convince Lady Mary not to give up on Matthew she says, “I see a good man, and they’re not like buses. There won’t be another one in ten minutes time.” Um, were there buses in 1920? At Downton? That ran every ten minutes? Really?

Worst prank:
Make the chauffeur talk really loud! LOLZ! Really? No. While spiking Branson’s drink may have seemed like a great idea to Sybil’s snobby former paramour Larry Gray, it seemed the whole table was none too pleased. Too bad he didn’t know about Branson’s failed attempt to spill gravy on Lord Grantham during season two. Now that was a great idea.

Best new phrase we want to adopt:
“BRAVO! Well said!” Seriously. Let’s bring this back. Cousin Isobel has been saying it season after season and it never fails to make us break into a smile. Why not make “Bravo!” the new it-phrase of 2013?

Most faclempt-y fashion moment:
If you didn’t have a tear in your eye when Mary walked down the stairs in her wedding dress to greet her father, you have no sartorial soul. Coupled by the simplicity of the drop-waist silhouette (how far Mary’s maturity has come from season one!), the yellow and white diamond tiara (details here!) framing her overwhelmingly beautiful face and twenties-set curls was almost too precious to bear.

Downton Abbey Season 3 Mr Bates

Most missing makeout session:
With all the ups and downs that we’ve been through with Mary and Matthew’s on and off again romance, we should have been rewarded with at least one spellbinding at-the-alter smooch.

Our second worst not-so-proud to be Canadian moment:
When it was revealed that the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway has folded and with it went the bulk of Cora’s fortune, we groaned. First, Canada supplied Downton with a long lost mummy-imposter and now we steal all their money? Great.

Least sexy in-law conversation:
Upon returning from his honeymoon, Matthew is asked by the Earl how it went. His reply? “My eyes have been opened.” Just. No.

Most sexy jail conversation:
Ooh la la Bates, you better hope to get out of jail soon! Didn’t his eyes just light up when Anna revealed she purchased a garter while in France on Matthew and Mary’s honeymoon?

And that’s it folks, until next week! Stay tuned for our recap of Episode 2 next Monday January 14! You can catch new episodes of Downton Abbey Sunday nights at 9 p.m on PBS