No clue about his wife, but I loved it when Bates clobbered his cell mate at the end. "Oh, I forgot. You're in here for murder." "And don't you forget it." There were times when Bates got on my nerves last season, but he redeemed himself tonight. That and insisting that Anna go to France and "live life for both of us".
Mary is still my least favorite sister, although this feeling Matthew has about not accepting the money he is to inherit is just ridiculous, IMO.
I have never liked Mary. Edith's cattiness irritates me, too, but at least I can understand her. Being the oldest daughter, Mary would have gotten the lion's share of attention growing up, not to mention dowry money. I like Sybil the best, for daring to have the courage to leave that world and join "the real one".
And Matthew's sanctimonious refusal to help his wife's family is grating. Yes, I understand his qualms of conscience. It reminds me of Daisy's situation last season. (Is that the one? The maid who carried on because she didn't really love the footman, William, but married him on his deathbed, anyway.) I sympathize with him tremendously. However, in Matthew's case the consequences are a lot more dire than the maid's if he doesn't accept. His wife's entire family would be forced to give up the only home they've ever known. That was the one part where I supported Mary. I would have thrown a fit, too, if I had been her.
Yes, I was disappointed, too. The picnic ending was great. The rest of the time, though, her character seemed unbalanced. It's like she was playing a parody of an eccentric rich woman.I must admit that I'm a little disappointed in Shirley McClain's character. I was expecting more for some reason. It just fell a little flat. Perhaps the directors could have intervened more.
The constant moralizing about needing to change/hang on to tradition was also tedious. Not to mention the Irish history lectures. I happened to have studied Irish history in college, so maybe I'm biased since I know the background already. I wonder how Matthew and Mary's children are going to react when Ireland finally gets its independence after WWII? Bet they had some more great dinner conversations with Tom and Sybil's kids...if the latter were even allowed at Downton.