Many of us are still haunted by Sybil's death in childbirth last Sunday. As her mother and Mary say, she would have been alive if her father the Earl accepted the opinion of the more competent doctor. That was that Sybil needed a C-section in a hospital. The other doctor shrugged that off.
Cora is not sleeping with the Earl. Mary has distanced herself from him. The writers of "Downton Abbey" could be setting him up to appear increasingly like a jerk.
Part of that will come from Matthew's determination to bring modern financial management to the businesses behind Downton Abbey. The more the Earl resists, the more Matthew will push. We could bear witness to a man of grace and style who becomes a doddering old fool.
Another way the Earl could undermine himself is not understanding the opportunity that has been extended to his spinster daughter Edith to write a column for the newspaper. This could be her ticket to a place in society. The Earl denigrates the whole notion that any daughter of his would be involved in that kind of commercial enterprise.
If the Earl is shut out by the women in his life, he could again turn to a servant for companionship as he had with Jane. This time he might not choose someone as decent a human being as Jane had been.