The broth conspiracy was hilarious. I wasn't sure I'd like the one-upmanship between Denker and Spratt, but I think it works.
I didn't know it until I saw it, but Matthew Goode (plus that little leap he does into the car at the castle) was precisely the shot of life this season of Downton Abbey needed. Too bad he didn't show up eight episodes ago, am I right? I almost feel like Matthew Goode was who they originally wanted Tony Gillingham to be, but they didn't realize it, so they got that other guy instead, and now we're supposed to forget that Tony Gillingham existed. (Though I remain Team Napier, as always.) And there's still Charles Blake to think about, all the way over in Poland!
Which brings me to: when it comes down to it, there were an awful lot of Mary-suitors in this season, especially considering that the final episode didn't do much with that plot at all. I appreciate that they didn't make the show all about Whether Mary Gets Married, but they also kind of did, when they brought in three - THREE - potential suitors, plus eternal nonstarter Evelyn Napier.
In conclusion, Mary and Matthew really were epic. Sigh.
Also sigh: I think I am mostly still watching this show because of beautiful production values and a few key compelling characters. But seriously, these plots go around and around in circles, and progress in fits and starts. We already did Mom Separated From Baby And Then Takes Her/Him Back (Ethel in Season 3 or whatever). We've done Mary Slept With Someone And Can't Talk About It, back in Season 1. We have done Poor Edith to death. Conflicted Thomas, Suppressed Rebel Branson, Lord Grantham Feeling Useless In This New Age, Daisy Doesn't Know What To Do With Her Life, etc. etc. Next season, maybe one of the maids will want to become a seck-retary, you know? There have got to be some more awesome plot lines out there.
But even if not, I'll probably still watch.