I am also a Downton fan as is my 7yo son and my mother. DS is already pestering me about season 4, which can't come soon enough.
I knew Matthew would not be around for Season 4 so I assumed the worst. My mom watched it before me and emailed me "don't let DS watch the last X minutes" so I was braced for it.
I like the way Branson has evolved over this season. I suspect he will take a bigger role going into season 4. I was glad Mrs. Hughs showed that maid the door. I hated the way she was making him feel bad about his position in the family.