Downton Abbey Season 3 Premiere: The Swoon-Worthy, the Awkward, and the Awesome (Spoilers!)

Finally! Lady Mary and Cousin Matthew get married."Downton Abbey" returned to television on Sunday (in America, at any rate) and fans who hadn't cheated by downloading the British version in advance are buzzing about Season 3's debut. We've been hooked since the beginning, but there are plenty of new plot-points to discuss. Here's a rundown on the two-hour season premier; spoilers ahead, of course.

SLIDESHOW: 'Downton Abbey' characters in real life

The wedding: Surprisingly, the producers opted to show Mary and Matthew's wedding in the first episode of Season 3. Also surprisingly, they didn't actually show the wedding—they showed the bride walking down the aisle and then cut to the newlyweds returning from their honeymoon. The 1920s Lanvin-inspired dress was gorgeous, and it was cool to see how the fictitious British aristocracy hewed to the wedding traditions we learned about from real-life royals Will and Kate, but what about the vows? The mothers with tears in their eyes? The jealous looks from Lady Edith? Sometimes, it's possible to leave too much to the imagination, you know?

Swoon-worthy moments: Mary and Matthew's don't-look-at-me-it's-forbidden make-up kiss the night before the wedding. Tom Branson pointing out that Matthew would never be happy with someone else as long as Mary "walked the Airth." Bates urging Anna to go to France with Mary, "to make memories for both of us" while he's in prison. Edith's older love-interest whispering that she's given him her life back. Mary coming down the stairs in her wedding gown, veil and train billowing behind her.

Well, that was awkward: Irish rabble-rouser Tom Branson talking about how he once would have liked to blow up Downton and everyone in it. Cora trying to have "the sex talk" with Mary the morning of the wedding, calling it "the most terrific fun" and ignoring how she helped Mary hide the body of her dead Turkish lover in Season 1. Matthew and Mary (and the ghost of Mr. Pemouk) waking up together in Mary's bed after the honeymoon. Mary coming down the stairs in her wedding gown, veil and train billowing behind her—and asking head butler Carson how she looked instead of her dad.

The Inheritance: Lord Grantham has learned that he's lost the bulk of Lady Cora's fortune in a single seriously bad investment; he is determined to save Downton from the auction block, but can't figure out how. Cora is bizarrely calm about the idea of sudden ruin; Mary, who is due to inherit the estate thanks to her marriage to Cousin Matthew, is decidedly more upset. Matthew learns that he has inherited a lot of money from the father of his ex-fiancee, Lavinia, who died at Downton in Season 2; it's enough to save the estate, but Mathew doesn't want to accept it, since he's sure that Lavina died of a broken heart rather than the flu. Mary goes from "decidedly more upset" to "borderline ballistic."

The castle: Downton itself has weathered World War I and, since it is no longer being used as a convalescent home for military officers, has been returned to its former glory. It would be a pity to have to break up the estate and sell it. Oh, woe!

Upstairs: Cora's mother, filthy rich Martha Levinson (played by a flame-haired Shirley MacLaine), breezes into town from New York to attend Mary's wedding; she challenges everyone's sense of propriety by flouting tradition. (Openly accepting the former chauffeur as her son-in-law! Wearing massive feathered headpieces and red lipstick! Showing her ankles!) She and the Dowager Countess insult each other/flirt/match wits wonderfully, leaving workaholic Isobel to self-righteously help the poor by herself. Desperate to save Downton, Mary and the Dowager Countess try to convince Martha to give them some of her fortune; Martha strings them along before explaining that she can't, and then suggests that they embrace the future rather than cling to the past. They are not amused. Edith has fallen in love with her much-older gentleman friend; a horrified Lord Grantham sends him away, but relents when Edith begs him to allow the relationship, and by the end of the episode they seem to be engaged. Also against Lord Grantham's wishes: The Dowager Countess sends Sybil and Tom Branson money so they can return to Downton for Mary's wedding. One of Sybil's former flames slips a drug into Branson's drink at a party, fueling Branson's anti-England diatribe in front a room full of distinguished dinner guests. Matthew restores Branson's social standing by asking him to be his best man.

Downstairs: Mrs. Hughes has a health scare, but refuses to tell Carson about it. Mrs. O'Brien contrives to have her nephew, Alfred, hired as a valet, infuriating Thomas. Daisy, who was widowed in Season 2 when William went off to war, has a wee crush on Alfred, and is distressed to see him kissing Martha Levinson's fast-and-flirty American maid. Thomas continues to sabotage and/or insult pretty much everyone. Anna visits Bates in prison several times; she is determined to find a way to overturn his murder conviction. No one wants to wait on Tom Branson because they can't stomach the thought of a former servant being part of the Upstairs crowd.

The clothes: The couture on "Downton Abbey" is a character in and of itself—so much so that Ralph Lauren themed his fall collection around the show and recently became a sponsor of "Masterpiece Theatre." Season 3 opens in 1920, where shorter, plainer dresses are the norm, and men wear more slim-fitting suits—and the Dowager Countess ignores them all, sticking with her Elizabethan outfits. We learn that the best way to tweak the Earl of Grantham is to misplace his dress shirts, forcing him to embarrass himself by wearing an informal black-tie ensemble instead of his traditional white-tie and tails at dinner.

Best burn by the Dowager Countess: "When I'm with her, I'm reminded of the virtue of the English." Matthew: "But isn't she American?" Dowager Countess: "Exactly."

Also on Shine:

A 'Downton Abbey' menu
Elements of a 'Downton Abbey' wedding
What it costs to own your own 'Downton Abbey'