The Downton Abbey Christmas special aired earlier this week, and it was a doozy. We’ll all need time to process it, so check out our recap of the episode and share your feelings below. All the spoilers below!

The episode begins with the house in a carefully controlled chaos, as Robert, Cora, Violet, Mary (who is pregnant), Matthew (who is worried), and Edith all hop aboard the train to Duneagle Castle in Scotland. Duneagle is the estate of Robert’s cousin Hugh (“Shrimpy”) MacClare and his wife Susan. Their teenaged daughter Rose – last seen in the season finale, though she is much more sympathetic and vulnerable this time around – is at Duneagle as well, and is thrilled to have company. Anna, Bates, O’Brien and Molesey come along as well to attend to the family in the various goings-on.

But frankly, not a whole lot happens up in Duneagle. Shrimpy and his wife have realized that they despise each other and they snipe among themselves at every opportunity; Lady Shrimpy vents her vitriol on Rose out of motherly concern. Remembering Sybil’s rebellious-ish days, Cora sympathizes, and it’s eventually decided that Rose will come to live at Downton while Shrimpy and Susan take up a military post for the Empire in India. (Maybe the food will improve their marriage, or at least their tempers.)

Robert lusts after the unadulterated privilege which Shrimpy’s vast estate reminds him of (Robert’s own has been dissipated by the war) and hunts, dines and lives as lordly as he could wish… until Shrimpy admits that he has lost the estate by neglecting to modernize its management, as Robert has. Lord Grantham realizes how lucky he is to be in love with his wife, and expresses at length his good fortune in having Matthew there to pressure him into taking Downton Abbey into the 20th century.

Really, what would we do without Matthew?

At the same time, it turns out that Edith’s newspaper editor Michael Gregson has more-or-less followed her up to Scotland in order to propose a not-marriage. Mary disapproves of Gregson instantly and lashes Edith with her acid tongue every time the subject comes up, though to be fair, she hasn’t got much else to do. Matthew (dear, dear Matthew) is much more sympathetic to Gregson and tries to make a good potential brother-in-law by hiking across the Highlands with him in an attempt to kill stags and fish.

That is, until the facts reveal themselves. The editor is still trapped in a marriage to his mad wife (maybe he should hire Bates?) and the best he can offer Edith is a position as his super-duper beloved mistress. Matthew insists that he end their flirtation after the Gillies Ball, but Edith once again rejects her man’s rejection of her and informs him that their relationship is not over.

Bates and Anna sneak away for a picnic, all memory of the former’s incarceration and death sentencing swept away by the scenery, or maybe the opening credits. They are sweetly flirtatious, especially when Anna surprises Bates by breaking out a killer reel in the middle of the ball. O’Brien and Lady Shrimpy’s maid at first seem to be kindred spirits, but then wind up in a battle of the ladies’ maids, with Molesey as the drunken casualty.

And Mary, after becoming increasingly uncomfortable in her nearly full-term pregnancy, decides to return home to Downton after dancing a reel, and falls into full-blown labor as the train pulls into Downton station. (Yes, that is apparently what it’s called.)

But before we go on to the really exciting parts, let’s rewind a bit. Meanwhile in Downton Abbey…

The younger servants left behind find their attentions wandering, though Carson and Mrs. Hughes provide plenty of work for them to do. Mrs. Patmore begins to be courted by the village’s new spice-shop owner, who invites everyone to a country fair. After a good deal of cajoling by the enternally-awesome Mrs. Hughes, Carson allows Thomas, Jimmy, Alfred, Mrs. Patmore, Daisy, Ivy, and new (and instantly loathed) maid Edna to attend the fair. While they’re away, Carson cuddles with baby Sybil in a scene which might have been worth the entire two hours combined.

Speaking (alas) of Edna, Tom Branson (who has not been invited to Duneagle) is left alone in charge of the estate while the Crawleys are on holiday. This continues to exacerbate Tom’s awkward comrade-to-superior relationship with the staff. Edna spies Tom’s discomfort and seizes her opportunity, flirting with him with narrow-eyed intensity and inviting him downstairs to dine with the staff. She ups her game at the fair and finally walks in on a shirtless Tom alone in his room. (Screencap it, it’s worth it.) Edna kisses him and tells him to meet her at the pub for lunch, which fact she (in a truly spectacular breach of brain cells) informs Carson and Mrs. Hughes when they ask her to actually do her job.

Mrs. Hughes, having sniffed out the source of Tom’s newfound camaraderie with the staff – which is, for some reason, a problem – fires Edna and assures Branson that he has nothing to regret in his raised station. Tom gratifyingly breaks down over Sybil and expresses how much he misses her; Mrs. Hughes comforts him and tells him that someday he’ll find someone with whom to bear that loss.

(Disregard those words from the man behind the curtain, they will certainly not be important later.)

At the country fair, Jimmy gets drunk with cash to burn and winds up nearly the victim of a brutal robbery. Thomas (still pining, apparently) steps in to take the beating and gets his face bashed in. Feeling guilty, Jimmy visits a recuperating Thomas in his bedroom and admits that while he is not interested in a romance with Thomas, he is willing to make a go at friendship. Thomas happily agrees.

Also at the fair, Daisy wins a rigged game, and Mrs. Patmore’s beau flirts mercilessly with her and every other woman in sight. Mrs. Hughes breaks this news to her later, but Mrs. Patmore reacts with relief. Dr. Clarkson and Isobel attend as well, having shared a few plesant evenings together, but Isobel inadvertently rejects Clarkson’s proposal of marriage by telling him she prefers friendship to wedlock.

So! A ghostly pale Mary is zipped straight to the hospital, where she begins to labor in earnest. (The baby is early, but not worryingly so.) Isobel comforts her as news is brought to the Crawleys back in Scotland, who make arrangements to dash down as quickly as possible. With Downton in a tizzy as they arrive (even Carson is adorably ruffled) Matthew dashes to the hospital. Sweaty and terrified and joyful, he is just in time to meet his newborn son and – as Mary very pointedly reminds us, just in case we’d all forgotten the past three series of playing ‘Catch the Crawley’ – his heir. Mary, Matthew and long-awaited baby enjoy a few blissful moments in the sun-drenched hospital room, light glowing around them all like halos, enveloped in their collective love and the bright future ahead of them.

At Downton, the Crawleys breathe a sigh of relief and Robert recaps the past years of turmoil, wondering what he has done to deserve two healthy heirs. Violet agrees (that Robert has done nothing, apparently) and then cooly informs the audience that, “We don’t always get our just desserts.”

We have no idea what she could be talking about.

At the same time, Matthew drives back to Downton Abbey in his Chekhov’s car, bearing his tides of boundless joy. Smiling as only a new parent can as the wind ruffles his hair, he arrives back at Downton, and all is happiness, as fan-and-family dreams are fulfilled alike, and there are fireworks, and –

Oh, sorry. Actually, a lorry driving up the one-lane road causes Matthew to veer off down the unpaved hillside, where his his head is dashed in the dirt and his body crushed beneath his overturned car. Not being party to all the foreshadowing, Mary smiles down at her son in the hospital, waiting for her family and her husband to come back to her.

Happy Christmas to you too, Lord Fellowes.

Have you recovered from the Christmas special?

Quiz: What is your pet’s Ilvermorny house?

Why should you be the only one who gets a second wizarding house?

1:00 pm EDT, July 29, 2016

Will your pet be sorted into the same Ilvermorny house as you, or will you have to disown them for joining your rival?

Step aside Hogwarts, there’s a new wizarding school in town (or rather, across the sea)! With a new school comes new houses, and a new sorting test. You might’ve gone through an identity crisis after taking the test for yourself, but you’re not the only one who needs sorting. That furry, scaly, or feathery friend needs to know where they belong too, and we’re here to do just that! Last time we helped you find out what Hogwarts house your pet would be sorted into, so now we’ll help you figure out what Ilvermorny house they belong in.

It’s typical for pets to have similar personalities to their owners, so maybe your pet will end up in the same house as you. But to those who have house rivalries, brace yourselves: It’s also possible your pet will end up in a different house than you, maybe even your rival house! Will you be saying ‘bye bye birdie,’ or do you thrive in competition? That probably depends on your Hogwarts and Ilvermorny house.

Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or reptile, all pets are welcome at Hypable’s Ilvermorny sorting ceremony! Take the quiz below and let us know where your pet’s loyalties lie, and be sure to take it for each of your pets (unless they’re a squib. Is there an American name for squib?). Don’t want any of them to feel left out!


Now that you know your pet’s Ilvermorny house, maybe you’ll want to decorate their bed with their house crest (shoutout to the Hufflepuffs)! Or maybe you’ll forbid them from entering your room if they’re in a different house (shoutout to the Slytherins)!

Did your pet get the same Ilvermorny house as you?

Forget seeing Luke Cage and Daisy Johnson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Jeph Loeb, it’s simply too hard to plan.

Although the Marvel movies and TV series ostensibly exist in the same universe, and although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does its best to include Avengers references whenever possible, TV show characters are unlikely to ever show up in the movies.

This despite Chloe Bennet’s continued efforts to remind people that she is, in fact, Marvel’s first on-screen female Asian superhero, and the awesome crossover possibilities the Marvel Netflix series have opened up.

Marvel fans have long been aware of the difficulties of bringing TV characters into the movie ‘verse, but at the 2016 TCAs, Jeph Loeb provided a few more reasons for why it’s practically impossible to coordinate.

“Part of the challenge of doing this sort of thing is that the movies are planned out years in advance of what it is that we are doing,” Loeb says, as quoted by SlashFilm. “Television moves at an incredible speed. The other part of the problem is that when you stop and think about it, if I’m shooting a television series and that’s going to go on over a six-month or eight-month period, how am I going to get Mike [Colter] to be able to go be in a movie? I need Mike to be in a television show.”

In terms of planning out the character arcs, this makes a lot of sense. A Marvel movie might be mapped out years in advance of production, for not to mention release, which means any character scheduled to appear would need to have their stories planned for many seasons in advance. The continuity would certainly be hard to keep track of.

Of course they could still throw in cameos, which fans would probably really appreciate — and crossovers from movies-TV are much more doable, as evidenced by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander)’s multiple appearances on AoS.

But Marvel is wary of doing that too much, too, because “we never want to be known as an Easter egg farm. It has to work within the story. We never want to do Luke Cage gets into a cab as Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock are getting out of the cab,” Loeb says, referencing The Man From U.N.C.L.E..

However, don’t lose hope yet. “Anything is possible,” says Loeb. “As I often get reported by you folks for saying #ItsAllConnected, our feeling is that the connection isn’t just whether or not somebody is walking into a movie or walking out of a television show. It’s connected in the way that the shows come from the same place, that they are real, that they are grounded.”

Would you like to see Marvel TV and movie characters cross over more?

If Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda weren’t enough to get you excited about Mary Poppins Returns, maybe Meryl Streep’s name on the roster will do the trick.

Mary Poppins Returns is not a remake of the original 1964 classic but rather a sequel to the Julie Andrews-led musical. As such, it stands to reason that we’ll be getting some new characters this time around. One of those characters will be Miranda’s Jack, who will be a street lamplighter.

And, according to Variety, another one of those new characters will also be portrayed by none other than Meryl Streep, who will be taking on the role of Mary Poppins’ cousin, Topsy. And, yes, the legendary actress will be taking on a singing role for the film.

This will also reunite Streep with her Into the Woods co-star Blunt, as well as Director Rob Marshall and Producer Marc Platt. Streep played the Witch in Into the Woods, while Blunt portrayed the Baker’s Wife opposite James Corden.

Disney’s official synopsis for Mary Poppins Returns reads:

Blunt has been cast as Mary Poppins and Miranda will play a new character, a street lamplighter named Jack. Drawing from the wealth of material in P.L. Travers’ seven additional novels, the story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Mary Poppins Returns and will hit theaters December 25, 2018.

Are you on board with ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ now that Meryl Streep has joined the cast?