Really, y'all are reading WAY too much into some of these.
Bates: SERIOUSLY YOU ARE TOO DUMB TO LIVE. (Or maybe not. Hello, spousal privilege! Anna now can't testify against him.) On the plus side, no one's going to be paying attention to the Earl's daughter marrying a chauffeur turned journalist with revolutionary ambitions now they're going to do his valet for murder. (Next season, the Duke of Denver's younger brother Lord Peter comes to visit and takes the case! Nah, probably not. CROSSOVER!)
TV: Stop making me feel sorry for Thomas. Except I'm startling to feel for Thomas.
Ethel: Running a VERY tight photo finish for second with Bates in the 'too stupid to live' race. When your semi-literate kid is digging ditches and doing mind-numbing factory work until he gets called up as Enlisted Cannon Fodder #1 in 1939 I'm sure he'll be so happy she passed on his being raised by people who could give him a decent start in life so he could have 'a mother's love.' I hope he didn't inherit his mother's IQ. It sounds very nice and all but she's just as unemployable and unable to plan ahead as she's been all along. If she'd had half a brain she should have given him up way back when it was clear Major Mustache wasn't helping.