Downton Abbey has had its fair share of guest stars, but, I am pretty certain that none have been as dashing as this dude. In a (very) short teaser for show's upcoming holiday special for ITV's Text Santa fundraiser, that one guy from ER, George Clooney, makes his first appearance in the world of Downton Abbey in his role as an alternate reality version of Lord Grantham (normally portrayed by Hugh Bonneville). Sounds confusing, especially since Downton isn't a supernatural series, I know — but when Clooney's involved, questions about things making sense generally go out the window.
For the sake of being succinct, however, I'll try to explain: Basically, as Deadline reports, Lord Grantham is feeling pretty down around the holidays, and with good reason: He's "facing financial ruin," and feeling as if his family might be happier and better off without him around. So, enter Clooney, an alternate ego of sorts for Grantham — who gives him "a view of what life would really be like without his guiding spirit." Yeah, I'm still a little lost too, but, like I said: Clooney's involved, that's all that matters.
And, for the record, Clooney's actually no stranger to guest-starring in alternate reality episodes of popular shows, so this role does kind of suit him: Back in the '80s during the tail-end of his stint on Facts of Life, Clooney guest-starred in the show's Halloween episode...only to be promptly murdered by what appears to be the cameraman. I mean, compared to that, Downton's storyline makes total sense.
Check the short teaser below. Downton's Clooney-ful short film (sadly, not a whole episode — just a holiday special!) will air on Dec. 18.