Series One: Episode Seven
July/August 1914 and the stormclouds are gathering over England as Europe prepares for war. Mary is staying with her aunt, Lady Rosamund Painswick, while she mulls over Matthew’s marriage proposal. Cora finds out that she is pregnant, and Lady Rosamund advises Mary not to marry Matthew, as if Cora’s child is a boy he will be the heir to Downton and Matthew will return to being a small town solicitor. Mary has discovered from Evelyn Napier that it was Edith who fuelled the rumors about her and Pamuk.
O’Brien and Thomas keep up their campaign against Bates, with O’Brien discovering that Bates was convicted of stealing the regimental silver when he was a soldier. However, when Anna accompanies Mrs.Patmore to town (the Earl has arranged for Mrs.Patmore to see an eye specialist) she visits Bates’ mother and discovers that Bates was covering up for his wife in taking the blame. O’Brien tells Cora the secret, and she tells the Earl, who says that he would sooner sack O’Brien than Bates. O’Brien overhears part of this conversation and mistakenly believes it means she is going to lose her job. In revenge, she puts soap by Cora’s bath to make her slip. She regrets this and tries to warn Cora, but it’s too late: Cora slips and falls and this causes her to have a miscarriage. Her and the Earl’s grief is compounded when they find out the baby would have been a boy.
Isobel’s cook, Mrs.Bird, comes to cook for the family whilst Mrs.Patmore is away. Mrs.Patmore has asked Daisy to spoil the meals she makes in case the family prefer her cooking, but Mrs.Bird discovers what she is doing. However, she admires Daisy’s loyalty and when Mrs.Patmore returns they become friends.
Molesley catches Thomas stealing from Carson’s wallet. Carson tells the Earl, who tells him to wait until after an imminent charity garden party and then sack him. Thomas hands in his resignation anyway as he has secured a post in the Army Medical Corps: knowing that war is coming he has taken a non-combatant role to save his skin. Thomas gets some comeuppance when William punches him for his callousness over Cora’s miscarriage and for mocking William for mourning his mother’s death.
Mary discovers that Sir Anthony is planning to propose to Edith at the garden party, so in revenge for Edith’s rumor mongering she persuades Sir Anthony that Edith thinks him old and dull. He leaves without proposing.
A telephone is installed at Downton Abbey, and Sybil manages to get Gwen a job with the telephone company. Branson gives Sybil the news, and her reaction shows how friendly they are: Mrs. Hughes cautions Branson against getting too involved. Molesely starts to take an interest in Anna and so Bates hints that he has feelings for her.
Mary has decided that she will marry Matthew, but she has missed her chance: he tells her that he suspects she was waiting to see the outcome of Cora’s pregnancy before accepting him, and is only doing so now because it seems certain he will inherit the title and estate. Matthew tells her that he is going to leave Downton for good.
The episode and the series ends with the Earl receiving a telegram telling him that the war with Germany has begun.