Series Three: Episode Eight
Carson decides that he must dismiss Thomas for his behaviour (or rather he tells Thomas that he must resign, using Bates' return as an excuse). O'Brien persuades James to make things worse for Thomas, pointing out that otherwise people will assume that he too is homosexual, so James tells Carson that he is thinking of reporting Thomas to the police. As a result of this Carson decides that he will not provide Thomas with a reference, which effectively ruins any chance he has of employment. However, when Lord Grantham hears about the matter he is surprisingly sympathetic to Thomas, and says that he will do his best to get him a new job. Bates also feels sorry for Thomas and informs Lord Grantham about O'Brien's scheming.
Eventually matters are resolved by the intervention of Bates, who finds out from Thomas about O'Brien's causing the injury to Cora in series one. Using this as blackmail, he persuades her to stop James from making his threats. Carson decides (on the orders of Lord Grantham) to allow Thomas to stay on, promoting him to under butler, and Lord Grantham promotes James to first footman in recognition of his refusing to make a fuss. It appears the plans will go awry as Alfred calls the police to tell them what he saw, but Lord Grantham persuades him to be merciful towards Thomas, and he tells them that he was drunk and mistook some horseplay for something else.
Edith, Matthew and Mary, and their cousin Rose, who has come to stay at Downton, all go to London for various reasons. During the course of their visit Rose is discovered to be having an affair with a married man, and Matthew and Mary have to drag her out of a nightclub and take her back to Downton. Violet discovers what has been going on and has Rose sent to Scotland.
Edith suspects Mr Gregson is flirting with her and checks up on him, discovering that he is a married man. She goes to London to hand in her resignation, but he explains that his wife is in an asylum and he is unable to divorce her, and he asks her to reconsider.
Matthew and Mary bump into each other at the same fertility doctor, and Mary reveals that the reason she has been steering clear of sex with Matthew is that she has been waiting for a gynaecological operation, but that now everything is all right and they should be able to conceive (this is a great relief for Matthew as he had been worried that his war injuries had made him infertile).
Lord Grantham continues to resist Matthew's plans for revitalising the estate, and there are continual arguments. There is some resolution at the annual house versus village cricket match, when Matthew and Branson managed to persuade Lord Grantham that a combination of their new ideas and his traditional values will be the best way forward.