Series Three: Episode Seven
Bates is finally released from prison and returns to Downton. Everybody is delighted at this outcome, except for Thomas, who faces having to lose his job as Lord Grantham's valet. His worries are well founded, as Lord Grantham assures Bates that he will give him his old job back, and that he will look for a cottage on the estate for him and Anna.
Branson continues with his plans to have his daughter baptised as a Catholic. He imagines that the family will want nothing to do with it, but Mary persuades him to give them a chance to show their magnanimity. Branson asks her to be the baby's godmother, and she agrees. Branson's brother Kieran comes to visit from Liverpool, and scandalises the servants by wanting to eat with them, before Mary and Branson persuade him to join the family. It is revealed that he owns a garage in Liverpool where Branson intends to work, living in a flat on the premises with his daughter. The family are horrified.
Violet visits Isobel and tells her that she only remained at lunch to support Cora, and that she thinks Ethel should be sent away. Isobel argues against this, saying that she has to fight for what she believes in, but Violet accuses her of using Ethel as her weapon. It is certainly true that people in the village have started to treat Ethel very badly.
Matthew continues in his efforts to make Downton a profitable estate, despite Lord Grantham's opposition. At a meeting to discuss matters Jarvis, the estate manager for forty years, resigns. At the end of the episode Lord Grantham has been persuaded to offer the job to Branson, partly due to his farming experience in Ireland but also to save his granddaughter from growing up above a garage. Branson accepts.
Edith still wants to accept the offer of writing a column, but most of the family are still opposed. She travels up to London for a meeting with the editor, Mr Gregson, who is obviously attracted to her.
Below stairs O'Brien continues to plot against Thomas, convincing him that James has feelings for him and telling him to strike while the iron is hot. Encouraged by this, Thomas enters James' room at midnight and tries to kiss him while he is asleep, but he is discovered by Alfred, returning from a trip to the cinema with some of the other servants. Alfred reports this to Carson, who confronts Thomas, pointing out that he has committed a criminal offence. Thomas does not deny his behaviour, but insists that James was entirely innocent.