Series Three: Episode Two
Summer 1920. Matthew and Mary return from their honeymoon in the South of France. The Dowager Countess and Martha Levinson continue their battles over etiquette and other matters. Matthew reveals the possibility of his inheritance to Lord Grantham, but explains to him that it would not be honourable to use it to save Downton. Initially Lord Grantham does not understand, but soon accepts Matthew's point of view.
Violet and Mary begin planning together to see if they can find a way to persuade Martha Levinson to bankroll the estate. They begin to drop hints, mentioning how the two families have always supported each other, and how close they are. Cora is not in on the plan and when she discovers it is displeased, feeling that her family have done enough to support the Crawleys already. Several of the characters are making plans against the eventuality of their having to leave Downton. Eventually Violet and Mary openly ask Martha for help, but she explains that her husband left his money tied up so that the Crawleys could never have access to it. The best she can offer them is to let them live with her in the United States.
Violet continues to be unhappy about Edith's feelings for Lord Strallen, and tells Lord Grantham that he must tell Lord Strallen to tell her they must never see each other again. When this happens Edith is so furious that Lord Grantham relents and invites Lord Strallen back to the house. When he does come back he confesses his true feelings to her (previously he had been trying to dissuade her, feeling she should not throw herself away on an older man) and proposes marriage, which Edith accepts.
Amongst the servants Thomas is continuing his campaign against Alfred, jealous that he has been made Matthew's valet. He not only engineers matters so that it looks as though Alfred has made mistakes but he informs Lord Grantham that Alfred is not ready to be a valet. When O'Brien discovers this she vows to get even with Thomas, and she does so by hiding Lord Grantham's dinner shirts so he has to come down to a big dinner party improperly dressed.
Mrs Hughes has found a lump on her breast, and she and Mrs Patmore go to see Dr Clarkson, but the tests are inconclusive. Mrs Hughes refuses to tell anybody else about her problems and so gets in trouble with Carson for her substandard work.
Anna has discovered that a friend of Vera's, Mrs Bartlett, might have some information about Vera's death, though Bates warns her that the two were best friends.
Ethel, the maid who left Downton when she was pregnant, comes to Isobel's women's shelter, but backs out of meeting her at the last moment.