Series Two: Episode Three
It is mid 1917 and the plans to turn Downton into a convalescent hospital continue to disrupt everyone, both the servants and the family. Due to his shellshock Lang in particular finds the extra work hard to cope with. A power battle emerges between Isobel and Cora as to who is running the hospital. O’Brien is disgusted that Isobel seems to be in charge and suggests to Cora that she should appoint Thomas as head of the hospital so that she will have an ally. This is very unpopular with the other servants who have not forgotten Thomas’ behavior before the war.
Violet and Rosamund are convinced that they will be able to find some scandal about Lavinia and Sir Richard. Believing that Mary and Matthew are destined to be married they set out to find anything discreditable which could be used to break the engagement. Unfortunately for them they discover that Sir Richard used a debt he held over Lavinia’s father to blackmail her into revealing government secrets, so they are unable to break Matthew’s engagement for now.
Anna thinks she sees Bates in the village and tracks him down to the pub where he is working. She implores him to come back to the Abbey, but he refuses. However, he reveals that he has evidence that his wife has been unfaithful to him and so he should be able to obtain a divorce from her soon.
Branson has been called up to the army and plans to declare himself as a conscientious objector. Before he can do so he is found to be unfit for service and so is thwarted. Matthew invites General Sir Hubert Strutt to dinner, and this gives Branson the opportunity to express his socialism in another way. He plans to humiliate the General when serving at dinner by pouring muck over his head. His plans are stopped because he writes a note to Sybil asking her to forgive him for his actions, which he puts amongst her clothes. Anna finds the note, and she, Carson and Mrs. Hughes rush to stop Branson, believing that he plans to assassinate the General. Carson agrees to keep him on provided he never tries a similar trick again.
Lang accidentally upsets Mrs.Patmore by revealing to the other servants that her nephew was shot for cowardice; she had told him about it to make him feel there was no shame in shellshock, but he didn’t realize it was a secret.
The new servant Ethel flirts with young officers in the hospital and gets severely reprimanded by Mrs.Hughes.
William visits Downton the night before he sails for France and asks Daisy to marry him.