Series Two: Episode Two
It is April 1917 and Carson is still having trouble running the house with his reduced staff. William is pleased to get his callup papers, but Carson is forced to accept female staff serving in the dining room. Needing a new valet the Earl employs a former soldier named Henry Lang. Nobody quite realizes the extent of Lang’s shellshock and he makes several errors, particularly when serving dinner.
Thomas has returned from the front after deliberately getting wounded and is working alongside Sybil in the local hospital. He becomes friendly with a young lieutenant who has gas blindness and seems to be becoming a better person. However, the lieutenant kills himself after being told that he will have to leave the hospital for reasons of space. This leads Isobel, to Violet’s horror, to extend the convalescent ward into Downton Abbey itself.
With Bates still away with his wife Molesley makes a play for Anna but she has decided that Bates is the only man for her.
Mrs. Patmore is horrified and deeply distressed to receive news that her nephew has been court martialled and shot for cowardice.
Edith has learned to drive a tractor and found work on a local farm as part of the war effort. However, she gives in to the advances of a married farmer, whose wife sees him kissing her, and so she is removed from her post.
Matthew Crawley is temporarily removed from the front line to undertake a recruitment drive in the north of England. He visits Downton and is invited to dinner with his fiancée Lavinia. Mary also invites Sir Richard Carlisle and the company are intrigued to see that Lavinia appears to be on close terms with him; Violet and her daughter (the Earl’s sister) Lady Rosamund are particularly suspicious of Carlisle. Carson has a heart problem whilst serving dinner, and as Mary tends him he tells her that he can see how much she loves Matthew and that she should tell him so before it’s too late. Mary seems set to do this but then hears Lavinia saying how much she loves Matthew and decides to remain silent.