Series Two: Episode Seven
It is 1919 and the family, and their servants are adjusting to their post-war lives. Matthew begins to think that he may still have some feeling in his legs. When Lavinia drops a tray he automatically rises from his chair to help her and finds that he can stand again. His doctor, Major Clarkson, reveals that he had been told by other doctors that this might happen but had not wished to hold out false hope to Matthew. Now Matthew is recovered he begins to make plans to marry Lavinia in the near future. Violet, knowing that Mary still loves Matthew and still hoping to keep the title and estate within her immediate family, tells Matthew of Mary’s feelings and urges him to reconsider. However, Matthew knows that Lavinia was prepared to sacrifice her life and chances of having a family to look after him as a cripple, and so feels honour bound to fulfill his obligations.
Sir Richard, still angry at Mary’s devotion to Matthew, asks Anna to act as a spy in the household for him and report on Mary’s behavior. Carson is disgusted when he discovers this and decides to reject the offer of taking up a position as Sir Richard’s butler.
Cora wants matters to return to prewar normality and is alarmed by Isobel’s plans to keep using the house as a convalescent home. Violet cunningly takes Isobel’s mind off this by suggesting that she should be devoting her energy to helping alleviate the situation for refugees in war-torn Europe.
The Earl is feeling disillusioned that all the suffering caused, by the way, seems to have accomplished nothing, and in a disturbed state of mind makes a pass at Jane, the new housemaid. He quickly comes to his senses and apologizes.
Vera continues to haunt Bates from beyond the grave: he learns that her death was a suicide as a result of her taking rat poison. He had purchased the poison for her, and he fears that her last act was an attempt to frame him for murder.
Mr. and Mrs. Bryant, the parents of Major Bryant, visit Downton to see the place where their son had taken his convalescence. During their visit, Mrs. Hughes arranges a meeting with Ethel, and they are presented with their grandson. Although Mrs. Bryant seems prepared to listen Mr. Bryant flies into a rage and accuses Ethel of being an opportunistic liar attempting to gain an advantage from their son’s death by falsely accusing him of paternity.
Now that the hospital is no longer in existence, Thomas decides that he is going to take advantage of the new black market in rationed goods. He builds up a stock, using his life savings, but then his supplier cheats him, and he is ruined.
With the war over Sybil decides that she will marry Branson and makes plans to elope with him. Mary discovers the plan before they can marry and she, Edith and Anna persuade Sybil that the best thing she can do is put the matter honestly before her parents and tell them of her plans.