Synopsis: The by-election is causing a stir, and has enthused Lady Sybil’s political interests. Learning that his daughter has gone to a Liberal rally without his knowledge, Lord Grantham could not help but become furious. Meanwhile, a troubling letter reaches the hands of Mr. Carson and Lady Violet with the Dowager Countess learning the truth about the night Mr. Pamuk died. To add to Mr. Carson’s already preoccupied mind, Mr. Thomas accuses Mr. Bates of stealing wine.
Episode Summary: Lady Sybil is at the Liberal rally in Ripon amidst the angry mob of men and anxious women eager to hear the speech of the liberal candidate supporting women’s right to vote. Luckily, Mrs. Crawley, a supporter of women’s equality, is there to advise her to leave before things get out of hand. With the men starting to throw things at the speaker, Mrs. Crawley appeals to the young woman arguing that Branson will surely get fired if anything happens to her. Lady Sybil finally agrees, and the two of them have a thoughtful chat about politics on the way home. The young woman applauds Branson’s ambition of going into politics, but Branson’s political interests go beyond women’s equality or Ireland’s freedom for he is most concerned about the gap between the aristocracy and the poor. Branson quickly realizes that he is expressing his thoughts to an aristocrat who also happens to be the daughter of his employer. The young man has nothing against Lord Grantham for he finds him a good man and decent employer. He finds it unfortunate that Lord Grantham represents an oppressive class.
Lady Sybil all disheveled after having to fight through the angry mob enters the Downton house through the back door to avoid being seen. Unfortunately, Mr. Bates unwittingly informs Lord Grantham that Mr. Branson was at the rally, which leads the man to ask whom he was with. Though reluctant to divulge the identity of the person Mr. Branson was with, his master’s urging left him with no other choice but to reveal that the young man was with Lady Sybil. Lord Grantham tries to control his temper when he begins to question his youngest daughter about her being at the assembly, but loses it quickly after having confirmed that Lady Sybil was indeed at the rowdy rally. He scolds his daughter for not having asked his permission, and passes the blame on Branson. Lady Cora steps in defense of Branson for it was she who arranged that Branson drive her daughter to Ripon. Lady Sybil argues that she was there to do some canvassing, but because the by-election was not far off she decided to go see it. Meanwhile, the thought of Lady Sybil canvassing sets off Lady Violet, which then prompts Lady Mary to come to her sister’s defense. All in all it was a disastrous family dinner with members taking their sides.
Mr. Carson informs Lady Cora of a letter he received from the valet of the Marques of Flintshire that troubled him deeply. According to him, Lord Flintshire is a minister at the Foreign Office who has dealings with the Turkish ambassador who has shared with him a scandalous rumor concerning Lady Mary and the late Mr. Pamuk. Mr. Carson shows Lady Cora the letter, and informs her that he was planning on sharing this awful news to Lord Grantham, but that night’s events prevented him from doing so. Lady Cora is somewhat relieved that Mr. Carson has not shared the contents of the letter to her husband, and assures the man that she will be the one to inform Lord Grantham.
Mr. Thomas becomes nervous after being reminded that Mr. Bates is aware of his stealing wine from the cellar. He and O’Brien connive once again at framing Mr. Bates for the theft of the wine before the man tells on him. Mr. Thomas goes to Mr. Carson telling him the story of having seen the cellar key swinging on its hook when Mr. Bates was at Mr. Carson’s office. He then continues by asking Mr. Carson if any wine was missing.
Lord Grantham apologizes to his wife after having reprimanded her in front of everybody including the servants. Moreover, he tells his wife that they must try to keep control of Lady Sybil to which Lady Cora answers that their youngest daughter is the least of their worries. She asks Robert that they must give their support to Mary that year even though it is Sybil’s first season, because it is high time that Mary is settled.
The shock of the Turkish ambassador spreading scandalous stories about Lady Mary has prompted Lady Cora to find a husband for her eldest daughter. Luckily, Sir Anthony Strallan has returned from Austria and Germany, and decided to pass by Downton to show off his new open Rolls Royce. Having taken on driving, Sir Anthony asks Lady Mary if she would like to ride with him, but the young woman politely turns down his offer. Lady Edith wastes no time to grab the opportunity, and volunteers to go with Sir Anthony much to Lady Cora’s dismay.
At least, Lady Mary’s excuse was not a lie for she truly was on her way to go horseback riding when Sir Anthony asked her out. William later finds her looking for Mr. Lynch after Diamond loses a shoe. With Mr. Lynch not in sight, William offers to attend to the job himself. This surprises Lady Mary who later learns that William looked after the horses on his father’s farm, a job he truly loved, but had to leave to fulfill his mother’s dream of him becoming a butler someday.
Mr. Carson calls Mr. Bates to his office to speak to him about what Thomas had said to him. Although Mr. Carson is vague about their meeting, Mr. Bates knows very well that the matter is about the missing wine. Mr. Carson has his work cut out for him for reticent Mr. Bates is not one to talk. He then meets with O’Brien and Thomas who brings with them Daisy. O’Brien flat out lies to Mr. Carson about seeing Mr. Bates with a bottle of wine and feigns not finding anything malicious about it believing that the valet was merely helping Mr. Carson. He then asks Daisy about what she saw, and with Thomas’ urging, Daisy informs the butler that she may or may not have seen Mr. Bates in the cellar.
O’Brien makes it slip to Lady Cora that Mr. Carson has found something about the person he admires that has made him glum. Believing that the scurrilous letter caused the butler’s morose mood, Lady Cora urges O’Brien to reveal to her the identity of the person whom Mr. Carson is disappointed with. She is relieved to learn that O’Brien was only speaking about Mr. Bates.
Lady Sybil not wanting to see her father’s wrath a second time, asks her father’s permission to go to Ripon. Lady Sybil pleads with him informing him that she must attend the meeting of her borstal charity on Friday evening. Lord Grantham gives her permission, but only if Mary or Edith goes with her. Lady Sybil begs him not to force her to bring one of her sisters for they will only be bored. Somehow, Lord Grantham has a change of heart that he allows her youngest daughter to go to Ripon, and even arranges for Branson’s packed dinner.
Lady Mary is pleasantly surprised to see Matthew who has come looking for Lord Grantham to speak to him about one of the farms. Because the purpose of his visit is not really urgent, the two spend a few minutes chatting outside. Mary informs him that Sybil has discovered politics, which incenses their father. Matthew admires Sybil’s passion and so does Mary, but she informs the young man that unlike her father she appreciates a good argument. Given the countless times the two have argued, Matthew jokingly suggests that they must see more of each other. This puts a smile on both their faces.
Lady Violet speaks with Lady Cora about a troubling letter she received from Susan Flintshire. Soon Lady Violet learns that the horrid rumors going about Lady Mary are true. Moreover, Lady Cora is an accomplice in the cover up, and now Lady Violet too is one of the few people who know the truth. The old woman is outraged, but Lady Cora stands by Mary’s side. No matter how upset she is with Mary’s unbecoming behavior, she is not one to disown her daughter.
Mrs. Crawley drops by the Downton House wanting to speak with Lady Cora and Lady Mary about a situation they had at the cottage hospital. She informs them that William’s mother has a fatal heart ailment, which she had asked them to keep secret from her son. The woman has been sent home to spend her last days with her family except for William who is currently unaware of her mother’s condition. Thinking that William must see his mother before she passes away, Mrs. Crawley asks Lady Cora if she will allow the young footman a few days off to see his dying mother. Lady Cora without any hesitation gives her blessing their only problem now is whether or not they inform the young man given that his mother had explicitly asked that he must not know. Both Lady Cora and Mrs. Crawley agree that they must abide by William’s mother’s dying wish, but Lady Mary disagrees with them. She offers to tell the young man.
Sir Strallan drops by Downton unannounced surprising the Crawleys. Lady Mary is embarrassed to have assumed that he had dropped by to ask her to come with him to the concert in York when it is Lady Edith that he wants to go with. This thrills Lady Edith who accepts his invitation without any hesitation.
Lady Sybil had once again fooled her father, and this time Branson too. The young chauffer was unaware that Lady Sybil had intended to go to Ripon for the counting of the votes. With him having to park the car, Branson becomes truly concerned about Lady Sybil who had gone directly to the by-election on her own. The mob becomes angrier and angrier as the votes are announced. Branson finally arrives and pleads with Lady Sybil that they take their leave, but the young woman has yet to hear the number of votes the Liberal Party received. Branson could see that the people are eager to start a riot, but they are too late; a truckload of men looking for a fight has arrived. Matthew was there as well trying to convince Lady Sybil to leave. Knowing that the men will be going after the well-dressed Matthew, Branson begs one of the men not to cause any trouble, but his pleas were left unheard. The man takes a swing at Matthew and a riot ensues. In the commotion, Lady Sybil is pushed to the side where she hits her head on a table.
With Lady Sybil injured and unconscious, Branson speaks to the other servants to fetch Lady Mary without alarming the rest of her family. He and Matthew had taken Lady Sybil to the Crawley House. Mrs. Crawley is attending to the unconscious and bleeding Sybil when Mary arrives. The young woman is filled with worry at the sight of her bloody and unconscious youngest sister. Mrs. Crawley wondered why Matthew was there, thinking that he was aware that the young woman would be attending the count. It was a providential coincidence that Matthew had stayed late at work forgetting that it was election night. Lady Sybil regains consciousness and is grateful to him, and also defends Branson who once again has been blamed for her current state. Lady Sybil explains that the young chauffer was unaware of her plans to attend the by-election. Moreover, Branson had begged her not to go as soon as he learned of her plans. Lady Mary asks her sister that she must stand in Branson’s defense for he sure will lose his job because of her. Matthew seems to once again have unwittingly charmed another Crawley daughter as Lady Sybil looks up to him with admiration. Lady Mary notices this, while Mrs. Crawley observes her reaction.
Mrs. Hughes discerns that something is troubling Mr. Carson. Unaware of the letter the butler received, she attributes it to the business of Mr. Bates being accused of stealing wine. Mr. Carson assures her that that is not what is troubling him, but says nothing more about the real cause of his worry. At any case, Mrs. Hughes would very much like to get to the bottom of the accusation slung over Mr. Bates that has caused an uneasy atmosphere among servants. Her wish may be fulfilled right there and there as Daisy asks to speak with Mr. Carson. Ever since she was coerced to lie to Mr. Carson, Daisy has not had any peace of mind. With her conscience troubling her, Daisy has finally come forward to inform Mr. Carson that she had lied to him about Mr. Bates.
Meanwhile, it is Lady Sybil’s turn to confess. Lord Grantham finds no sympathy to her injured daughter for his fury gets the better of him. Just as they expected, he blames everything on the socialist chauffer whom he believes have incited politics in their house. Despite Lady Sybil’s pleas that Branson was unaware of her plans, Lord Grantham has decided to let go of the chauffer. Lady Mary too comes to the young man’s defense, but that does not seem to have any weight. Lady Sybil threatens to run away if she finds that her father has truly let Branson go. Matthew anxiously awaits word of Lady Sybil’s well being, and could hear the shouting from upstairs. Soon Lady Mary and Lord Grantham meet him to inform him that Lady Sybil is fine. Moreover, Lady Mary had asked Mrs. Hughes to prepare some food for Matthew.
Having heard Daisy’s confession, Mr. Carson with Mrs. Hughes and Anna as his witnesses calls the servants that are entangled with the business about the missing wine. Mr. Bates asks Mr. Thomas to verify his story of having seen Mr. Bates handling the cellar key. He then asks O’Brien about her testimony of having seen Mr. Bates carrying a bottle of wine, and the woman stands by her lie. Mr. Carson then turns to Mr. Bates to confirm or deny O’Brien’s claim. Mr. Bates denies it without hesitation, and in support of his story he reminds them that they have never seen him drink alcohol since he arrived at Downton. There is only one lingering question that Mr. Carson would like the answer to, and that is, how did Mr. Bates know that wine is missing from the cellar. Dignified Mr. Bates still does not find any urge to tattle.
Mary accompanies Matthew as he eats his dinner. Matthew is surprised to learn that Mary does have interest in politics. She finds it hard to ignore the excitement of a hung Parliament even though she knows very well that whatever the outcome is that nothing will change. Mary personally thanks Matthew for rescuing Sybil from the mob, and is quite impressed at hearing that he had knocked a man down. Matthew informs her that he found it his duty to come to Sybil’s rescue. This leads Mary to ask him if his forthcoming behavior with her is simply brought about by his duty. Matthew is slighted by her question, but is charmed by it just the same. No longer able to resist each other, Matthew and Mary finally kiss.
When his accusers have left, Mr. Bates speaks with Mr. Carson, Anna and Mrs. Hughes privately to confess that he was a drunkard and was imprisoned as a thief. Mrs. Hughes is in disbelief, and refuses to believe that what Mr. Bates has told them cannot be the whole story. Mr. Bates offers his resignation, but Mr. Carson is not quick to accept it knowing very well that Mr. Bates has no intention of leaving Downton, but is merely acting on what is expected of him. Mr. Carson informs him that he needs time to think this through and will have to discuss it with Lord Grantham.
Mary informs her mother that Matthew has left, and that the young man had asked her to marry him. Cora thinking that her daughter was teasing her could not be more thrilled to learn that Lady Mary is not joking at all. Though Mary hasn’t accepted his proposal, she hasn’t turned him down as well. Much to Cora’s delight, she learns that Mary is truly in love with the young heir. In fact, Mary has come to a realization that she may have loved Matthew for much longer than she knew. Her need to go against what is expected of her may be one of the reasons why she has not yet decided to accept Matthew’s proposal; the other reason being her having taken Mr. Pamuk has her lover. Mary is truly in love with Matthew for she finds it necessary to tell him her scandalous secret. This disappoints Cora who is afraid that Matthew might recant his proposal, but before the two of them could discuss this further Robert arrives to sleep on the same bed as his wife.
Lady Mary finds William attending to Diamond. Seeing him reminded her of his mother’s condition. She asks about him taking time off to see his family, and learns that he is not due for a vacation. Hearing this, Lady Mary offers to personally arrange a few days off for him to see his family. This surprises the young footman, and so Lady Mary finds no reason to lie to him about his mother’s situation, but left off the fact that the woman is dying so as not to cause the young man any more pain. Learning that his mother is ill, William accepts his mistress’ gracious offer.
Lady Violet drops by Downton to speak with Lady Cora. After giving it some thought, she now finds that she would have done the same if she were in Lady Cora’s shoes. She believes that there is no point of wishing away something that had already happened. The best recourse is to minimize the damage, which is why she had written back to Susan Flintshire informing her that what she has been hearing is a propaganda being spread by Mr. Pamuk’s enemies to discredit him. Even though Susan Flintshire believes this to be a lie, she is most likely not to spread any more rumors lest it reflect badly on her. However, because this solution only does very little, Lady Violet believes that the best solution is to find Mary a husband. Luckily, Lady Cora has some very good news about that, and tells Lady Violet that Matthew has proposed to Mary. The only downside of this news is that Mary has not yet accepted his proposal, and that the young woman is planning on telling Matthew about Mr. Pamuk believing that it is the honorable thing to do. This disappoints Lady Violet who would rather her granddaughter go down the aisle keeping a lie from her soon-to-be husband. Still unsure of whether or not Mary will accept Matthew’s marriage proposal, Lady Violet hatches up a contingency plan that is to take Mary abroad. Lady Violet and Lady Cora agree that they are to take Lady Mary to Rome if she is to turn down Matthew. Lady Cora is grateful to Lady Violet for not turning against Lady Mary. The Dowager Countess may have a lot of rules, but to her family comes first.
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