Synopsis: With the war over, the Crawleys and their servants get on with their lives. An accident revealed a miraculous surprise for Matthew. Sir Richard makes a devious request to Anna that she refuses and informs Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson about. The Bryants have decided to drop by Downton to see and speak to the people who knew Major Bryant as part of their way of coping with losing their only son. Mrs. Hughes plans on speaking to Mrs. Bryant to appeal to her in Ethel’s behalf. Mr. Bates receives news of Vera sending a letter to a friend telling her that she is afraid for her life.
Episode Summary: It’s 1919 and the convalescent home at Downton Abbey has closed, gone are the equipment, and gone are the wounded officers except for Matthew who is still staying at the house. Cora believes that it is high time for Matthew to return to the Crawley house, but Robert finds this request distasteful especially her supposition that Matthew’s presence is holding back Mary. Moreover, Robert does not believe in protecting Mary by marrying her off to Richard. Lord Grantham decides takes a walk to the village to avoid having to receive Sir Richard when on his return he happens to find Jane on her knees picking up the apples that have fallen on the ground. Lord Grantham helps her, and chats with her about her son Freddie whom he had helped get into Ripon Grammar. He then begins to confide in her his ponderings about the war of how many lives were sacrificed for it. The arrival of the tardy Sir Richard interrupts their conversation.
With the convalescent home no longer in operation, Thomas finds himself in need of work, and found that there is a future for him in the black market business. Thomas needs only to pay his dealer, and he is ready for business. Given the shortages, Thomas is certain that his business will take off giving him enough money to go into legal trade. O’Brien is concerned for his safety, but Thomas is not worried about the police seeing that they have not been looking into the black market. Nonetheless, she gives him fair warning that he might be asked to leave Downton Abbey soon for there is no reason for him to be living there.
The world has changed from fashion to the way of living, and both Lady Violet and Lord Grantham are reluctant to these changes with Lord Grantham feeling that his life had value before the war. The opposite is true with Lady Sybil who had been busy caring for the wounded as a nurse in the war; she finds the return to her old life to be dreary. Lady Sybil confides in Branson who was hopeful that the young lady has made up her mind. Sybil could not bear having to go back to her old haughty life, and confides in Edith that she has found a way out of it. Moreover, she is aware that there is no going back once she has taken the path to her new life, but it is what she wants. Sybil is surprised to learn that Edith wants to move forward as well, and she tells her sister that she does not have to go back. In fact, she finds that the war has made Edith a much better person.
With the imminent marriage of Sir Richard and Lady Mary, Mr. Carson finds himself about to face the regrettable choice he had made. Mr. Carson confides to Mrs. Hughes that he regrets having to leave Downton Abbey, but his belief that he will be able to help Lady Mary in her early years of marriage makes it worthwhile. Mrs. Hughes could not understand the love Mr. Carson has for Lady Mary. Mr. Carson having known Lady Mary since she was a child remembers her coming to him when she was about four or five years old with a plan to runaway. She had come to him to ask for some of the silverware that she hopes to sell. Mr. Carson instead gives her some money to which she tells him he should charge her with some interest. The young Lady Mary then gives him a kiss, and since then has gained a special place in Mr. Carson’s heart.
Sir Richard speaks privately to Anna about spying on Lady Mary, and offers her money in return for her service. Anna knowing what a violation it is to Lady Mary to do so immediately turns down Sir Richard’s offer. Afraid that Anna would go to Lady Mary with his underhanded request, Sir Richard asks the maid not to say a word to his fiancée about their conversation. Troubled with the incident, Anna speaks in confidence to both Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson about Sir Richard’s request. Upon hearing of the man’s devious request, Mr. Carson decides to rescind his decision to leave Downton Abbey for Haxby Park. He informs Lady Mary of his decision, which riled her in spite of hearing his reason. Mr. Carson cannot work for a man who pays someone to spy on his future wife. Despite his noble reason, Lady Mary finds Mr. Carson’s withdrawal a disappointment. Moreover, she insults Mr. Carson with her comment that not having him at Haxby Park is not a complete loss for butlers are two a penny.
Matthew after being told by Dr. Clarkson that the tingling he has been feeling on his legs is just an illusion decides to get Mr. Bates’ opinion about it asking what the man would do if he were in his shoes. Mr. Bates advice is to wait and see for he believes that if there is really a change then it will materialize sooner or later. Matthew unwilling to give anyone false hope asks him to keep their conversation to themselves.
Learning from Lady Cora that the Bryants have decided to drop by Downton Abbey to speak to the people Major Bryant knew as part of their remembrance of him, Mrs. Hughes decides to inform Ethel of the news, and moreover of her plan to speak privately with Mrs. Bryant. Mrs. Hughes plans on telling her about Major Bryant’s son, Charlie. Ethel is to wait at the game larder with the child in case Mrs. Bryant’s decides that she wants to see her grandson.
Lord Grantham is looking for Mr. Carson, but finds Jane instead. Caught up in close quarters, Lord Grantham fails to contain the urge and kisses Jane passionately. Though caught by surprise, Jane does not resist. Lord Grantham realizes his inappropriate behavior and asks for the maid’s forgiveness, which she accepts. Flustered, Jane runs downstairs, and clumsily informs Mr. Carson that Lord Grantham is waiting for him at the dressing room. Mr. Carson informs Lord Grantham of having withdrawn his decision to leave Downton Abbey for Haxby Park for he could not bring himself to work for a man he could not respect no matter how much he feels the need to protect Lady Mary from him. With the cat out of the bag, Lady Mary becomes upset with Anna for not coming to her first about Sir Richard’s request unaware that the man has forbidden her, but her anger might have stemmed from the consequence of Mr. Carson’s decision not to work for her.
With everyone else still getting ready for dinner, Matthew and Lavinia wait in the library for them. Lavinia sees a tray of dishes that haven’t been cleared, and takes it upon her to put them away. Matthew tells her to just ring the bell, but Lavinia always considerate does not want to bother the servants whom she knows are busy preparing dinner. Lavinia fails to see the footstool that was lying on the floor, and trips over flinging the tray of dishes, and almost hitting her head on the hearth. Matthew having witnessed all of this gets up from his wheelchair to help her fiancée only realizing then that he has regained function of his legs. Having heard of the news, Lord Grantham excitedly calls his family to witness the miracle. All gather around Matthew as he with the help of Lavinia stands up from his wheelchair. With Sybil’s suggestion, Lord Grantham instructs Edith to go with Branson to fetch Dr. Clarkson, Lady Violet and Mrs. Crawley right away. Dr. Clarkson arrives at Downton Abbey to explain the miracle of Matthew being able to stand again. He admits to have been mistaken in his diagnosis of Matthew’s spine being transected, and in fact, the other doctor, Sir John Coates believed that Matthew was only suffering from spinal shock. Because Dr. Clarkson did not agree with Sir John Coates diagnosis, he kept it to himself believing that it will only have given Matthew false hope. Matthew understands Dr. Clarkson’s decision, and does not blame him for his judgment call. Matthew is just too happy to know that he will soon have a normal life.
A comment from Lord Grantham about the manner by which Vera had died has been nagging on Mr. Bates that reticent as he is he felt the need to share it with Anna. Lord Grantham believes that the woman’s death could not have been an accident for Vera would have bought the poison and taken it home with her. She would have knowingly taken the poison, but Vera not leaving a suicide note adds another layer of doubt about her death. Mr. Bates concern is that he was the one who bought the poison when they were still living together. He had bought it upon the instruction of his wife who told him that they needed rat poison. It is only now that he realized that the rat poison must have been what Vera used to take her own life. Mr. Bates has not informed the police of this discovery, but Anna urges him to, because keeping it silent would only make it worse for him when they find out. This is good advice for soon Mr. Bates learns that Vera has sent a letter to a friend informing her of his visit, and had written that she is afraid for her life. Vera has painted Mr. Bates as a man out for revenge after she had taken all his money and ruined his chance for divorce. Moreover, her dying only benefits him for not only will he inherit her money, he too can now marry whomever and whenever he likes.
At dinner, Lady Violet wonders why Sir Richard is in a rush to finish renovating Haxby Park, and learns that he is unsure if living close to Downton is the best move for him and Lady Mary. Renovating the house will allow him to sell it easily if they decide that Haxby Park is not suitable for them. If Matthew is the reason why living so near to Downton Abbey might not be a good idea then he need not be concerned for Matthew given his miraculous recovery has announced that he and Lavinia who had stayed with him through thick and thin are once again engaged to be married. With Lord Grantham’s permission, Matthew and Lavinia are to be wed at Downton to allow them to bury the darkest period in his life with such a joyous occasion. Lady Cora and Lady Violet could see the sadness in Lady Mary’s face at this announcement no matter how she tries to mask it with her smile.
All this talk of Matthew and Lavinia getting married at Downton has made Lady Sybil realize that the war is truly over, and that it is time to move forward. Lady Sybil goes to Branson to tell him of her decision. Sybil finds in Tom a ticket to get away from Downton and from the way of life she no longer wants. Tom is overjoyed and beyond belief. Tom and Sybil finally kiss.
Cora puts a damper on the evening that had gone so well with her annoyance at Robert for agreeing to host Matthew and Lavinia’s wedding for doing so means that Mary and Richard’s wedding will have to be delayed. Robert has once again put Matthew first before his own daughter. Cora may have won the argument if she had not sounded so selfish at using Matthew’s being lame to be the reason why Robert took pity on him enough to agree to host his wedding, because she could not be more wrong.
Thomas brings O’Brien to the shed in the village where he has been keeping the supplies he bought from the black market. The supplies cost him an arm and a leg, but Thomas is not worried, because he believes he can make a hefty profit off of them. O’Brien sees Mrs. Patmore as Thomas’ first client with all her complaining of having no supply to work with. O’Brien helps Thomas get Mrs. Patmore to buy his goods that the woman already finds suspect, but nonetheless she asks him to produce the ingredients she will be using for Matthew’s wedding cake. Thomas and O’Brien are quite pleased at having their first client. Daisy hearing of Mrs. Patmore making a wedding cake asks if she could be the one to make it, and because she has not made one before she has offered to do it early in case it does not come out right; this way Mrs. Patmore will have enough time to create a new one.
The Bryants arrive at Downton Abbey, and although Mrs. Bryant is very courteous not the same can be said about Mr. Bryant who greets the Granthams with an air of irritation as though meeting them is such a chore. He informs the Granthams that they are in a hurry, and will not be staying too long. To Mr. Carson’s surprise, Mrs. Hughes has come to receive the Bryants unaware of her motives. With Mrs. Bryant wanting to see Major Bryant’s room, Mrs. Hughes takes the opportunity to be the one to bring her, but Lady Cora offered to give her the tour along with Lord Grantham. With the Bryants already at the dining room having luncheon with the Crawleys, Mrs. Hughes informs Ethel who has been hiding in the game larder the unfortunate news that her plan has failed. She tells Ethel that she must leave for there is no point in staying. Mrs. Hughes makes her way back to the kitchen when she sees Ethel hastening by clearly on her way to the dining room. Ethel manages to enter the dining room carrying with her little Charlie. All are shocked at the sight of her, and Lady Cora who knows exactly the purpose of her barging in tries to explain, but Ethel would want them to hear it from her. Ethel introduces Charlie as the Bryants’ grandson. Mr. Bryant is in disbelief, and demands proof of Major Bryant acknowledging paternity of little Charlie. Ethel informs him that Major Bryant was aware of the existence of his child, but never did anything about it. This, however, was proof for Mr. Bryant that Major Bryant is not the father of the child for he believes that his son would never evade his responsibilities. Mr. Bryant yells at Ethel to leave telling her that she is upsetting Mrs. Bryant who meekly disagrees for she wants to see the child, and the truth is it was Mr. Bryant who had upset everybody with his maltreatment of Ethel. Mr. Bryant is convinced that Ethel was only after money believing that the young woman has learned that Major Bryant is an only child of a well-off family, but Mrs. Bryant is not so sure. Mrs. Crawley who almost lost his only son feels for Mrs. Bryant. Afraid that his wife might want to pursue their grandson Mr. Bryant gets up from his chair, walks out of the luncheon ordering his wife to do the same without showing any courtesy to the hosts. Ethel is brought downstairs to the servants’ hall, and having seen the wrath of Mr. Bryant she tells herself that she is better off without the Bryants’ help.
Having been witnesses to the scandalous incident, the Crawleys discuss what had just transpired. Lady Mary feels for Ethel, but Sir Richard believes that there is no legal reality to her claim. Hearing that there is nothing that can be done, Lady Mary believes that the matter is a lost cause for Ethel has made a choice, one she cannot undo. Lady Mary, however, may have been speaking of the choice she made. Lady Violet, ever insightful, privately speaks to Matthew to inform him that Mary is still in love with him. This the old lady confirmed at the sight of Mary’s reaction at hearing the news of Matthew and Lavinia’s decision to pursue their marriage. The fact of the matter is Lady Violet had known for a very long time that Mary had always loved Matthew, but seeing that there is no future for them together given his paralysis she had let her granddaughter look for happiness elsewhere. Lady Violet now wonders if Matthew could love Mary again. Whether or not Matthew still loves Mary, he cannot just put aside Lavinia who after being shunned returns with a renewed determination to selflessly look after him for the rest of his life even with the knowledge that he cannot fulfill all the duties of a husband. Although Lady Violet believes that Matthew is doing the noble thing in marrying Lavinia, she does not agree that he is marrying her for the right reasons. She is at peace with Matthew’s decision. She could only hope that he had made the right one for his sake.
Edith asks Lavinia if they have set a date for the wedding, and the young woman supposes that she and Matthew can be wed by April. Richard is getting anxious about his own wedding as well, and asks Mary when they are to hold it. Mary feeling obliged to get hers done once and for all agrees to set the date for the end of July. She then confronts Richard about him asking Anna to spy on her. She is affronted at her fiancé having to bribe her maid to learn what she is up to, and so she requests that going forward he should just ask her. Having handed the opportunity, Richard asks Mary if she is still in love with Matthew. Mary, however, handles the question well. How could she love a man who preferred someone else over her? Later, Mary notices that Sybil is not in sight worrying her. She drops by her bedroom to say goodnight, but finds that no one is answering the door. Mary knows that something is wrong, and with Anna’s help they manage to get the key from Mrs. Hughes without alarming her. There is reason to be alarmed for Sybil has left a letter in her room informing her family that she has eloped, and is already on her way to Gretna Green. Edith, Mary, and Anna go after Sybil believing that they would have stopped at an inn on their way to their final destination. Anna spots the car parked by The Swan Inn. Mary and Edith barges inside Tom and Sybil’s room, and finds that the two have not shared a bed. Sybil makes it clear that being caught with Tom will not change a thing, and Mary agrees but she pleads with her sister to give their parents the chance to get used to the idea of her marrying Tom. Sybil does not believe that their parents will ever give her permission to marry Tom, but Mary argues that she does not need one for she is already an adult. She, however, would need to ask for their forgiveness in order for her to truly move forward. Tom believes that Mary is only tricking her into going back with them, but Sybil sees the sense in Mary’s argument. Sybil believes that her parents deserve to be told of her decision, and so she will return to Downton Abbey but assures Tom that she will stay true to him.
Morning came and Lord Grantham and Lady Cora haven’t a clue of the previous night’s events in spite of their daughters not showing up for breakfast. Lady Cora assumes that they just had plans of their own given that she too has made plans to help Mrs. Crawley with the refugees. Lady Cora finds that the war has changed her, and that she now finds a need to be useful. Meanwhile, Lord Grantham finds that he has not changed. With everyone going about their own business, Lord Grantham is once again left to his own devices, and how lonely he feels. Having been left alone, Jane takes the opportunity to tender her resignation for she finds it unfair for Lord Grantham to be uncomfortable in his own house, and her leaving would ensure that he would be left in peace. Lord Grantham rejects Jane’s resignation knowing that he is at fault. He could not bring himself to deprive her of her livelihood, because of his inappropriate behavior.
Thomas arrives with all the supplies Mrs. Patmore had asked including those that they haven’t seen since the war started. Knowing very well that she is Thomas’ first client, Mrs. Patmore holds payment until Daisy has baked the cake and she is pleased with the results. Daisy having been allowed to bake a wedding cake for the first time in her life is keyed up to see how it went that she checks on the cake very late that evening. Mrs. Patmore sees her, and the two of them try a piece they had set aside for tasting. The cake is inedible, and Daisy is at a loss at what could have gone wrong for she keenly followed Mrs. Patmore’s instructions. Her mistake lies in not tasting the mixture before she baked it. Mrs. Patmore tries Thomas’ ingredients and finds that two thirds of the flour is plaster dust, and that the candied peel has gone beyond expiration. Thomas learning of the inedible cake Daisy has made thanks to his supplies goes to his shed, and in his anger turns it upside down. O’Brien finds Thomas in his shed, and learns that he had spent his life savings on rubbish. Moreover, there is no way to get his money back for the man he met at a pub who sold him the fake goods is probably long gone and won’t be seen again. Thomas has no job, no money, and no place to live.
Mrs. Crawley brings down a toy Molesley found in Matthew’s dressing room, and asks him about it. He informs her that it was a charm that was given to him during the war. Since the war is already over, and he is now safe from harm, she asks if she should include it to the donations for the village children and is quite surprised by Matthew’s reaction. Matthew grabs the toy from her, and resolutely refuses to give it away making an excuse that it may be bad luck not to keep it. Lavinia though surprised as well of Matthew’s reaction towards the lucky charm thinks or at least says nothing of it.
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