26 September 2010
April 1912:- The heir to the title of Earl of Grantham, long time inhabitant of Downton Abbey, perishes on the 'Titanic'. Robert, the benevolent current earl, owes his wealth to his American wife Cora but they have only three daughters, who cannot inherit by law, so another heir must be found by marrying off Mary, the eldest girl. The Duke of Crowborough is a possibility but he is a closet gay who only has eyes for Thomas, the handsome but obnoxious footman, and soon departs. Robert's mother, the dowager, and Cora decide that the next best candidate is Matthew Crawley, a distant cousin, but Cora knows that the spirited Mary will not be happy with their choice. Downstairs there is also unrest as Thomas is passed over for promotion to valet in favour of Robert's batman from the Boer War, John Bates, who now limps due to a war wound. Along with Cora's maid Miss O'Brien, Thomas schemes to discredit Bates in the eyes of butler Carson and forces his resignation but Robert intervenes and keeps him on. Thomas vents his anger on second footman William, but he has an ally in the sensible housekeeper Mrs. Hughes.
3 October 2010
September 1912. Designated heir Matthew Crawley and his mother Isobel arrive and move into a house in the grounds of Downton Abbey but Matthew is uncomfortable with having servants and is not keen on an arranged marriage - something he has in common with Lady Mary. Robert's mother Violet looks down on them as they are not from her class - Matthew is a working solicitor and Isobel a trained nurse and doctor's widow, who nonetheless impresses when she helps at the local hospital and saves the life of one of Robert's tenants. Cora upbraids the two nastiest servants, O'Brien and Thomas, for sneering at the Crawleys but impresses upon Mary the financial need for the marriage. Carson is blackmailed by Grigg, a man with whom he once had a music-hall act, but Robert takes his part and sees Grigg off. Whilst Carson feels foolish for having a less-than-aristocratic past, he is supported by Bates and the two men become friends.
10 October 2010
March 1913. Gwen, one of the maids, has bought a typewriter and has applied for a secretarial post. Most of the staff are dismissive of her aspirations but the family - except Violet, of course - are supportive, and youngest daughter Sybil offers to supply a reference. Evelyn Napier, considered an eligible catch for Mary, arrives for the hunt, bringing his handsome friend Kemal Pamuk, a Turkish diplomat, who throws himself at her. He goes to her room at night for sex, during which he dies of a heart attack. Mary, Cora, and head housemaid Anna return the body to his room and agree to say nothing but are seen by Daisy the kitchen maid. The gruesome twosome of O'Brien and Thomas are also suspicious. Matthew spends a delightful day with Edith, the middle daughter, while Mrs. Hughes literally helps Bates out of a painful situation and they become friendly.
17 October 2010
May 1913. A fair comes to the village and here Mrs. Hughes meets up with an old flame, Joe, who once asked her to marry him and does so again. Despite being gay, Thomas escorts Daisy to the fair purely out of spite as he knows William is fond of her. The gesture is not lost on either John Bates or Mrs. Hughes. Gwen is not called for interview for the secretarial post but Sybil agrees to support future applications. A new chauffeur, Tom Branson, arrives. He is well-read and politically aware. Having got one over on Isobel regarding a medical diagnosis, Violet attempts to talk Robert out of a need for an arranged marriage but fails. Mary, seeing herself as no more than a commodity, unburdens herself to Matthew and they get a little closer.
24 October 2010
August 1913. O'Brien and Thomas continue to spread their malice, ensuring that Lady Edith learns from Daisy where Kemal died and attempting to frame John Bates for the theft of a snuff-box though Anna, clearly fond of John, ensures the plan backfires on them. Thomas's gossip also discredits Lady Mary's eligibility as a bride and the family must entertain the middle-aged Sir Anthony Strallen as a prospective husband. Mary is bored by him and it brings her closer to Matthew but Edith seems genuinely interested in him. Mrs. Patmore, the cook, must accept that her eyesight is failing and Lady Sybil continues to encourage Gwen in her secretarial applications whilst Isobel actually teaches Lady Violet some altruism at the annual produce show.
31 October 2010
May 1914. Encouraged by politically aware chauffeur Tom Branson, the socially conscious Lady Sybil espouses politics as a means of aiding equality for women and the lower classes, to her father's anger. At a political meeting she is injured in a scuffle and rescued by Matthew. Lady Mary tells her mother she has received a marriage proposal from Matthew, but tells her mother she feels she should come clean about Kemal to him. Rumours about this indiscretion are now rife and Cora tells her mother-in-law how she helped Mary move the body. Edith continues to see more and more of Sir Anthony whilst O'Brien and Thomas continue to persecute John. They tell Carson they saw him steal wine and get Daisy to support them. However, Daisy does the decent thing and admits she was put up to it. Bizarrely, John, though he knows Thomas to be the wine thief, offers no explanation, confessing to being a former alcoholic and offering his resignation.
7 November 2010
July 1914. In London former suitor Evelyn Napier assures Lady Mary that it was Edith, not he, who spread gossip about her and Kemal. Mary counters by wrecking her sister's marriage plans with Sir Anthony. Robert is reluctant to dismiss John even though O'Brien and Thomas have obtained a letter claiming that he stole from a previous employer. Anna accompanies Mrs. Patmore to London for eye tests, resulting in corrective surgery and, whilst there, discovers that John took the blame for the theft for his ex-wife Vera, a fact which Robert is pleased to hear. Thomas, fed up at his failure to get John sacked, and sensing war on the way, joins the Army Medical Corps whilst Sybil finally gets Gwen her secretarial post. Cora is pregnant, a fact which puts the proposed marriage between Mary and Matthew in doubt, should the baby be a son and heir. However, thanks to O'Brien leaving a bar of soap on the floor, Cora slips and miscarries. All the staff except O'Brien cheer William on as he beats Thomas up for his unfeeling remarks on the loss. Matthew nonetheless feels that the engagement was only an act of pragmatism likely to be altered if an heir had been born and decides to leave Downton Abbey.
18 September 2011
November 1916. Matthew is fighting in the horrific Battle of the Somme but at Downton Robert, given a courtesy title as head of the local yeomanry but deemed too old to fight, and William, forbidden by his father to enlist, feel frustrated as white feathers are given to non-combatants. Sybil also feels useless and goes to York for nursing training whilst Mary hides her disappointment when Matthew, home on leave, brings his betrothed, Lavinia Swire, to meet her. She nonetheless sees him off, giving him her lucky mascot, as he returns to the fighting, Back in the trenches he meets Thomas, sick of the war, who deliberately gets himself wounded. John returns from his mother's funeral, hoping to buy off his greedy wife Vera with his inheritance and marry Anna. However, now that he has money, Vera turns up and threatens to expose Anna's part in Mary's indiscretion with the Turk Panuk unless he leaves with her immediately - which he does. Fortunately a suspicious Mrs. Hughes has overheard them and gets Carson to put Robert in the picture without exposing Mary. Unaware of this, a sorrowful Anna is comforted by Ethel, the starstruck new maid who is felt by the other staff to have ideas above her station.
25 September 2011
April 1917. With John still absent, Isobel's butler Mosley makes a play for Anna but is rejected. Robert gets a new valet, shell-shocked ex-soldier Henry Lang, whilst William goes off to war. Edith learns to drive a tractor extremely well, and nearly succumbs to a kiss from the married farmer Mr. Drake. Sybil and Thomas work in the cottage hospital, where the latter begins to learn some humanity. At Isobel's suggestion - and to Violet's dismay - Downton Abbey is turned into a convalescent ward to ease the hospital's bed shortage. Mary invites middle-aged newspaper tycoon, and prospective beau, Sir Richard Carlisle to a dinner party, also attended by the Crawleys and Lavinia. Suspicious of Carlisle, Violet invites her daughter and sister to the Earl, Lady Rosamund, who is intrigued by the fact that Carlisle and Lavinia already seem well-acquainted. Carson, despite being taken ill whilst serving dinner, is still perceptive enough to suggest to Mary that Matthew is really the man for her.
2 October 2011
July 1917. As Isobel's plan to turn Downton into a hospital unites upstairs and downstairs in protest, O'Brien persuades Cora to make Thomas the hospital manager. Ethel enjoys the patients' attention whilst Edith earns respect as an auxiliary nurse. Chauffeur Branson, extolling the Russian Revolution, intends to be a conscientious objector but is rejected on medical grounds as former footman William, on his way to the trenches, proposes to Daisy. As Lang finds his trauma interferes with his work Anna discovers Bates working in a local pub. He tells her that Vera has been unfaithful and he is hopeful of a divorce. Violet and Rosamund learn that Carlisle coerced a reluctant Lavinia into exposing government secrets by using her father's debt - thus the engagement is still on.
9 October 2011
1918. Angry that Cora has reorganized hospital rotas to make life easier for the staff, Isobel leaves for nursing work in France just before news arrives that Matthew and William are missing. In Isobel's absence, her cook, Mrs. Bird, and butler, Molesley, run a soup kitchen for veterans, in which they are joined by Mrs. Patmore and Daisy, who bring leftovers from Downton. O'Brien informs on them to Cora. Robert tracks John Bates down and returns him to Downton Abbey whilst Mrs. Hughes catches Ethel in bed with one of the patients and sacks her, though she is forced to reconsider on learning that the girl is pregnant. Mary finds out that Branson has declared his love for Sybil but agrees to keep quiet about it. Then, whilst the sisters are singing in a fund-raising concert, Matthew and William turn up.
16 October 2011
August 1918: Deserted by the baby's father, Ethel has been installed with her child in a cottage on the estate by a sympathetic Mrs. Hughes, who brings her food. Jane, a war widow, has taken Ethel's place as a maid. Vera Bates returns, having spent John's money but with no intention of sticking to their arrangement and planning to make money by selling the story of Lady Mary's indiscretion to Carlisle's newspaper. Tipped off by Anna, Mary goes to see him and explains all, thus scotching Vera's plan as the newspaper owner threatens her with libel action. Having returned to the war, both Matthew and William sustain severe injuries at the Battle of Amiens, fatally in the case of William, who marries Daisy. Mary is glad to become a hospital auxiliary to nurse Matthew, though his spinal damage will, in all probability, leave him paralysed from the waist down and impotent.
23 October 2011
November 1918. Believing her marriage to have been a sham, Daisy is reluctant to accept a widow's pension whilst Robert writes to the father of Ethel's child, only to learn that he was killed in the war. As the Armistice is announced a Canadian soldier, suffering terrible burns, comes to recuperate and declares that he is Patrick, the heir presumed dead on the 'Titanic' and until recently an amnesiac. Only Edith believes him. Carlisle plans to buy a house near Downton and poaches Carson as his butler. He also notes Mary's devotion to Matthew and threatens to expose her affair unless she proves a loyal wife. John returns from a meeting with Vera in London, with a cut on his face.
30 October 2011
With the house no longer a hospital Thomas hopes to make money on the black market but is ruined after being cheated by his supplier. Mrs Hughes helps Ethel to confront Mr and Mrs Bryant, the parents of her baby's late father but, whilst his wife seems moved, Bryant dismisses Ethel as a liar and fraud with no proof of paternity. Carlisle tries to bribe Anna to spy on Mary but she refuses and tells Mrs Hughes and Carson, the latter consequently withdrawing his offer to work for Carlisle, whom he sees as underhand. Robert, disillusioned by the war's failure to accomplish anything, makes a play for Jane but quickly apologises whilst Sybil, liberated by her war work, elopes with Tom Branson, though her sisters follow and bring them back. John is concerned that, whilst Vera officially killed herself by taking poison, it was rat poison bought by him and fears he may be incriminated. The big news, however, is Matthew regaining the use of his legs. He announces his forthcoming wedding to Lavinia but Violet tells him he is marrying the wrong woman.
6 November 2011
April 1919. As Downton Abbey prepares for Lavinia and Matthew's wedding, Sybil and Tom shock the family by announcing their intention to move to Dublin, where he has work, and marry. However, events are overtaken and the marriage is put on hold when Carson, Cora, Lavinia and others fall sick with the Spanish flu. Thomas uses the situation as an excuse to get his job back but Lavinia, aware of Matthew's feelings for Mary, suggests that the marriage be called off. After admitting their mutual feelings, Jane gives Robert her resignation, her young son's future assured thanks to the earl, whilst Ethel decides to keep her son Charlie rather than give him to the Bryants, who would raise him to forget her. The flu goes away, having claimed one victim, and Robert finally gives Sybil and Tom his blessing as they leave for Ireland. Anna and John also marry, by special license. However, the day after the wedding they receive unwelcome visitors.
25 December 2011
At Christmas 1919 the Crawleys welcome Edith's former suitor Sir Anthony, now a war invalid, who tells her that he is too old for her, and Robert's sister Rosamund with her beau, the raffish Lord Hepworth. Sybil writes to announce her pregnancy. After Carlisle's selfish attitude towards the servants and his jealousy when Mary accompanies Matthew to visit Lavinia's grave, Robert prises from his wife the fact that the newspaper baron is effectively blackmailing his daughter into marriage to keep her secret and, on her father's advice, Mary breaks off the engagement, knowing that the angry Carlisle will now probably expose the family. Aware that Hepworth is penniless, Violet unsuccessfully tries to warn Rosamund against marriage but Rosamund is determined to go ahead with the wedding - until she catches her fiancé in bed with her maid. Things do not go well for John, on trial for killing Vera, though Robert and Matthew vow to contest his life imprisonment. Upstairs and downstairs at Downton are all shaken by his fate, even O'Brien, though Thomas schemes to ingratiate himself and become the new valet. On the eve of the servants' ball, Mrs Patmore uses a little chicanery - and a Ouija board - to help Daisy assuage her guilt over William whilst at the ball itself a long overdue marriage proposal is made - and accepted.
16 September 2012
Spring 1920: Wedding guests descend on Downton Abbey, where disasters - large and small - threaten. One is Cora's freewheeling American mother, who tries to loosen up her in-laws.
23 September 2012
A conflict between two members of the house staff escalates. Meanwhile, the family tries to impress Martha by planning a lavish dinner party.
30 September 2012
The fate of Downton Abbey hinges on a letter from a dead man. Edith and Sir Anthony face their own fateful moment. Mrs. Hughes confronts a crisis.
7 October 2012
August 1920: Two social revolutions arrive at Downton Abbey: the Irish civil war and the fight for women's suffrage. A mysterious conspiracy keeps Anna and Bates apart.
14 October 2012
The Crawley family faces its severest test yet. Meanwhile, new faces try to fit into the tight-knit circle of servants. New evidence turns up in a baffling case.
21 October 2012
Things go badly amiss at Downton Abbey. Robert and Cora are not speaking. The servants are shunning Matthew's mother, Isobel. And Matthew and Robert have fallen out. Bates takes a gamble.
28 October 2012
A vindictive Ms. O'Brien hatches a damaging plot. Edith make a major decision. Matthew has a major plan for changing things, and Tom's brother pays a visit.
4 November 2012
Change arrives in a big way for several key characters at Downton Abbey. A yearly cricket match with the village sees old scores settled and new plots are hatched.
25 December 2012
The Crawleys head to a Scottish hunting lodge, while the downstairs staff stays behind at Downton Abbey. New romances flare up, and a crisis unfolds.
22 September 2013
Six months later and Mary is still mourning Matthew, leaving the care of baby George to Nanny West. Tom tries to interest her in estate management, to little avail, but Violet eventually persuades her to look to the future. Miss O'Brien leaves without any explanation to take work with Lady Flintshire, Rose's mother. Mrs Hughes is less than happy with Cora's replacement for her, Edna, a former maid who tried to seduce Tom. Edith goes to London, where Michael tells her he is prepared to go to Germany for a divorce so that they can be together. She brings electric kitchen gadgets back, which the maids like but which confuse Mrs Patmore. Jimmy takes Ivy out, and she gets drunk, annoying jealous Daisy and Alfred. Violet's efforts to get Molesley, redundant after Matthew's death, work with her friend Lady Shackleton are sabotaged by the lady's current butler whilst Isobel agrees to rescue Carson's old friend Grigg from the workhouse. Thomas seems unnaturally unpleasant towards Nanny West but is vindicated when Cora finds her being cruel to Tom's daughter and dismisses her.
29 September 2013
Mary receives a letter from Matthew's effects, naming her as his sole heir and therefore the owner of half the estate. Encouraged by Violet, she agrees to shadow Tom and learn more about the running of Downton and its surrounding properties. Edna makes an inauspicious start as Cora's maid but soon forms an alliance with Thomas to discredit Anna. Anna herself accompanies Rose to a tea-dance in York for servants, where Rose, pretending to be a maid, attracts gardener Sam Thawley but also provokes a fight so that a hurried exit is required as the police arrive. Later, Sam turns up at Downton Abbey. Isobel learns that Carson fell out with Charlie Grigg many years earlier over a love triangle.
6 October 2013
The Crawleys throw a weekend house party with guests including Terence Sampson and Anthony, Lord Gillingham. Tom is out of his depth making small talk but Edith is happy to welcome Michael into the group. Mary confides in Gillingham - although he is engaged to another woman - but John is irritated by Gillingham's valet Green's flirtatious attentions to Anna. Isobel, still mourning her son, is persuaded by Violet to join the party for a recital by opera singer Nellie Melba, while Molesley, now working as a delivery driver, stands in for the injured Jimmy as footman and Alfred saves the culinary day when stressed-out Mrs Patmore has an anxiety attack. During the recital Michael impresses Robert whilst Green forces himself on Anna, who asks Mrs Hughes not to tell John.
13 October 2013
As the guests leave, Anna keeps her rape by Green from John but is distant towards him and considering separate sleeping arrangements. Tom feels guilty after succumbing to Edna's advances again and seeks help from Mrs Hughes. Mary and Tom go to London on business, taking Rose, who is charmed by black American vocalist Jack Ross. On her return home, Mary is followed by Anthony who, despite being betrothed to another woman, proposes marriage. Edith stays in London and has sex with Michael, though her cousin, Lady Rosamund, warns her that the relationship could be doomed and her reputation lost. Alfred announces that he is hoping to become a chef whilst Isobel agrees to help Dr. Clarkson run an out-patient clinic.
20 October 2013
Under pressure Mrs Hughes tells John what happened to Anna. Robert is sympathetic to Tim Drewe, whose father, an estate tenant, died owing huge debts, whilst Isobel persuades Violet to employ young villager John Pegg as a gardener, defending the boy when an ornament belonging to the dowager goes missing. Edith is upset that Michael is not returning her calls and there is a disappointment too for Alfred, who fails his trial as a chef at the Ritz and Molesley, who had hoped to replace him on the staff. Mary meanwhile reencounters Evelyn Napier, now involved in a survey of estates which would benefit from downsizing.
27 October 2013
Robert is perturbed when Mary and Tom suggest intensive pig-farming on his land and Evelyn returns with his superior Charles Blake, to assess the viability of estates such as Downton. Blake does not impress Mary but both men are invited to stay for Robert's birthday party, for which Rose has engaged Jack Ross and his band. Rose's involvement with Ross would seem to go beyond the professional. At the party Isobel dissuades Tom from emigrating to America with his daughter and later she proves to Violet that young Pegg was not a thief, being surprised by the dowager's open-mindedness in reinstating him. Alfred receives good news - he has been accepted at the Ritz after all and Molesley is quick to step into his role but Edith is still concerned as Michael seems to have gone missing in Germany.
3 November 2013
Robert is summoned to America to bail out his reprobate brother-in-law Harold but, after Mrs Hughes has given her the 'official' version of Anna's rape, Mary steps in to let John stay with his wife with his place being taken by Barrow. Barrow is curious as to the change of plan, asking Baxter to find out more, which Molesley overhears. Isobel plans to go with Tom to a meeting addressed by a Liberal MP but stays behind to nurse flu-stricken Violet, and he goes alone, sitting next to Sarah Bunting, an attractive young woman. In London Edith decides she wants an abortion whilst Rose continues to see Jack Ross. Back at Downton, the pigs arrive and Mary takes Charles Blake to view them. He proves invaluable when the animals seem to be in trouble and he and Mary combine to save them, getting covered in mud in the process. Meanwhile Anthony Gillingham returns with Green, who faces Mrs Hughes' anger.
10 November 2013
Charles leaves, Mary having appointed Tim Drewe as pig-man, but when Anthony Gillingham's projected visit to Downton is announced Mary detects from Anna's reaction that something is wrong and learns the rapist's identity. The visit passes without incident, though Mary turns down a proposal from Anthony, who has broken off his engagement. Mary is alarmed when Rose tells her she is marrying Jack Ross and goes to see the singer. Lady Rosamund plans to take Edith to Switzerland to have her baby and put it up for adoption, but Violet is suspicious. Robert returns for the annual fete and Alfred comes back for a funeral, proposing to Ivy, who declines. Meanwhile, Isobel attracts the admiration of Lord Merton and Molesley forms a friendship with Baxter, though he is curious as to her relationship with Barrow.
25 December 2013
1923. It's summer and as part of Rose's 'coming out' she is to be presented at Buckingham Palace. The family are in London, preparing Grantham House for the busy social programme.
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