Bates is finally freed from prison, but Thomas is not happy about Bates's release since he will lose his position as valet. Upon O'Brien's advice, Thomas makes a midnight visit to Jimmy's room and is caught by Alfred, who soon reports the incident to Carson.
Branson's brother Kieran visits Downton for little Sybil's Christening. Robert, unlike the rest of the family, does not intend to go, but agrees after Tom insists Sybil would want him to be there because she loved him dearly. Tom plans to take Sybil and move in with Kieran in Liverpool. Cora does not want them to leave, knowing Sybil wanted her husband to move forward in life.
While Robert discourages Edith's desire to become a journalist, Violet supports her granddaughter, and takes the opportunity to place a notice for Ethel without Isobel's knowledge, feeling Ethel's past has brought scandal on the entire house. Ethel herself meanwhile is treated with disrespect and contempt by the village.
Matthew continues to confront Robert about the estate's mismanagement, and is supported by George Murray. Downton's manager for forty years soon resigns after feeling insutled by Matthew's intentions. Edith is hired by Michael Gregson and instantly befriends him. Violet proposes Tom replace Jarvis as Downton's manager, which Robert accepts after Cora and Matthew both support the idea. Tom's daughter is baptized a Catholic in Ripon. He names Mary and Kieran her godparents.
Mr. Bates, dressed in street clothes, is led by a guard through the prison. Anna is being driven to the front of the prison in the Crawley car, where she watches the door anxiously. It is only when she sees John Bates walk through it that she allows herself to smile and run into his arms. Anna says that she thanks God, and Bates says that he thanks God, and Anna, for his release.
The servants are at breakfast. Jimmy wonders if they should pretend that Bates' time in prison never happened, but Bates arrives then to say that this is not necessary. All welcome Mr. Bates and catch him up on events. Thomas is still hoping that he will be retained as valet. Upstairs, Edith has gotten a another letter from the newspaper editor, Mr Gregson, who offered her the job as a columnist. Lord Grantham remains totally against the idea, while Matthew supports her. Matthew and Robert talk of the meeting they are going to have later with the estate manager, Mr. Jarvis, to discuss plans for the estate's future. Lord Grantham leaves not pleased with the conversation. He meets Bates in the great hall and tells him how happy he is to have him back. Robert tells him that, until they can sort out Thomas and the valet position, Bates should rest and read. He tells Bates that he and Anna must get a cottage ready for them to live in.
Dowager Countess Violet comes to talk to Isobel. She explains that, despite her remaining at luncheon when Robert had demanded that they leave, that was in support of Cora. She is against Ethel being employed by Isobel, as it opens Downton to scandal. Lord and Lady Grantham discuss Tom, who plans to move out with Sybbie when he can get a job, which Cora is not prepared for.
Downstairs Alfred and Jimmy are still competing for the job of first footman, as Mr. Carson hasn't made up his mind yet as to who will get the position. Alfred asks Ivy to go to the picture show, and she is given permission to go, even though it's not her half-day off, if the two other maids will go with them.
Mr. Jarvis is completely against the plans to make big sudden changes in the way the estate is run, and Lord Grantham is also angry. They both question the expense of new machinery and Matthew's business qualifications. Matthew has his own comments to make about bad investments and management. Violet sees a crying Ethel in the streets of Downton village, coming home with groceries. Violet then has lunch with Edith who asks her grandmother to speak to Robert and to support her desire to become a journalist. She reminds the Dowager that it was her idea that she should find something useful to do. The Countess agrees, but wants a favor in return.
Ethel tells Isobel that the grocer's wife in town refused to serve her. Isobel says that they will shop elsewhere, but Ethel says that she is used to it. James makes disparaging remarks about Alfred wanting to cook, and Mr. Carson is not pleased. He tells Alfred to take up the fish and James the sauce. Ivy supports James assertion that he should take the main dish. Daisy question Alfred about why he puts up with it, when he is taller and has been there longer than James. She also questions Alfred about why he is escorting Ivy out, when she doesn't take his side.
Mary goes to see Tom and Sybbie in the nursery, where he reveals he has made all the arrangements for his daughter's christening with the Catholic Church in Ripon. He says that he was going to invite her and Matthew, but he doubts that the others would want to know, but Mary tells him to give them time. He asks her to be godmother to the baby and says that his brother, Kieran Branson, is coming to the ceremony to be named godfather. When he assures Mary that Kieran, a "rough diamond", will be staying in the village, she immediately insists that he will stay at the house and that she likes diamonds.
Bates and Anna take an idyllic walk in the woods and look at cottages. They talk about how Bates has won the long battle of wills that he has been fighting with Thomas, who will soon have to go. James is still fuming about the evening's set down, but Thomas tells him to stay calm, keep his wits, and work things out. Sarah O'Brien sees them talking and, after James leaves, she tells Thomas that James has a crush on him, and Alfred has told her of how James won't stop talking about Thomas.
Upstairs, Jimmy offers advice and help to Alfred, by putting the serving utensils over the edge of the platter that Alfred is carrying, so the diners can more easily serve themselves. However this results in food and serving utensils falling into the Dowager Countess's lap and Mr. Carson telling Jimmy to take the fish platter, while Alfred bites back his anger. Later, Alfred accuses Jimmy of doing it on purpose. The argument goes on until they realize that it is time to go to see the movie. Carson agrees that Alfred can still go, but he says for him to consider the idea of wasted opportunities.
At dinner the Dowager keeps her promise to Edith and supports her in her desire to be a journalist. She says that a woman can enjoy her life until marriage and children, much to Robert's surprise. However, she then unintentionally insults Edith by implying that she is not getting younger and perhaps will never marry. Tom announces the baptism plans much to Robert's chagrin, as he is still opposed to the decision even though he is no longer fighting it. After dinner, Mary and Matthew talk about why they haven't had any success in getting pregnant, Matthew thinks that problem is a result of his war injuries.
Jimmy talks to Thomas; he fears that Alfred is preferred to him by Mr. Carson and that he is unappreciated. Thomas disagrees and says in an offhand manner, "Well, I love you." Thomas questions James and learns that he is an orphan with no siblings. Thomas says that the two of them are alike. James goes to bed and O'Brien comes in. She says that it is obvious that the two of them are involved. Thomas tells her that she is mistaken, but she acts as if it is a certainty and he is putting on a pretense. Thomas eventually goes up to his room and is nervous and preoccupied as he gets ready for bed.
Alfred is walking Ivy back from the movie. They talk about famous actresses and people that have their names, then Ivy brings up Jimmy. Alfred suddenly blurts out that Jimmy doesn't care about her. Ivy says that she won't believe that unless Jimmy himself tells it to her. Alfred walks into the darkened mansion and up the servant stairs.
Thomas enters Jimmy's room and stares at him as he sleeps. Sitting on the bed he passionately kisses the sleeping James who wakes just as Alfred opens the door. James violently throws Thomas off and asks what he is doing. Thomas had convinced himself that James had feelings for him, James emphatically denies this. Jimmy is worried about what Alfred thinks he saw, but Thomas says that Alfred is nothing and no one will believe him. Jimmy throws Thomas out of his room. An angry Mr. Carson opens his door and demands to know what the commotion is about. Thomas tells him that Jimmy had a nightmare. Thomas stands alone in the hallway with tears in his eyes, when he sees Alfred glaring at him from a doorway.
The next day Thomas, James, and Alfred are staring but not talking to each other. James makes very forward remarks about Ivy "looking tasty" and excuses himself by saying he is a red-blooded man. Carson repeatedly asks them what is wrong. Thomas and James say "nothing", while Alfred says to "ask Mr. Barrow".
Edith goes to the newspaper and meets with the editor, Michael Gregson, and he correctly guesses that her father disapproves. They banter, and he invites her to lunch the next day. At this lunch Edith tells the editor how she was jilted at the altar and accepts the job.
Matthew and Tom talk about compensating tenants for their land and engaging in a larger farming enterprise. Tom tells Violet that his father was a sheep farmer, so he knows a bit about it. Cora wonders why Robert is so angry with Matthew, when he said that he wanted to share the running of the estate with Matthew after he had invested his inheritance in Downton. Robert accuses her of not supporting him, and they both remain surprised at how Violet supported Edith.
The next day at the meeting Murray, Lord Grantham's lawyer, supports Matthew and recounts a history of wasted money being poured into the estate. Matthew says that the way the estate has been run has been wasteful. Estate manager, Mr. Jarvis takes this as accusations of incompetence and asks for a reference. Matthew tries to apologize, but Jarvis wishes him luck and leaves.
Kieran Branson has arrived and goes down to the servant area, while Alfred goes up to bring Tom Branson and Lady Mary. They arrive to find Kieran telling jokes at the servant's dining table. Lady Mary tells him to come upstairs: to be introduced, to see his room, and to change. He asks her what is he supposed to change into - a pumpkin. Kieran tells Branson that they should both eat with the servants, but a very stern Tom informs him that they have been graciously invited by his mother-in-law, Lady Cora, and he will not let him snub her. He orders him to move. After they go, Mr. Carson gives a rare compliment about Tom and his respect for her ladyship. All are amazed.
Matthew tells Mary that Jarvis quit and thus all the responsibility of running the estate is going to be his. He has to make it work, and he needs her. He says that he must preserve it all for their children, if they ever have any. Mary insists that they will have children.
Kieran wants beer, and when Carson goes to bring it, Kieran allows that Downton may not be so bad. O'Brien talks to Alfred and tells him that he must go to Mr. Carson, and inform him about what he witnessed in Jimmy's room. She says that if Alfred doesn't and it is later found out everyone might think that he approved of such things. She says she doesn't trust Jimmy was truly a victim and thinks that he might have been acting for Alfred's benefit. She insists that Thomas has broken the laws of God and man, and Alfred must recount the events to Mr. Carson, which he does.
Kieran Branson talks of the work that Tom will be doing with him in his garage, repairing cars. Robert expresses his intentions of not going to the baptism. He makes a joke about a Catholic mass resembling gymnastics (only Kieran laughs). Tom counters that Sybil would want him there and that she loved him with all of her heart. In the face of this argument, Robert cannot refuse. Edith announces that she has taken the newspaper job.
The Dowager Countess tells Isobel Crawley that she has placed an ad in the paper to get a job for Ethel. She asks Mrs. Hughes to give her opinion, and Hughes agrees that a new job, in a new place, with proper reference would be better for Ethel. Mrs. Hughes says that it is not intolerance and that Ethel would have more of a chance for happiness. Isobel says that the decision is Ethel's to make.
Alfred has gone to Mr. Carson to make his accusations against Thomas, but at first Mr. Carson can't seem to grasp what Alfred is saying. Alfred just repeats that it was what he saw. Mr. Carson asks what James was doing, but Alfred believes that James was asleep, because he was angry when he woke up. Alfred says that his aunt thinks that Jimmy was faking his anger at Thomas' advances, because he walked in. Mr. Carson says that they can always rely on his aunt Sarah O'Brien to take the ungenerous view. He tells Alfred not to say a word to anyone it is not to be mentioned in the servant's hall. He tells Alfred that the world is a shocking place, but he is a man now and must learn to take it on the chin.
Isobel returns home to find Ethel lost in thought. Ethel asks if she wants some tea, but Isobel tells her that she is on her way to bed. As she is leaving, she stops and asks Ethel if she is happy. Ethel says that she is compared to what she was before. Isobel is going to say something else, but instead ends the conversation and says goodnight.
Dowager Countess Violet Crawley is talking to Robert about Jarvis, who has resigned. Robert is not sure when he is leaving, but he says it is a poor return for forty years of service. Violet is not sure that his leaving is a bad thing. She says that to Jarvis, Robert was always the young master, never the chief, since he was hired by Roberts father. Violet then tells Robert that a solution to several of their problems is to give Jarvis' job to Tom. She points out that if he takes the estate manager job, they can go back to calling him Branson. Robert thinks that the plan is mad, but Cora thinks it is not. Tom and Matthew, she says, are of an age and can work on the new ideas together. Violet adds that Tom's grandfather was a farmer, so he has more practical experience than Robert or Jarvis. She tells him to think about Sybbie; the alternative is that Robert's only granddaughter would be raised in a garage "with that drunken gorilla" (Kieran Branson). Cora says they owe it to Sybil. Robert acquiesces, only if Matthew agrees and Cora and Violet admit it if they are wrong. Violet responds that this is an easy promise to make, as she is never wrong.
Mr. Carson confronts Thomas about the accusations made against him. He reminds him that these are criminal offenses. Thomas says that they hadn't done anything, but Mr. Carson responds that Thomas had been hoping to do something. Thomas says that it is not against the law to hope. A furious Mr. Carson tells Thomas to stop trying to be clever and that he should be horsewhipped. Thomas does not deny what happened or say that Mr. Carson is wrong in anything. And he says that he has no defense accept to say that he was very drawn to James and had gotten the impression that he felt the same way, but he was wrong. Mr. Carson has looked uncomfortable listening to Thomas and asks how he could have made such a mistake. Thomas explains that when one is like him it is difficult, as one must read signs, people being too afraid to speak out openly about their desires. Mr. Carson says that he doesn't want a tour of Thomas' revolting world. Thomas insists that Jimmy was entirely innocent in this. Mr. Carson says that he must think about this and also find out what James intends to do, as it is within his rights to report Thomas to the police. However, he says that he does not think that it will come to that (Mr. Carson would not want that, as it would cause scandal for Downton). Thomas is asked to give his word that nothing happened and then Mr. Carson dismisses him and says goodnight. Mrs. Hughes comes in and Mr. Carson remarks that human nature is a funny thing. Mrs. Hughes jokes that the poets should have consulted him.
Sybbie is baptized with all in attendance, and afterward photos are taken, before the church. Edith comments how strange it is without Sybil there, but Cora says that Sybil is watching. Mary wishes that she could share that certainty. Tom talks of his doubts of being able to handle his new responsibilities as estate manager of so large a property, but Matthew is confident that he can. Robert calls it a christening present and Matthew wishes that the idea was his. A photographer gets a picture of the entire family, then one with Robert, Violet, Sybbie, and Father Dominic, the Catholic priest who christened Sybbie. This makes Robert and Violet uncomfortable. Cora asks Robert jokingly if he's afraid he'll be converted while not looking.