Neville Chamberlain visits Downton for dinner, and is drawn into Violet’s plan to "save" the hospital, ending with an unexpected catastrophe and deep concern from everyone. Andy finds an unexpected confidante while helping Mr Mason move into Yew Tree Farm. Meanwhile, Mary is uncertain if she has met her love match.
Edith meets Bertie Pelham in London again, and Spratt reluctantly comes to Denker’s aid. Mrs Carson struggles to keep Mr Carson happy, while Mary's suspicions about Marigold are roused upon overhearing a puzzling remark about the child from her grandmother.
Mary and Tom discuss Tom’s future now that he has settled in. He plans to put a car repair shop at the edge of the estate with access to the village.
Mr. Mason finally moves into Yew Tree Farm with the help of Daisy and Mrs Patmore, as the Drewes are leaving within a couple of days. Mr. Mason has settled into the house. Andrew asks to go with Mrs. Patmore and Daisy when they go to visit. Mrs. Patmore and Daisy prepare her basket. Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore talk about Mrs. Patmore’s house being done. Mary and Tom stop by to discuss the pigs with Mr. Mason. Andrew plans to help out on the farm when he can. Mr. Mason asks for Daisy to live with him and still work at the big house. He gives Andrew a few books to read on pig farming. Thomas realizes Andrew doesn’t know how to read. Daisy is jealous that Mr. Mason enjoyed Mrs. Patmore and Andrew’s company. Thomas offers to teach Andrew to read and write and keep it a secret. Andrew apologizes for his treatment of Thomas.
Edith gets a note from Bertie Pelham. She plans to go to London to meet him and interview new editors. Edith takes a walk through the park with Bertie and they plan to meet again that evening. Edith interviews editors, and the one she seems to like is born in the same year as her. Bertie visits Edith’s flat in London.
Henry Talbot is looking at a car in Yorkshire and wants to see Mary. Tom offers to go with her. Mary and Tom look at spots for Tom’s repair shop. They talk about both of their relationships. They talk about his life with Sybil. Henry races Charlie and Mary hates the idea of falling in love with another car person. Tom tells Mary that she doesn’t have to marry him, but to just enjoy the moment. Mary experiences her first public house. Tom calls Henry and Mary out on making excuses to see each other.
At the House, Violet informs Robert that the Minister of Health is paying them a visit to see what has been happening to the hospitals since World War I. The Dowager convinced him to come to Downton in order to persuade Mr Chamberlain to side with her, which Robert says is a losing battle.
In the Servant's Hall, Baxter is called to York by Sergeant Willis to testify at a trial of a "former acquaintance" accompanied by Mr Molesley for moral support. In York, Baxter and Molesley turn up at court, which ends with Peter Coyle changing his plea and Baxter not needing to testify. She is relieved to not have to testify, but feels it’s anticlimactic.
Meanwhile, Mrs Carson tries her best to make her husband happy at their cottage but her cooking still needs improvement; so Carson turns to Mrs Patmore for advice. Carson is not pleased and insults both Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore’s cooking.
As Mary, Edith and Tom are away, Sybbie, George, and Marigold have to make do with Granny and "Donk." They show their grandchildren the places they have visited, and the Sphinx of Egypt catches Sybbie's eye; which Robert explains is "a creature of secrets that she never reveals" which Cora says is like Granny Violet. At the Dowager House, Violet and Isobel are talking when Violet expresses surprised shock and anger from a letter by Dr Clarkson. She summons Spratt to bring Denker, who she then angrily criticizes for calling Dr Clarkson "a traitor" and fires her. Denker asks Spratt to talk to Violet. Spratt tells Denker to dress Violet and then leave, but she reminds him that she knows about his nephew who he hid there while on the run. Violet gives Denker one more chance.
At night, Cora is in her room, dreading the dinner when Mr Chamberlain will appear. Robert is sure that his mother will see this as the last battle over the dispute of the hospital. As Robert continues to feel stomach pains, Cora suggests cancelling the dinner but Robert says that his mother would only rearrange it and think that he ratted on her. He promises that he will take things more slowly for a few days.
The Bates' talk about Mary’s blooming romance with Henry Talbot. Anna worries about the baby and tells him about how when the people used to worry about the harvest, they’d yell “Bad Harvest” so that the gods wouldn’t feel envious of their good luck and destroy the harvest. At the Dowager House, Spratt has returned from speaking to Violet to convince her to keep Denker on, while she asks repeatedly if it had worked. Spratt says that she is given another chance, to which she is delighted. Spratt warns her not to say another word about his unfortunate nephew, which Miss Denker says it depends on whether she needs to mention him again.
Cast List Edit
- Henry Talbot uses the phrase La Belle Dame sans Merci when talking to Mary and Tom at a pub. It is a reference to a poem by John Keats. La belle dame sans merci, the beautiful lady without pity, is a femme fatale; a Siren-like figure who magically attracts lovers with hypnotically irresistible voice and charm only to lure them to their deaths; similar to mermaids, and an enchantress Circe. She destroys because it is her nature to destroy.
- Violet says When we unleash the dogs of war, we must go where they take us. While the phrase may best be known for the 1974 Frederick Forsyth book and 1980 film The Dogs of War, the phrase originates in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. The full phrase is Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war.
- Violet, after putting herself at a more minor seat at the table, says il faut reculer pour mieux sauter, which means you have to step back in order to jump further.