|directed by: Brian Percival||air date: September 26, 2010|
April 1912. News arrives that threatens the future of Downton Abbey. Lord Grantham’s cousin James Crawley, heir presumptive to the earldom, and his son Patrick have died in the RMS Titanic disaster. Meanwhile, Lord Grantham hires his former batman, John Bates as his valet. In September the family receives the visit of the young Duke of Crowborough. The family thought he was interested in marrying Mary. It is revealed that the Duke once had a romantic relationship with Thomas, the footman. Matthew Crawley, a distant third cousin, learns of his good fortune as the new heir.
|directed by: Ben Bolt||air date: October 3, 2010|
September 1912. Matthew Crawley and his mother Isobel move into Crawley House in Downton village. When they visit Downton Abbey, Violet and Lady Mary are openly hostile towards them. The families experience some culture clash due to their differing backgrounds. Isobel had trained as a nurse during the Anglo-Boer War, and occupies herself with the local hospital. Meanwhile, Carson is a former music-hall performer and is being blackmailed by his old show partner, Charles Grigg. Lord Grantham is amused by Carson’s background and pays off Grigg. The hostility between Mrs Crawley and the Dowager Countess escalates when Isobel pressures Dr. Clarkson to perform pericardiocentesis on a patient suffering from dropsy. Violet tries to prevent this but the treatment is successful and Robert makes Mrs Crawley chairman of the hospital board. Violet begins to consider the possibility of Mary marrying Matthew, but Mary is opposed.
|directed by: Ben Bolt||air date: October 10, 2010|
March 1913. Evelyn Napier, son of a peer visits the family with a dashing Turkish diplomat, Mr Kemal Pamuk, who is in London for the Albanian independence negotiations, and Mary is smitten. Thomas is also attracted to him. Mr Pamuk comes into Mary’s room and seduces her, but he dies in her bed. To avert a scandal, Mary is forced to get Anna and her mother to move Pamuk’s body back to his room. Cora is horrified by Mary’s behaviour but promises not to tell Robert.
|directed by: Brian Kelly||air date: October 17, 2010|
May 1913. A travelling fair arrives in the neighbouring village. Anna falls ill and stays in bed, visited by Mr Bates who brings her up a tray with a flower. Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper, is reunited with a former suitor, who proposes, though she later declines. Molesley suffers from an allergic reaction to rue, which Violet correctly diagnoses after Isobel assumed it was erysipelas. Carson fears there is a thief at Downton after doing an inventory of the wine cellar. Lady Sybil continues to experiment with feminism, aided and inspired by the new, politically minded Irish chauffeur, Branson. After visiting her dressmaker, she surprises the whole family by displaying an outfit consisting of Harem pants.
|directed by: Brian Kelly||air date: October 24, 2010|
August 1913. Bates discovers that Thomas is stealing wine from the cellar. Worried that he will be reported, Thomas attempts to frame Bates for stealing one of Lord Grantham’s antique snuffboxes, but his plans are thwarted. Anna tells Mr Bates that she loves him but he says they cannot be together. Meanwhile, rumours begin circulating about Lady Mary and the “handsome Turk”. Daisy finds increasingly difficult to contain what she witnessed, and after some cajoling from Miss O’Brien, she tells her story to Lady Edith, who writes to the Turkish ambassador. At the annual flower show, Isobel questions Violet’s continually winning and instead supports Molesley’s father’s arrangements, much to Violet’s dismay.
|directed by: Brian Percival||air date: October 31, 2010|
May 1914. Gossip about Lady Mary and the “handsome Turk” intensifies, reaching Carson and the Dowager Countess. Violet confronts Cora, who confesses the truth. Edith finds an admirer in Sir Anthony Strallan. Bates reveals to Carson that he was once a drunkard and was in prison for theft; Carson is unwilling to let him go, suspecting there is more to the story. Sybil makes Branson take her to Ripon under false pretences to attend the by-election count. She is injured during a brawl but Matthew, who happens to come along, and Branson rescue her. Lord Grantham blames Branson but Sybil defends him. Later that night, Mary and Matthew confess their love for each other, but Mary feels she cannot accept his proposal without telling him her scandalous secret. Violet apologises to Cora for her earlier harsh treatment. When Lady Mary learns that First Footman William’s mother is seriously ill, she arranges for him to visit her. Anna tells Mr Bates that she does not want him to leave Downton, and they almost kiss.
|directed by: Brian Percival||air date: November 7, 2010|
July–August 1914. Tensions abound following the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The family returns from London after Sybil’s debutante ball but Mary stays with her aunt, Lady Rosamund Painswick. Cora discovers that she is pregnant. Mary learns from Evelyn Napier that it was Edith, not he, who originated the rumours about her and Pamuk. Carson has discovered that while Bates was a soldier, he stole the regimental silver. Matthew is angered by Mary’s hesitancy. Anticipating the war, Thomas finds a non-combatant role in the Army Medical Corps. Mary confronts Edith about revealing her secret, implying that she will exact revenge. Learning that Sir Anthony Strallan intends to propose at the garden party, Mary makes him think Edith finds him old and boring, so he leaves. O’Brien thinks Cora intends to replace her and leaves a bar of soap below her bath tub. She regrets it but is unable to warn Cora before she slips, falls, and miscarries. A telephone is installed at Downton, giving Lady Sybil an opportunity to arrange a job interview for housemaid Gwen as a secretary for the phone company. Mary is prepared to marry Matthew but he doubts her motives and intends to leave Downton. During the garden party, Lord Grantham receives a telegram saying the United Kingdom is at war with Germany, marking the beginning of the First World War.