|directed by: Brian Percival||air date: September 16, 2012|
March/April 1920. Cora’s mother, Martha Levinson, comes to Downton for Matthew and Mary’s wedding. Lord Grantham learns that his massive investment of Cora’s fortune in the Grand Trunk Railway has failed. Meanwhile, O’Brien’s nephew, Alfred, joins the staff downstairs. Sybil and her husband, Tom Branson, return to Downton to a muted response, as Branson remains highly vocal about his political beliefs. Matthew repairs things when he chooses Branson to be his best man. Matthew and Mary are married.
|directed by: Brian Percival||air date: September 23, 2012|
April 1920. Mary and the Dowager Countess conspire to show Mrs Levinson Downton at its grandest to persuade her to give it more money and save them from financial ruin. Meanwhile, downstairs, O’Brien and Thomas wage war against one another due to Alfred’s recent promotion to valet to Matthew, whilst Mrs Levinson’s maid takes a shine to Alfred. Mrs Hughes faces a cancer scare, and Isobel Crawley finds that Ethel has become a prostitute. Edith actively pursues Anthony Strallan as a potential husband and he proposes.
|directed by: Andy Goddard||air date: September 30, 2012|
May 1920. Matthew finally agrees to accept Lavinia’s late father’s money, saving Downton. Lord Grantham refuses to accept the money, insisting that he and Matthew become joint masters of Downton. Edith’s wedding day arrives, but as Edith reaches the altar Strallan changes his mind and calls off the wedding. Mrs Hughes finally receives the news that she does not have cancer. Thomas tries to get revenge on O’Brien by spreading a rumour to the family that she will be leaving Downton. Bates’s cellmate tries to get him into trouble by planting drugs in his bunk.
|directed by: Andy Goddard||air date: October 7, 2012|
May 1920. Branson is wanted by the Irish police. He escapes to Downton Abbey without Sybil, and the Crawleys are outraged. Sybil eventually returns to Downton safely. Anna has not received any letters from Bates and is no longer allowed to visit; similarly Bates wonders why Anna’s letters and visits have stopped. Ethel decides to let her son live with his grandparents so he can have a better life. Carson recruits a new footman, Jimmy Kent, who attracts the attention of the female staff and Thomas. Ivy Stuart, the new kitchen maid, draws Alfred’s attention away from Daisy. Edith writes to the newspaper supporting more widespread women’s suffrage.
|directed by: Jeremy Webb||air date: October 14, 2012|
May 1920. Edith is asked to write a regular newspaper column, but most of the family is not supportive. Matthew believes that Robert has been mismanaging the estate and finds an ally in George Murray, the family solicitor. Mary is angry when she discovers it. Sybil goes into labour and Lord Grantham hires a famous obstetrician, Sir Philip Tapsel. Dr Clarkson insists that Sybil is suffering from eclampsia and should be taken to hospital but Sir Philip argues that Sybil is fit and healthy. Sybil delivers a girl but, during the night, she goes into convulsions and dies. Cora blames her husband for the death.
|directed by: Jeremy Webb||air date: October 21, 2012|
May/June 1920. Branson decides to name his daughter Sybil and baptise her as a Catholic, to both of which Lord Grantham is firmly opposed. Violet pressures Dr Clarkson into retracting his assertion that Sybil might have survived had she undergone a Caesarean section, and Cora forgives Robert. Anna finds evidence that might prove Bates innocent. Ethel prepares a luncheon for the Crawley women and gets Mrs Patmore to help. Lord Grantham is outraged that Isobel would let a former prostitute serve lunch to his family.
|directed by: David Evans||air date: October 28, 2012|
July 1920. Bates is freed from prison. Persuaded by O’Brien, Thomas makes a midnight visit to Jimmy’s room and kisses him as he sleeps—just as Alfred enters the room. Jimmy is outraged and disgusted; so is Alfred. Edith goes to London to meet a magazine editor, and accepts his offer for a weekly column. Branson’s drunkard brother comes to Downton. Matthew continues to confront Lord Grantham about the estate’s mismanagement, leading to the resignation of the family’s long time agent Jarvis. Tom is appointed as the new family agent. Miss Sybil Branson is baptised at a Catholic Church in Ripon with the whole Crawley family in attendance.
|directed by: David Evans||air date: November 4, 2012|
Before 11 August 1920. Downton Abbey’s annual cricket match with the village takes place. Alfred complains about Thomas to the police and CID officers arrive to see him; Lord Grantham persuades the police that it was all a misunderstanding. Violet’s great niece, Lady Rose MacClare—the daughter of Violet’s niece, Susan, Marchioness of Flintshire and her husband, Hugh, Marquess of Flintshire—visits. A trip to London reveals that Rose is a wild girl who likes to drink and party. Mary and Matthew discover they have separately been visiting a London doctor to find out why they have had no children; Mary reveals she has had a small operation, and they now look forward to starting a family.
A Journey to the Highlands
|directed by: Andy Goddard||air date: December 25, 2012|
August 1921. The Crawley family heads to Duneagle Castle in Scotland, to visit Lady Rose and her warring parents, Hugh (“Shrimpy”) and Susan, the Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire. Bates, Anna, Molesley, and O’Brien also make the trip. Michael Gregson tells Lady Edith that he is going to be in Scotland as well. Mary and Matthew disagree about Gregson’s motives. Gregson later declares his feelings for Edith. Shrimpy tells Lord Grantham that he will have to sell his estate because he did not modernise it like Downton and now the money is all gone. Tom remains at Downton with one-year-old Sybbie. The staff looks forward to the approaching country fair, and Carson struggles to keep them concentrating on work. Mrs Patmore becomes involved in a budding romance. At the country fair, Jimmy is nearly robbed after winning money from betting on the tug of war, but is saved by Thomas, who was following him and is robbed and beaten in his place. They later agree just to be friends. Lady Mary returns early from Scotland, rushing to Cottage Hospital to deliver her healthy baby. Matthew soon joins her and meets his son and heir, but after he leaves the hospital to go back to Downton Abbey, he is killed in a car accident.