|directed by: Ashley Pearce||air date: September 11, 2011|
September 1916. Matthew is returning to Downton during his upcoming leave and informs the family he is engaged to Miss Lavinia Swire. Lady Mary announces that she has invited Sir Richard Carlisle, a ruthless, wealthy newspaper mogul to Downton. The servants prepare for a concert to help fund the local hospital. Bates tells Anna that he may finally be able to get a divorce and proposes. Vera Bates, Bates’ estranged wife, arrives at Downton and demands that Bates return to her or she will expose Lady Mary’s indiscretion with Pamuk. Bates gives his notice without explanation. Mrs Hughes tells the story to Mr. Carson, and he informs Lord Grantham. Sybil enrolls in nursing training. Branson reveals his feelings before Sybil leaves. Matthew arrives with Lavinia. He and Mary reconcile. Matthew meets Thomas in the trenches. Thomas intentionally gets wounded to be sent back to England.
|directed by: Ashley Pearce||air date: September 25, 2011|
April 1917. Lord Grantham informs Mrs Patmore that her nephew was shot for cowardice. Thomas goes to work under Dr Clarkson at the village hospital along with Lady Sybil. Downton becomes a convalescent home. Matthew is unhappy about returning to England for a recruitment drive. Lavinia is confronted by Sir Richard Carlisle, an old and unwelcome acquaintance. Lady Edith volunteers to drive a tractor and help with the work as her bit to help in the war effort. She does this for Mr Drake, a Downton tenant farmer. She and Mr Drake kiss, and are seen by Mrs Drake, who quietly puts an end to Edith’s job.
|directed by: Andy Goddard||air date: October 2, 2010|
July 1917. Downton becomes a convalescent home for wounded officers, over Violet’s outspoken objection, with Isobel taking charge. Cora gets Acting Sergeant Thomas Barrow assigned to run the military side of Downton. Violet believes that Mary and Matthew are still in love. She and Rosamund try to end Matthew’s engagement to Lavinia. Violet believes there is something more to Lavinia’s relationship with Sir Richard. William proposes to Daisy before going to war.
|directed by: Brian Kelly||air date: October 9, 2011|
March 1918. Ethel continues flirting with Major Bryant; when Mrs Hughes finds them in bed together, she dismisses Ethel. Later, she returns, announcing she is pregnant with Bryant’s child. Preparations are under way for a concert at Downton. Tensions flare between Isobel and Cora, while Edith receives worrying news about Matthew and William. Branson declares his feelings for Sybil again. Lord Grantham visits Bates at a nearby pub where he is working. Lord Grantham receives a letter from Carlisle, which causes him concern and forces an uncomfortable conversation with Mary.
|directed by: Brian Kelly||air date: October 16, 2011|
August 1918. Matthew has suffered a serious spinal injury and is paralysed from the waist down. He is told that he will never walk again or father children. He wants Lavinia to forget him and sends her away, while Mary attempts to nurse him back to health. Mrs Hughes secretly helps Ethel and her baby since Ethel’s lover, Major Bryant, has ignored her. William’s injuries are fatal, prompting him to ask Daisy to marry him before he dies. Mrs Patmore persuades Daisy to go through with it; William dies a few hours later. Bates is taken aback when Vera promises to expose old secrets about Lady Mary and Pamuk’s death, as he paid her to divorce him. When Mary discovers this, she confesses everything to Sir Richard Carlisle and asks him to help. He pays Vera to sign a contract with confidentiality obligations. Unknown to Mary, Sir Richard announces his engagement to her in his paper. On finding out she was tricked into silence, Vera warns Bates she will still ruin him.
|directed by: Andy Goddard||air date: October 23, 2011|
November 1918. A Canadian officer, badly disfigured by burns, arrives at Downton and declares that he is Patrick Crawley, the supposedly deceased heir. Mary rejects the claim, but Edith is persuaded as he recounts details of old times at Downton. Robert has his solicitor Murray investigate; Murray learns that Patrick Crawley had a close friend who emigrated to Canada. “Patrick” abruptly departs. Matthew is adapting to his condition and Mary’s caring for him. Isobel is full of social-improvement schemes using Downton Abbey. Ethel hears the news that Major Bryant has been killed. Lady Sybil receives an ultimatum from Branson regarding his marriage proposal to her. Bates is shocked to find the legality of his divorce threatened, as Vera reveals that he paid her to leave him, and he goes to London to attempt to settle matters with her again. Upon his return, he receives the news that she is dead. Soon afterwards, the war ends with the Armistice.
|directed by: James Strong||air date: October 30, 2011|
Early February 1919. Matthew begins to feel his legs. Matthew announces that he and Lavinia intend to marry soon. Violet tells him that Mary is still in love with him, but Matthew feels obliged to marry Lavinia. Sir Richard Carlisle distresses Anna by asking her to spy on Mary; his behaviour leads Carson to reject his offer of employment. Bates realises that Vera committed suicide in order to frame him. When Major Bryant’s parents visit Downton to see where their son convalesced, Mrs Hughes contrives a meeting between them and Ethel and her baby. However, Mr Bryant angrily refuses to believe her claim. Thomas embarks on a new money-making scheme in the post-war black market. Lord Grantham is attracted to the new maid, Jane, and kisses her. Lady Sybil makes the drastic decision to elope with Branson. However, Mary discovers her plan and, along with Edith and Anna, seeks them out and persuades Sybil to return and plead her cause openly to their parents.
|directed by: James Strong||air date: November 6, 2011|
April 1919. Preparations are under way for Matthew and Lavinia’s wedding. Lady Grantham, Carson, and Lavinia are taken ill by the Spanish flu. Matthew and Mary acknowledge that they cannot marry as it would be cruel to Lavinia. Lavinia overhears them and sees them kiss. Ethel is surprised when Major Bryant’s parents want to see her but is horrified when she learns that Mr Bryant offers to take custody of the baby and tells her that she will not be allowed to see him. Lord Grantham and Jane have an encounter but are interrupted and Jane decides to leave. Anna and Bates marry in secret. Cora becomes seriously ill. Lavinia succumbs to the flu and dies. Matthew tells Mary that any relationship between them is now impossible. Lord Grantham reluctantly gives his blessing for Lady Sybil and Thomas Branson to marry. Bates is arrested for the murder of his late wife.
Christmas at Downton Abbey
|directed by: Brian Percival||air date: December 25, 2011|
December 1919 and January 1920. The household is bustling with Christmas preparations. The staff entertain themselves with a Ouija board, trying to contact the spirits. Bates is convicted of Vera’s murder, but his death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment. Bates encourages Anna to stay at Downton but live a full life. Daisy meets with William’s father, Mr Mason, who assures her that she is a good person, and asks her to become his surrogate daughter. Rosamund contemplates marriage, but her suitor is exposed as a “fortune hunter”. Sybil, now married to Tom Branson and living in Ireland, writes to Cora that she is pregnant. Cora insists on them returning to Downton. Mary jilts her fiancé, Sir Richard Carlisle, despite his threat to publish her dark secret regarding the late Kemal Pamuk. Though afraid that he will see her as “soiled”, Lady Mary tells Matthew about Pamuk. Though surprised, he soon decides that what’s past is past, and proposes to her; she happily accepts.