May 1914. Lady Sybil's interest in politics and women's rights is kindled by the upcoming by-election and is the cause of major disagreement between her and Lord Grantham. Meanwhile, presumably as a result of Lady Edith's letter, rumours about Lady Mary and the "handsome Turk" intensify, reaching the ears of Carson and the Dowager herself. Violet confronts Cora, who is forced to tell her the truth, leaving Violet almost as shocked by her behaviour as Mary's. Edith finds an admirer in Sir Anthony Strallan, after he is impressed by her thoughtfulness and genuine interest in him. Miss O'Brien and Thomas continue to plot against Bates, trying to frame him for the theft of a wine bottle – which in fact Thomas stole as witnessed by Bates. Thomas persuades Daisy to testify against Bates, but her conscience leads her to retract her statement. However, Bates surprises Carson, Mrs Hughes and Anna by revealing that he was once a drunkard and has been in prison for theft; Carson is unwilling to let him go, realising that there is more to his story. Sybil makes Branson take her to Ripon under false pretenses to attend the by-election count. She is injured during a brawl when the count gets out of hand, but is rescued by Matthew as he is returning from work. Lord Grantham blames Branson but Sybil defends him. Later that night Mary and Matthew talk and reminisce, leading to them confessing their love for each other. Lord and Lady Grantham are delighted to learn that Matthew asked Mary to marry him, but to Cora's chagrin, Mary feels she cannot accept his proposal without telling him her scandalous secret. The Dowager apologises for her earlier harsh treatment of Cora, and they decide that if the match between Mary and Matthew does not come off, they will marry her off to some "Italian who is not too picky" come November.
Enjoy everyone! xx