November 1916. Matthew is fighting as an officer on the Somme. He speaks of returning to Downton during his leave, which is coming soon. However, he has news that he is newly engaged to Miss Lavinia Swire. When Lady Mary learns of Matthew's engagement, she tries to hide her dismay and tells the other ladies that a Sir Richard Carlisle, a newspaper mogul known more for expediency than ethics, is coming to visit her. However, when she is alone with Anna, she breaks down in tears at the news of Matthew's engagement.
Meanwhile the servants are preparing for a benefit concert to help fund the local hospital. However, with Bates in London attending his mother's funeral and Thomas fighting in the war in the medical corps, the servants are hard pressed to keep Downton running. A new housemaid, Ethel, has arrived, but O'Brien immediately dislikes her and repeatedly pulls pranks on her.
Bates tells Anna that he may finally get divorced from Vera and asks Anna to marry him in her stead. However, these plans are short lived when Vera turns up in Downton and threatens to expose Anna's part in Lady Mary's indiscretion with the Turk Pamuk unless he leaves with her immediately. Mrs. Hughes overhears Bates and Vera's conversation and later informs Mr. Carson of Vera's plot. Mr. Carson then brings this information to Lord Grantham, who immediately regrets how he dismissed Bates.
Meanwhile, Sybil, anxious to do her own part in the war effort, begins training as a nurse, and at her departure, Branson reveals his feelings for her.
Matthew and Mary, who patched things up when he attended the fundraiser, struggle with their respective situations. Matthew and Mary clearly still care for each other, but with Matthew engaged and returning to war, the timing couldn't be worse. Mary sees him off at the train station, giving him her lucky mascot, which he carries while fighting.
Matthew meets Thomas in the trenches on the front lines. Matthew and Thomas share tea in the midst of the fighting, and when Thomas expresses the irony that the footman is sharing tea with the lord he once served, Matthew tells him that "War has a way of distinguishing between the things that matter and the things that don't." Thomas, who was already clearly sick of the war, takes these words to heart and purposely gets himself wounded so that he no longer has to fight.
I'm a Downton Abbey addict! I think I need help! Like Lady Mary, I am in love with Matthew and I really hope he doesn't die or become injured in the war! xx
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