The lives of the Crawley family and Downton Abbey's servants are changed for ever when the sinking of the Titanic leaves the estate without its heir and his son. The arrival of a new valet shocks the staff, who scheme to make his stay as short-lived as possible.
Everyone is anxious at the arrival of Matthew Crawley, the heir presumptive, but he soon encounters problems settling into his new life in Downton, and his mother Isobel immediately crosses swords with Violet. Meanwhile, butler Carson is mortified to be confronted with his past, and housemaid Gwen seems to have a secret correspondent.
Cora's attempts at matchmaking are dashed when Mary is smitten not by intended target Evelyn Napier, but by his handsome friend, Turkish attache Kemal Pamuk. The couple's mutual attraction sparks a train of events whose consequences ripple through the entire household. Gwen is deeply humiliated as her secret ambition is exposed, and Bates takes extreme action to cure his limp.
The fair arrives in the village and Mrs Hughes finds herself the centre of speculation when she meets a former suitor who makes her question her position at Downton. Meanwhile, Violet and Isobel lock horns over a medical ailment affecting Molesley, and Carson fears there is a thief at work in the grounds.
As the village prepares for the annual flower show, Isobel finds herself in conflict with Violet, and Mary is introduced to a potential suitor, but it would seem she only has eyes for Matthew. Anna realizes who is to blame when a valuable snuff box goes missing, and Mrs. Patmore tearfully reveals her fears to Carson that her career may be coming to an end. Meanwhile, O'Brien engineers a way for Edith to take revenge on Mary.
Sybil's determination to pursue her political leanings lands her in great danger when a fight breaks out at an election results meeting. Matthew's tenderness in caring for the would-be suffragette is noticed by her sisters, but it is Mary who is stunned to receive a marriage proposal. Bates is cleared of suspicion over the stolen wine, but offers his resignation rather than name the culprit.
Absorbing costume series is perfect watch-together fare.
© 2010 Carnival Film & TV Ltd.
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