Edith and Cora are walking the grounds, discussing Bertie Pelhams’s proposal. Edith says she loves him, and wants to accept, but doesn’t know what to do about Marigold. Should she tell him, or let there be a lie at the heart of her marriage? Cora says she must tell him, but Edith isn’t sure what to do.
Sergeant Willis has had his frequent visitor card punched and this time he’s here to speak with Mrs. Patmore about her bed-and-breakfast. It seems her first visitors were not a doctor and his wife, as she thought, but a couple having an affair. The husband of the woman is suing the man for damages related to adultery, and Patmore’s bed-and-breakfast may be listed as a house of ill repute. Patmore is overcome and upset, of course, but Mrs. Hughes tries to calm her. While trying to be supportive, Hughes can barely contain her laughter. Anna comes in and overhears what is going on.
Robert and Rosamunde are discussing their mother’s trip to France. Robert says he’s had it with her this time, but Rosamunde reminds her she did give him a puppy and he says “I forgive her everything.” They look out the window to see Cora and Edith, and both of them wonder about the engagement and whether or not Marigold will be the spoiler. Robert just doesn’t want her to be hurt.
Tom and Mary are in town when they see a newspaper with the news that a Marquess had died in Tangiers. They buy a paper and find out that it was, as they suspected, Bertie Pelham’s cousin/employer, and they wonder now if Bertie will be out of a job.
Anna is telling Bates about Patmore’s misfortune. Both try not to laugh, but cannot help it. Baxter asks Molesly about his teaching position, and he tells her he’ll be teaching between 2:00 and 4:00 every afternoon. He’s not yet asked Carson for the time off, and Baxter urges him not to ask, but just to tell him. Molesly is nervous about that. What if he’s no good?
Isobel and Lord Merton are discussing Isobel’s invitation to his son Larry’s wedding. Merton takes it as a good sign of his daughter-in-law’s influence, but Isobel is not sure she agrees.
Hughes is telling Carson about Patmore’s troubles, trying not to laugh about it as well. Carson doesn’t think it’s funny, as someone might make a connection between that situation and Downton Abbey. He doesn’t want anyone to tell the family about it.
But in Mary’s room, Anna and Mary are laughing about it, so the secret’s out. Changing the subject to something more serious, Mary fills in Anna about Lord Hexham’s death. They both wonder what will happen to poor Bertie Pelham now, and if Edith should marry him if the new heir doesn’t want to keep him on. Anna asks about Henry Talbot, and Mary says she hasn’t heard from him since she broke it off, which is exactly what she wants.
Patmore and Daisy are commiserating about Patmore’s situation (Daisy not being very helpful) when Mr. Dawes, the schoolmaster comes in. He has the results of Daisy’s exams and suddenly she is very nervous. But she’s passed everything with high marks!
The family is in the drawing room, discussing Pelham’s situation when Edith comes in saying she’s talked to him, and that he will be coming tomorrow on his way to Tangiers to deal with his cousin’s arrangements. He’s not sure what to do since he’s already been buried. When Mary says that’s up to the new Marquess, Edith drops a bombshell: Bertie is the new Marquess! Everyone is astounded, especially incredulous Mary. This means that if she marries him, Edith would outrank them all! Mary is not pleased.
As they go in to dinner, Mary grouses that if this really is true, surely Bertie won’t want to marry Edith now. Cora tells her “careful, people might think you are jealous.”
Downstairs, Molesly is informing Carson of his teaching responsibilities. Carson is put out, but at Hughes’ urging, acquiesces.
After dinner, the family is discussing Patmore, expressing sympathy for her but at the same time barely controlling their laughter. Tom tells Mary that he’s had a call from Henry Talbot. Despite her earlier protests, Mary is very interested in what he had to say. He’s still in mourning, but misses Mary. Mary tells Tom that he mustn’t invite him to come, but Tom says “what if he just turns up?”
Edith and Rosamunde are discussing Bertie, and Mary’s implication that he will throw her over now that he’d the Marquess. Edith can’t help but worry about that, in addition to everything else. Rosamunde asks if Bertie knows about Marigold yet, and urges her to tell him, so all the cards will be out on the table. Edith worries that no matter what she does, she’ll come to regret it.
After dinner downstairs, Molesly is getting ready for his classes the next day. They ask him if he might be expecting too much, giving them tests right away, but he says “if you expect a lot, you’ll get a lot,” to which everyone agrees. Patmore tells Hughes that she’s going over to her house tomorrow to help her niece deal with things, and Hughes, ever the supportive friend, says she’ll go with her.
Cora and Robert are getting ready for bed, discussing Pelham and Edith. Robert goes on about Edith’s good fortune, but Cora warns him that nothing’s settled yet, and there’s still that matter of Marigold to be dealt with.
Mary and Tom are surveying the grounds, Mary obviously bothered by something. Tom urges her to let him get Talbot up here, but Mary again refuses. She says even if she’s in love with Henry, it doesn’t matter because that would fade after time anyway, and she needs to marry sensibly. Tom isn’t having it. She has a real opportunity to get it right. He tells her he’s always honest, and Mary turns it around on him, saying that he hasn’t been honest with her about Marigold. He says it wasn’t his secret to tell, confirming her suspicions. He says none of that matters, because Talbot can make her happy. He urges her to give him a chance, but she angrily says no, and walks off.
Robert, Cora, and Rosamunde are in the library talking about the Edith/Bertie situation. Rosamunde and Cora are adamant that Edith must tell him about Marigold, but Robert says it really should be Edith’s decision. Edith and Bertie come in, interrupting what has become a heated conversation. Bertie fills them in on the plan: he’ll let his cousin’s body rest in Tangiers, and have a simple service for him at Brancaster. He definitely wants Edith to be there. He talks about his cousin a bit, and how much he cared for him, and Cora says he’d be pleased that Bertie was his heir, at which point Bertie nearly breaks down in tears.
At servants’ luncheon, Carson is telling everyone that even though Bertie wants to remain “Mr. Pelham” until after the service, the staff should refer to him as Lord Hexham. Thomas has had a letter, which Baxter asks about. He’s been turned down for another job. They wish his best wishes for the future, and Thomas says, “what future?” When Baxter tells him he’s being silly, he gets angry and stomps off. Baxter means to go after him, but Molesly tells her to let him go.
At lunch, Bertie is telling everyone about his cousin, how lyrical he was, how much of an artist. It’s very touching. Mary butts in asking him if he’s here to settle things with Edith. Cora is scandalized by the rudeness, but Bertie says he does want things settled. He talks of his mother, and makes her sound a little bit scary, which makes Edith get a very worried look on her face.
That afternoon, Patmore and Hughes visit the house of ill repute. A reporter is there, waiting to take their picture, but they refuse. In the house, Patmore’s niece is very distressed. She tells her that all of the reservations have cancelled.
At the schoolhouse, Molesly comes in to teach his classes. He’s nervous, and the kids pay little attention, one of them drawing an unflattering picture they then pass around.
Edith and Bertie are sitting on a bench outside, having a conversation. Edith tells him he can be free if he wants to be, but he says he still wants to marry her. He wants her help in fulfilling his new responsibilities. He talks about his mother. She’s very important to him, but they don’t agree about everything. But she’ll be thrilled about Edith. Edith doesn’t know what to say, so they go back inside to see the children.
In the kitchens, Patmore is telling Carson and Hughes that the husband has settled out of court, and she won’t have to testify, but her reputation is still in tatters. They’re interrupted by Carson being summoned to answer the front door.
In the library, Bertie and Tom are putting on a puppet show for the children, when Carson comes in announcing Henry Talbot. Mary, or course, is shocked to see him, and a little put out. He says he was just passing through and decided to stop in. Robert welcomes him, and tells him again about how sorry he is about the events at Brooklands. Mary castigates Tom, whom she is certain is behind this visit. Cora invites him to stay the night. Henry goes over to offer condolences to Bertie, and says he’s jealous that he seems to be settling things with Edith.
Molesly is trying to teach and the class is out of control, talking and laughing and throwing things, and not paying attention to him at all. The bell rings, and they all flow out, not even taking the homework sheets he is trying to give them.
On the stairs, Mary is yelling at Tom, who tells her to get over herself. Talbot comes up the stairs behind them. Tom storms off and Mary whirls on Talbot, telling him he’s very well prepared for someone who was just passing through. He tells her he’s there because he loves her and knows they should be together. She tells him he could never be happy living at Downton, doing her work and being outranked by his own stepson. He says he can handle it. He means to make her rejection of him as hard and painful as he can, and she walks off, angry.
Rosamunde, Cora, and Robert are discussing Edith and Marigold again, when Mary comes in. They try to cover up what they were talking about with the story about Greggson. Mary wants to know why Cora invited Talbot to stay, and Cora said they had little choice. They talk about how he’s obviously here just to see her. She protests that it would not be a suitable match anyway, and Cora says it doesn’t matter because in any case it would have been rude to turn him away. As she leaves, they talk about how Mary is very clearly in love with him, no matter what she might say.
The staff asks Molesly how his first day of teaching went, and he’s very obviously distressed because it didn’t go well. They tell him that they’re sure tomorrow will be better.
After dinner, Robert and Bertie are talking about Bertie’s plan to fly to Tangiers. Edith and Talbot remonstrate about Mary. Mary, seeing Bertie and Edith together, goes on about how if Talbot were the new Lord Hexham every woman in the country would be after him. Tom says if that’s the reason she won’t accept Talbot, then shame on her. Mary tells him to stop lecturing her, and leaves angrily.
Talbot excuses himself to go follow her, catching up with her on the stairs. He apologizes for surprising her, but says he thinks they love each other very much, but for some reason she’s fighting it. It must be his lack of money and position, which he thinks is very small of Mary. Mary is offended, and basically calls him an ass, and storms off. She shuts herself in her bedroom, distressed.
Bertie walks Edith back to her room. He asks for her answer. She says she loves him, but her life is complicated. Bertie says he’ll take that as a yes, and Edith doesn’t protest.
Everyone is having breakfast when Mary comes down to join them. She wants to know where Henry is, but he’s gone. She’s very upset and just stands there staring for awhile. Robert leaves to write some letters, and Bertie says he’s sorry he left because they have some news, and were just waiting for Mary to join them to share it. Edith tells him it’s not the right moment, because Mary is so upset about Talbot leaving. Mary says this is not the case, and they should share. Edith says Mary can’t stand it because she’s getting married and Mary has just lost her man. Mary protests sarcastically that she really is happy for Edith, and she admires Bertie for taking on Edith’s past, and understanding the truth about Marigold. Bertie asks Edith what Mary’s talking about, and she admits Marigold is her daughter. Bertie is taken aback, and leaves to collect himself.
Cora, Robert, and Rosamunde are in the library when Hughes comes in to tell them Lord Hexham is leaving. They’re shocked. Robert says he’ll sort it out. Rosamunde asks Hughes about how Mrs. Patmore is doing, and Hughes says she’s upset about the failure of her B and B. Rosamunde suggests they all go down to have tea there, to give her some good publicity. Cora agrees it’s a marvelous idea.
Isobel and Miss Cruikshank are having tea and Lord Merton’s, and Isobel tells her she won’t get back together with Merton unless his son asks her to do so himself. She doesn’t want to hear it from Miss Cruikshank, who says she speaks for him, she wants to hear it from him.
Hughes is filling Patmore and Carson in on the plan to visit the B and B and Carson is aghast, afraid the family’s good name will be dragged through the mud. Patmore is grateful for the chance to bury the sordid story under another, grander, event. Hughes presses the issue, and Carson says she’s being ruthless, and walks away.
Edith and Bertie are walking the grounds, Bertie coming to a decision. He loves Edith, and would have understood about Marigold, but cannot forgive the fact that she did not trust him with the information herself. He asks if she’d have married him, letting the lie stand, and Edith admits she doesn’t know. He doesn’t feel like he can spend his life with someone he doesn’t trust and who didn’t trust him. They part, wishing each other luck, each of them unspeakably sad.
Robert and Tom discuss Mary’s role in all of this, both angry and unbelieving that it was an honest mistake.
Tom finds Mary in the agent’s office, and says she got what he wanted. She says that’s not what she wanted, but Edith really should have told him. Tom yells at her, and tells her to stop ruining things, both for Edith and herself. She refuses to listen, and Tom tells her she’s a bully, and a coward. He walks off, leaving her alone to consider what she said.
Anna meets Baxter in the hall, seeking to borrow her scissors. Baxter is on her way to walk with Mr. Molesly to the schoolhouse, to offer moral support. Thomas comes through, in a dark mood. Baxter watches him go, concerned.
Mary finds Edith in her room packing and sobbing. She’s going to London for a while to get away from things, Mary in particular. Mary says it never occurred to her that Edith hadn’t told Bertie about Marigold, and Edith tells her to shut up and calls her a bitch who couldn’t stand to see her happy. Mary can’t be content with ruining her own life, she had to ruin Edith’s too. Mary protests that she hasn’t ruined her own life. Edith tells her she’s wrong, Henry is perfect for her, she’s just too stuck-up to see it. Edith departs, angry and in tears.
In the library, Carson announces Patmore, who has something she wants to say. She’s grateful they plan to come to tea, but worries they may get dragged into an unsavory business. Carson agrees, but Robert says they have to show a little more backbone than that, as well as loyalty to Mrs. Patmore. They’ll come for tea on Friday. Patmore is overwhelmed by the kindness and departs, weeping.
Baxter walks Molesly to school, giving him a little pep talk. He’s worried about what the kids and their parents would think if they found out he was a servant at Downton. Baxter says he should tell them, so they could know what it was possible to achieve, no matter the station they were born to. He says Thomas told him as he left that he hoped Molesly would make something more of his life than Thomas ever made of his. Baxter puts this together with what she saw earlier, and begs off to run back to the house.
At the house, she looks all over for Thomas but can’t find him. Andy tells him he went in for a bath, and Baxter thinks she knows what’s happened so she and Andy break the door down. They find Thomas in the bathtub with his wrists cut. There’s blood in the water. They send for Anna to get the doctor, but Baxter tells Andy to tell no one else what they’ve seen.
In the kitchen, Daisy says she wishes she’d gone with Baxter and Molesly to the schoolhouse. Patmore tells her to go ahead and go.
In the village, Edith is driving to the train station when she comes upon Tom. She asks him to come with her, so he can drive the car back to Downton. She tells him about her London plans and that she’s finally had it out with Mary. Tom tells her Bertie might come round, but Edith doesn’t think so. Tom gets in the car and they drive off.
Baxter is tending to Thomas when Andy brings Mrs. Hughes in. Baxter has bandaged his wrists and he’s still alive. They take him back to his room to get him out of his wet, bloody clothes, and wait for Dr. Clarkson.
Daisy arrives at the schoolhouse, and listens outside of Molesly’s class. He’s telling them about his story, and how education is for everyone, and makes all things possible. They’re inspired, and basically eating out of his hand. Daisy just observes, pleased for him.
In the library, Rosamunde and Cora are getting on Mary’s case about Edith when Carson comes in to tell Robert about Thomas. Everyone is shocked, and Mary takes the moment to ask her father if he feels good about sacking him now. Robert says it’s a low blow, even for Mary.
Dr. Clarkson has come to tend to Thomas and told them that Baxter got to him in time. The servants sit down to dinner, and Baxter tells everyone the cover story that Thomas is sick and will be out a couple of days. They ask Molesly about his teaching day, and Daisy fills everyone in on how great of a teacher Molesly seems to be. They applaud him.
Anna is telling Mary that Thomas is expected to recover. Mary expresses her regret to Anna for what she did to Edith, and she seems genuinely sorry. Anna asks about her decision regarding Talbot, and Mary says she’s mad at Tom but it’s clearly that she also regrets her decision, even though she still says he’s not right for her.
The next morning, In London, Edith is at her magazine, telling Miss Edmunds about what happened with Bertie. Cassandra Jones, their new advice columnist. is coming in at 5:00 for tea, and both are curious to discover who she really is.
Thomas is reading in bed, when Mary brings George in to see him. Thomas tells her that he at least has a friend in George, and he tells Mary that the fact that he has few friends is his own fault, he often says and does mean things and he doesn’t know why, he just can’t stop himself. This strikes a chord in Mary, and she says she could say the same.
Hughes and Patmore go over the plans for tea that afternoon. She has a newspaperman coming over to cover the event. Carson is aghast, and says he’s only glad the dowager isn’t around to see everything that is going on.
Speaking of the Dowager, Violet chooses that moment to return, having been summoned by a letter from Tom.
Patmore and Daisy pack up the supplies for the tea, and depart in a car Lord Grantham is loaning them for the day.
Mary is summoned to see Violet. Violet wants to know why she did what she did to Edith, and shares Tom’s theory that she’s unhappy, and that’s why she lashes out like she does. She gets Mary to admit that she really is in love with Henry, and Violet says that even though he doesn’t have much in the way of qualifications, he seems to be a suitable match personally. Mary says it’s really not that, but she can’t stand to see another car accident. Violet urges her to get over that, and embrace love. She asks her to make peace with her sister, and then make peace with herself.
As Cora, Robert, and Rosamunde leave for tea, Carson asks Robert if he can tell Thomas he can stay for the time being. Robert was about to suggest the same thing.
Mary tells Tom she should be angry at him for putting Granny on her case. But she’s thought about things, and she’s asked Henry Talbot to come to Downton. Making peace with Edith will be the harder task, because she doesn’t see any reason Edith would forgive her.
Edith returns to her magazine to find that Miss Jones has already arrived and is in a meeting with Edmunds. Edith goes in to find that Miss Cassandra Jones is, in actuality … Mr. Spratt!
Mary visits’ Matthew’s grave. She tells him she loves Talbot and wants to be together and wants to think Matthew would be happy for her. Isobel sees her at the grave and gives her blessing to the match, saying that Matthew would, indeed, want her to be happy.
Cora, Rosamunde, and Robert have tea at Patmore’s. A photographer has come from the paper and it’s turned out to be quite the grand event.
Talbot arrives at Downton to see Mary, unsure of why he’s been summoned. She tells him he was right, they are in love with each other. She’s not sure why she fought it, but she wants to be together. She says that no matter of their relative power and positions, they are evenly matched in all the ways that count. For his part, he’s already made all the preparations for them to get married, so they can do it at once! Neither of them wants to have a grand society affair, so they decide to do it on Saturday.
At Patmore’s everyone has their picture taken, and they insist Patmore be in it with them.
The day of the wedding arrives. Edith has returned from London to support Mary, despite everything that’s happened. Mary wants to talk to Edith alone. She apologizes again, and says the two need to make peace. Edith says she only feels this way because she’s happy again. Edith says she came because they are sisters and one day it will be just the two of them.
Mary Crawley and Henry Talbot get married in a quiet ceremony at the village church.
Cora and Robert watch them drive off in their carriage. Robert says everything seems to be working out for everyone, and Cora asks about Edith. Robert says that Edith has already given him the most surprises, and no doubt will continue to do so.
As the episode ends, we see Edith in the graveyard, watching the children play around the stones.