The Granthams have opened up parts of their home to injured officers needing time to recover. However, with the men, the nurses and the beds comes Isobel Crawley who severely limits the space the family has for privacy and begins giving orders to the servants. O'Brien decides to protect Cora by arranging to have Thomas installed as manager of the house. Carson reminds His Lordship about Thomas' theft, but Grantham never told his wife about the incident and it is believed that Thomas will have some loyalty to the family.
Meanwhile, Ethel is a bit too eager to chat with the wounded officers, causing Mrs .Hughes to continually remind her to keep to her work. With nothing else to do, Edith volunteers to help the men with various errands.
Branson has finally been called up and plans to claim Conscientious Objector, though it will result in prison. When his plans are foiled due to a heart murmur that disqualifies him from military service at all, he plots to make his political statement some other way.
Meanwhile, William has completed military training and will be leaving for the front soon. Daisy is worried that he will ask her to marry him. She is fond of William, but not in love with him. Mrs. Patmore pressures her to accept his proposal so he can go to war a happy man with a reason to return alive, arguing that the engagement can always be broken after the war.
Having made some discreet inquiries, Violet and Rosamund have learned that Miss Swire helped bring about the Marconi Scandal of 1912 by stealing incriminating papers from her uncle and giving them to Sir Richard Carlisle, Mary's beau, who made them public and cost several politicians their positions. They assume that Lavinia would only do such a thing because Carlisle was her lover.
Mary, however, finds out the truth from Lavinia herself. Her father was in debt deeply to Sir Richard and, to save him from financial ruin, Lavinia stole the papers which only exposed guilty men anyway. Knowing something of the sacrifices one makes to keep the family honor intact, the sympathetic Mary decides not to use this knowledge against Lavinia.
Spotting someone she believes is Mr. Bates in the village, Anna learns that Bates has returned and is working in a local pub. He tells her that he has proof of his wife's infidelity and can now force the divorce issue, willing to pay her what she wants to finally leave him alone and hold her tongue about Mary's indiscretion. Anna, weary of the endless delays to their future plans, isn't convinced that Mrs. Bates will go so easily. Since infidelity on the part of a man isn't treated as seriously as it is for a woman, Anna offers to be his mistress. Bates will not hear of it because Anna deserves to be a legally married woman.
When Mr. Lang's nervous condition proves too much for him to be around men in uniform, the overworked Carson is relieved when Branson offers to serve as footman during a dinner for an important general doing a tour of the area. Anna finds a letter from Branson apologizing to Sybil in advance. She runs to Mrs. Hughes who alerts Mr. Carson who stops Branson as he is about to serve the general. They quietly remove the chauffeur from the room, believing he had intended an assassination. Branson reveals that he'd only put together a filthy mixture in the soup, meaning to pour it over the man.
Dinner proceeds smoothly and the general delights everyone by toasting the normally-overlooked Edith as someone who has been invaluable to the recovery of the injured men.
Lang's shell shock has not improved, giving him nightmares and causing a breakdown when the general and his men are leaving Downton. Realizing that he failed to understand the depths of Lang's problem, Carson goes to dismiss him. Instead, he finds Lang already packing. They both agree that he is not well enough to continue at this time, but Carson does offer him a generous severance and a good reference when he is ready to work again.
With little else to do, Lord Grantham arranges to have William assigned to Matthew in the hopes of sparing him the worst of combat. He also puts his foot down when Dr. Clarkson cites military protocol as an impediment to having the injured Evelyn Napier transferred to Downton to convalese. He reminds both Clarkson and Isobel that this is his house and threatens to withdraw the use of it if they don't stop dictating to his family what they can and cannot do in it.
A cat burglar is on the loose, but what connects the victims? And has the burglar, dubbed "the Creeper", now resorted to murder?
Miss Marple is asked to help Gwenda Halliday, a wealthy young woman who has bought a house on the English coast, only to experience disturbing visions. Soon Gwenda discovers that, instead of spending all her life in India, she had lived in the house as a child. The visions are actually flashes of memory - and she realizes she witnessed the murder of a beautiful woman who was a singer for an acting troupe known as The Funnybones.moreless
DCI Matt Burke takes a fishing break but he ends up fighting for his life when a gun- man shoots him in the head. Also, on the same day a fraud squad detective Archie Meades is shot dead and stashes of cash are found in the homes of both victims. It is up to the team to clear their boss's name from charges of accepting bribes connected to an illegal import deal.moreless
Barnaby and Troy are in Badger's Drift again, this time to investigate the murder of an unpopular property developer called Richard Bayly who had been suffering from a brain tumour. Bayly had recently come up with plans to build a new housing estate in the sleepy village, despite determined local opposition, and he was killed with an Indian sword belonging to Stephen Wentworth, the local Vicar.
Another interesting factor is the recent arrival in the village of Simon Fletcher, a theatre director with unhappy childhood memories and perhaps an old grievance.