Downton Abbey

Season 2 Episode 1

Episode 1

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 18, 2011 on PBS
out of 10
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88 votes

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Episode Summary


The first episode of the second series picks up the story in 1916 during World War I. Many changes have taken place at Downton Abbey because of the conflict which has greatly unsettled all the occupants. A new maid proves difficult and an announcement from Matthew Crawley stuns everybody, particularly Mary. Meanwhile, there are dramas and surprises for everyone from both above and below stairs as the war rages on and all are caught up in it in some way.


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  • A superb start to the second series as World War One changes the lives of everyone at Downton Abbey.

    It is now 1916 and Matthew finds himself caught up in The Battle of the Somme. At Downton, a benefit concert for the local hospital is being organised and Sybil is determined to do her bit for the war effort by training as a nurse.

    Julian Fellowes has once again down a brilliant job of writing a practically faultless script which takes us from the trenches to Downton and back again, showing us broken hearts, pain, laughter and fear along the way without missing a beat.

    Once again, the cast are superb, particularly the marvellous Dame Maggie Smith who gets the best lines and the young Michelle Dockery whose unhappiness when Matthew becomes engaged to another woman is almost palpable.

    If you miss this, you are missing some great television.moreless
Maria Doyle Kennedy

Maria Doyle Kennedy

Vera Bates

Guest Star

Allen Leech

Allen Leech

Tom Branson

Guest Star

David Robb

David Robb

Dr. Richard Clarkson

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


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  • NOTES (2)

    • The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series.

    • 'DOWNTON ABBEY' has entered the Guinness Book of Records as the most highly rated critically acclaimed television series of 2010. It is the first British television series to hold the title. The website Metacritic which collects critical reviews from all new shows around the world gave the show a 92 out of 100, which secured the title and which will appear in the 2012 edition of the almanac.