About Season 2

The second series of Downton Abbey premiered in the UK on 18 September 2011, and in the U.S. on 8 January 2012. The series comprises eight episodes, running from the Battle of the Somme in 1916 to the 1918 flu pandemic. Below is a list of each episode, with dot points summarising the major plot points of each.


EPISODE ONE Set in November 1916
• A new housemaid, Ethel, is introduced
• Matthew and Thomas are fighting in France
• Downton holds a benefit concert to help fund the local hospital
• Branson reveals his feelings to Sybil


EPISODE TWO Set in April 1917
• Lord Grantham employs Lang as his valet, who has just returned from war
• Edith goes to help a local farmer - who is without hands - by driving his tractor; she gets more than she bargained for when he kisses her and she welcomes his advances
• Mrs Patmore finds out devastating news about her soldier nephew
• Thomas returns from the war after intentionally getting his fingers shot by enemy bullets
• Carson advises Mary that if she loves Matthew she should tell him before it's too late


EPISODE THREE Set circa July 1917
• Downton is turned into a home for returning soldiers, as the small village hospital is not large enough to accommodate them all
• Violet, with the help of Rosamund, try their best to end Matthew's engagement to Lavinia, believing that Matthew and Mary are still in love
• Anna runs into Mr. Bates in the village and they feel they have a future together
• William asks Daisy to marry him before heading off to war


EPISODE FOUR Set in early 1918
• Ethel flirts with Major Bryant and gets in trouble with Mrs Hughes - later, Mrs Hughes finds them in a compromising position
• A concert for the soldiers is held at Downton
• Edith receives worrying news about Matthew and William
• Mrs Bird's soup kitchen receives a helping hand from Daisy and Mrs Patmore


EPISODE FIVE Set in mid-1918
• Matthew and William have been wounded in France
• William sustains serious damage to his lungs and does not recover; he and Daisy marry at his bedside just before he dies
• Matthew suffers a spinal injury and is paralysed from the waist down - he is told he may never walk again or father children
• Mrs Hughes secretly helps Ethel and her baby as her lover Major Bryant has ignored her pleas
• Carson hires Jane as a new maid
• Vera, Bates' ex-wife, threatens to expose old secrets about Mary and Pamuk's death
• Mary confesses her indecencies to Carlisle, who tells her that she is now in his debt and announces their engagement in a newspaper without Mary being informed


EPISODE SIX Set in November 1918
• A Canadian officer, badly disfigured by burns, comes to Downton after expressing a relation to the family; he claims to be Patrick Crawley, the deceased heir of Downton
• Edith forms a friendship with the man and she is the only one who believes his story
• 'Patrick' leaves Downton after serious doubt is cast upon is true identity, and he leaves Edith an ambiguous note
• Ethel hears that Major Bryant has been killed
• Carson debates whether to accept Carlisle's offer to be their butler after his marriage to Mary
• Sybil receives an ultimatum from Branson regarding his love for her
• Bates travels to London to make another attempt to settle matters with Vera, however upon returning to Downton he receives news that she is dead
• The war ends, with Armistice shortly after


EPISODE SEVEN Set in 1919
• Matthew suspects that he can feel his legs, and one day he suddenly gets up from his chair
• As a result of his recovery, Matthew announces he and Lavinia intend to be married, which leads Violet to inform Matthew that Mary still loves him
• Carson rejects Carlisle's offer of employment
• It is alleged that Vera committed suicide in order to frame Bates
• Mrs Hughes sets up a meeting between Ethel, her baby, and Major Bryant's parents
• Thomas embarks on a new money-making scheme in the post-war black market
• Lord Grantham is attracted to Jane and kisses her in secret on one occasion
• Sybil makes a drastic decision to elope with Branson, however they are found out and are brought back to Downton to confront Sybil's parents


EPISODE EIGHT Set in 1919
• Sybil expresses the wish to marry Branson, which shocks and horrifies her parents; Lord Grantham's threats of social disgrace and disinheritance do not sway Sybil
• Cora, Carson and Lavinia are taken ill by the Spanish flu
• Thomas's black market venture fails spectacularly and he is left penniless and jobless; however Carson's illness allows him a chance to make himself useful
• Mary and Matthew share a kiss, unknowingly seen by Lavinia
• Lavinia's flu delays her and Matthew's wedding, and confined to her bed she tells Matthew she heard and saw everything, and says they should end their engagement but Matthew refuses
• Major Bryant's father wants to take Ethel's child away, but Ethel refuses and keeps the child
• Lord Grantham is unable to control his desire for Jane and they nearly share a night together, however they are interrupted and Jane decides to leave Downton
• Bates and Anna marry in secret, and with Mary's permission they spend their wedding night in a guest room
• Cora becomes seriously ill, and O'Brien cares for her and tries to ask her for forgiveness
• Lavinia, however, is only one out of the three to succumb to the flu; she dies after telling Matthew that it is for the best
• A funeral is held for Lavinia and Matthew tells Mary that any relationship between them is now impossible
• Lord Grantham reluctantly gives his blessing to Sybil and Branson
• Bates is arrested for the murder of his late wife


I LOVED SEASON 2 because it featured a great contrast between the war front and the goings on at Downton. I also enjoyed the variety of romances and love triangles that occurred, one of the most sincere being the relationship between Anna and Mr. Bates. There were some really bittersweet stories, Daisy and William's in particular, and then there were some scandals (Ethel and Major Bryant, Lord Grantham and Jane). I loved watching the characters mature and grow throughout the season, especially Sybil, who really held her own. I just loved how all the intricacies of the plot weaved every which way and that, but you were never lost as to what was going on.

Links:
+ Wikipedia
+ IMDb