The Crawley family struggles to deal with personal tragedies related to the crash of the Titanic as their servants keep the household running.
We open to a shot of someone sending a message via Morse Code. We then cut to a train rolling through the countryside as the camera also pans to the telephone wires along the tracks and we hear the Morse Code being transmitted across the wires until we reach a village where a woman is looking at the code and after reading it exclaims "Oh my God" while a man looks at it and says "That is impossible." He tells the woman he will bring the message to its recipient at once to which she replies "What difference does it make?"
The scene cuts to Downton Abbey, a magnificent building that looks like a small castle. The time is April 1912 and a young girl walks up and knocks on a door in the house announcing it's 6 AM. Two young women are in the room and we find out the girl's name is Daisy. We are then rushed to the kitchen as Daisy is getting things while another older woman is asking her what she has done already. The older woman is Mrs. Patmore and she is the head chef of the house. We then watch as Daisy walks through the house and we see how ornate and huge it really is. As Daisy departs, the camera switches to a young man dressed up as a butler walking around picking up various glassware as he asks one of the maids where William is. He then finds William and asks him why he's late. When William replies he's not, the young man says "You're late when I say you are." We then pick up in another room where the maids are making up a room when Anna asks why Daisy is working in the dark. Daisy says she doesn't like the electricity in the house to which another maid replies "We'll all have to get used to it." They then say how another house has electricity in the kitchen to which Daisy inquires "What for?" The camera cuts to an older woman dressed in black holding many keys walking through the house, watching over the work being done. We then cut to an older man polishing dinnerware when William comes to tell the man dinner is ready. We find out the man's name is Mr. Carson and he asks William if the papers have arrived yet to which William replies no. Mr. Carson says they're late and has William get an ironing board out to use on the papers when they arrive. We cut back to the older woman who walks in the room with Daisy and the other two maids as she asks if the library is ready to which Anna replies "Yes, Mrs. Hughes." She tells the maids she wants the dining room given a good look over after breakfast. Mrs. Hughes then asks Daisy what she's doing, as Daisy only needs to "build a fire and not invent one." She tells Daisy to finish and get back downstairs before anyone sees her.
We cut outside to a man riding a bicycle up to Downton Abbey and then immediately cut to inside where a beautiful woman is sitting in a night gown on her bed, having just woken up. She walks to the window as she hears the man riding past on the gravel and goes to her bedside and pulls a string which rings a bell downstairs where the servants eat. We find out the woman who rang the bell is Lady Mary and as Anna goes up to assist her, another bell rings to which Mr. Carson says the papers must be here and asks William to get them. William tells the man on a bike, who is the paperboy, he's late. The paperboy replies stating to read the paper and he'll know why. Carson instructs William which papers to get ready first for the heads of the house and to do the rest later. William picks up the paper to see what the fuss is about. We cut to Daisy asking why the papers need to be ironed and find out it's so the ink dries and doesn't get on the lordship's hands. William brings in the paper and tells Mr. Carson he needs to see what's in it. Mrs. Patmore is finishing up a dish and asks William to take it upstairs. As he passes the butler from earlier, he's asked if it's true what's being rumored and William replies "Afraid so."
An older man walks down a staircase, dressed pristine, with his dog at his side. He walks into a room and says good morning to Mr. Carson. He asks Mr. Carson if it's true what's being said and Mr. Carson replies "Afraid so M'Lord." The man says they know people who were on the ship and wonders if they've let out a list of survivors yet. Mr. Carson says he believes all the ladies made it off first to which the man replies "The ladies in first class you mean." He feels sorry for the poor souls below decks as he opens the paper and we see a picture of the Titanic. Lady Mary and another young woman walk into the room and they ask their father if they knew anyone on board and the father says yes and mentions several individuals he and his wife knew. The other daughter says she thought it was unsinkable to which her father replies "Every mountain is unclimbable until someone climbs it, so is every ship unsinkable until it sinks." Another daughter, the youngest, walks into the room and has a telegram for her father. He opens it up and after reading it, we see something is clearly wrong. He gets up and leaves the room immediately without saying anything as the daughters look among themselves, bewildered. He walks towards his wife's room and asks a servant if she is up and is told she is. He goes into her room as we see she is sitting in bed reading a different paper with the Titanic on its cover. She talks about how terrible it is and wonders about people they know who were on board and if they're safe. Her husband states he received a telegram stating two men, James and Patrick, were on board. The wife says it can't be true as they weren't suppose to leave until May but her husband states they are on the passenger list. When she says they were surely picked up, he replies "it doesn't look like it." She then tells him he must be the one to tell Mary and no one else.
The camera cuts to someone walking down a hall with a cane and suitcase and then immediately to the two young maids from earlier making a bed while the wife's maid, O'Brien, looks on. The maids say it is such a shame what happened and O'Brien says it's more than shame but a complication. When asked why, O'Brien explains one of the men, Mr. Crawley, was the lordship's cousin and heir to the title of the house. When the red head says she thought Lady Mary was the heir, O'Brien reminds her that girls can't inherit and since Mr. Crawley's son died too, they don't know what will happen next. As they reach the bottom of the stairs, they see a man standing there. He says he knocked at the back door but no one came so he let himself in. He introduces himself as John Bates, the new valet. O'Brien looks at him as he's holding a cane and asks why he's here. Bates says he came in early to get to know the place and start that evening. We cut to Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore asking Bates how he'll manage and he says he'll just manage. Mr. Carson introduces himself as the butler and also introduces Thomas, the first footman. Mr. Carson asks if everything is ready for Bates and Mrs. Hughes says he will use the old valet's room and asks Thomas to show Bates up there. Carson thanks everyone though O'Brien exclaims she hopes he can manage to which Mr. Carson replies "Thank you O'Brien" which an air of sarcasm. The camera cuts to the top of the stairs looking down as Bates looks up how many he will need to climb. As he enters the room and looks around he says to himself he'll be quite comfortable here.
We cut to Mary who asks her father if she will have to be in full mourning. He says his first cousin and his son are dead and that everyone will be in mourning. Mary responds with "No, the other thing" and how it wasn't official. Her father says if she doesn't want to mourn Patrick as a fiance it is up to her. She says what a relief it is and as she walks away her father looks stunned at her response.
The camera cuts to Thomas showing Bates around the room and as he shows Bates different items for different events, Bates says it's funny about their jobs. They have access to all these grand items though none of it is theirs. Thomas leaves and runs into O'Brien and is shocked he was passed over as valet for "Long John Silver." O'Brien tells him he had the chance to speak up for himself though he didn't. Mrs. Hughes walks by them asking if it's a public holiday as Thomas moves on.
We cut to the husband and wife talking about going into mourning. The wife makes a mention that Patrick's death changes everything and that her husband should challenge the end tail. He says they should discuss this after they are certain Patrick and Mr. Crawley are dead. His wife says she is heartbroken over this and to not mistake her intent. She doesn't understand why the estate can't stay within the family and must go to another heir to which he replies he doesn't make the law. Mr. Carson comes up telling them the Dowager Countess is waiting in the drawing room. As the husband states he will be there shortly, Carson informs him she is actually waiting for Lady Grantham to which she replies "I wonder what I've done this time." Carson also informs the husband that the new valet is here. The husband thanks him and Carson clears his throat, informing the lordship he doesn't believe the new valet will be up to the task though the lordship will be the final judge of it. He tells his wife to inform the Countess. We cut to the Dowager Countess and Lady Grantham as the countess explains she knows what happened and that's why she is here. Lady Grantham says Robert didn't want the countess to read about it in the paper but to hear it from him. She claims she is tougher than she looks though she is sorry for what happened. The countess asks if she knows who the new heir is and Lady Grantham responds yes but doesn't know who it is. The countess says it is Robert's third cousin, once removed. We then find out Lady Grantham had to sign a document signing over the estate from the countess' late husband to the male heir and since she has no sons, her family will lose out. They state the only way Mary can inherit the estate and Lady Grantham's money is by smashing the end tail. However, Mary would not inherit the title. Lady Grantham asks the countess if they are now friends. The countess replies they are allies which can mean a great deal more.
We cut back to the kitchen as the servants are eating and Mr. Carson is explaining to Mr. Bates how things are run at Downton. Lord Grantham appears to greet Mr. Bates and we find out they were comrades-in-arms. As he leaves, the servants give shocked looks to Mr. Bates. He replies they never asked about his relationship with Lord Grantham. Daisy and Mrs. Patmore are cooking in the kitchen as Thomas brings food out to the dining room. Daisy appears smitten with Thomas and Mrs. Patmore is ordering Daisy around to put food in the oven. She forgets to put an ingredient on one of the dishes and tells Daisy to bring it up, forgetting she is not allowed in the dining room. Mrs. Patmore tells her to give it to William or Thomas so they can do it.
The next scene is outside a church where Lord Grantham is talking to another man after the memorial service for James & Patrick. While talking about this, Lord Grantham brings up his third cousin and asks the man if he knows anything. The responds not much but that he lives with his mother, practices law out of Manchester and that his father was a doctor though is now dead. As they walk up to Downton Abbey, the man tells Lord Grantham that when he dies, a bulk of his wife's money will be given to the heir and not his daughters. Lord Grantham asks if anything can be done to change it but unfortunately it can't. We cut to the daughters and Edith is crying. Mary tells her she shouldn't make such a big deal as Mary was the one engaged, not her. Edith tells her she should be ashamed of herself for not feeling more upset.
Mrs. Patmore asks Daisy why she hasn't brought up the eggs to be put on the chicken and Daisy realizes she gave poison to William by accident. She pleads with one of the maids to bring it up to him but fortunately William comes down asking which chicken dish to put it on. Daisy is grateful and gives him the eggs. Lady Grantham greets everyone coming in the house and asks Mr. Murray, who was talking to Lord Grantham, to stay. He says he must get back to London and that he and Lord Grantham have talked about everything they need to. Lady Grantham then instructs Mary and Edith to get the guests inside quickly.
Mr. Carson is decanting wine when Mrs. Hughes comes and asks if everyone has settled and about the heir. Mr. Carson says he doesn't know anything but that there is an heir and how he doesn't want to see anything bad happen to the family. When Mrs. Hughes says he is taking it a bit too personally, Carson replies saying the Granthams are all the family he's got. She then asks him if he wishes he had done something different with his life and had a family. When Carson asks "Do you?" in return, Mrs. Hughes admits she does wish it sometimes. We then find out Mr. Carson let Thomas go into town for a bit for an errand.
O'Brien is giving Lady Grantham tea and says it's not right about her fortune being taken away. When Lady Grantham inquires about Mr. Bates, O'Brien says she doesn't like to speak ill, even if he can't do his job. We cut to Lord Grantham asking Mr. Bates how he is settling in. We find out Bates' leg issues are from the war and he has shrapnel left in. He says he would tell Lord Grantham if he could no longer perform his duties but that he is working out just fine now.
Anna is helping Mary get ready for dinner and when Mary starts to wonder why Mr. Bates is still around, Anna sticks up for him, saying he is not lame and can do work. The girls talk about Patrick and we find out Edith would have gladly taken him as her fiance. Mr. Bates is helping Lord Grantham get ready as well and when he drops a brush, Mr. Grantham tries to get it but Bates won't let him. Grantham starts to has his doubts about Bates though Bates confirms he can do the job and he will show Lord Grantham. He appears to agree though seems to hesitate with his response. Lord Grantham goes to talk with Lady Grantham about what Murray said earlier. The conversation quickly turns to Mr. Bates and Lady Grantham wonders why Lord Grantham hired a cripple. Lord Grantham is very put off and despite the fact they served in the war together, he does want to give Bates a chance before firing him. Robert (Lord Grantham) talks to his mother about what will happen to the estate. We find out Robert only married Cora (Lady Grantham) for her money though it seems he does care for now years later.
Daisy keeps talking about the Titanic, saying she has dreams about it and the people dying in the cold waters. When she asks Mr. Bates about fighting the war in South Africa, Mr. Bates says he doesn't think anyone enjoys war though he did leave it with memories. When asked to pass a tray of silverware, Mr. Bates drops it on the floor and Anna helps him pick it up. Mr. Carson and O'Brien exchange glances with each other after Bates sits back down. O'Brien meets Thomas upstairs to notify him Lady Grantham told Lord Grantham about sacking Mr. Bates and that Thomas was just fine. Anna knows something is going on between them but leaves them to their plotting.
Cora and Violet (Dowager Countess) are talking about a duke that is coming and would like to see Mary when she is out of mourning. Violet also plans on writing Mr. Murray to see what can be done about the money and estate. We see the daughters getting ready and they are dressed in different shades of purple. Mary is trying to look her best to impress the duke. Mr. Carson is instructing the staff to be on their best behavior. He tells Daisy she cannot be up there and that Mr. Bates doesn't have to go up either. Bates insists on going up to greet the duke. As they leave, Thomas is told to help with the luggage and Mr. Bates says he'll assist though Thomas declines. He then asks Carson how long they have to put up with Mr. Bates.
The duke pulls up as everyone is there to greet him. He informs Lady Grantham his man fell ill so he asks that Thomas be his footman as he wanted on him before in London. Just before everyone walks in, O'Brien knocks Mr. Bates' cane out, causing him to fall. Lord Grantham asks if he is ok and Bates says yes as he stares up at O'Brien. Anna helps Bates up though he tells her not to feel sorry for him.
Mary asks the duke what he would like to do, tour the gardens or house. The duke says he wants to explore the house but not the rooms. He wants to see the attics and secret passages alone with Mary as he doesn't want the others to bother them. Robert talks with Cora and tells her not to let Mary make a fool out of herself and that he will be heading to London and that he will take Bates with him. Cora says Bates was an embarrassment to everyone and that Carson hates that. Robert says Bates just fell and he doesn't care what Carson thinks just as Carson walks in the room to give Cora a message from Violet.
Mary and the duke are exploring the servant's quarters and the duke asks Mary if he likes spending time alone with her. She hints that she does enjoy it but doesn't want to be too forward. They go from the women's quarters to the men's and the duke starts opening doors to the bedrooms until he starts to go through one of the drawers. Mary hears someone and Mr. Bates comes up and asks what they are doing. Mary and the duke say they are exploring and when Bates asks if they want to explore her room, Mary apologizes profusely and leaves quickly. When the duke asks why she apologized, she says it's a bad habit of hers.
Carson talks with Robert about Mr. Bates more. He says Mr. Bates cannot fulfill many of the duties expected of him and as a result, they will have to have a maid in the dining room which Carson thinks is unacceptable in the presence of the duke. Robert tells him there are worse things in the world though Carson seems persistent. We see William putting away luggage and Mrs. Hughes tells him not to let Thomas push him around since they're both footmen. William says he doesn't mind as it keeps his mind busy. Mrs. Hughes asks if he is feeling homesick and not to feel ashamed as it means he comes from a happy place which a lot of people would envy. Robert talks with Mr. Bates and tells him he will have to let him go. He gave Bates a trial and if it were only up to him, he would keep Bates on. Bates tries to plead with Robert to take his wages but it's to no avail. Bates states he will leave at once but Robert tells him to leave in the morning and he will give Bates a month's wages for this.
Everyone sits for dinner and Edith brings up the fact that Mary was in the attic with the duke and wonders why. Sybil tries to suggest she was just showing the duke around but Edith persists, stating there is nothing up there but the servant's quarters. Violet attempts to steer the conversation and asks the duke to see her house to study the architecture. Edith still goes on about the attics and Mary finally tells her to bite her tongue as they end dinner and the ladies go to another room.
The servants prepare to eat dinner as Carson checks in with everyone to make sure they've done their duties. He hints that perhaps Mary might wed the duke and become a duchess and heir to Downton. Anna asks if she can bring food to Mr. Bates since he was not well enough to come down and Mrs. Hughes allows it just this once. Mr. Carson then informs everyone Mr. Bates will be leaving "without a stain on his character." William wonders why he has to leave at all though Thomas quiets him. Thomas offers to take care of Lord Grantham but Carson will not permit it while the duke is staying and that Carson will look after Lord Grantham. Thomas is not pleased to hear this.
As Anna is nearing Bates' room, she hears him crying. She peeks in and sees him but backs up and calls him out so he won't know she has seen him. He thanks her for bringing the food. Anna is sorry he is leaving but is sure he will find work as he is a good man. Bates thanks her for the kind words. She also tells him to drop them a line when he's better or else she'll worry. Bates says he will as he can't have her upset. Anna leaves though it is apparent she likes him.
The duke and Robert are talking about the estate and how Robert has decided to not put up a fight. The duke seems surprised at this but Robert says nothing can be done and he must accept it. The duke also brings up Patrick and Matthew and knows that Robert lost two heirs in one day. Robert is curious to know how the duke knows so much about his family's affairs. Robert then tells the duke when he marries Mary she will have a generous lump sum which will not go unnoticed. The duke says Robert has gotten the wrong impression and Robert proceeds to berate the duke, telling him he know exactly what he was doing by showing up and giving the whole family some kind of hope. The duke states he only meant the visit to pay his respects and nothing more.
As the duke proceeds upstairs, Mary is standing behind a column and asks him if he's coming to the drawing room. He says he is tired and is going to bed. Mary suggests they can view more of the house tomorrow but the duke says he is leaving first thing in the morning. He asks that Thomas be sent up to his room. Mary looks devastated and Edith comes up behind saying she let him slip away. Mary retorts that at least she "isn't fishing without bait."
Thomas is helping the duke get ready for bed as the duke tells him all about Lord Grantham's plans. The duke says he needs an heiress even if he must go to New York to find one. Thomas asks what about him and that he wants to be the duke's valet. The duke says he doesn't need a valet and wouldn't Thomas be the new valet since Bates is leaving. Thomas doubts Carson will let him and asks if there is some other job he can have since the duke promised to find him one if he needed it. He then tells the duke he wants him and they proceed to kiss. Thomas infers that something has been going on between the two of them for quite sometime though the duke says they can't ever be together. Thomas then tries to blackmail the duke saying he has proof of their relationship. The duke then pulls out a stack of letters he wrote to Thomas from over the summer. Thomas goes to get them as the duke throws them in the fire. He says his mother told him to never put anything in writing and because of Thomas he never will again. He tells Thomas to then leave unless he prefer to stay the night. Thomas leaves and looks rejected.
Mr. Carson shows up in Mrs. Hughes room to tell her he is turning in for the night. When she asks if there was any news, he says there was none unfortunately and that the duke is leaving in the morning. Mrs. Hughes tries to blame Mary but Carson says it was nothing she did as far as he could tell from Lord Grantham. Cora and Robert talk before going to bed about the duke and Mary. Robert says it never would have happened though he couldn't be sure until tonight. Cora says she will not stop looking for someone for Mary. They both want to make sure it is the right fit.
In the morning, Carson asks Robert if Bates can ride in the same car as the duke but in front. Robert says yes and the duke can deal with it if he doesn't like it. Bates stands outside looking over Downton as the duke leaves the house. Cora thanks him for staying and the duke says it turned out to be a pleasant trip. Robert thought it would have been otherwise but the duke says on the contrary. Robert wishes Bates good luck and Bates does so likewise. As the car begins the leave Robert yells for it to stop. He tells Bates to get out and go back inside and forgot what was said. He tells Carson it wasn't right.
We cut to a house in a city where a young man and older woman are sitting eating. A maid brings mail to the woman. She hands a letter and when he opens it he states "It's from Lord Grantham." The woman, his mother, replies "What for?" The young man says "He wants to change our lives."
|Name||Downton Abbey: Episode 1|
|Air Date||Sept. 26, 2010|