With the hospital overflowing, Downton has hesitantly opened its doors to those convalescing. Isobel tries to assert herself fully into the situation but Cora is there at every turn to reign her back in. Robert is desperate to hold on to some part of his home and is granted a portion of the library and is allowed to still use his dining room but he had to fight for them. Matthew's commanding officer, General Sir Herbert Strutt, is arriving to see how things are going. Carson is stressed that he's without a footman to help serve the dinner. Branson, trying to make a stand against the war, offers his service to Carson but we know Branson really has plans for the General.
Anna thinks she spots Bates in the village but then figures she must have been mistaken. When Mary hears this she offers her help in finding out where Bates is and what he's up to. Her sort-of boyfriend, Sir Richard (aka Lord Newsie), is in the newspaper business after all and has access to lots of information. Mary soon finds out that Bates is working at a pub in a nearby village so it likely was him that Anna saw that day.
Speaking of Mary, she continues to be slightly jealous of Matthew and Lavinia's engagement. Lavinia confronts her about information Mary has come across. It turns out Lavinia gave Mary's boyfriend, Lord Newsie, some information about government spending (the Marconi scandal) and it's assumed that Lavinia would have only given him the info because she was having an affair with him. It turns out that in exchange for the dirt, Lord Newsie payed off her father's debt. Oh and she had access to said dirt because her uncle was one of the shady government dudes in question.
Downstairs there's even more going on. O'Brien is working hard at getting Thomas back in the house but this time her intentions are to protect Lady Cora from Isobel and thinks Thomas can help. He's fine with it as long as he gets to be part of some scheme, any scheme.
Lang, the valet, is having some serious PTSD and keeps breaking down. At first it's a small moment of zoning out while putting on Robert's cufflinks but then he escalates to night terrors and a public breakdown. Carson is about to let him go but Lang has already packed his belongings to leave. Poor guy. Interestingly, O'Brien really proved to be a help to him and was able to calm Lang down on a couple of occasions.
Am I forgetting anything? Uh...Anna and Bates! Anna goes to the pub and they talk. He tells her his wife, Vera, is still crazy and still blackmailing him with dirt but he won't tell Anna what it's regarding. He has found out that Vera cheated on him so he should be able to get a divorce from her. Anna needs to sit tight until it's all straightened out though because he's still not free to marry her. Anna can't quite keep her hands off of him though and offers to be his mistress. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge! Say. No. More!