Episode 2 is the second episode of the Fourth Series (season in the US) of the series, Downton Abbey.
In this episode, Mary receives a shocking bit of news concerning the estate, Edna Braithwaite and Thomas continue scheming and conniving, while Mary's cousin Rose is up to new mischief when she goes to a Tee Danseant in York; and Moseley comes into some money after having trouble finding work after Matthew's death.
The morning begins when a letter comes in the post from former housemaid, Gwen Harding. Gwen had gotten married (to her husband, John) and wanted her old friends to know what was going on.
Anna Smith Bates decides to buy a card to congratulate her on her new marriage. She kept it quiet as her husband's mother was ill.
Another package arrives downstairs which arrives for Lady Mary Crawley. Upon seeing it, Charles Carson takes the advice of Elsie Hughes and takes it to Robert Crawley, who looks through it. It was revealed that it came from the late Matthew Crawley's office.
A piece of paper that he had hidden in one of his books would set off some real tremors, especially for Robert. It was a letter that he had written to Mary before his death. It was written to let his wishes be known about what would happen with his half of the estate. He wanted Mary to be his sole heiress. This rattles Robert who wants to run the entire estate as he had used to, and to also run his grandson's share of it.
His mother, Violet tries to persuade him to accept it at face value, whether or not it is legal, because it would give Mary half-ownership of the estate. Robert keeps protesting that Mary would not want to become involved, and that only HE is knowledgeable enough to run the estate. Violet tells Robert, "When you talk like that, I am tempted to ring for Nanny and send you to bed without supper!"
Robert pulls Mary aside and breaks the news to her about Matthew's letter. Mary is appalled that her father and grandmother had seen it before she had. Before their dinner, everyone is gathered while he reads the letter which reveals what he was intending. That he wanted Mary, in the event of his death, to become his sole heiress and to own the half of the estate that he owned.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Hughes and Isobel Crawley Grey are busy trying to help Charles Grigg, a former acquaintance of Mr. Carson, to get healthy again. The saddened Grigg tells Mrs. Hughes about the situation that had splintered their act and led him to go to service.
Anna, upon returning with the card that she bought for Gwen, sees Joseph Molesley mending roads. He sadly explains to Anna about the money he owes since he has no job. Ever since Matthew died, he couldn't find any jobs except delivery and road mending.
At dinner, Isobel and Cora are pleased that Matthew had some say in it. Robert is still insistent that the death duties will be astronomical, and that only he can handle the rigors of running the estate and running baby George's share of it. He grills Mary about her wanting to be involved in the estate. Tom, Isobel, Cora and even Violet thinks that Mary should get stuck in.
In fact, Violet brings Tom and Mary together to convince him that, as the agent, to take Mary under his wing and mentor her in the job that he does and help her to get to know the estate and the issues with the farmers.
Meanwhile, Edna ruins one of Cora's evening coats and she is mildly scolded for it. She and Thomas hatch a plot to tell lies about Anna. Robert talks with Bates about it, and then Bates and Anna discuss it, then they see the two conspirators laughing and gloating about what happened. They stop when the marrieds ask what is so funny.
Later on, Robert concedes that the letter, as described by Murray, his lawyer, had testimentary intent. Which meant that as it had been written, it served as a will, until a real will was written up. However, since he hadn't written a real one up before his death, the letter carried enough strength as if he had written a will, and as such, his wishes were upheld, and Mary became half-owner of Downton along with Robert.
Lady Rose, accompanied by Anna, attends a Tee Danseant in York, as the latter would be going there to pick up some perfume for Lady Mary. While there, Rose meets a young servant named Sam Dawley. During the dance, it degenerates into a fight, and thanks to Anna and James, who himself had been in York to help Mrs. Beryl Patmore by getting some fish from the fishmonger, they get Rose out of there before she is arrested and scandalized.
Lady Edith and Michael Gregson, her boss and paramour, are clearly becoming closer, and it is clear that they are in love.
Tom and Mary take their premiere drive around the estate and he begins to teach her all about the estate and the land. Under his tutelage, Mary is a quick learner and she begins to understand what she is in for. She and Tom discuss Death Duties and he is clearly interested in her opinion.
After the disastrous dance in York, Sam comes to Downton and visits Rose. With Anna's help, she dresses in a maid's uniform and tells Sam that she is in love with someone else. He leaves, and wishes her well. James comes out and Rose tells him, "Say nothing about this and I will be your friend for life."
Molesley is astonished to find out that John Bates has thirty pounds that he was paying him back for, for helping him in his hour of need. (Actually, Bates went to see Violet at the Dower House, and she gave him the thirty pounds.)
James takes Ivy Stuart to the theater, after finding out that the family would be out of the house that night.
The episode ends when Carson goes to the train and sees his old friend off. They part as friends and with each other's best wishes. Isobel is pleased, and Mrs Hughes is astonished. He and Mrs. Hughes walk back to the Abbey.