As Sybil is laid to rest, Downton Abbey is in deep mourning—Branson most of all. He struggles to decide where to live, what to do, and how to care for his infant daughter. But he is sure of two things: she will be named Sybil, and she will be raised as a Catholic. Both prospects horrify Robert, who thinks it ghoulish to name the baby after her dead mother and is proud that there hasn't been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation.
This is not the only anguish that consumes Robert. Cora is still not speaking to him, since she blames him for not taking Dr. Clarkson’s advice, which might have saved Sybil. Furthermore, Matthew hints that Robert has let the estate fall to pieces and wants to restore it to solvency. But worst of all, Isobel has invited Cora, Mary, Edith, and Violet to a luncheon being prepared and served by Ethel, a former prostitute. Certain that this will plunge the family into scandal, Robert interrupts the gathering and demands that it end. The women ignore him.
Then the only happy news on the horizon dissolves. New evidence that will exonerate Bates in the death of his first wife vanishes when the sole witness recants her testimony, having been coached by a corrupt prison guard who hates Bates. But Bates knows just how to fix things. Using a sharp tool at the throat of the crooked guard’s confederate, plus the threat of blackmail against both, he gets the guard to pressure the woman into telling the truth—namely that Mrs. Bates committed suicide with a poison pie and made it look like Bates’s doing.
Meanwhile, Daisy is invited to her father-in-law’s farm for some special news. Mr. Mason has treated Daisy like a daughter since William’s death, shortly after he married Daisy. The farmer asks Daisy to quit her job and help him run his tenancy, promising that he’ll leave his property and considerable savings to her. “Do you think these great houses like Downton Abbey are gonna go on?” he asks. “Because I don’t!” Daisy doesn’t say yes, but she also doesn’t say no.
Back at Downton, Violet hatches a plot to rescue Cora and Robert’s marriage. She asks the proud Dr. Clarkson to discount the value of his own medical judgment that Sybil could have survived with an immediate cesarean section. If only Cora and Robert can believe that Sybil was doomed no matter what, then they can put this tragedy behind them. Dr. Clarkson is shocked that Violet would ask him to shade the truth. Nonetheless, he dutifully reinterprets the medical literature in a new light and tells the estranged couple that Sybil’s death was all but inevitable. This reunites Cora and Robert in a purer, blameless grief.