With most of the male staff serving at the front, Carson, finds himself under pressure to ensure the duties are carried out to his exacting standard, which causes him undue strain. Much to his horror he finds himself forced to accept help in the dining room from the female staff. With Bates gone, Robert has hired a new valet, Lang (Cal Macaninch), who has just returned from the war. Something is not quite right with him and uncharacteristically it is O'Brien who shows a more compassionate side of her nature when she is the only one to recognise the problem. However, O'Brien's true nature is never far from the surface and she is determined to get her old ally Thomas a job back at Downton by whatever means she can, even if it means manipulating her Ladyship. William is delighted when he receives an important letter and Mrs Patmore learns some devastating news about her nephew that rocks her to the core.