But Cora later proves how kind she is, by telling Mrs. Hughes that if she's sick, she'll always have a place in Downton. They'll take care of her here, and Mrs. Hughes is very touched. She never revered the family as much as Carson, but she suddenly feels like part of the family.
Side note: I wonder how frequently this happened between British families and their staff members. My quess: never.
Eventually, we learn that Mrs. Hughes is cancer free. Patmore tells Carson ("I put him out of his misery," she tells Mrs. Hughes).
Best scene of the episode: Mrs. Hughes spotting Carson in a jolly mood, singing and smiling as he polished the silver.
Maybe Mrs. Hughes and Carson are the ones who should have gotten married.
THOMAS AND O'BRIEN: IT'S ON!
Let the war begin, because Thomas and O'Brien are now beyond frenemies — they're just straight-up enemies at this point.
Still smarting from the Great Shirt Stealing Escapade from last episode, Thomas gets back at O'Brien by spreading false news to Moseley that O'Brien plans to leave Downton.
He tells Cora that he has a new lady's maid in mind, and now Cora is "deeply let down" by O'Brien. He also tells the whole staff that O'Brien is leaving, but O'Brien denies it. "I'll deal with you later," she tells Moseley with a death stare.
Later, O'Brien figures out that Thomas is behind the rumor. They run into each other and exchange glares in the fall and O'Brien tells him that "It will all be wrong with you before not too long."
Thomas looks scared. I know I am.
Meanwhile, in Anna and Bates land, Anna goes to talk to Vera's friend, Mrs. Bartlett, to see if she can get any clues about the former Mrs. Bates' state of mind before her death.
Mrs. Bartlett, who is found hanging laundry is what looks to be a London alley that Jack the Ripper once operated in, is not helpful, really. Bartlett goes on and on about how perfect Vera was and how scared she was of Bates. Interestingly, she also mentions that after she made that pastry she scrubbed her hands so much like she was tearing of skin (I'm sure this detail will come back).
Bartlett even says that on the day before he death that gas lamp light glowed around her like it formed a halo, prompting an eye roll from Anna and everyone watching.
Back at Scary Looking Should be Condemned British Prison, Bates is enjoying some recreation (aka: walking around in a circle with his fellow inmates), when he gets word that his cell mate is planting something in his bed to get him in trouble.
He finds the stuff (drugs I'm assuming) just before the guards swarm the room. He hides it, so they find nothing. And Bates officially now knows to watch his back. British prisons are no joke. It's like "Oz" up in there.
MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM EPISODE 2
Bitchiest Thomas remark: When O'Brien says that she doesn't think she could stand the shame if she was jilted at the altar, Thomas says, "Then it's lucky no one's asked you, isn't it?" Ouch.
Bad hair days: Isobel teaches the prostitutes to sew, but all the want is food. Plus, they sport some of the ugliest wigs I've ever seen. They can't even wash up for a second? It looks like rats live in there. A bit over-the-top.
Spit it out!: Ethel visits Isobel again — and again can't tell her what she wants. Can we just move on from this subplot?
Best stink eye: The Dowager Countess, after this exchange:
Edith: I won't sleep a wink.
Sybil: Tonight. Or tomorrow.
Dowager Countess: Sybil, vulgarity is no substitute for wit.
Sybil: Well, you started it.
Funniest reaction to a lady sitting in a front seat of a car: "Aren't you a wild thing!" — the Dowager Countess to Isobel.