'Miss Scarlet and the Duke' Recap: Episode 2

Daniel Hautzinger
Eliza in 'Miss Scarlet and the Duke.' Photo: Masterpiece
Eliza finds herself frequenting the saloon of a dead man when she's asked to find his murderer. Photo: Masterpiece

Miss Scarlet and the Duke airs Sundays at 7:00 pm and is available to stream. Recap the previous and following episodes.

Eliza sneaks into a house, picks the lock on a drawer, and grabs some coins. A girl appears—she saw Eliza watching the house. Eliza was hoping to collect a debt from the girl’s father—he stiffed her after she solved a case for him—but the girl asks for the money, or she’ll scream. Eliza hands it over. The girl screams anyway.

Too bad—Eliza needs the money. She visits Rupert at his new dwelling in order to tell him that she will be late on her first loan payment. He doesn’t mind; he and Eliza continue chatting with his doctor friend who is visiting.

Rupert’s mother is furious that Eliza encouraged Rupert to move out, which is bad news for Eliza, given that Mrs. Parker is her landlord and the lease renewal is coming up. If Eliza can’t pay in a week, she’ll be evicted. But Eliza can’t even pay her servants: Kitty has left, although Ivy is still around.

Eliza has had trouble getting cases, so she offers her assistance to the understaffed and overwhelmed William—for a fee, of course. He refuses—of course—but she reads an urgent message he receives while he is occupied, and rushes off.

She arrives at the scene of a crime: two men lying on the floor, one with a slit throat. A woman walks in and screams. The other man wakes up, holding a knife. William rushes in, grabs the man, and arrests him.

William angrily sends Eliza to court for interrupting police business. She can’t pay the fine, but a woman appears and offers to pay it—she is Tabitha Butler, the woman who screamed and the wife of Edward, the man who has been arrested. Edward is innocent, she tells Eliza. I want you to find the real murderer.

The murdered man, Sebastian Ridley, owned a saloon. Edward was his accountant. When Eliza visits the saloon she runs into Moses, of all people. He lost his job after she handcuffed him at the burlesque club. Eliza draws a knife for protection; he reaches under a desk for a gun.

But he doesn’t want to kill her. He hires her to find his father’s snuffbox, which he kept in Ridley’s safe. He doesn’t have a key, but he saw Tabitha come in, open the safe, and take all its contents. His fee? He’ll let Eliza live.

Eliza visits Tabitha, who immediately severs her contract and damns her husband. Eliza feigns faintness as Tabitha leaves for church, and the maid lets Eliza snoop—for a small fee. Eliza finds a bag with the items from the safe, including Moses’s snuffbox and a love note from “TB” to Ridley.

Edward has suddenly pled guilty, so it seems Eliza has nothing more to do. But she visits the morgue, pretending to be William’s wife, and examines Ridley’s body, to the mortician’s horror. The direction of the wound is wrong to have been Edward, who was left-handed, and there’s no cotton in it, meaning the collar must have been pulled down for the slice. Ridley also has a tattoo of a blue rose.

William Wellington in 'Miss Scarlet and the Duke.' Photo: MasterpieceWilliam is frustrated by Eliza's continual interference in his work, but he begrudgingly admits her competence. Photo: Masterpiece

Eliza is once again sent to court after she tries to bribe the mortician for more time with the body. This time William saves her.

Eliza visits Rupert: his friend wore a blue rose, and Rupert has a bouquet of them. What’s the significance? Rupert fearfully admits it’s a signal of homosexuality. Rupert knew Ridley: he hosted a special night every week for gay men at his saloon. Ridley and “Teddy” Butler, as Ridley called Edward, were lovers. Rupert suggests talking to the saloon’s doorman for more information: Moses.

Returning to the saloon, Eliza finds Moses unconscious on the floor, glass shattered around his head. Two men emerge from robbing the place and attack her. The snuffbox falls out of Eliza’s pocket and one man sniffs it—and falls unconscious. Pinned by the other man to a desk, Eliza reaches underneath to grab the gun Moses used against her. Her attacker flees, taking his accomplice with him.

When Moses rouses, she asks why he has an illegal amount of opium in the snuffbox. Turns out it’s not his, but Ridley’s. He was planning to sell it. Owing Eliza his life, he tells her who the supplier of the opium is: Rupert’s doctor friend.

The doctor admits he gave Ridley the opium. Ridley was dying of a tumor, and the doctor went over the legal opium limit to alleviate his pain. Tabitha also knew about Ridley’s illness, and the doctor visited her the evening Ridley died, worried that she would tell the authorities about the opium. He found her angrily reading a letter addressed to Teddy and cursing his name.

Eliza goes to William and reveals everything: Ridley killed himself and wrote a suicide note to Edward. After his death, Tabitha found the note and realized they were lovers, hence her sudden change of heart. She’s keeping the letter that could exonerate Edward.

Eliza sends William off on a false lead and goes to Edward’s execution, where she finds Tabitha watching. She convinces Tabitha to hand over the letter, and stops the execution.

Edward explains that Ridley wanted the two of them to run away for the last part of his life, but Edward refused. So Ridley killed himself in front of him. Edward pled guilty after realizing that Tabitha would find the suicide note and learn he was gay; he would be (and now is) condemned to life as an outcast.

Eliza finds Rupert waiting at her house, as well as his mother—though she doesn’t know he’s there. He’s afraid Eliza will reveal he is gay to his mother in retaliation for losing her lease, but Eliza assures him his secret is safe. She then surprises Mrs. Parker by paying her lease renewal. Giving Ivy back pay plus a little extra later, she explains that she has taken on a new employee, a sort of debt collector. It’s Moses—and he got her clients to pay up.