'Miss Scarlet and the Duke' Recap: Season 2 Episode 1

Daniel Hautzinger
Eliza Scarlet and William Wellington in season 2 of Miss Scarlet and the Duke
When Eliza reopens one of William's cases, it strains their burgeoning relationship. Photo: Courtesy Element 8 Entertainment and MASTERPIECE

Miss Scarlet and the Duke airs Sundays at 7:00 pm and is available to stream. Recap the previous season and following episode.
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Smelling of manure in her stained dress, Eliza appears in a gentlemen’s club. She has come to inform a patron that she has closed his case: his pigeons have been found. When he refuses to pay her immediately and chastises her for her “bold” comments in turn, she releases the pigeons in the club.

The stunt lands her a night in Scotland Yard. William bails her out, as usual. He and she have begun having weekly dinners together, but Eliza’s next case might make things complicated. As she’s leaving the police station, a woman loudly berates William for not finding her sister and closing her case nevertheless.

When Eliza arrives at her office, she finds Moses sleeping there. He has acquired Eliza’s fee from the pigeon man, and he also has a case for her: it’s from the woman who upbraided William.

Alice Lee is still enraged at the detective inspector for not finding her sister Georgina. Their parents are dead, so Alice watches over Georgina, but Georgina’s letters back home to Yorkshire stopped three months ago. Georgina had found work in London at the posh department store Wentworth’s, but when Alice asked there about her sister they said she had left; they assumed she had found another job.

Eliza is conflicted over whether to take the case. Her longtime servant and friend Ivy tells her not to, especially if she wants to continue whatever it is she has with William. Eliza agrees—but first she’ll just gather some basic information about the case.

She visits Wentworth’s, where the manager Salisbury tries to throw her out. The pregnant Mrs. Wentworth intervenes and brings Eliza to speak to her husband. They tell her that the police never came to speak to them about Georgina’s disappearance.

A shopgirl, Jane Yates, tells Eliza she has more information—but she can’t share it at the store. At a saloon, she tells Eliza that Georgina ran away from London, just like she did from Yorkshire, to escape the suffocating Alice. Why would she flee London when Alice lives in Yorkshire? Alice apparently told Georgina she was moving to the city. Georgina didn’t tell anyone where she was going this time.

Then there’s a new twist: Alice receives a telegram ostensibly from Georgina saying that she is well and addressing Alice as mother. Alice reveals to Eliza that she is actually Georgina’s mother: she had her out of wedlock and they pretended to be sisters to spare Alice the shame. But Georgina never calls Alice “mother.” Someone else must have sent the telegram—and they know Georgina’s secret.

Eliza goes to visit Jane Yates at her apartment to ask more questions, but when she knocks on the door a gunshot narrowly misses her. Someone flees, and Eliza finds Jane dead on the ground.

William meets with the new superintendent to apologize for his interaction with Alice, but the boss doesn’t care. Like William, he’s a working-class lad from Glasgow, so he and William get along well. He asks William to show the ropes to a few men he’s brought with him to his new posting.

One of them, Oliver Fitzroy, immediately annoys William by talking too much and interrupting him while he lays out the plan for a raid on a gang. During the raid, Fitzroy searches part of the house but misses a hiding man, who ambushes William. As William struggles with his assailant, he yells at Fitzroy to use his gun. The attacker assumes, correctly, that Fitzroy won’t shoot, and continues pummeling William, who finally manages to subdue him with his fists.

Back at the station, William finally questions Alice, given the murder of Jane Yates. (Eliza has also told him that she reopened his case, to his displeasure.) Gunshots ring out, and William rushes to see a prisoner shooting off a revolver. When he runs out of bullets, William grabs the gun and asks who it belongs to. Surprise, surprise: it’s Fitzroy’s. The prisoner grabbed it from his holster while Fitzroy was showing him into the cell. William dismisses the poetry-loving Fitzroy from the police force—he’s not fit for the job.

But the superintendent later calls William in and strongly encourages him to take Fitzroy back: he’s the son of the police commissioner, hence his high rank despite his lack of qualifications. This is just how things work. William reluctantly accepts Fitzroy’s return to his team.

William is also sulky that Eliza reopened a case of his. She eventually apologizes, but clearly there remains more to learn in the case. Moses does some investigating and discovers that Jane was making much more money than a shopgirl would have—and was making regular payments to the Wentworth’s manager, Salisbury.

Eliza sends a prostitute to Wentworth’s with a message (and a dash of embarrassment) for Salisbury. He meets Eliza at a bar and explains that he arranges paid “liaisons” between the shopgirls and wealthy customers. Jane was one of the most popular. Georgina had only one client, who refused to share her: Wentworth himself.

Using Salisbury’s knowledge of Wentworth’s schedule, Eliza searches Wentworth’s office while he is away flirting with waitresses and discovers a packet with Georgina’s clothes—her name is sewn into them. She also learns, with William’s help, that the telegram sent to Alice came from a county where the Wentworths have a country estate. The Wentworths have just retired there, as Mrs. Wentworth has gone into labor.

Eliza and William arrive at the estate to hear a crying baby. They barge past a maid to find not Mrs. Wentworth but Georgina in bed, recovering from giving birth. Mrs. Wentworth couldn’t have children, so when she learned that her husband had gotten Georgina pregnant and of Georgina’s own family history of being the daughter of an unmarried mother, she decided to raise the child as her own and pretend that she was pregnant.

Georgina had some complications during the pregnancy, so she wrote to Jane explaining the situation and asking her to tell Alice if she died. Jane then blackmailed the Wentworths, but her demands became too much. Mrs. Wentworth visited her with a revolver, just intending to scare her, but Jane insulted her and called her an “unnatural woman” for being unable to bear children. Mrs. Wentworth accidentally shot Jane in her distress and anger. The Wentworths are arrested.

Eliza has a new, slightly unwelcome companion: Rupert’s cousin Harriet (or Hattie), who has come to live with Rupert’s mother as her companion now that Rupert lives in Berlin with his new German wife. Like Eliza, Hattie has lost her father. She is eager to befriend Eliza, and envies Eliza’s freedom: Eliza knows who she is and what she wants, and even when people disapprove, she doesn’t care.

It’s true, and the sentiment leads Eliza to tell William before their dinner that she needs to make her own decisions, including regarding cases, even if the two of them become more serious. But William has his own concerns. If they are more than friends, his position at Scotland Yard will become untenable. He has cancelled their dinner reservation. They part regretfully, sadly, uncertainly.