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'Miss Scarlet and the Duke' Recap: Season 4 Episode 3

Daniel Hautzinger
A young Eliza sits and smiles
When Eliza first met William as a teenager, she had just been expelled from school. Credit: Playground Entertainment and Masterpiece

Miss Scarlet and the Duke airs Sundays at 7:00 pm on WTTW and is available to stream. Recap the previous and following episodes.
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Eliza has become a fixture at the hospital. With William comatose from a gunshot wound, she is visiting daily to sit with him. The hours at his bedside inspire some nostalgic reflection on their first meeting, twelve years ago:

A young William has been discharged from a workhouse in Glasgow and has come to London in search of work. But prospective employers won’t even consider him, so he’s reduced to sleeping in doorways. He hasn’t eaten in two days, so he swipes a pie – which then makes him vomit. He settles into another corner to sleep, then wakes at the sound of noise. Two men are struggling; one pushes the other against a wall and strangles him to death.

William reports the death but not that he witnessed it, and Eliza’s father Henry, a police detective, arrives at the scene. He knows the victim: the man was a policeman who became a private detective.  William is impatient and aggressive as Henry questions him, so Henry brings him to the station and puts him in a cell.

Despite William’s claims to the contrary, Henry has guessed that he has been sleeping on the street and that he knows more about the murder than he has admitted. He brings the boy home for a meal, in the hopes that food will get the starving William to open up.

While waiting in the kitchen for Ivy to serve him dinner, William overhears Henry lecturing Eliza upstairs. She has been expelled from training college, for the second time, because she is headstrong and doesn’t want to become a governess or schoolmistress. Plus, the family dog just died, so she had to return home – but that excuse doesn’t work on Henry or Ivy.

Ivy asks to talk to Henry alone on behalf of Eliza, and Henry orders Eliza to go make food for their guest – not that Eliza has learned to cook. While she cuts William a slice of ham, she and he both interrogate each other. They argue, and William flees the house before Henry can talk to him, to Henry’s irritation.

Ivy tells Eliza that Henry is beginning to run out of the money left to him by his late wife, so Eliza needs to do whatever her father asks so that he can make it through the world – including learning to be a lady of society from their landlady, Mrs. Parker.

Parker has already warned Eliza not to stain her reputation as Eliza’s landlady by doing anything so shameful as being kicked out of school, and now sets about introducing Eliza to her friends, advising Eliza not to do anything odd. Mrs. Parker also has her eye on Eliza as a wife for her son Rupert and so arranges for Eliza to attend a party with him.

Meanwhile, Henry finds William through some detective work right after the desperate boy pickpockets someone. Henry tells William that he will help him if William shares what he knows about the murder. Henry has recognized that William is a smart and driven boy. William agrees to the deal and gives his account of the crime.

Henry offers to let William stay at his house for a few nights, and gives him money for new clothes and a bathhouse first. William thus arrives at Eliza’s house fresh and clean while Eliza is being dressed by Ivy for the party. Eliza hears William’s voice and decides to say hello while dressed in her best. She then tells him that Henry has sent a message with a change of plans: they are to dine with friends that evening; William can wear Eliza’s uncle’s dinner clothes. He refuses.

But when Rupert arrives to escort Eliza to the party, William is also dressed, and joins them in the carriage – Rupert isn’t interested in Eliza, or any woman. Once they arrive at the party, he realizes Eliza has lied to him – but he gets distracted when he recognizes the murderer. He tells Eliza, despite Henry’s admonition not to explain his involvement, and Eliza decides to ascertain the murderer’s name before they tell Henry. William refuses, so Eliza sends him to wait for the carriage and then sidles up to the murderer, learning that he is Thomas Harper Jones, the son of the party’s wealthy and influential host. She stands up for herself when he tries to hit on her, and leaves to rejoin William outside.

Eliza and William tell Henry about Thomas, and Henry warns Eliza not to try to follow him into becoming a detective, despite her wishes.

So Eliza reverts to more subterfuge, inviting Mrs. Parker for a walk the next day and then suggesting that they stop by the Harper Jones house to thank the host for the party. While there, she pockets a photograph of Thomas and tries to learn as much as she can about him. She finds out that Lady Harper Jones had to recently dismiss her longtime driver after he argued with Thomas. Eliza asks to use the restroom so that she can have a moment alone with a maid, and slips the woman a coin in exchange for the fired driver’s information.

She then visits the driver, who explains that a drunken Thomas insisted on taking the carriage even though one of the horses was lame. The driver refused, so Thomas drove himself. When he returned, the horse was injured even more, and the carriage was dented, as though it had hit something.

Henry has been doing his own investigation into Thomas, following him into a gentleman’s club. He warns Thomas that pickpockets have been in the area and uses the excuse of the crimes to inquire into Thomas’ whereabouts when the man was murdered. Thomas says he was at another club.

Eliza knows from Henry that valuable information can be found in newspapers – that’s why Henry keeps them for a month. She learns from Ivy that he keeps them at his office, and so visits and goes through them. She leaves a note for him with a story about a man being hit by a carriage.

Henry and William meet with Eliza, who has tracked down the man who was hit. He was crippled, and the carriage didn’t even stop. The police didn’t do much about it, so the man and his wife hired a detective – the man who was killed – to find the carriage driver. The man who was hit identifies the carriage driver as Thomas when Eliza shows him the photograph she stole from the Harper Jones house. The detective figured out Thomas was the driver and was then killed by Thomas when he approached him about the hit-and-run.

Henry is pleased with his daughter’s detective work, but he knows that the world won’t countenance a lady detective and so still refuses to let her follow her desired path, even though he knows she would be good at it. Eliza will go back to training college.

While she is packing, she learns from William that he has found a place to stay, thanks to a month’s rent from Henry. William is considering applying to join the police force. Eliza is upset that he can join while she can’t. Not understanding, William tries to comfort her, and they end up kissing. But Eliza has to leave to catch a train.

Back in the present day, William finally rouses. Eliza is relieved, and delighted.