The Halcyon is in full swing when an air raid siren starts. Emma's getting used to her new role and must shepherd everyone down to the shelter. Garland keeps a watchful eye on his daughter. When Emma goes upstairs to check all of the rooms are empty, she comes across Max, and is confused as to why he's in the guest quarters.
The next day, reception is full: rich refugees, arriving over from France. One guest in particular invites Lady Hamilton's attention – the Comte de St Claire, accompanied by his aide, Lucian D'Aberville. Lady Hamilton stresses to Garland that everything must run smoothly for this allegedly demanding guest. Garland prepares himself. Emma confides in Betsey that she hasn't heard from Freddie since he left for base – Betsey's supportive but wary. Freddie, meanwhile, has received a visit from Joe O'Hara, keen to gauge the atmosphere, and attitudes of the RAF as they head into war. After initial awkwardness, O'Hara manages to warm the squadron up, as they talk about their gung-ho attitudes to fighting in the skies. .Joe and Freddie chat at base: Freddie senses that Joe came to base with preconceptions: he wants to see "poor young pilots, fearful of the coming conflict". But Freddie asserts that there's no space for fear in the cockpit.
Toby announces to his mother that he's going to work at the war office. As he departs, the moment feels slightly poignant: she feels the ‘empty nest' syndrome for the first time. It swiftly passes, however, as Lucian D'Aberville comes and introduces himself. They've met before, but she has no recollection of it. Any tensions soon melt away, however: Lucian is boyish, charming and hilarious.
Peggy is at high tension: Billy's expressed his desire to sign up in the coming days, as soon as he turns 18. She explains to Garland that she's worried about Billy's enthusiasm. How on earth can she protect him when his mind looks like it's made up to join his father's regiment, infamously used as canon fodder. The Comte is not making friends everywhere. Parry is in a rage: the Comte has sent back every dish he's had delivered up to his room. He sends Max in his stead, hoping that a face from the kitchen might placate The Comte. Instead, he antagonizes Max, whose accent he recognizes as Austrian. Max must stand and take the abuse, but is clearly rattled.
Emma is summoned up to the Comte's room – he is incandescent, everything in upheaval. His gun is missing – and he maintains that only one of the staff could have stolen it. Garland summons the staff about the Comte's gun. Spurred on by Parry, suspicion is flung immediately onto Max. Emma must make a decision: in her new position, should she go out on a limb for this relative stranger?
When Billy's birthday cake is brought out, Kate can't help notice that something's off. She chases him up and he confides a secret to her that she promises to help with. It's a riskier venture than she first understands…
As Emma continues to worry over Max, Garland announces to guests awful news: France has fallen. The implications for Max's family, Emma realizes, are even worse than before. Joe, aware of what this spells for Max, entreats Emma to be active: they go to visit Max. They find a desperate man: he implores Emma to use her influence and help him. Emma's suspicions about his actions are confirmed: what will she do? Garland is under a similar quandary: just how far will the Halcyon go to protect its staff?
Written by Thomas on Jan 6, 2017