Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 2 recap: The Woman in Red

MASTERPIECE“Miss Scarlet & The Duke”Episode TwoSunday, January 24, 2021; 8 - 9pm ET on PBSA man is caught with a bloodied knife at a murder scene. Eliza is hired toprove his innocence, even though he has confessed. Also, she is about to beevicted.Shown: Kate Phillips as Eliza ScarletFor editorial use only.Courtesy of MASTERPIECE
MASTERPIECE“Miss Scarlet & The Duke”Episode TwoSunday, January 24, 2021; 8 - 9pm ET on PBSA man is caught with a bloodied knife at a murder scene. Eliza is hired toprove his innocence, even though he has confessed. Also, she is about to beevicted.Shown: Kate Phillips as Eliza ScarletFor editorial use only.Courtesy of MASTERPIECE /

Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 2, “The Woman in Red,” opens with Eliza rifling through a man’s desk drawers, only to be caught red-handed by his creepy wide-eyed daughter. Eliza has been duped and scammed by one of her latest clients and in an effort to get the money she’s owed, she has broken in to do some snooping.

Unfortunately for Eliza, her ex-client’s redheaded offspring isn’t willing to let Eliza slip out unnoticed and demands Eliza hand over any shillings she’s found or she’ll scream and get Eliza imprisoned. Ultimately, the lady detective leaves empty-handed, and thus her many problems throughout Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 2 begin.

Eliza’s problems only get worse when she returns to town. She visits Rupert and meets his patronizing friend Dr. Moorehouse (Kieran Hodgson) who says things like, “what happens when you catch the villains, do you whack them with your purse?” Eliza has promised to keep Rupert in the loop on her financials since he is acting as an investor in her business.

But he’s not stressed about her repayment plan. If anything he’s keen to express his gratitude to Eliza for helping him stand up to his mother. The downside is that Rupert told his dear old mum that Eliza was the one who got in his head. Mrs. Parker is not pleased with Eliza and she’s waiting for her on her doorstep when she gets home.

The lease is up on the Scarlet estate and if Eliza doesn’t fork over enough cash to pay it forward by the end of the week, she’ll be evicted. Mrs. Parker had been sitting on the info for a while and neglected to tell Scarlet because she’d assumed that Eliza would accept Rupert’s proposal and move in with her. Obviously, that didn’t happen and now Rupert wants to move away from his mom, thoroughly pissing Mrs. Parker off. Poor Eliza is on the receiving end of her frustrations.

Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 2 recap: Is Edward Butler innocent?

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The pressure of paying the lease is just one of Eliza’s growing list of money problems. One of her maids, Kitty, has already quit. So Eliza heads to her next best source of casework, William’s office in Scotland Yard. He’s up to his neck in cases because they’re short-staffed and although he isn’t willing to let Eliza try her hand at any of them, he does get pulled out of the room long enough for Eliza to do some snooping.

She intercepts an urgent police telegram and visits the Butler estate across town where she finds a crying maid and a grisly murder scene. Sebastian Ridley is dead and the other man, Edward Butler (David Crowley), is unconscious, bloody and holding a knife. It seems like an open-and-shut case. When William does get the message and arrive to arrest Edward, he’s furious with Eliza for interfering and puts her in front of a judge for obstruction of justice.

Her options are either to pay a fine of 40 shillings or spend a month in prison. Eliza can’t afford the fine so it looks like she’ll be spending time behind bars until Tabitha Butler (Deirdre Mullins) swoops in and offers to pay it for her. After, Tabitha hires Eliza to find out what happened between Sebastian and Edward because she is adamant that her husband is innocent despite how the situation looks.

light. More. Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 1 recap: Inheritance

Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 2 recap: Sebastian’s many secrets.

Tabitha tells Eliza that she didn’t much like Sebastian because he rude and obnoxious, but he owned a saloon, which is where Eliza starts her investigation. Not long after sneaking in, she gets into yet another kerfuffle with Moses. He’s there looking for his father’s old snuffbox. Moses previously gave it to Sebastian for safekeeping but since he’s dead now, Moses has come searching for it to ensure no one else has stolen it.

After some back-and-forth, Eliza realizes that Moses had snuck into the saloon earlier to break into Sebastian’s safe and found Tabitha already there. She has the snuffbox. Eliza isn’t keen on the idea of investigating her own client, unless Moses pays her for it, of course. But he says his “fee” is letting her stay alive. Fair enough.

The problem is, Eliza is no longer working for Tabitha. When she returns to the Butler estate, Tabitha gives her a minuscule final payment as severance. She says that she’s changed her mind, she doesn’t care if her husband rots in jail and wants Eliza escorted out. Baffled by Tabitha’s change of heart, Eliza asks her maid to bring her a glass of water.

Tabitha agrees but demands her maid force, Eliza, to leave after as she exits the house to attend to business. Left alone, Tabitha’s maid sees straight through Eliza’s scheme and forces her to fork over some money if she wants to snoop through the house. Yet again, Eliza is forced to give up some of her limited wages to further her investigation.

While searching through the room where Sebastian was murdered, Eliza finds Moses’s box and a love letter addressed to Sebastian, seemingly from Tabitha. Eliza assumes that Tabitha and Sebastian were having an affair, which would give Edward a motive for murder. But it doesn’t explain why Tabitha suddenly changed her mind.

The next stop for Eliza is back to William because she needs access to the morgue. Neither William or the coroner is pleased to have Eliza around but she steamrolls by both of them to investigate Sebastian’s body. She finds all sorts of inconsistencies in the slash marks left on his corpse, like the direction of the cut that killed him. Edward is a leftie, the direction doesn’t add up. She also notices a dark blue rose tattoo on his forearm.

William signs some forms to get the corpse and his suspect dealt with, ignoring everything Eliza says. After he leaves, Eliza tries to bribe the coroner so she can get a few more minutes with the body. He doesn’t take kindly to that and turns her into the courts. Eliza lands in front of the same magistrate as before and an even bigger fine. But William decides to bail her out.

Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 2
Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 2 — Shown: Stuart Martin as William Wellington (“The Duke”) For editorial use only. Courtesy of MASTERPIECE /

Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 2 recap: What does the blue rose mean? Who really killed Sebastian?

Recalling her brief meeting with Dr. Moorehouse, Eliza remembers that he wore a blue rose in his lapel. She turns to Rupert for assistance in deciphering its meaning and he informs her that the blue rose is the symbol for a group known as the Midnight Rose, for gay men. It’s a big secret since Rupert could go to jail for being gay at the time. Eliza promises to keep his secret and realizes that it wasn’t Sebastian and Tabitha having an affair but Sebastian and Edward — or “Teddy.”

Rupert also tells Eliza that a Jamaican man who worked as a doorman at Sebastian’s saloon might know more and we know that means Moses. Eliza backtracks to the saloon and finds two crooks robbing the place and they’ve managed to knock Moses out. The two men manage to grab Eliza and the snuffbox falls out of her pocket. One of them opens it, takes a sniff, and immediately goes unconscious — which spooks the other man.

Luckily, Eliza remembers seeing Moses pull a gun out from under the desk and removes it to threaten the guy accosting her. She manages to get him to run away just as Moses starts to come to. Eliza questions him about the snuffbox, which she realizes is full of opium. Now she and Moses are even, since she sort of saved his life. He tells her where the opium came from — our Dr. Moorehouse.

We find out that Sebastian was terminally ill and prescribed opium to manage his pain during his final moments. Sebastian was not murdered, after all. He slashed his own neck, which accounts for the weird direction of the blade mark. Between the first and second meeting Eliza had with Tabitha, Dr. Moorehouse had gone to the house to try and find the opium so no cops would find it and he saw Tabitha there, sobbing over a letter.

She found a suicide note and learned about the affair between her husband and Sebastian, hence her cruel change of heart. Because he made a fool of her, she intends to let him hang at the gallows for a crime he did not commit.

William and Eliza barely make it to the public execution site in time. Eliza convinces Tabitha to give her the suicide note in the nick of time, freeing Edward from a violent death. That said, Edward still isn’t the best of circumstances since his wife now utterly loathes him and his reputation is shot, but it’s better than being dead, right? Even William is impressed with Eliza’s work and gives her a rare compliment.

Toward the end of Miss Scarlet and The Duke Episode 2, we learn how Eliza plans to manage her financial woes. It turns out she and Moses have a lot of reasons to work together and he’s now acting as her “debt collector,” of sorts. People are a lot more willing to pay up when Moses comes a-knocking than they were for Eliza. She manages to pay the lease to Mrs. Parker and give Ivy weeks of backpay, plus a little extra.

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New episodes of Miss Scarlet and The Duke air Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET on Masterpiece PBS.