In 1882, Marian arrives at the home of her "old money" aunts Agnes and Ada, whose new neighbors vie to break into New York high society.
Tom Raikes' visit to New York delights Marian but worries aunt Agnes. An increasingly desperate Peggy seeks legal advice from Mr. Raikes, George takes steps to further his latest business plans, Oscar van Rhijn homes in on young Gladys Russell, and a charity bazaar becomes the source of a dramatic stand after Bertha is slighted.
An unfortunate development finds George's new rail station under threat. Despite Agnes' warnings, Marian continues to see Mr. Raikes, who lays his ambitions bare. Peggy learns that a publisher is interested in her stories. At a talk given by Clara Barton, Ada reunites with a childhood friend. Oscar grows attached to his plan, while Jack invites Bridget to a show.
In the aftermath of a tragedy, George makes a deal to help Bertha. Peggy gets an assignment from publisher T. Thomas Fortune, but a dinner with her parents ends on a sour note. Marian learns more about the mysterious Mrs. Chamberlain. Bannister's visit to the Russell house has a lasting impact on the staff. Bridget shares her dark secret with Mrs. Bauer.
George and Bertha extend an invite to a young man who's piqued Gladys' interest. After charming Mr. McAllister, Bertha accompanies Marian and Aurora to hear Clara Barton speak in Dansville. There, Peggy works on her article and shares the story of her first love with Marian, whose interest in Mr. Raikes continues to grow. Oscar crosses paths with a vengeful Turner.
Bertha goes all out at a luncheon to impress Mr. McAllister, enlisting the help of Bannister - who rubs Church the wrong way. George fights to protect his public image, while Agnes' status quo is disrupted. As Marian debates her feelings, Mrs. Chamberlain makes her an offer. Gladys bonds with a new friend. Armstrong intensifies her campaign against Peggy.
As the city buzzes over Edison's electricity demonstration, Bertha plans a picnic that involves Mr. Raikes - but not Marian. Agnes entreats her niece to protect the family's reputation. George prepares for a legal battle as he bristles over Larry's career ambitions. Bannister plots his revenge. Turner gets an unwelcome surprise.
During her first visit to Newport, Bertha follows Mr. McCallister's lead but is soon reminded of her place. Oscar's pursuit of Gladys is threatened by a familiar presence. George gets his day in court. Worried about Armstrong's interference, Peggy reveals her past. Marian makes a decision about her romantic future. Bridget follows Jack across the city.
Marian's grand plan is threatened. Bertha and Mrs. Astor lock horns over Gladys' debut. Peggy is stunned by a major reveal.