In Parliament, the two parties cannot come to an agreement of how to handle the current pushback regarding the Corn Laws. Sir Robert Peel is placed in a difficult position, one that, if enacted, would be poised to ruin his political career. The Tory party (which is the side Peel belongs to) believes that the Corn Laws should stay intact, which allowed minimal imported grain in the country and, in turn, allowed British farmers and landowners to control prices on their grain products. But as the high prices and lack of availability had contributed to starvation across Britain as well as the Irish Potato Famine, much of the country wanted to repeal the Corn Laws, including the Whig party. Peel had witnessed the effects of the famine and desired a change, so in a drastic move he ends up voting against his own party, siding with the Whigs instead, that the Corn Laws must be repealed for the better of the country as a whole, not just the landowners and farmers. This doesn’t bode well, for both personal and professional reasons.
Meanwhile, Lord Alfred Paget and Edward Drummond can’t forget their stolen kiss, as it seems what happens in Scotland doesn’t stay in Scotland. They dine together, Drummond telling Lord Alfred of his upcoming marriage as well as his desire to get out of it. He cares for Alfred, an affection he wants to pursue. But Alfred is hesitant: it’s still a time where a man, no matter his social class, could not be seen in a relationship with another man. It wasn’t only frowned upon by all members of society, it was also illegal. He begs Drummond to reconsider his choice, but soon after decides to accept Drummond’s suggestion to explore their affections for one another, inviting him to try the oysters at a swanky London hotel. The innuendo isn’t lost here, as oysters were at the time seen as an aphrodisiac. This isn’t an innocent request.
At this point, both Peel’s and Alfred’s unconventional decisions come to a head due to one person: Drummond. In an attempt to shield the Prime Minister from an assassination attempt post-decision regarding the Corn Laws, Drummond is shot and killed. Sir Robert Peel must now contend with Drummond’s blood on his hands in order to save his life as well as his conflicts with his own party. After delivering the news of Drummond’s death to Victoria and Albert, he insists that his time has come to resign as Prime Minister, something both queen and prince consort have a difficult time accepting. But Alfred’s reaction is even more tragic, as not only is he shown waiting for Drummond at the hotel for dinner, but the news of his death is delivered in the presence of the Duchess of Buccleuch, Wilhelmina Coke, and others, leaving him unable to show the true measure of his grief: he’s lost a lover, not just a friend. But Diana Rigg is shown to be exemplary yet again, as the Duchess comforts Alfred in private. His affections for Drummond is not lost on her, but she doesn’t condemn him for it.