Downton Abbey: The Ugly Cry Episode

Posted on January 28, 2013

Wrecked.

There we were, making fun of Cora’s crazy eyes and rapidspeak  (“YOUREBEINGSILLY OFCOURSEWEHAVETOTALKTOTOM!” “IWOULDHAVESENTHERANHOURAGO!”) and Robert’s thickheaded aristocratic buffoonery, when the rug, it was pulled right out from under our feet. Downton+Abbey+S3E4+8

Blubbering. Like you wouldn’t believe.

That was the first time we saw this episode. Last night, the fourth time we saw it, our reactions were lessened not a bit, and when Tom begged someone to do somethng and Cora implored her baby to stay with them, stay with them, please stay with them; we lost it, again. For the fourth time. Yes, Downton Abbey is a soap opera and at times, a really bad one, but this was easily one of the finest moments of the show; a devastating emotional scene that skirts right up to the line of being maudlin, filtered through the lens of history and the veil of the aristocracy. After all, it wasn’t a coincidence that the only people in that bedroom having an open and healthy reaction to the horror were the two people who weren’t English and weren’t born into the aristocracy. It was the Irishman and the American who begged and pleaded and wailed to the room while all the English aristocrats (and Dr. Clarkson, the only correct person in the room and one who is also, Downton+Abbey+S3E4+11not coincidentally, not an aristocrat) stood around, wide-eyed, helpless, and of no use to anyone at all. Julian Fellowes gets rightly accused of sometimes elevating the aristocracy and whitewashing what a life in service was really like, but this one scene was the absolute most damning indictment of the upper classes the show has ever depicted. When thick-faced Robert said in impotent confusion, “I don’t understand. She’s 24 years old,” he left off the last part, “and she’s my daughter, a lady of the House of Grantham.” This isn’t supposed to happen to his kind, not when he puts faith in more of his kind to tend his family’s needs. We have never hated Robert so much as we do right now. His prissy over-reaction to the use of words like “urine” and “womb” – while discussing a woman in labor, who’s in danger – made us want to slap him. Made us want to never stop slapping him.

Downton+Abbey+S3E4+12And now, Cora apparently does too. There’ve been minor cracks and bumps in the road of this marriage, but this latest event may just be the one that derails it completely – and we wouldn’t blame Cora one bit for it. It’s a testament to the writing and acting of this episode – as well as the somewhat silly, rarefied world they inhabit – that a line like “Tell your father to sleep in the dressing room tonight” falls like an axe. Burn the whole place down in your rage and grief, Cora. We wouldn’t blame you one bit.

Oh, and Thomas and Anna outside the kitchen? Wrecked again.

The Dowager Countess, flipping her veil as she shuffled off to another tragedy in a long line of them? Wrecked a third time. Downton+Abbey+S3E4+13

There have been plenty of silly moments and maudlin melodrama in Downton Abbey, but the show really nailed it last night. Compare Sybil’s death with Lavinia’s. Granted, we didn’t care as much about the latter, but even so, her death scene was ludicrous and Matthew’s subsequent zombie act was unintentionally hilarious. This time, everyone was quietly and not-so-quietly devastated, upstairs and down. A daughter of the house was lost and she was the one daughter that everyone in the house loved equally. This pain is going to go on for a long time to come.

Downton+Abbey+S3E4+19Randoms:

  • “Mary, do you think we can get along with each other now?” “I doubt it.” Funny, but COLD.
  • Have we mentioned that Sir Philip Tapsell’s an ass?
  • What’s going on with Mary and her lack of baby?
  • A light at the end of the tunnel for the BateZZZZ storyline. Pastry! It all comes down to pastry! Of course it does. Wake us when it’s over.
  • There’s quite the messy tangle of love connections going on below stairs. Daisy likes Alfred, who likes Ivy, who likes James, who likes himself. Also: Thomas is making his move and his move involves winding clocks. Oh, yeah.
  • O’Brien’s an evil bitch. But we knew that.
  • It’s true, y’know. No one ever could mistake Mrs. Byrd for a prostitute.
  • Did we mention we’re wrecked?

 

 

 

[Stills: tomandlorenzo.com]

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

      Lord Grantham is due for a fall. 

      • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

        Her mother and brother would take care of her, but yes — he is being revealed to be an idiot in this season.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

           Oh yes, she’d live comfortably, and she might even remarry – but it would be “she used to be a Countess” for the rest of her life.

          • Tally Ho

            As long as she doesn’t remarry she’s still a countess. Post divorce she’d be known as Cora, Countess of Grantham as opposed to merely “Countess of Grantham.”

            • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

               Yes, but she’d be a countess of no account (couldn’t resist)

            • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

               and I also realize that getting grounds for a divorce would be troublesome. My grandfather & his wife had an amicable divorce in the early 20’s – the lawyer faked a claim of adultery by having him be observed entering a hotel with another woman.

            • Judy_S

               I am sure Robert would be glad to oblige. He’s a gent.

        • MilaXX

          This season? 

          • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

            Fair enough — especially this season.

        • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

          I prefer elitist clueless twit.  

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CYGGYQDGESKN4PWJTA2KN25PLI ruff

        Garage sale ala waiting to exhale

    • newleaf1

      This was so, so sad.  I guess I should have seen it coming at the beginning of the episode, and it gives them an opening to end the Tom storyline, but I hate to see her leave the cast.  Loved upstairs, downstairs and by the audience.  Well, this audience of one.

      • http://twitter.com/MajorBedhead MajorBedhead

         Not really, because Tom can’t go back to Ireland and the baby is the first Grantham grandchild.

        God, last night slayed me dead. I’d seen the episode earlier this year, but still, I cried buckets last night. When Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes just stand there, in their robes. And Thomas. And the Dowager Countess. Ooof. This is going to be added to my list of Things To Watch When I Need A Good Sobfest (along with BTVS episode The Body)

        • Sobaika

          How funny, I thought of The Body last night. Very few shows get death right, these two very different shows managed to.

          • CozyCat

            Oh, I did a Buffy marathon over new years week.  But I purposely skipped that episode.  Just couldn’t take it.  It just cuts too close to home.

        • http://profiles.google.com/dmb610 Doreen Bierman

          Agreed.  I’ve seen the season live from London and I’ve watched every episode 4-5 times each.  I never wanted to watch this episode again.  It’s s raw.  It’s so real.  The tiny hesitation Dame Maggie Smith makes while walking past Carson reduces me to a puddle.  Thomas losing it in the hallway with the kindness Anna shows him after all the scheming he’s done to her husband also has me wrecked.  I’ve been dreading the airing of this episode, and for good reason, but ir

        • MissAnnieRN

          I guess this makes me a heartless bitch, but I knew Sybil was a goner from the first scene “My ankles are swollen and I have a headache.”  Opps, Sorry Sybil – you have pre-eclampsia in the 1920’s.  This isn’t going to end well for you.

          Yes, it was well acted I thought.  Maddeningly so – since this condition is so treatable if caught early enough (which nowadays it is.)  And I concur with the rest of the BK’s on Sir Phillip and his assholery.  

          Maybe it’s because I have had a supremely shitty week at work that I am all cried out or something.  But I couldn’t find it in me to cry for this family last night.

          • http://phdoula.blogspot.com Rebecca

            Oh maaaan. I thought the same thing in that first scene, but then when he took her blood pressure and said she was fine, I thought maybe I was just reading too much into it. Since you’re an RN (birthwise I’m just a doula, albeit also a lactation consultant, who works in a hospital that gets people airlifted from all over the state for high-risk obstetrics so I read a lot of charts) I’m curious to know what you think. Shouldn’t her blood pressure have already been high when she’s complaining of her swollen ankles and headache? Also, at the point that Clarkson wants to transport her for a c-section, is she a goner no matter what? I’ve seen enough people on postpartum mag, and a couple people being brought in for postpartum seizures, to wonder whether delivering the placenta was really going to get her taken care of at that point…especially since she became eclamptic hours postpartum anyway. (And Sir Phillip did have a point that the c-section would have been pretty dangerous, although at that point maybe it was her best option? At least it would have been the best way to protect the baby from the likelihood that she would become eclamptic at some point – possibly before delivery…)

            Also as an LC, I was all “Ooh wet nurse!…shit, ‘percentage method’.” Are we next going to have an episode about the baby being failure to thrive because it’s being fed on orange juice and karo syrup? Those old-school formulas were scary.

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         I’m still drying the tears. Sybil was my…and it seems everyone in the household’s … favorite Crawley daughter. “The sweetest spirit under this roof”.  Many tissues used and teacup overturned as I watched this episode. Still thinking about it this morning.
        Granny just about did me in when she entered in black and held the door frame for support as she barely fought back her emotions. How will the family get past this? Will the Grantham’s marriage survive? Tune in next week…

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

          Even Thomas was bawling! 

          He revealed that he has few people that he cares for and that she was nice to him.

    • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

      The drama — in the best sense — around both Thomas’s budding lust for the clock winder and Sybil’s truly sad death pointed up how dull the BateZZZZZ subplot truly is.

      Isn’t there a tradition among Irish men to tear their shirts off in grief in moments like this?  I was sure there was.  There should be.

      What, too soon?

      • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

         Never too soon…

        • Flora O

           Branson will do ok. We Irish are at our best in mourning.

          • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

             Shirtless mourning? Right? At least the men. ;-)

          • annieanne

            But only if allowed to mourn properly. Somehow, I don’t see a proper Irish wake for Lady Sybill at Downton.

            • fursa_saida

              Oh, but what I would give to see it. I bet the Dowager Countess could do real damage to a bottle of Scotch. (I’m sure Branson would be real upset about Scottish whiskey at his wife’s wake, but it’s amazing how much she doesn’t care.)

              I picture Cora lolling drunkenly on a settee and waving a fluttery Lord Grantham away.

      • siriuslover

        You know, Thomas said he was the son of a clockmaker. A clockmaker is a tradesman, for sure, but would’ve been on the upper end of the trades classes, no? I mean, it’s a very skilled trade. So why did he go into service? Wouldn’t he have had the opportunity for some upward social mobility?  I’m become more interested in Thomas’ story now that he’s not just pure evil and there’s some substance to his person.

        • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

          Maybe he was a younger son.  Or his father found him in the woodshed with another lad.  I’d like to know.

          • Topaz

            The second is my guess. He does seem completely incapable of reading the signs when he’s interested in someone, so there’s a good chance he gave himself away when he was a teenager when he would have been even more emotionally volatile. Poor guy – probably wore his heart on his sleeve when he was younger and got badly burned for it – hence all the anger and bitterness now.

            Now, can we please have a few similar hints about why O’Brien is so vile? Or is being female and having bad hair explanation enough? I would so love to meet her mother – who I bet is EXACTLY like her.

            • annieanne

              My backstory has O’Brien with one or two pretty sisters who managed to snag good husbands. She was left to go into service.
              Or maybe one of the sisters snagged the love of O’Brien’s life?

        • http://twitter.com/AWIDesignCo Ashleigh Weatherill

          Make no mistake, Thomas is still pure evil.

          • siriuslover

            I’m sure he is. But this is the second time we’ve seen him just break down, and it is sad to see anyone heartbroken.

        • Adriana_Paula

          My uneducated guess would be that it was easier to stay a “bachelor” in service than in the trades; since so many servants didn’t marry, it would have passed without comment.

          • siriuslover

            great point.

        • Tally Ho

          There’s a difference between a clockmaker who has his own business making and repairing clocks and a clockmaker who mostly goes to people’s houses and repairs their clocks. I’m guessing Thomas’ father was the latter, so going into service as a footman then valet wouldn’t be a step down. The Granthams aren’t your typical middle class family in a suburban villa or London townhouse but a grand aristocratic family and there would have been a fair amount of  respect attached to being valet to the Earl of Grantham. As being servants go this is a very high position. If Thomas was faced with a choice between being a working class bloke working in a factory or a store in a dreary urban neighborhood or being footman to a titled family in a grand house with regular food and board provided, I can see the attraction of the latter. 

          We tend to forget that up through the early 20th century there wasn’t a stigma attached to being a servant if you came from the lower classes. Things were…different in those days. It provided a venue for an ambitious person to move up through the ranks more easily than in many other venues. Both Mrs. Hughes and Carson commanded a lot of respect and status in the neighborhood by being the housekeeper and butler in a great country house, more so than as a lowly farmer’s wife or manager of a pub, and they both started out at the bottom of the servant hierarchy. 

          • siriuslover

            I appreciate your comments. I’m not saying there was a stigma attached to it, but the independent trades, such as they were left in the early twentieth century, clung tremendously to their independence and their “difference” from the working class. Up until last night, we hear that Thomas was a working class bloke, and all of your comments are fine. But he specifically called his father a clock maker, denoting a very skilled trade, not a clock repairer. That is all I was pointing out. I sense a discrepancy, and it’s a pretty big historical one.

            • not_Bridget

              The character backgrounds for Downton Abbey are quite spotty.  In fact, they seem to be nonexistent until the plot (which is made up as Lord Fellowes goes along) demands a certain trait.  

              Who knew that Branson was an aspiring journalist? During those interminable garage meetings in Series 2, he could have mentioned that the Historical Topic of the Episode was part of an article he was sending to his cousin in Dublin, who had a small paper of the Republican sort.  Branson was supposed to be a Yorkshireman–the actor had worked on the accent. But Fellowes liked his Irish accent & decided to use that–he’d cobble some Irish stuff together, eventually…. 

              Now Edith will be a journalist–having apparently never written. She must have some friends out there–we’ve met almost no friends of any of the upstairs family–but when did we even see her write letters?  

              We thought William was a poor local boy. Apparently his father has a rather decent farm.  

              There are lots of discrepancies in the show.  

            • siriuslover

              Yes there are quite a few discrepancies. Great response!

            • http://howtofaint.tumblr.com/ How to Faint

              Doesn’t it make even less sense for William to have gone into service when his father had a decent farm? You’d think his labor would be more valuable there. I know a lot of country girls would go into service for a few years to help save up for a small dowry, but would country boys have done this to save up a small bit of capital to inherit/marry on?

    • lilyofbp

      Beth dies–every time.

      • Elizabeth Silverstein

        I LOVE this so much. Perhaps because I am named for the original Beth and I always say to my mother “but she DIES!” and she says, “but she’s my favorite.”

        • Topaz

          Could be worse. My sister’s named after Tess of the D’Urbevilles…

      • Elizabetta1022

        Yes, I was *just* thinking the same thing.

      • Imogen_Jericho

        Oh my god, YES! 

        Thank you, this gives me closure.

      • Rachel Council

        …It should’ve been you, Amy. It should’ve been you.

      • Little_Olive

        Oh no!! I watched that friday for the 20th time and sobbed like a baby. I mean I was late for work in order to watch all of it it.  I don’t know why but the rose petals on the dolls break me to pieces and Jo finding their old mock-newspapers just floors me. 

    • Susan Collier

      I was surprised by the nurses in Sybil’s room. They were just standing around too. I wonder what will become of Tom? Will he leave? Will the Granthams allow that baby to leave with him?

      • Stubenville

        It’s his son, but I can see them having Tom arrested just to keep the baby there, that lot of privileged gits.

        • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

          Daughter, I think.

          • Stubenville

            Oops – you’re right. Chalk it up to insufficient caffination.  =)

        • annieanne

          Never happen. The daughter of a jailed Irish rebel would have no future in the Grantham’s world.

        • BookishBren

          I *think* Mary and Cora will do their best to make sure nothing happens to Tom because they know how much Sibyl loved him. 

      • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

        The one point on which I might call a little bit of bullshit on last night’s episode is: where the heck are their doctor bags? Even if Sir Putt-Putt didn’t think eclampsia was really a risk, I sort of think his normal doctor bag might have had magnesium sulfate (or whatever magic soap opera pills/injections would have worked) in it just as a matter of course.  And even if it didn’t — perhaps because eclampsia isn’t that common (though I get the impression from the google that it’s not all that uncommon) — you’d think good Dr. Clarkson would have brought something with him just in case.

        • http://onebluetree.blogspot.com/ Sara L.

          I actually looked it up later, seems the gods of Wiki think that Magnesium Sulfate wasn’t put in use until later, like, the fifties. There really wasn’t all that much to do at the time but get the baby out and hope for the best.

          • jeeplibby02

            In an episode of “Call the Midwife,” set in 1958, one of the patients developed eclampsia, and lingered unconscious for several days with her devoted husband by her bedside.  Apparently, 40 years hence, there was still not much that then-modern medicine could do.  Nevertheless, it was jarring to watch two doctors and a nurse stand at the back of the room and not make a single move toward their seizing, dying patient while her loved ones begged them to help her. Even when it’s hopeless, I would think that a doctor’s first impulse would be to do SOMETHING.  They didn’t even try to resuscitate her!

            • Fay Dearing

              I think that really says something about how medicine has changed over the years. Nowadays Doctors are very active and involved in their patient’s care and will follow them past death to try and drag them back if they can. Back then there really wasn’t much Doctors *could* do about certain medical treatments. Doctors then really did take a big hands off approach. I mean, we’re only just out of the era where patients would TELL the Doctor how to treat them rather than the Doc making that choice. I am never more thankful to be living here and now than when I look back and see how medicine *used* to be.

    • Susan Collier

      Was the baby even named? I might have missed that.

      • Vera L-

        I don’t think she was. 

      • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

         That drama will be reserved for the christening story, no doubt.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

          The Catholic baptism, not the Anglican! Horrors.

        • RoxieRider

          I so desperately want to see Tom go all fightin’ Irish on Lord Grantham about the christening. “She’s my daughter, you parboiled, entitled bastard! Next time you want to choose her religion, you listen to the doctor!”

      • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

        My money’s on “Sybil.”

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         Not yet.

    • momjamin

      All the one-liners I was storing up through the first part of the show. No heart to buzz about them after.

      • Jecca2244

        I know, right? I feel bad my friend and I were making fun of Sybil’s hair the first few minutes in. 

        • Imogen_Jericho

          Yes, but what WAS with her hair? (Sorry, Sybil. I love you.)

          • momjamin

             I can’t help thinking of all those other shows/movies where someone’s giving birth and viewers complain, “Yeah, right, her hair/makeup is perfect!”  But still, she could have had a decent bob to start with before it got messy.

          • AZU403

            It was a real 1920’s hairstyle: short, but poufy.

            • not_Bridget

              She couldn’t afford a lady’s maid to dress her hair….

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

       It was nice to see that William is more clever than he appears.

      • BayTampaBay

        William who?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

          sorry, something slipped, I meant Alfred. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42303148 Aida G. Neary

      Such a battle between the old ways and the new ways.  Dr. Clarkson (not an aristocrat)-new ways (you know, science). Dr, Philip What’s his name (aristocrat)old ways (title, but not much science there).

      The scene that broke my heart (2 actually) is the Dowager Countess touching Mr. Carson’s hand.  I don’t think she’s probably ever done that in a way that didn’t involve her leaning on him.  This was a show of support.  And her walking towards the morning room (I guess), clad in black, hunched and looking like every single one of her years was weighing on her.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

         I couldn’t help noticing that the black mourning outfit, especially the hat, was the most flattering thing Violet has worn yet.

      • twocee

        I’m not sure if it was make-up or Maggie Smith’s acting, but I thought Violet looked like she had literally aged 10 years in that scene.

        • Adriana_Paula

          It was the acting. That little scene was amazing; I’m glad she got a chance to be more than a quip machine, although I love her quips.

        • Topaz

          I can even imagine the stage direction in the script “Lady Grantham walks away, appearing more old and frail than she has ever looked”

      • luciaphile

        Asshattery in physicians is not, nor has it ever been limited to the upper class. Trust me there are plenty of crappy doctors who come from all walks of life.

        • Topaz

          That’s true, but the point is that Lord Grantham should have KNOWN that Dr Clarkson was very conscientious and knew the family inside and out, so wouldn’t air his concerns for nothing. In the end, when faced with a moment of indecision, he went not for the Doctor who made the most cogent argument about the best course of action, but for the doctor with the aristocratic credentials who spoke with total confidence. He couldn’t allow his faith in that manner and that sense of respectability to be shaken even in such a moment of enormous crisis.

          Also – T&L forgot to mention that not only is Dr Clarkson not an aristocrat, he’s not English, which could also have been the basis for prejudice.

          • luciaphile

            You’re right, but I was responding to the comment above making the distinction of classes. 

            • Topaz

              Fair enough

      • Elizabetta1022

        That was probably one of the finest moments of acting I’ve ever seen on television. The advantage of a series like this, over a movie, is that you get to know the characters well over time–you know what rings true and what feels forced. Maggie Smith is always spot on, but in this scene she made the audience feel the full weight of the family’s loss with every subtle, nuanced gesture.

        • AudreysMom

           YES! Beautifully said. That slow walk away and slight stumble by a character who we know for her strength and distance, evoked the incredible weight of emotion and sadness of Sybil’s death. As though – the world can continue on except in those rare cases of true, deep, unexplained and senseless tragedy. One little physical movement by a single character. Master class in acting.

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         Yes, that was the Dowager Countess’ finest scene of the entire series. Her true humanity showed through all the aristocratic learned behavior. Maggie Smith deserves an Emmy for this episode.

      • Aurumgirl

         Not so sure about that old ways/new ways thing with the doctors–but I do feel Julian Fellowes got that little war between them right, historically.  It isn’t about science–both doctors are contemporaries, they’re the same age and they would have had the same training.  There is a difference in their social rank, and in the limitations that rank confers.  Dr. Phil the aristocrat would have been trained to carry out his work with unquestionable authority, and to stand on that authority no matter what when it was challenged (even when, it was clear to all and sundry, the physical symptoms pointing out the inevitable eclampsia were easily observed).  Dr. Clarkson wasn’t going to let the privilege of social rank shut him up when he knew what he was seeing in Sybil (so he was trying to “pull rank” as the more experienced physician and as Sybil’s personal, life long physician).  It’s an ethical no no to intervene in another doctor’s care, though it is done  in rare situations like this one, where one doctor’s greater experience can prevent an error–but any doctor who does it can expect a negative and defensive reaction similar to what we saw from Dr. Phil.   It was an illustration of misguided loyalty (Clarkson’s to his oath, Dr. Phil to his privilege and rank) more than anything else.  Science has little to do with it (as always, in medicine!)

        • fursa_saida

          I’ve gotten the impression, though, that Dr. Clarkson is a fairly progressive, perhaps even experimental, physician, more willing to try treatments that are less traditional. I agree completely with your assessment of the interpersonal/professional dynamic, but it didn’t surprise me that Dr. C would be more comfortable with the prospect of a C-section than Dr. P.

          • Aurumgirl

             But C-sections were nothing new, and certainly not “more scientific” in any way.  They were considered a “last ditch effort” because surgery was still very much a deadly thing, no matter what kind of surgery it was.  So there was really, historically, not much about the operation itself that was “progressive”.  We just had two doctors from two different classes in conflict–in this case where one stands on rank and privilege, the other on his experience and duty to the patient first at all costs.  It happens a lot in medicine, even today, where it is yes, still a class issue. 

            • fursa_saida

              Happily, I didn’t say they were “more scientific,” which is great, because that would be a meaningless statement. As for the status of C-sections at the time, I defer to you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506473106 Mori Clark

         that sad hobble of hers totally wrecked me. horrible sobbing tears everywhere.

    • ringthing

      Right there with you, sobbing and furious. I thought I had it all worked out – Tom wouldn’t be able to leave his country, would go back to Ireland and be killed and Sybil and the baby would stay on at Downton. I know Dan Stevens wants out of the show at the end of the season so I have envisioned him getting killed off. But Sybil? No way. Maggie Smith showed in a single shot why she deserves every award she’s ever won and more. 

      • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

        Maggie Smith is a national treasure.

        • queeniethebold

           Yes. Actually, an international treasure!

      • A. W.

        I watched Downton on the British schedule, and after this episode I was upset for DAYS. Every time I thought about her death I would feel like crying. It felt like a friend had passed away. I’ve never had a reaction like this to a television show before, and oddly enough, I didn’t even like her that much! I went back and watched the episode where she has a pair of harem pants made, and Tom looks on outside the window. It made me feel better. :(

        • Elizabetta1022

          I know what you mean. After it was over, I was a mess. My husband came into the room and asked what was wrong and I sheepishly told him that one of the characters had died. Yes, I grieve over the deaths of fictional characters. In trying to explain that to my puzzled 10-year-old son, I said, “I know they’re not real. It’s not that…it’s that somehow the author has touched on something that we all feel when someone dies, and that’s what makes me cry.” My husband and son looked at me like I was a little nuts. Hard to be the only non-science/math mind in the family!

          • Elizabetta1022

            And perhaps it’s also that I fall in love with characters in books and movies. I am still grieving Beth from Little Women, and I first read that when I was 12!

            • Topaz

              Little Helen from Jane Eyre…

          • sweetlilvoice

            I do this constantly! My husband always says that I feel things really deeply. I re-read Gone with the Wind last month and sobbed through the last 100 pages. I do this constantly when I read and re-read. It’s the mark of a good show/book. I cried like a baby during Mad Men too. And several others times I won’t mention.

            • Elizabetta1022

              Me too. I am watching Season 5 of Mad Men right now . Just saw the episode entitled, “The Other Woman”. Wrecked again!

            • sweetlilvoice

               Yeah, it was that episode. Thank God the next day was Memorial Day and I didn’t have to go to work. I was a wreck.

            • Elizabetta1022

              Ugh. I know. And I watched it right after DA last night. What was I thinking? Did not get out of my robe today. 

          • Topaz

            I still remember the time I cried for half an hour after Mark Greene in ER…you know…

            GOD I STILL CAN’T EVEN SAY IT!

          • Buffy

            I remember reading Gone With the Wind when I was 13, in my room sobbing hysterically when Bonnie is thrown from the horse and dies.  My father came running upstairs to see what was the matter.  Unable to speak, I held up the book.  He read the title and said simply, “Oh.  Bonnie.” gave me a hug and a tissue and left.  That’s one of my favorite memories of my dad.

            • Elizabetta1022

              Wow, I love that story…what a cool dad. 

        • Imogen_Jericho

          I was just planning to watch that episode later on today …

        • Topaz

          Unfortunately, I only got into Downton after I walked through the living room and saw Mum watching it while Cora cried over Sybil’s dead body and my Mum repeated “Oh my God. Oh my God” to the television. So I watched the entire series to this point knowing it was going to happen.

      • Topaz

        I love that “Tom getting killed in the Troubles” is part of your best case scenario.

        • H3ff

          I love that you think you know what the Troubles are.

          • fursa_saida

            OYYYYY.

          • Topaz

            Easy mistake to make. Not really sure why you felt the need to be sarcastic about it since as far as I was concerned I was just joining in on a joke. But thanks for pointing it out so politely.

            • H3ff

              I’m sorry, I really don’t know why I was so snarky about that. I’m sure I’ve done the same before.

            • Topaz

              I’m sure I have as well. No hard feelings.

    • hmariec19

      I’d already seen the episode as well, but watching it again last night I was still screaming at the TV, “ROBERT YOU ASS!”

    • MilaXX

      I think twitter collectively lost it last night when Sybil died. It was indeed heartbreaking. 
      The downstairs love triangle actually has me feeling a little bit sorry for Thomas. You just know it’s not going to end well for him and O’Brian is playing him for a fool.

      • StelledelMare

        It was interesting because half of the internet was all “Yay they won!” at the SAG and the other half was just going crazy. The timing was eerie.

        • Imogen_Jericho

          Yes, wasn’t that weird?

      • formerlyAnon

         Yeah, I have a bad feeling about what’s in store for Thomas. They were making him too likeable last night. Sucking us in.

    • zuzululu

      If they had to kill off a major character, why oh why couldn’t it have been BateZZZZ?  *sigh*

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

        I read in the Daily Mail that Jessica Brown-Findlay didn’t want to work on DA anymore.

        According to IMDB, she has done the following work after DA:
        Shoplifters of the World 
         2013Winter’s Tale -Filming
         2013Lullaby 
         2012Labyrinth (TV mini-series) Alais Pelletier Du Mas– Episode #1.2 (2012) … Alais Pelletier Du Mas– Episode #1.1 (2012) … Alais Pelletier Du Mas

        • Jecca2244

          My roommate (who is my DA watching buddy) had casual mentioned that a few weeks ago. So I thought something was going to happen. Just didn’t think it would be this. 

          • fursa_saida

            Yeah, she could have easily just stayed in Ireland and written letters occasionally. But I think this was actually a good narrative choice.

            • sweetlilvoice

              I agree, a death was a better choice as sad as it was. It was so aggravating when Miss Elizabeth would write letters from NY on the originals Upstairs Downstairs. The actress left the show years ago.

            • not_Bridget

              Then another actress wanted to leave. So Lady Bellamy went to visit her daughter–on the Titanic!

        • girliecue

          Thanks for the info. I was wondering if her character’s untimely demise meant she was trying to make the jump to the Big Screen, a la George Clooney when he was ER.

          ETA: now that you’ve cleared that up for me I can lie awake at night wondering solely about the characters’ futures on DA.

        • BayTampaBay

          She also played a Russian Princess in the new Anna Karenina (spelling???) movie.

    • stardust462

      It really annoyed me that Mary pretty much begged Matthew to give the money to Downton, and now that he discovers there are issues where the estate could be lost in the future, she doesn’t want him to do anything. I understand her anger when he was talking with the attorney the morning after the death because she was in grief, but she was still against it beforehand.

      Sir Phillip, way to let your pride get in the way of a young woman’s health. I was raging. Seriously, was every woman he helped through labor delirious like Sybil was? I wish Cora, Mary, and Edith stood up to him, because they knew something was wrong.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

         To Mary, Mathew will always be an outsider. He isn’t a close relative and wasn’t raised as an aristocrat. In any important matter she’s always going to take her father’s side.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

          The dolt Mary didn’t realize that thinking about DA’s management was Matthew’s way of coping. Many men throw themselves into work to numb the emotions.

      • formerlyAnon

         I’m VERY disappointed in Mary on this one. I thought she cared enough for the future of the estate to be a little more pragmatic.

        • Tally Ho

          She ain’t no Scarlett O’Hara who does everything under the sun, including murder and two loveless marriages just to save Tara. 

          While I get her sense of noblesse oblige towards the estate employers out of a sense of tradition and duty perhaps Mary will learn and become the cold hearted estate owner. After all she’s already halfway there – incapable of emotions and kindness. 

          • Adriana_Paula

            Well, she was kind to William when his mother was dying back in season one…

            • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

               That was two seasons ago – Fellowes revises everything as he goes along.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/DBSIHWVY4ECXGNXAXFXJMSCNIE Katrin

        It made me rage that even a so called DOCTOR was being all pffff, look at those silly womanly things, isn’t that precious? Idiot!

        • formerlyAnon

           “even” a doctor? There are still plenty of ‘em around that have a harder time taking women seriously.

          (Though, to be fair, patients of both sexes teach doctors to be sceptical of anything anyone tells them in a patient history.)

          • Topaz

            Yeah I know someone who was in labour and had her epidural messed up during a c-section – she was in absolute agony and the doctor just claimed she was hysterical until her husband stepped in and insisted something was wrong. It still happens all the time.

      • Girl_With_a_Pearl

        Ugh!  Every time I want to start to find her sympathetic, Lady Mary makes it impossible.  Between Mary not wanting Matthew to do anything that would leave her father out of running Downton (which seems like an excellent idea now that Robert can’t do anything right) and her nastiness to Edith just when she was trying to reconcile (again), she is just so unlikeable.

        • girliecue

          I am always afraid she is going to break Matthew into a million pieces whenever he comes up against her cold, iron will.

        • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

          I know!  Especially with Edith, I felt like slapping her in the face.

          • Adriana_Paula

            I read her scene with Edith as weary frankness, not unkindness. What’s the point of sobbing, “Yes yes, we’ll be BFFs now!” when given their histories that’s incredibly unrealistic?

            • Corsetmaker

              Agreed. It would’ve been fake. I didn’t see nastiness either.

            • Tally Ho

              There’s a time for truth and a time for tact. Her sister’s deathbed isn’t the time for truth. She should have smiled sadly and hugged her sister but kept her mouth shut. Edith will never forget what Mary said and it will be a very difficult statement to for her to overcome for the rest of her life. 

            • Adriana_Paula

              I would argue that tact is usually the last thing we usually apply to family members.  If Mary and Edith were neighbors or acquaintances or coworkers or friends I would agree with you.

            • Topaz

              I thought she was just expressing extreme weariness at herself as much as anyone else. She knows she’s not as good a person as Sybil and there would be no point in pretending she could be. People don’t always have the energy to try and be nice and tactful at a time like that – and it seemed in keeping with her character that that’s how she’d react to grief.

      • Topaz

        I doubt he was in the room for any of those labours. For the period it was ridiculous that he was present for any of this one either.

    • Stubenville

      Cora’s lack of either devastation or numbness after her daughter’s death struck me as utterly wrong. It wasn’t until she lashed out at her husband, voice quavering, that the right emotions were being expressed IMO.

      And that moron Robert, objecting to the use of the word “urine” because his mother was present?,  Get a f-ing clue; your daughter is upstairs dying in childbirth.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

         His mother is smarter than he is.

      • AnneElliot

        I think Cora is headed for a major breakdown.  

        • Lilithcat

          I was reminded of the line in Gone With the Wind:  “Give me back my baby that you killed”.

        • BayTampaBay

          No, I think she is going to take control.

      • Tally Ho

        Everyone has different reactions towards major deaths. I have family members who go very silent and cold when in shock. I imagine Cora is in shock and we’ll see the delayed effects in the next episodes. 

      • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

         I actually thought Elizabeth McGovern did a wonderful job. The pain that I felt over Sybil’s death came from Cora’s reaction, from begging to gentle calm saying farewell to her baby to fury. She covered the gamut of emotions without being overly dramatic about it. Yet she was vastly more emotional than all the Brit’s (except the Irishman, of course).

        • http://onebluetree.blogspot.com/ Sara L.

          Thank you, yes, I thought she did a masterful job. I hate when people complain about someone’s reaction to a loss. Everyone is different, and her quietly saying goodbye to her baby just slayed me.

          • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

             “My baby, my beauty” I’m tearing up just thinking about it all again.

            • Tally Ho

              To give Fellowes some credit the casting of the Crawleys is so believable in that Cora, Sybil and Mary look so much like each other that you easily believe they are mother and daughters, which makes these scenes so heart breaking. And Edith much more excluded :( 

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PBGUD7Y6KYRNL7PCKYNPD2UGSM Carol

          Her reaction to Sybil’s death was so true and so honest.  It was completely believable to me that she had lost her daughter.  I could really feel Cora’s grief over Sybil’s death.  You just aren’t supposed to outlive your children.  It’s just. not. natural.

    • StelledelMare

      I watched this episode when it aired in the UK and when that scene happened at first I thought “it’s Sybil, she’ll be fine, we’ve got like 30 minutes left for her to be okay” and then she stopped breathing and then it was a horrifying, slow realization that she actually was going to die. And I bawled. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after. And last night I knew it was this episode and I told myself I wouldn’t watch it and apparently I like torturing myself because months later, watching it again, I still bawled. I swear British television just enjoys making people cry.

      • Pam Winters

        I got spoiled. When I started watching DA (a month or so ago–I was trying to catch up with the first two seasons), I looked at Wikipedia and ended up reading about all sorts of things. Sybil’s death marks the last major plot development about which I was spoiled, thank God.

        Anyway, even knowing it was coming, I was unprepared for how wrenching and horrible it was. This was no saintly ascent; this was a tragedy that was worsened by everyone’s impotence about by Robert and Philip’s pigheadedness.

        • Lisa_Cop

          I also knew thar Jessica brown Finley had left the show for film activities but didn’t know that they were going to kill off.

    • Ann Laura Walker

      I was so proud of Dr. Clarkson still speaking up. So. So. Proud

      • ScarlettHarlot

        And when he reassured Sybil that she wasn’t on duty because he realized she was hallucinating, that was so sweet and sad. 

      • fursa_saida

        I love him. He’s so competent and caring and understated.

    • Caitlin Brown

      Lord Grantham just keeps letting his pride and status get in the way of everything. I really wonder what’s going to happen there . . .  I am devastated. Sybil was my favorite character.

    • thecitysleeps

      I’m still wrecked two months later,  so I totally understand.  I cried like a baby that night.  Like legit ugly tears for hours.  

      Tom is so beautiful. He is definitely my favourite.

      • Pepperful

        Hear, hear.

    • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

      After the first episode this season, I peeked.  I went to Wikipedia and read all about the episodes (DON’T DO IT!).  So, I KNEW what was coming.  But, still, it was devastating to watch.  It felt so very real.  One of the most realistic parts was when the two doctors stood back and just let the seizures happen.  I feel quite certain that was proper bedside-manner in a post-Edwardian England.

      NO ONE has ever played grief on TV like Maggie Smith did last night as she hobbled across the floor.  It was stunning.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/DBSIHWVY4ECXGNXAXFXJMSCNIE Katrin

        I had caught a glimpse at imdb and it listed the actress only being in seasons 1-3, so I as soon as she started to feel bad, I knew where it would end. But still, ugh!!

      • 3boysful

         I know–I was horrified that all of the medical personnel were just hanging back, not trying to make things any easier. 

        And I watched an episode of Call the Midwife prior to DA last night, and a character there also died of eclampsia.

        • TheDivineMissAnn

           Love Call the Midwife!  And Doc Martin.

          • downtonfan_ma

             Call the Midwife makes me cry every time!!

        • O H

           My mom had eclampsia when she delivered me, and nearly died.  To make matters worse, I was Rh negative, and premature, 3 lbs., 12 oz.  Turns out, I did not need a blood transfusion, was healthy, yet underweight, and stayed in the incubator for a month until I reached 5 lbs.  My mom recovered in the hospital, and was sent home within the week, thankfully.  She had kidney problems (nephritis) as a child, and that history can bring on eclampsia (she also smoked, although she claimed she did not while pregnant).  The doctors asked my mother many questions about her health in order to prevent this from happening to others.  In retrospect, I realize it was my mom’s high blood pressure that probably brought it on, although she never mentioned having HBP.  Some expectant mothers do not have symptoms, which I think was Sybil’s case as well, and perhaps the medical care for my mom was not carefully monitored.  In her senior years, my mom died from untreated HBP, which caused a burst vein, an aneurysm, which caused her to lapse into a coma, and die, several days later.  Watching Sybil die post childbirth brought this back to me, and was grateful that the hospital in 1955 knew how to treat my mom’s eclampsia, or toxemia, as it is also called.  If you have HBP, make sure it’s treated, pregnant or not, young, old, it’s not something to let alone, as my mom did.  She did not like pills, or going to to the doctor.  Sigh…

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PBGUD7Y6KYRNL7PCKYNPD2UGSM Carol

            O H,  I’m so glad that you not only came through your Rh jaundice okay, but that your mom survived to raise you.  I also Rh jaundice, but mine was much worse.  I had three exchange transfusions and was in the hospital for three weeks. I was brown as a paper bag at birth. There was no transport of newborns then (also 1955!) so my dad and my grandma had to transport me to a bigger hospital for the transfusions.  He said that there was an intern outside the hospital waiting for us to arrive. He grabbed me and took off for what would become the NICU. 

            We were both lucky that we were born when we were.  Blood exchange transfusions had only been developed a few years earlier.  You dud not have to have them, but they were there if you had.

          • fursa_saida

            My mother had it too. Luckily, I was otherwise healthy, and in 1988 they took one look at her and went straight to C-section. Otherwise, she’d likely be dead, and I’d be brain-damaged.

          • http://twitter.com/foounke Pamela H

            Your mother having high blood pressure was risk factor of having eclampsia and was not necessarily the cause of it. Sadly we still don’t know what causes it. I’m glad your mom made it to her senior years and that you made it too.

      • WhiteOprah

        I read a recent UK Telegraph article not remembering that Brits had already seen the entirety of Season 3 so I already pretty much know all of the big events.  Even with that, I still found the events of this episode gripping because I didn’t know how the events would transpire and how people would react.  Even so, as a warning: Americans!  Do Not Read Any British articles on Downton Abbey!!!!

        • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

          Oh wow! I just found the same article I think you might referring to earlier this morning as I was searching for something Downton-related.  I clicked it open and was like, WTF!??! Even so, I do want to see how it out all sorts out.

          • WhiteOprah

            I’m so afraid that I’m going to post something here that spoils it for someone else, which is exactly why I always tell my friends not to tell me secrets- I might say something inadvertently.  I can’t handle the responsibility.  ;)  

    • Cele Deemer

      I was demolished.  I’ll never be accused of being a cry-baby, but I sure was last night!   Destroyed.

    • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

      On a lighter note, I will now attempt to recreate my favorite comedic scene:

      Mrs. Bird: My sister says there are plenty of positions for a plain cook there.
      Mrs. Crowley: And that’s exactly what they will be getting. Good luck to you Mrs. Bird.
      Mrs. Bird:

      If
      only Mrs. Crowley had a cigarette case and cigarette in hand, she could
      have tapped it smartly a la Faye Dunaway a la Joan Crawford.  That’s
      the only thing that was missing from that very smart scene!

      • Girl_With_a_Pearl

        That was a funny scene.  I wonder though, how many households would knowingly employee an ex-prostitute as a maid, even today.  Far more realistic to get Ethel a job in a factory I think.

        • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

          I was wondering about that too, but then remembered that the factory angle is the basis for the underlying drama of Gosford Park, another Sir Julian piece of brilliance.  So, maybe he’s staying away from that…

          • Elizabetta1022

            Although couldn’t you see Ethel in a factory? She doesn’t seem suited for kitchen work, that’s for sure! I probably would have ended up in a factory myself.

        • Lilithcat

          But it was realistic for Isobel Crawley, completely in character for her to do that.

          • formerlyAnon

             True.

          • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

             And before coming into the Crawley/Grantham titles, did they have their own cook et al? Matthew never seemed to know what to do with his valet. I suppose they must have had some sort of household staff.

            • Lilithcat

              Middle class families would have had a cook and a housemaid, though they might not live-in, but they’d be unlikely to have personal servants like valets and ladies’ maids.  

            • Tally Ho

              h, they definitely had servants. A successful middle class family in late 19th century/Edwardian Britain (as the Crawleys were) would easily have had as many as half a dozen servants, or even more depending on the financial means. At the minimum there would have been the basic four: cook, scullery/kitchen maid, upper housemaid/parlour maid and lower housemaid. Depending on needs there would also have been nanny, nursery maid (trust me Matthew had a nanny) a coachman and gardeners if they lived in the country. Servants were a dime a dozen in those days. By 1920 the number of servants dwindled but 2-3 was still the standard. And they all lived in. 

              When we were first introduced to the Crawleys in 1912 they were described as having a cook and house-parlormaid and when they moved to Downton they picked up the valet/butler Mosley and the now missing Beth, the kitchen maid.

            • downtonfan_ma

              Mrs. Byrd came with the Crawleys from Manchester.

            • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

               That makes it odder, that Isobel was so little swayed by Mrs. Byrd’s views … perhaps never all that satisfied with her cooking? Or expecting servile loyalty for her current cause?

            • fursa_saida

              I think she was super caught up in the righteousness of what she was doing. Every objection that Ethel raised had me inwardly yelling, “ISOBEL, LISTEN TO HER, HOW ARE YOU THIS WILLFULLY IGNORANT”

          • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

            Didn’t TLo talk about Mrs. Crowley’s middle class ways in last week’s article?  Wherever I read that, I kept thinking about it as I was watching her earnestness and determination really take hold.  I think, however, that more honey in her cup of tea (which I love, myself) might just push her over the edge…

      • Lilithcat

        That and “Looking at you, Mrs Bird, no one would ever think that” (that you were a prostitute) were zingers worthy of the Dowager Countess.  I begin to be a little in love with Isobel!

        • Pam Winters

          I will miss Mrs. Bird because she looks like she walked out of a Vermeer. 

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         I think Isobel had wanted to get rid of Mrs. Bird for a while and she saw the opportunity by offering even the inexperienced (in cooking anyway) Ethel a way to re-build her life in a kitchen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001998855370 Fatima Siddique

      How much of an ass is Matthew? He could’ve waited until Sybil was buried before resuming his quest to right the mismanagement of the estate. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

         It’s a typical instance of Fellowes forcing a plot point, but as Matthew said he knew there wouldn’t be any time in the near future that they could speak.

      • Lilithcat

        In fairness to Matthew, he only had the discussion then because Murray was already at Downton to talk to Anna.

        • 3boysful

           I agree.  But I was mad at Matthew for letting Mary unleash her fury on poor Murray, when Matthew was the one who initiated the discussion.  Hope Murray bills at his highest rate for that.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZLU6YVO4BRTELTTH3GRAAMWZQ Dot

            Yes, that was ridiculous. Murray really took that one on the chin. It would have been nice to see Matthew put Mary in her place on that one.

          • formerlyAnon

             Most people would cut her a lot of slack since she just lost her sister.

        • fursa_saida

          Right. And I didn’t think that after that discussion he was going to immediately set things in motion; I thought it was a preliminary talk just to raise the issue with Murray and see what he thought of Matthew’s concerns before he bearded Lord Grantham.

          • BayTampaBay

            And Murray totally 100% agreed with him.

      • MilaXX

        I know they are the lovebirds of the tale, but he and Mary, work my nerves. I can’t stand either of them.

        • fursa_saida

          I thaw toward him when he’s kind to Edith, but yeah, it’s like they’re on a see-saw of idiocy and one or the other of them is always dragging their end down.

      • Tally Ho

        Murray is the solicitor to the Earl of Grantham (the title not necessarily the person). These aristocratic families often had solicitor firms that acted for the family for generations and the solicitors, estate agents, factors etc would have had a sense of duty towards the House of Grantham more than the individual members of the family and always an eye towards the future. While it may have been tactless to discuss estate management when Sybil died Murray and his firm no doubt has seen family members come and go and while saddened at Sybil’s death he would probably be pragmatic at the same time and not averse to discussing estate management when approached by a family member. 

        I remember reading through a book about one of the grand ducal families in Britain and they had a long standing estate manager who referred to the then current duke and duchess as “the present lot.” Look at this way, a major company doesn’t stop operations if the CEO or VP suddenly dies, so it may be useful to think of Robert and Cora and the family as only temporary holders of a much longer, older edifice known as the House of Grantham. 

    • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

      One other post (sorry for over-posting!)…

      Um, Sir Julian, I just realized last night when the Bates dilemma started to turn on the ingredients in the kitchen that you sir have lifted this very plot line from Strong Poison by the amazing Dorothy L. Sayers.  Yes, he is in quod and not her.  Yes, there were no jailhouse shenanigans because DLS would never have written disparagingly in any real sense about the justice system.  But still…

      • Lilithcat

        Cracked eggs!

        Except, of course, in Strong Poison, it was a murder, not disguised suicide.

         DLS would never have written disparagingly in any real sense about the justice system.

        Has anyone ever been so understanding about a wrongful prosecution as Harriet was in Gaudy Night?

        • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

          I’m not quite sure that this is disguised suicide, but quite right… It was the mention of the kitchen that made my ears perk up…

          Has anyone ever been so understanding about a wrongful prosecution as Harriet was in Gaudy Night?

          Never that I’ve come across.  She says forthrightly that she would have done the same as the Crown and the police if she’d been in their shoes.

          OT, but I’ve read Gaudy Night more times than I can count and there is so much in that book about relationships and it’s so ahead of its time that I always walk away feeling like I just learned a bit more about myself and other people each time I put it down.

          • Lilithcat

            Gaudy Night is probably my favorite of Sayers’ œuvre.  I re-read it at least once a year.   Her Wimsey-Vane books are what Austen would have written if Austen wrote mysteries.

            • Laura Rizzo

              this was supposed to be a reply, is showing up all wrong.

              Gaudy Night is one of my top three favourite novels ever. My husband wonders how I can read it so many times a year.

            • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

              I love the depth of Gaudy Night but my all-time favorite scene in any of her books is the stitch-and-bitch at the rectory in Unnatural Death.  All of the characterizations are perfect and set the stage for what is coming quite brilliantly.

              P.S. This is why I’m never invited to funerals — I always go way off topic…

            • http://annequichante.wordpress.com/ Anne

               I like Miss Climpson at the fake séance in Strong Poison. :)

            • Lilithcat

              I adore Miss Climpson.  And, of course, had she been around, they could have referred Ethel to her (as Polly was in Busman’s Honeymoon).

            • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

               I would love to read a series of novels just about Miss Climpson and her exploits… And her letters!

              Once upon a time, I had a brilliant idea about the surviving Gotobed sister (the one who had to come over from Canada in Unnatural Death) having a series of adventures set in the Cold War.  She would be working for Lord Peter and MI6, but on the side and not in an official capacity.

            • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

               CLACK!

            • formerlyAnon

               Totally agree with you on Gaudy Night.

            • baxterbaby

              Now I have to read it.  Although I don’t think I’ve ever recovered from Harriet thinking re: her marriage to Lord Peter “I have married England”. (Busman’s Holiday)  Oy.

            • formerlyAnon

               Busman’s Holiday is psychologically pedestrian compared to Gaudy Night.

            • baxterbaby

              Now I must read it!  Although I don’t think I’ve ever recovered from the moment in “Busman’s Holiday” when Harriet thinks (re her marriage to Lord Peter) “I have married England”  Oy.

      • Laura Rizzo

        YES. i’m re-reading it now for the hundredth time and it’s still so, so good.

        Plus you know that it’s never simple for Bates- two or three more bad things will happen and he’ll snap and kill his cellmate and all the ‘proof’ will go for naught.

      • http://julia-here.livejournal.com/ Julia

        Must agree with everything in this thread; Gaudy Night is the rule by which I measure every attempt at “serious feminist fiction:” even the villian has her own ethical strengths, and there are vivid portraits of all sorts of overlooked people, from serious scholar lost in her work to over-burdened sholarship student to maid to farmer’s wife.

        Although I’m glad, myself, that the fact that’s changed most is the physicalities of editing a manuscript!

        • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

          Love your insight! When I read that book, I feel like I’m in a time machine and can smell and feel many of the details she describes.

          And, yes, thank goodness we don’t have to use pins to fasten text balloons to pages!  Although, when I was on the high school newspaper, we did layout by printing on thermal paper and pasting to templates.  That seemed so amazingly modern at the time!  And I got burned a number of times by the pasting wax.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beccalise.deveaux ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

      Stupid Google autocomplete spoiled this episode for me…nevertheless, I was still a complete wreck when it happened, especially when Cora was saying her final goodbye. *sob*

      • Girl_With_a_Pearl

        I read a spoiler too.  I was looking up something about Cora’s family in the US (after the first episode) and came across something unrelated that ended with “mother to the late Sybil Crawley”.  Augh!!!!  But I was still very sad, just not that surprised.  

    • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

      I yelled at the TV, my husband, and probably the neighborhood last night when Sybil was seizing and dying.  “What is going ON with you people?  Why are you all just standing there?  Where’s the grief?  Where’s the horror?  Why do you all look like figures from Madame Tussaud’s?”  (Except of course for Cora and Tom.)  I have 3 sisters and the thought of one of them dying right before my eyes is beyond torture.  The thought of that happening and me watching with my mouth open and my eyes wide is ludicrous.  Keep calm and carry on, my ass.

      Not getting the whole “let’s ostracize Mrs. Crawley and her house” thing by the servants.  Is it just that Carson is too old to appreciate someone getting a helping hand?  Would it truly be that awful for the reputation of the “big house” for a servant to go over to Mrs. Crawley’s for any reason?  Just curious.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

         To someone (like Carson) brought up in the 19th C. a prostitute was socially untouchable. Add to this that Ethel had not been all that popular in the house, and that she caused trouble. Her pregnancy and dismissal was through her own fault.  On top of that, Mr. Carson is used to being obeyed by those under him – through these three seasons we’ve seen changes in society diminishing his authority. He’s frustrated.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        Mr. Carson does not want any sort of taint on Downton Abbey. The female servants could lose their virtue merely by associating with a former prostitute, and there would have been whispers of the male servants receiving Ethel’s services if they went to the Crawley house. It all boils down to guilt by association. I don’t think Mr. Carson is cold-hearted, but he is stuck in his ways and the moral beliefs of the time.

      • formerlyAnon

        Like the attitude today to felons who’ve been released from prison, only more so, was the general attitude of employers of the time to anyone – but especially a woman – who had demonstrated “moral laxity.” (Remember how Ethel lost her job at Downton in the first place.) You were permanently tainted. Losing one’s respectability loomed even larger as one traveled down the social scale than it did for those of Lady Mary’s class. The attitudes were beginning to soften by the ’20s but not among anyone as old and as invested in seeing that things were done “correctly” as Carson.
         
        It wasn’t until after the 2nd World War that you see unwed mothers among the “daily help” (because of course they couldn’t live in unless someone else was raising their children) mentioned in British fiction – and even then it is usually mentioned as something to be tolerated with a sigh because of the postwar boom in fatherless children and reduced availability of household help.

      • Tally Ho

        To be fair, how many employers today would hire a known former prostitute? Many would hesitate. 

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

           They made a point with the other housemaid- her situation was different because society recognized her as a widow. Even if Ethel hadn’t become a prostitute she’d have had a reputation of being Loose.

        • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

          But to be realistic, how many employers today would KNOW someone was a former prostitute?  I think nobody actually puts it on his/her resume…..unless of course they’re looking to move up in the business….

          • twocee

            Depends on if they were busted for it.  Almost all employers do criminal background checks now.  I agree with Tally Ho…our attitudes haven’t really changed all that much.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

             Any employer but the absolutely lowest sort would ask for references. Also- I’m not absolutely certain, but I think that Ethel would be on file with the police as a prostitute.

          • http://twitter.com/_KarenX Karen Miller

            But even if people KNEW there was someone working over there who used to be a prostitute, I can’t imagine anyone thinking twice about going to that business or entering the homes of people who know the ex-prostitute.

            • fursa_saida

              Really? I can. Let’s say it’s known that a given restaurant has a waitress who was a prostitute. I bet a lot of people wouldn’t want to be served by her. I bet there would be whispers about disease. They might specifically ask not to be served by “that girl,” whether they know what she looks like or not.  Multiply this effect if she’s not white. Pretty soon, it’s worth it to the establishment or to the waitress to put an end to the situation.

              People are people, the good and the nasty.

            • http://twitter.com/_KarenX Karen Miller

              But would you refuse to be friends with someone who ate there or someone else who worked there? That’s what’s happening when the servants at Downton are being told never to enter the Crawley house.

            • fursa_saida

              I wouldn’t. I believe some would. I believe so especially if you try to translate the class differences to the present. Barring an exceptional case of exceptional talent, charisma and good luck, an establishment that would hire someone straight off the street to work in service is almost certainly not among the highest echelon, and therefore people who work in service in the highest levels wouldn’t want to work at that establishment; it wouldn’t fit into their resume and their world. A diner or even a lower-level boutique/restaurant/pub/etc is a different story, but the servants at Grantham are working at one of the few highest-class, most select “establishments” in all of England, let alone in Yorkshire. To me, that translates to a very rarefied establishment (restaurant, hotel, fashion house) in modern American labor terms.

              I also think there’s a big difference between “refusing to be friends with someone who ate there” and “refusing to be friends with someone who worked there.” When they’re forbidding the other servants to go there, that’s a colleague situation, not a patron situation.

          • fursa_saida

            But when you leave whatever sex work you’ve done, from stripping to porn to prostitution, off your resume, you leave a gap. Prospective employers will ask about that gap. Even if you lie, the gap makes you a less desirable candidate. You’re less likely to have references, or current/recent ones. Another strike. Presumably, if you found yourself entering sex work against your will (some sex workers truly enjoy their jobs!), something happened to jolt you out of your previous employment. Again, you’re going to be asked about that, especially with the noticeable gap in time coming afterward. So now you’ve got sketchy employment history, out of date references, if any, and the last event in that sketchy employment history is negative. 

            What I’m getting at is, it’s not so simple.

      • tallgirl1204

        Mrs. Crawley’s ostracism helped Fellowes explain why she was not down at the big house raising hell about Sybil.  Remember the early days when Mrs. Crawley was all over the local doctor about treatment of an illness that he thought was hopeless? I think she would have been on his side re the c-section (and maybe might have even known about the magnesium sulfate treatement), and Fellowes needed to push poor Sybil right over the edge.

        • nyll18

          I was just thinking the same thing. The whole scene would have gone down very differently had Isabel been there!

        • Lilithcat

          Why would she be there, ostracism or no*?  She doesn’t live there, and it’s very unlikely that she’d have been sent for, as she is no blood relation to either Sybil or Tom and isn’t exactly close to the family.

          * in any case, Isobel is not being ostracized.  The servants simply aren’t permitted to go to her home.   A very different thing.

        • not_Bridget

          Remember when Isobel went off character in series 2? She’d always been assertive but she became such a pain to Cora that a far-away job was invented.  So when Matthew came back to Downton (instead of going to a big London hospital, used to treating battle wounds), Mary was there to care for him!  Because of Isobel had been there, she would have been in charge of her son.

          So the Ethel thing was just another excuse to get a woman–who has medical knowledge & is no respecter of empty rank–out of the way. 

    • http://www.what-the-frock.com Dana WhatTheFrock

      I made it through Sybil’s death with just a few sniffles. But then the scene with Thomas and Anna? WATERWORKS.

    • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

      Also must add that Maggie Smith can walk away from a camera with more emotion than practically any other actor on earth.  She is magnificent, and her scene with Carson at the front door was poignant and touching…….they are two old souls, indeed.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/CYGGYQDGESKN4PWJTA2KN25PLI ruff

      I shall have to take a stick and beat Robert about the head. I refuse to call the doofus by his titled name. I like TLo’s idea: Tom and Cora burn the MFer down with Mary in it. Maybe we could skip that last part if Matthew would man up. The dowager crippled in grief killed me.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/DNWEFT2SVBX5T3NPMROQCT4U2U jennyv

        I’m on board with that plan. I think Matthew should take his money and–get his balls back from Mary–and get Cora and Edith away from all of those other idiots. 

      • fursa_saida

        Ha, I keep calling him Lord Grantham because I care so little about him that I can’t remember his first name.

    • queeniethebold

      Sybil’s death throes were horrific. i was undone by that scene, especially when Tom kept wailing, “Love! Don’t leave me, love! Please, please don’t leave me!” Honestly, having tears just writing about it and remembering it.

      Robert is a clueless dope.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

        Eclampsia – even today it’s not well know. (Look for it in Medline Plus.)

        I work in a medical library. There have been requests for articles on this topic! Looks like women can still die from it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42303148 Aida G. Neary

          yes they do.  it’s still really, really dangerous. One of my best friends had it fro both her pregnancies and she was monitored to the hilt.

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          Just wanted to mention that I work in a medical library too. I’ve already had a question this morning about eclampsia and the types of treatment available in the early 20th century.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

            The National Library of Medicine has a (free to everyone) database for old medical articles.
            Google indexcat
            You see a little old man on the left side.
            Click on Advanced Search 

            in the dropdown section, type lancet for journal and eclampsia for subject and check the surgeon-general’s office catalouge.

            I found this 1922 article! Lancet is a British medical journal. Dr. Clarkson should have it in his personal library. 
            I went down to the stacks; a one-year subscription in 1922 cost 2 pounds.

            Database SourceIndex-Catalogue Series 4
            AuthorOwen , A. W.
            TitleA case of eclampsia in the 34th week treated by caesarean section: mother and child living.
            SubjectEclampsia Surgery: Cesarean section
            JournalLancet
            Place of PublicationLond.
            Date1922Edition2: 70.
            LanguageEnglishTypeAnalyticID
            Number40500441580

            Angela, if your library doesn’t have Lancets this old, you can order it through interlibrary loan. My library’s OCLC code is LTM

            • 3boysful

               Very cool!  It would be interesting to know if Fellowes/the writers research this kind of stuff as they’re plotting and scripting things out.

              –Research & Word Girl

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

              I checked the credits: Historical Advisor!

        • queeniethebold

           Yes, i’m familiar with it. A friend had it during her pregnancy. Well, actually, she had preeclampsia — not sure how it differs from eclampsia.

          • 3boysful

             As mom of 3, I recall pre-eclampsia as serious state marked by very high blood pressure for which the ob is on the lookout.  I suspect nowadays they monitor you so well that they catch it at that stage and eclampsia is even rarer.

        • girliecue

          Yup. Today, the moment a woman is diagnosed with preeclampsia she is ordered to bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. It’s particularly scary because these women look perfectly healthy, yet have such a touch-and-go condition.

          • sweetlilvoice

            I have two friends who had it and both delivered early, one was 2.5 months early. It was horrible situation and luckily everyone lived and is happy and healthy. It’s a terrifying problem.

        • SapphoPoet

          Yes, I had it and had to have an emergency c-section. Even today, the only cure for it is to deliver the baby. Luckily mine was full term (even though I wasn’t at my due date yet). Once my blood pressure went up and my ankles swelled up, my OB/GYNE had me in the ER before I could even blink. 

          • lizlemonglasses

            My sister (delivering my niece), too, at 34 weeks. Fortunately for everyone involved, I was two hours away, because I would *not* have been as stiff-upper-lip as everyone at Downton Abbey! Even getting updates by telephone and text, I was absolutely terrified. Hyperventilating-terrified.

        • Mismarker

          I had pre-eclampsia with my first child and, thank God (and science) there was never a doubt as to what was going on.  Last night’s show was a heart-breaking reminder of how many women have lost their lives during childbirth.  I only wish Dr. Clarkson’s recommendations had not fallen on deaf ears! 

        • Girl_With_a_Pearl

          Sir/Dr. Whathisname obviously never had a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

        • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

           One of the most devastating episodes of ER, called “Loves, Labor, Lost” depicted a woman who died of eclampsia. As a friend of mine just put it: “The episode that made all women fear giving birth”. I think in the 20’s, the medical professionals knew that there was nothing to be done after a certain point, especially at a home birth, which is why they just stood around impotently.

          • jenno1013

            Actually the patient in Love’s Labors Lost died of a string of implausibilities, starting with Not One Obstetrician being on duty in the entire hospital.  Like most everyone I was deeply moved when I first saw the episode, but then a few years later I read a medical explanation of it and ended up feeling really used by the writers, who threw every impossibility at an ER resident.  That patient didn’t just die of eclampsia, she died of DIC (a total lack of platelets in her blood) and three or four other things.  It bugs me to this day, obviously.  And last night I hated how Fellowes painted this high-class, stellar-reputation OB as so completely clueless.  Yet another “Oh come on!” moment for me.  Grrr.

        • fursa_saida

          My mother almost did, and me too (as the baby in question). We watched this episode together and afterward I high-fived her and said, “Hey, we’re alive!” Modern medicine!

    • formerlyAnon

      Masterful manipulation of emotions. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Sybil-Tom thing, and I’ve never liked them both as I did last night.

      And, indeed, they ARE going to make me feel sorry for Thomas – after stating 2 weeks ago that I never could. He gets sympathetic and borderline likable this week. That pretty much means something dreadful is going to happen in his life in the next two episodes. I just hope they don’t give him a taste of being happy and then smash it all to pieces.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

        Eclampsia – even today it’s not well know. (Look for it in Medline Plus.)

        I work in a medical library. There have been requests for articles on this topic! Looks like women can still die from it.

        • Lasallianzinc

          Prenatal visits include a urine test and blood pressure check, so pre-eclampsia can usually detected early, before it progresses to eclampsia.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

            Dr C did say that there was too much protein in her urine.

            Did DA have flush toilets at this time? Or did the nurse just collect the urine in the bowl thingin’ and waited for the  under – under maid to toss it out?

            • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

               They would have a fairly modern bathroom, but in the sickroom they would use a bedpan. Sybil didn’t look as if she could get out of bed.

      • fursa_saida

        I had no idea the actor who plays Tom was capable of what he did in this episode. Sort of by extension, I like Tom a lot more now, too.

    • Laura Rizzo

      Gaudy Night is one of my top three favourite novels ever. My husband wonders how I can read it so many times a year.

    • tallgirl1204

      Last night brought back the phone call I got from my cousin, in 1999, saying “your sister’s eclampsia is getting worse and they can’t stop the seizures”…   happily, there is modern medicine, and they brought her back from the very brink.  But I am still crying this morning, remembering how it felt to look over that edge.  (My sister had the benefit of good prenatal care, a good hospital, everything ‘by the book” for pre-eclampsia “nowadays”, and she went into full-blown eclampsia anyway– it was still awful and very close.)  Sybil was my favorite of the three sisters, and I am still reeling.  My sister is a fan of Downton– and I know I need to call her this morning, but I need to compose myself…

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      It’s been awhile since an hour of TV left me feeling both so sad and so very angry. The most devastating scenes were at Sybil’s death bed, when Cora refused to leave her side, when Thomas broke down, and finally when we could see cracks in the Dowager’s outer shell (Maggie Smith demonstrated PhD level acting in her scenes showing both the deepest despair and a resolve not to show too much).
      I have been mostly tolerant of Mary’s behavior this season, but I would have slapped her during the scene with Edith. They are in the presence of their dead sister and she couldn’t even contemplate the notion of getting along better with her only living sister. That was way beyond cold. I didn’t blame her for being mad with Matthew about speaking about estate business the day after Sybil’s death, but she does need to get her head out of the sand about the running of the estate and stop seeing her father as an amazing idol.
      I really hope the Bates affair wraps up next week. 

      • Adriana_Paula

        I am really glad they didn’t make Mary fall on Edith with promises of devotion from now on.  Sisters are what they are; better to acknowledge it and say let’s just try to get along today.  For me that scene showed Mary’s wisdom, in a way.

        Hi from a fellow librarian!

    • Laura Rizzo

      Indeed! I have parts of it by memory after so many reads. I love Harriet and wish I were like her in personality.

      • Judy_S

         Actually, if you track her, Harriet gradually turns into a version of Sayers. At first she is just an earnest genre writer, then it turns out she has an Oxford degree, and finally she is a “country doctor’s daughter” (whereas in Have His Carcase she was quite ignorant of country life) who knows how to deal with stray cows. Lord Peter went through a similar evolution towards all-encompassing perfection (i.e. being like DLS but rich, powerful, and sexy). The trick is not to be like Harriet but to get a Lord Peter to fall in love with you .

    • Judy_S

      I had the outcome “spoiled” (too much exposure to British entertainment news) but I still found it quite moving. For once, the story introduced a complication that can’t be resolved in an episode or two. Though the same complication resolves the problem of the daughter who married the chauffeur.
      Ironically, I spent a lot of the episode adoring Hugh Bonneville and his ability to portray a really stupid man walking into a wall. Mary got some of the stupid genes, too, though I liked the “sisters” scene. One hopes that the Cora-Violet team (with Edith?) will be able to confound the Robert-Mary team in the near future.

      • SapphoPoet

        I think Mary and Sir Robert are really very similar in terms of their blind spots. 

      • 3boysful

         But wasn’t it sort of black-humor funny when they were arguing about Sybil’s care and someone (Robert?) said “Oh, the CHAUFFEUR’s going to make the decision!”?  Like his former “menial” job trumps his husband-father status!

        • Judy_S

           Absolutely wonderful moment. I think it was Violet who got that line, giving it all the irony possible.

        • MissMariRose

           The Dowager Countess said that. She said it to side with Cora against Robert that Tom should make the decision whether to go to the hospital.

        • Tally Ho

          Maggie Smith said that. She was being ironic in pointing out that despite his lowly origins (highly despised by the family) both the law and social conventions of the time deferred to the husband’s decision making regarding his wife’s well-being. 

    • Frank_821

      I had peeked ahead on the episodes as well. It didn’t deaden how gut-wrenching the whole episode was. And for me when Thomas broke down and started crying, it hit home that Sybil was the most beloved character on the show

      And yes Mary’s response to Edith was cold, funny and consistent. she always has to be the ever so british aristocrat

      how strange that while Sybil was dying, Downtown Abby got the SAG award for best drama which Mrs Hughes looking pretty fabulous

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         And Mrs. Patmore, recalling when Sybil wanted to learn to cook, and welcoming her into the kitchen even though it was awkward for everyone because, well, she was Sybil.

        • sweetlilvoice

           And Cora told Carson he was not allowed to spoil the surprise! Loved that.

    • mrspeel2

      Heartbreaking to the nth degree! I think we all knew Lady Sybil was going to die sometime this season, but I was hoping it would happen later, rather than this early.

      Don’t you think that Robert’s revulsion to words like “womb” and “urine” as well as any descriptive conversation of it’s sort, was probably the norm for most men of that era, but especially the upper class?  They were practically cocooned; protected from all manner of repulsive things from the day they were born. Of course that did’n’t stop me from also wanting to slap him across the face too!

      As to Tom, I think he will leave the baby with the Grantham’s to go back to Ireland for what he perceives as his Destiny.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

         You are on to something there.  I know that “birthing” was strictly the women’s arena before the modern era.  Men generally stayed as far away as they could.  That’s why, during the labor scenes, I was surprised to see Tom by Sybil’s side.  But Tom was not born into the upper class, and most likely was quite poor while living in Ireland; so perhaps it was natural for him to be by his wife’s side.  Many Irishmen at that time could very well have helped their wives deliver their child.

        I wonder if Sybil’s death (by malpractice) will spur Edith to take up women’s causes, starting with that weekly column in the paper.  Rub it in their noses Edith!!

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         Yes, of course. My understanding is that men of that era…and until fairly recently…left all of the messy details of childbirth and women’s reproductive issues to the women and doctors. Still, Robert acted particularly pig-headed.

        Do you think Tom could be given some responsibility at Downton? Could he be given a job that wouldn’t make him exactly a servant but give him something to do to keep him around with the baby?

        • Chickadeep

          Matthew’s been hinting that Downton needs a manager to oversee the estate; perhaps this is where they’ll slot Widower brother-in-law Tom?

        • mrspeel2

           It’s certainly possible, but even if the Granthams do offer Tom a job, I believe he has a real need to go back to Ireland.

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         I don’t think Tom would leave the baby.

        • TheDivineMissAnn

           I don’t think he will either.  He will fight tooth and nail for her.  It would not surprise me if they tried to delegate him back downstairs.  Tom may or may not like it, because I think he holds the upstairs folks in contempt.  He might cherish being away from them on a daily basis, but close to his daughter.
           
          There were several mentions of fertility problems with Mary and Matthew;  perhaps they will try to raise the child?  I see fireworks from Tom if that happens.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

            He needs to live with the other Mrs. Crawley!

      • jw_ny

         Tom gained an ally in Matthew in the previous episodes, both being in-laws, so I’m expecting the two of them to join forces somehow.  Cora also promised Sybil that she’d care for Tom and the baby while Sybil was ranting…somehow Sybil must have subconsciously known she wasn’t going to survive.  So I expect Cora to align with Tom too, however It won’t surprise me if Robert tries to convince Tom to leave the child with them and go back to Ireland. 

        • mrspeel2

           As we all know by now, anything we might expect to have happen at Downton Abbey usually doesn’t, ’cause that’s how Julian Fellowes rolls. But who knows, you could very well be right!

    • http://twitter.com/otterbird otterbird

      As someone who had preeclampsia, I of course got distracted by whether or not I thought the depiction was accurate.  While it’s possible to have seizures after delivery, Dr. Clarkson’s advice of a caesarian section was not necessarily correct.  When mine was diagnosed and I was induced early, the hospital staff did everything they could to encourage a vaginal delivery because it’s safer for the mother- vaginal delivery is less stressful than a c-section, and so the seizure-level blood pressure usually gets back to normal faster. 

      So, while the two Sirs are still asses, the diagnosis came so late (even if she wasn’t in labor when Dr. Clarkson first got suspicious, she went into labor very soon after), that, were this to happen in real-life 1920, the method of delivery likely wouldn’t have made any difference- she likely would have died either way.

      Though magnesium sulfate was first mentioned as a way to lower blood pressure in preeclamptic women in 1906, from what I could gather, it didn’t become widespread until the 1920s and Britain may have lagged behind even that.  It’s still the most common treatment today.  In my case I was kept on it for an additional 18 hours after the birth as additional precaution against seizures.

      (Pushing nerd glasses back up on nose now)

      • Judy_S

         Thanks–I was curious about this and felt maybe the presentation was a bit garbled.

      • SapphoPoet

        When I developed pre-eclampsia, I was scheduled for an immediate, emergency c-section. I was interested to see how they handled this. 

        • http://twitter.com/otterbird otterbird

          I had a friend who got sudden, late-onset gestational diabetes who was also scheduled for an emergency c-section (good, since the baby’s head was the size of a small planet).  How many weeks were you when they diagnosed?  I delivered at 35.  Do you remember if they put you on magnesium sulfate before/during/after?

          • SapphoPoet

            I was full term, but not at my due date (due date was Jan. 11, c-section was Dec. 26). I remember my doc telling my husband that I needed to have a c-section and he was arguing with her that I was fine and that we could wait and deliver the baby naturally. Of course, then he checked my blood pressure (he’s an EMT) and it was sky-high and all his objections evaporated. I don’t remember anything about magnesium sulfate…

          • VermillionSky

            I was diagnosed at my 29 week appointment.  My bp was 190/110 and my urine dip was 3 g in the OB’s office (anything over 300mg in a 24/hour sample is bad).  I was hospitalized immediately, on a monday and delivered by c-section that thursday (29 weeks 6 days).  I had magnesium sulfate right from the time I was hospitalized until 5 days after I delivered. I was so ill I couldn’t go see my baby until two days after i delivered, and even then they had to wheel my bed into the NICU because I wasn’t allowed to even sit up..   My blood pressure stayed elevated for six months after delivery but was controlled by medication.

            My blood pressure had been rising for about 1-2 weeks before I was diagnosed, but I ignored the signs (swollen feet, headaches) because I thought they were normal pregnancy symptoms and was simply lucky I had a regular prenatal appointment that day.  It was my last monthly appointment before starting bi-weekly checkups.  My BP was completely normal at all previous appointments.  I hope this show encourages pregnant women to pay more attention to this disorder.

        • fursa_saida

          Same for my mom. She was full-term (a couple days after due, actually), and she says the second they saw what was going on they put her under and C-sectioned me out of there. I have no idea if this is normal for pre-eclampsia (I’m guessing not, otherwise C-section would be standard, right?), but I apparently wasn’t getting any oxygen, so there was a risk of brain damage.

      • VermillionSky

        Vaginal delivery is not always safer for the mother.  When I was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia I was extremely ill and also under the affects of the magnesium sulfate (which makes you feel even worse.. extremely hot, blurry vision, etc.).  My doctors did not think induced labor was a good idea for me, and I agreed.  My baby, who was born 10 weeks early, had apgars of 1 1 6 because of the magnesium and the onset of placental failure (preeclampsia is a disease of the placenta, that’s why the baby being small was one of the symptoms).  I firmly believe my baby would not have survived induced labor, and am very grateful for my c-section.

        Also, preeclampsia/eclampsia after delivery is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality today. Women can even have no symptoms before delivery and still devlop and die from it up to 6 weeks after giving birth.

        • http://twitter.com/otterbird otterbird

          I’m so glad the doctors made the right call for you.  Especially at 10 weeks early!  Wow.  I agree at that early it would have not been a good idea to induce.  

          My main thought during the episode was just that vaginal or c-section, I don’t think it would have, realistically, made a ticky’s worth of difference in Sybil’s chance of survival.

          My preeclampsia was clearly coming on for weeks, but for some reason I didn’t show protein until 35 weeks so I wasn’t diagnosed until my blood pressure had hit seizure levels (the first time the nurse took it she thought the monitor was broken!).  Mind you, by then I was so swollen I looked like Porky Pig.  I remember I was gaining 2 or 3 pounds A DAY right at the end.  I shed 35 pounds of water in the first five days after the birth.  Blech.  Not pleasant.

          • sweetlilvoice

            My friend had the same issue, she was puffed up like a balloon. Everyone thought she was due any day and she had months to go. Her baby came 2.5 months early and they are all fine now. But it was very close. I swear, all these stories are making me itch.

    • Elizabeth Silverstein

      This episode made me happy I did not give up on this show. Cora and Tom in the death scene and Thomas and Anna afterwards and the Dowager walking away – were just brilliant acting and made for amazing television. When a show is able to break your heart, it’s a good show.

    • Jecca2244

      I have to admit…I couldn’t fall asleep last night. I kept thinking about poor Sybil. ugh. heartbreaking. The downstairs reaction really gutted me. It was that one moment when you realize in the show (and in real life 80 plus years ago) how much upstairs and downstairs were entwined. and then Carson looking broken saying, “I’ve known her since she was a baby.”

      • girliecue

        Me too. After the show I thought “I am gutted”. Now getting more coffee to make it through the day. Poor Sybil! Poor everyone except Robert, Mary and that aristocratic doctor.

        • 3boysful

           And how about how the Sir Dr guy seems to have vamoosed in the middle of the night.

      • RroseSelavy

        Oh, that broke my heart as well. Carson must think of her as a daughter.

    • MsALVA

      Maggie Smith deserves an Emmy just for that walk into the Drawing Room. That hesitation for balance, gutted all over again.

      I am so glad I can finally talk about this!! I am one of the ones who watched the season online back in the fall and it’s been KILLING me not saying anything! 
      BTW, the timing last night was pretty perfect. Sybil’s death scene was playing pretty much at the same time that Downton Abbey was winning the SAG award. 

      • janierainie

        Totally agree. Maggie Smith’s walk just killed me! 

        • TheDivineMissAnn

           And the way she leaned so heavily on that cane as she walked…..brilliant!

      • Judy_S

         Maggie Smith’s scene was jaw-dropping, but I couldn’t help thinking as I watched that it was a gift from the directors to thank her for keeping DA right up there in the awards zone. “Ok we are going to keep the camera on her back for as long as she needs to win another Emmy.” It was a Helen Hayes-Ethel Barrymore moment.

    • Judy_J

      I was caught completely off guard with this episode.  I don’t even know what to say.  That final shot of Tom holding the baby was truly heartbreaking.  But then, there were so many heartbreaking scenes in this episode.

    • jilly_d

      I maintained composure until they cut to the shot of all the devastated faces downstairs. Then it was all over. Great ep, great recap. Thanks, boys.

    • voter1

      Waiting for Matthew to pull rank on saving Downton and trump Lord G and have the estate create some income.  Lady Mary needs to stop squeezing his cahones and let him be the man!

      • AnneElliot

        I agree, she wanted his money to save Downton — and now she wants to stick her head in the sand, like her father, and see it get pissed away?  Unbelievable.  She can’t have it both ways.  

        I wish Matthew would divorce her and marry Edith.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZLU6YVO4BRTELTTH3GRAAMWZQ Dot

           Agree. Mary is increasingly insufferable. Her treatment of Edith as her dead sister lay in front of them really sealed that for me — what a cruel, absurdly pigheaded woman. Also, the marriage really killed off whatever cool chemistry there was between Mary and Matthew.

          • fursa_saida

            I actually liked that. Edith opened the discussion with a reference to both of them having been nasty to one another (“She was the only person on earth who thought we were both such nice people”). I didn’t think Mary was rejecting her, I thought she was saying…well, exactly what she said. She was being realistic. The last thing I would want is somebody falling all over me, saying we’ll be the best of friends, simply because the occasion demands it when neither of us believes it to be true. Especially family.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZLU6YVO4BRTELTTH3GRAAMWZQ Dot

              It’s possible to resolve to try to do better in the future, without falling all over oneself. She couldn’t even be bothered to say, “Yes, let’s *try.*” What’s interesting to me is that Mary chooses to be bleakly “realistic” in dealing with her sister, but really bent on sticking her head in the sand with respect to the future of the estate.

            • fursa_saida

              I suppose. In the end, we just reacted to it differently. As for her reactions re: the sisters vs. the estate; my instinct is that for all she wanted to marry Matthew so badly, Mary is in fact not at all ready to be a grown-up in the sense of her family role. She has no interest in the shape of her life actually changing. The management of the estate issue involves a) disillusionment with her father (did you see her and Edith’s faces after Cora essentially said Sybil’s death was Robert’s fault? I actually believed the thought hadn’t yet crossed their minds, which is boggling to me) and b) the generational turnover that’s been a huge factor throughout the series but had previously manifested itself, for her, in romance/the question of marriage and her sisters’ rebellions. Getting married is one thing, but since her father is still very much in charge, she and Matthew haven’t yet up stepped up to their new roles, even though it’s very clearly coming. I don’t think she wants that to happen, whether she knows it or not–both for herself, and because she doesn’t want to see her parents as stepping down or moving past that. Same reason could explain her child-related shiftiness, although that may not be under her control.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZLU6YVO4BRTELTTH3GRAAMWZQ Dot

              True; I feel like I’m getting more and more annoyed with Mary with each episode, so that surely colors my reaction. I agree with you completely on the sisters’ disillusionment with their father. I too couldn’t believe they were so stunned by Cora placing the blame on Robert. Mary and Edith were present throughout the whole ordeal, so it seemed very odd that they wouldn’t have picked up on that very logical sentiment much sooner. Cora even told Mary to tell her father to sleep in the dressing room that night. If I had to guess, I’d say Edith will be the first to knock her father off his pedestal. That process will be far more difficult for Mary, I think.

              It will definitely be interesting to see where the “family way” path will lead for Mary and Matthew — there is definitely something odd happening there on her end. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if she let Matthew believe he’s to “blame” for their infertility, though!

        • not_Bridget

          In those days, adultery was the only possible reason for divorce in the UK. 

          Incompatibility?  That’s why most couples had separate bedrooms….

          • Lilithcat

            Incompatibility?  That’s why most couples had separate bedrooms…. 

            Actually, among the upper classes (and the middle class, if the family had sufficient room), it was normal for husband and wife to have separate bedrooms. 

            • j_anson

              I’m not sure this statement contradicts the above statement. :)

    • SapphoPoet

      I read spoilers last night on FB, but was still wreaked when I watched it this morning (instead of working). There was some brilliant acting in this episode–I was totally there with them all in the room. The scene with Anna and Thomas was heartwrenching. Sir Robert will be lucky if the worst that happens to him is that Cora makes him sleep in the dressing room. 

      When I was pregnant four years ago, I developed pre-eclampsia and had to have an emergency c-section. Thank god Sir Philip Tapsell wasn’t my doctor!

      As for BateZZZZZZ, the sooner they get him out of prison and back to Downton, the better for all of us. That story line has no air or tension to it.

    • Pennymac

      I turned off the SAG awards to watch last night, even though I have it on DVD and had already seen it. I cried like it was the first time. Hearing Tom beg Sybil to not leave re-broke my heart. And Thomas sobbing downstairs was wrenching. 

    • siriuslover

      Oh man, I read a spoiler on this and I knew what was coming, but MAN, that was devastated. And I have never been more angry at the history of this show–the accuracy of the skewed gender roles and the misogyny of the men upstairs and downstairs. Once a prostitute always a prostitute, don’t be “tainted” by association, don’t hear the word “urine” even if it’s to save your daughter’s life. Trust a prissy aristocratic MALE to tend to your daughter. Don’t listen at all to the two people in the room who have experience (Cora and Violet) having babies. It was all too much. I have stuck with Lord Grantham for awhile, but this was the straw that broke that proverbial camel’s back. I’m with Cora on this one.

      And Mary is back to being loathsome. Between her cold treatment of Edith and how she can’t handle the fact that money IS actually an issue (unless it deals directly with her and the thought of getting kicked out of Downton), she is more unlikeable every episode.

      And Thomas…Last week and this week, you’re making me feel so very bad for you. Is this turning into a redemption arc? That scene with Anna, oh.my.god.

      And finally, Tom in the window with his baby girl.

      LOST IT!

      • deltabronze

        Almost like he was looking out the window of a prison.

        • TheDivineMissAnn

           Good observation!

        • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

           I thought the same thing. The castle is lovely inside, but definitely austere and prison-like on the outside.

    • Tally Ho

      A year in the life of Downton Abbey. Let me
      see….

       

      Matthew miraculously recovers from his war
      wounds that was originally going to confine him to a wheelchair for life (and
      nix any heirs).

       

      He has a clandestine kiss with Mary, which
      is overseen by darling fiancé Lavinia, who promptly dies that night.

       

      Cora the countess almost also dies that
      night.

       

      Sybil runs off with the working class Irish
      revolutionary chauffeur to Dublin.

       

      After what must have been a dull and dreary
      fall, Mary and Matthew are engaged.

       

      Sybil announces her pregnancy.

       

      Robert loses the family’s fortune.

       

      Matthew is the heir to another fortune.

       

      Marry and Matthew get married.

       

      Edith gets engaged and is jilted at the
      altar.

       

      Sybil and Branson flee Ireland for Downton
      Abbey.

       

      Sybil has the baby and promptly dies.

       

      And this isn’t taking into the entire Bates
      plot.

       

      The gods are smiling on these people, eh?

       

      Still, I had to wonder about the point of
      Sybil’s death? Didn’t we have enough plot lines going without having to kill
      her off? Yes, I use the word “kill” for while she may have died in childbirth
      her role was firmly killed off by the writer – Julian Fellowes. What was his
      motive? What did he hope to achieve through her death? It’s possible that the
      actress was not interested in signing up for another season and this was a
      plausible way to get rid of her while keeping Branson in the picture. But
      there’s something sloppy about the handling of the Sybil– Branson relationship
      story arch. Fellowes presumably had the pair fall in love to allow him explore
      the ups and downs of an upstairs-downstairs relationship on the screen, which
      is fair enough, but everything from the physical attraction to the
      circumstances and escapades felt too contrived and implausible, and now this
      story arch is abruptly ended by an unexpected death of an otherwise healthy
      character.

       

      What to expect from the future? Branson and
      the baby’s role within the family circles, and I’m guessing Catholicism will be
      a topic.

      How about the great Grantham divorce? Cora
      is going to be furious at Robert for a long time to come and many a stronger
      woman, after watching her husband lose her fortune and make a bad decision
      leading to the death of a daughter, both within six months, would have filed
      for divorce. Perhaps the reference to the famous Marlborough divorce in an
      earlier episode was an implication of what’s to come? (a historical anecdote,
      the duke and duchess of Marlborough divorced in 1920, which more or less opened
      the floodgates for divorces among the aristocracy).

       

      Mary the bitch. I love to see her play it
      haughty and cold, you go woman! But her treatment of Edith at Sybil’s deathbed
      was pure bitch, and I don’t mean in a “you go bitch” way, but pure bitchiness.
      Edith should have walked out of the room and vowed never to talk to her sister
      again. What the hell does Matthew see in her? The way it’s going it’s Edith who
      would have made the much better wife.

       

      Robert the dunce: Nothing can go right for
      him this year, eh? Every decision he seems to take only worsens our opinions of
      him. Whatever happened to the pleasant, genteel Robert of Season 1?

      As for downstairs, their role was sufficient enough but it’s hard to focus on them when so much happened upstairs in this one season. I will, however, give some credit to Mrs. Crawley for sticking to her guns and keeping Ethel when her long-standing and respectable cook quits. On one hand, so much for employer loyalty but on the other hand she has principles and one must respect that, even if she’ll lose a lot of weight in the meantime. 

       

       

      • jw_ny

        You forgot to mention how convenient it was for Matthew, that Lavinia wrote that “forgive him’ letter to her father while on her deathbed, which she somehow secretly gave to Daisy.  (that tops all the nonsensical writing twists imo.)

        The previews did indicate that Catholicism will become an issue.  I’m doubtful there will be a Grantham divorce…somehow Richard will luck into winning Cora back. 

        I’m mostly curious about Mary and Matthew’s plans for producing an heir.  Between their bickering over the handling of the estate and now perhaps any fear on her end of winding up like her sister Sybil…I can see this being a season long story line. 

        I laughed out loud when Mrs. Crawly didn’t cave to Mrs. Byrd’s ultimatum.  Did again when reading TLo’s comment “It’s true, y’know. No one ever could mistake Mrs. Byrd for a prostitute.”  XD 

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         You know, I don’t think Edith really minded. She would have expected little more from Mary, but she did get a momentary truce.

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         Good wrap-up of a year in the life of D.A.

      • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

         The actress who played Sybil didn’t want to continue with the role. So, they had to write her out. They could have just left them off-stage over in Ireland, with mentions every now and again, but it would have robbed the show of Tom and the baby too. This provided a much needed jolt of drama.

      • fursa_saida

        Well, so if the issue is having too many storylines, this just eliminated one. I feel like this is helping, not hurting the issue you’re raising? That’s how I saw it. I see now that Jessica Findlay wanted to leave (I can’t imagine why; from a career standpoint that seems pretty unwise), but even before I knew that I thought this was the best narrative decision so far this season. Her whole plotline had gotten spun much too far out of the orbit of this show’s focus.

    • http://twitter.com/SallySpan Sally S

      Your tweet regarding how huge Carson’s head is pretty much made my night, otherwise I would have surely been depressed due to the untimely and horrifying death of Lady Sybil. 

    • The_English_Teacher

      When I read the title of this post, I steeled myself for the heartless condemnation to follow. Since this episode stunned my husband and me and made us cry over the completely avoidable death of the purest character in the show (with the exception of Anna), I was ready to tell you that you blew it. So when I read “. . . but this was easily one of the finest moments of the show; a devastating emotional scene . . .,” I was surprised. Your title belies your comments. Be more careful writing your titles, Darlings. You got me worked up needlessly.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

         You misread the title.

        • The_English_Teacher

          I did? Then why the use of the adjective “ugly”? That word has a bad connotation, leading your reader to expect a negative reaction to all the grieving. You, of course, were as moved by it as I was. But you guys have the blog, so go ahead and use whatever descriptors you want. I still think you muffed the title of this one. ;-)

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

             Yes. “Ugly Cry” is when some one cries so hard, they make an ugly face.

          • Lilithcat

            “Ugly” modifies “cry”, not “episode”.

    • A. Valera

      MAN!  I am reading this at work because I didn’t see it last night but whew…I’m teary eyed seeing that picture of Branson in the window the baby and I’m about to get wrecked.  *sniff*

    • BayTampaBay

      You just wait until next season…MARK MY WORDS……Tom Branson will be developed into a major character!

      There is no way that Cora will ever let that baby leave her sight.

      After the deathbed promise to Sybil ..”Not to let Branson go back”…..Cora will pack up the baby and Branson and head to Newport, Rhode Island before she will ever let go of her granddaughter.

      Jessica Brown-Findley and Archie Leech proved last night that they can act circles around anyone given good and proper writing.

      I tip my hat to Sir Julian…one the best DA episodes to date.

      • MissMariRose

         I think you meant Allen Leech. Archie Leach died in 1986. ;)

        • girliecue

          Still miss him. He will always be one of the most handsome and manliest of men to grace to silver screen.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PBGUD7Y6KYRNL7PCKYNPD2UGSM Carol

            He’s become a real favorite of mine in the last few years.  The Philadelphia Story, Notorious, North By Northwest, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, She Done Him Wrong….

            • fursa_saida

              I remember seeing the Philadelphia Story as a kid and thinking the entire hangover sequence was the funniest thing ever to have happened, anywhere, to anyone.

              Now, in my drunken aged wisdom, I recognize that I was a cruel and tasteless child.

            • whitrome

              Ha! This was clever and hilarious, thank you.

    • CPK1

      I knew Sybil was going to die (someone in England let the cat out of the bag) but this was so sad. Tom and Cora’s grief was so overwhelming. Tragic, i cried a ton

    • Carla_Charlton

      Even though we saw it coming at our house, I still cried hard when Cora was sitting talking to Sybil’s body; likewise when the sisters and Branson were in the room when it was time to take away the body.  I like the way Thomas broke down — it really makes him more of a 3-dimensional character.  And Robert — he’s an ass, but I feel like his portrayal this season is probably more realistic.  And the ob-gyn to the aristocracy was not all bad — he gave Matthew reasonable advice and I don’t think his assessment of the possibility of infection or other risks from a C-Section were off base at all.  However, his GUARANTEE of the mother and baby’s health was, of course, arrogant. 

      • http://twitter.com/_KarenX Karen Miller

        I’m not arguing with anything you said, but what I took away from the scene with the doctor was just how absent from the conversation was any possibility about Mary’s actions influencing the outcome of the couple’s infertility. I know the scene was more of the doctor reassuring Matthew (while bigger things were going on) and not an actual consultation, but it stuck out to me. I don’t think it was necessarily a topic the characters would have had, but I personally feel foreshadowed to.

        • Carla_Charlton

          Oh, yes, I agree about Mary.  Every time Matthew mentions or hints about children, she grimaces.  I wonder if she’s trying some kind of new-fangled birth control?  I think the scene between Matthew and the ob-gyn made Matthew look a little clueless about the possibility that maybe Mary’s actions or inactions might be delaying any pregnancy.  But, nevertheless, I think the doctor’s advice was sensible enough, based on what Matthew was telling him.

          • twocee

            I’ve wondered about the possibility that Mary is using something to not get pregnant.  I don’t think she wants a child.  Either that or she KNOWS she can’t get pregnant and is hiding it from everyone including Cora.

            • j_anson

              Given how this show usually solves problems, I suspect what is going on is that Mary has concluded she MUST be barren because she has now had sex with TWO GUYS and not conceived, and she’s stressing about it without being capable of talking it out with Matthew sensibly because after all she came to the marriage sullied and now she’s also BARREN(!!). But in reality, it really ISN’T uncommon for couples to take a while to get a pregnancy started (evil aristo-doctor is totally correct about that) so in the end, after all has come out and Mary has been needlessly bitchy out of guilt, and Matthew has had a chance to look tight-faced but loving, and the family has had a few big fights about it, everything will be solved by Mary suddenly getting pregnant after all.

    • formerlyAnon

      To address the idea of a divorce: I think things would have to be a lot worse for a long time before Robert & Cora divorce. It just wasn’t done except in extreme circumstances. Socially and financially, there was a lot to be lost.  A separation – maybe informal but probably a legal one if there’s any money to be set aside for Cora – would be more plausible.

      These are two people who’ve worked well in tandem for over 20 years and only in the last few years have started to have seriously different viewpoints. I expect a glacial freeze and estrangement for a while and then can see it going either way: either a separation or a rapprochement as they realize that they share a kind of grieving that no one else can. If there is anyone with whom Robert can show his grief it will be Cora.

      • http://twitter.com/kerryev kerryev

        She did like that ‘little’ house where they picnicked.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PBGUD7Y6KYRNL7PCKYNPD2UGSM Carol

        That’s all true about them working well in tandem for 20+ years, but the death of a child tests a marriage like nothing else. Over 50% of marriages in that situation do not survive.  I could easily see a separation.

        • formerlyAnon

           Yes. I could see it going either way.

    • SewingSiren

      Oh this was a good episode. Too bad that Sibyl has to be dead forever.
      Of all the grief stricken characters I do believe that Thomas’s reaction was my favorite. He always gets to me when they show is more tender side.
      Mary can still be a bitch , even when her little sister is laid out cold in front of her she can still cut her sister Edith for no reason what so ever. And her husband too, for trying to save the estate that he is paying for , for her no less.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

         I can see a widowed Mary in the late 50’s, elegant and brittle, eking out what little money remains from the estate by living in a small room  in some Paris hotel as “Le Comtesse d’ Grantham”

        • SewingSiren

          You see her going further than I do.  I envision the estate being lost due to the heirs inability to modernize and she and Mathew  moving to a smaller mansion in the same county were she pecks him to death for  the rest of his life blaming him for being the Earl that loses Downton (but never missing formal tea time all the while.)

          • Stubenville

            So like a cheerless To the Manor Born ?

            • SewingSiren

              Yes, cheerless. Despite all her many advantages  that’s how I see her future.

      • jw_ny

         “Too bad that Sibyl has to be dead forever.”

        well…in the true spirit of any soap opera I’ve ever watched, a character dying doesn’t really mean they are dead.  Perhaps an imposter had plastic surgery to look like Sybil, infiltrate the Grantham household, embezzle the wealth, etc…meanwhile the real Sybil is locked away in some ice castle,…or maybe she had an identical evil twin that was given away at birth, …or…lol.   (j/k)

        Edith is slowly shedding her milktoast ways…I expect (hope) her to become a modern 20’s woman with a career, and be a contrast to Mary and her antiquated aristocratic ways.  Can’t wait (hoping) to see Mary have a glimmer of envy of Edith.

        • twocee

          Heh.  My DA viewing partner looked at me last night and said, “maybe that was really Sybil’s evil twin.”

        • SewingSiren

          Yes she could return it’s true. I was thinking more like a spirt. A spirt to haunt Downton Abbey. That would certainly help the tourist trade. There would be Lavinia and Mr. Pamuk to keep her company in the nether wold..

        • girliecue

          OR…maybe in a characteristically earnest but unintentionally hilarious manner Julian Fellowes will bring back Sybil in the spinoff series: Zombie Downton Abbey.

          • j_anson

            Or Vampire Downton Abbey! Very topical! I would totally watch that!

            • fursa_saida

              Sybil and Tom would be FABULOUS vampires.

    • schadenfreudelicious

      i have never so much wanted to throttle a man as i did Robert last night, i hope Cora banishes him from the maritial bed for the duration…

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      I really liked Lord Grantham in the first season.  I knew he would have trouble keeping up with the times, but I didn’t think he would become such an incompetent ass.  A little peeved at Fellowes for this.

    • SewingSiren

      I have to add that I don’t blame Lord Grantham for siding with the Sir Phillip diagnosis of Lady Sybil, because Dr. Clarkson has been wrong (very wrong) so many times the past. Sir Philip was very confident in his diagnosis and Dr. Clarkson was not (as he could not be). Dr. Clarkson’s prescribed course of action involved a lot more risk too. Also, unlike Cora, Lord Grantham would have no idea what “normal” childbirth and labor was like. Therefore when he was told by the very confident Sir Philip that what he was seeing was normal he was inclined and relieved to believe it .

      • Tally Ho

        There is truth to what you wrote. Sir Philip was the proven expert with a long history of successful deliveries among the aristocracy. That would have cut a lot of cake for Robert, compared with the provincial country doctor that is Dr. Clarkson. 

        Most of us today would probably defer to a famous medical expert over our regular doctors. 

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

          Sir Phillip was probably not born a Sir. Here is a another doctor’s brief bio from the Royal College of Physicians –
          “Sir Charles Mansfield Clarke (1782–1857), Bt, was a leading practitioner in midwifery, and worked to improve the status of midwifery within the medical profession. After obtaining his College of Surgeons’ diploma Clarke spent two years as surgeon in the army, but left to specialise in diseases of women and children. He later became surgeon to Queen Charlotte’s Lying-In Hospital. In 1830 Clarke was appointed physician to Queen Adelaide, and soon after received a baronetcy. Clark was a fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal College of Physicians, London. He was also president of the Society for the Relief of the Widows and Orphans of Medical Men.”

      • Sobaika

        Who knows what choice we would have made given the information he had, but now I don’t see how Robert and Cora’s marriage could ever recover. It was pretty cut and dry – she’d been on Clarkson’s side right off the bat and Robert is such a massive idiot.

        There might have been a little shade of gray if perhaps Clarkson didn’t know what was happening to Sybil, just that something was wrong, or if Robert hadn’t been such a stalwart til the very end, but I can’t imagine a marriage ever being the same after the loss of a child, particularly in such a manner.

        • SewingSiren

          I’m not saying that Cora should or would understand his decision or that she would forgive him, considering the outcome. I just more or less as a complete outsider and viewer, feel he is less blame worthy.
          If they had followed Dr. Clarkson’s advice at the late stage of labor (which even he rightfully stated would be risky to mother and child) and tried a cesarian  operation in the 1920’s ,in a non surgical hospital, with an unpracticed surgeon, when eclampsia had already set in, I think it would be very unlikely that the mother would have survived. In which case Lord Grantham would be blaming Cora for the the death of their daughter.

          • siriuslover

            but how do we know he’s unpracticed? He was a doctor for at least 28 years (can’t remember how old Mary is), he serviced the entire area, not just Downton, and he served in the war. I am sure that he did perform surgeries in his time.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PBGUD7Y6KYRNL7PCKYNPD2UGSM Carol

            Caesareans weren’t always deadly in the 1920s.  Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II was born by caesarean.  Both mother and child survived.

          • j_anson

            I agree with both you and Sobaika – I don’t think the choice was terribly clear-cut either way; what is clear is that once they squared off there was no way someone wasn’t going to be blaming someone else if Sybil died. It’s sad in great part because it IS the case that there wasn’t necessarily an obviously right choice.

      • not_Bridget

        But Robert’s continuing embarrassment when “female matters” come up should have disqualified him from an opinion on the matter.  He chose the London doctor because he, too, was a pompous blowhard.

    • 3boysful

      Oh, and thanks, boys, for the thumbnail of the hollandaise.  That scene was priceless.  I was so glad Alfred was able to use his–sniff–restaurant training to save the day.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

         Alfred isn’t going to remain a house servant his whole life- when he’s not stunned by authority he’s sharper than he appears.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      Sorry if i missed a mention of it earlier, but once again, poor Edith.  Her father saying that the editor wants her newspaper articles just because of her title.  I’m hoping she goes ahead and starts publishing anyway (under an assumed name?) and becomes a first class journalist or writer.  

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZLU6YVO4BRTELTTH3GRAAMWZQ Dot

        JFC, I am really sick of seeing everyone (save for Matthew) callously shit on Edith every single episode. It’s gotten to the point where it’s just kind of ridiculous and over the top.

        • Lilithcat

          Except that it’s not over the top. It’s a realistic portrayal of how middle daughters are treated.

          I hope she writes an article slamming Harley Street specialists.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZLU6YVO4BRTELTTH3GRAAMWZQ Dot

            Really? Because I’m a middle daughter and my parents/family members have never been so hellbent on callously shutting down *every single thing* I consider or attempt. It’s over the top because there is absolutely no subtlety about it this season– Fellowes is really forcing the “everyone is so mean to Edith” plot device. She gets engaged/jilted at the altar and everyone promptly begins to treat her like garbage. This is the same woman who learned to drive and was operating a tractor at a farm not that long ago. While Robert and co. weren’t necessarily thrilled about that endeavor, I don’t recall them being as virulently cruel and dismissive as they are now. Needless to say, it seems a little forced to me.

            • Lilithcat

              Yes, really.

          • 4JJ

            Ah Lilithcat, bless you! I’m a middle of three girls, and I kind of liked that I got to fly under the parental radar, while expectations were high for my older sister and coddling was constant for my younger. But it’s clear that Edith doesn’t get the social freedoms in her era that we have had in recent decades.

            Does anyone remember in Season 1, when Cora and Robert were talking about “poor Edith” being the daughter who would most likely stay at home to support C & R in their old age? It seems as though Edith’s parents have always wanted to suppress their middle daughter. And writing for the newspaper is in keeping with her other bids for freedom: befriending Matthew at the beginning, grubby farm work in WWI, pursuing Sir Anthony and now flirting with journalism.

    • decormaven

      Did anyone else notice that the show used a little different twist to the regular musical score in the scene where Mary and Sybil have the discussion about the baptism, and Sybil shares her opinions on religion (“vicars and feast days…”)? When they played that little musical figure, I knew Sybil would be singing with the angels soon. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/seelebrennt Christina Diaz

      i almost died when they showed branson in the window with the baby.  i was sobbing when he and cora were losing their minds, begging her not to die…then when violet is walking away from carson and she seems to be having trouble even walking toward the room and flips the veil…i can’t even. 

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       I don’t hate Robert, but I trust Cora more in this situation. I loved Mrs. Byrd’s shock that Mrs. Crawley would prefer Ethel to her; she thought her ultimatum was a trump card, but not when it grates against Isobel’s ideals. And can I say, bitchy or not, Michelle Dockery’s poise was flawless throughout the episode. Love her or hate her, Lady Crawley she is. Bad luck for Matthew to have fallen for so priveleged an heiress.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AntoniaDonnelly Antonia O’Connor Donnelly

      I don’t know, for some reason I thought Dr. Clarkson and Cora convinced them to go to the hospital for the C-section, next thing you know we jump right to Sybil having the baby and then dying.  I was a little confused by it all.  Then I just got really weepy.

    • http://twitter.com/marieldrucker Marie Drucker

      Totally wrecked. I knew it was going to happen and still couldn’t stop crying. And when Anna put her arms around Thomas, who’s been so mean to her, cried more. And then all I wanted was to hug Maggie Smith. Totally wrecked.

    • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

      Like a lot of people, I had already seen this episode and I still cried again.  Just when I’d stop, something (Thomas, the Dowager) would start me up all over again.  Then, this morning, reading TLo…

      I think the thing that pissed me off about Robert the most was his complete dismissal of Tom’s opinion.  No matter what he may think of him, Tom is (was *sob*) Sybil’s husband and the father of that baby,  He should have been included in EVERY discussion.

      I’ve always had a soft spot for Thomas (ever wonder why Julian Fellowes has two major characters with, essentially, the same name?).  Even though he can be mean, he always has these glimpses of the person underneath that bravado.  It’s not easy being gay now, imagine what it was like for him back then.   O’Brien, on the other hand, is just evil. 

      I don’t think Mary was purposefully being cruel to Edith, just truthful.  She knows that they will try to get along better but she also knows that they will eventually end up fighting about something.  It’s just the nature of their relationship.

      A tweet in the #DowntonPBS feed last night tipped me off to Patton Oswalt being a fan and their anticipation of his reaction (he is on the west coast).  His tweets started out amusing (“Did Godzilla ever fight Eclampsia?” and progressively became more distraught (“No. NO. Goddamit.”).  Then there was this one:  “I want Carson, Bates, and The Dowager Countess to storm the afterworld, pig-punch the Grim Reaper, and GET SYBIL BACK.”  He couldn’t finish the episode and tweeted that he was changing the channel.

      • MissMariRose

         “I don’t think Mary was purposefully being cruel to Edith, just
        truthful.  She knows that they will try to get along better but she also
        knows that they will eventually end up fighting about something.  It’s
        just the nature of their relationship.”

        YES, THANK YOU. We all know that if Mary had told Edith what she wanted to hear, we would instantly recognize it as the bullshit it is. After all they’ve been through and all the nasty things they’ve done to each other, it’s ridiculous to think that Sybil’s death would instantly wash it all away.

        Like Dr. Clarkson, Mary told the hard, ugly truth instead of telling her what she wanted to hear. That should be the lesson of this episode. Stop painting rosy pictures while everything crumbles around you. (With respect to Robert’s running of Downton, it’s a lesson Mary still fully needs to learn as well.)

        • Adriana_Paula

          Thank YOU!  Sometimes I get frustrated when viewers want “good” characters to always behave like paragons.  Just because Mary is one of the protagonists doesn’t mean she’s not flawed.  And in this instance I couldn’t agree more: after being someone’s sister for 25+ years you get a pretty good idea of what is and isn’t possible between you emotionally.  I liked the rueful humor in what Mary said to Edith, and it also struck me as a loving, albeit cautious, thing to say.

          • Lilithcat

            Sometimes I get frustrated when viewers want “good” characters to always behave like paragons.  Just because Mary is one of the protagonists doesn’t mean she’s not flawed.

            Mary has never been a “good” character.  She’s been a self-centered bitch from day one.

            • Adriana_Paula

              Should she be otherwise, even if that’s true?  No one complains when Thomas or O’Brien behaves badly; we see them as “bad” characters so their behavior is fun to watch and people gleefully look forward to what they’ll do next.  Mary is held to a different standard because as a main character she is allegedly the “heroine,” and we expect heroines to be nice people.  Otherwise, why wouldn’t we just enjoy her exploits whether she’s a bitch or not?

            • not_Bridget

              But she was always “the pretty one”–compared to Edith, at least. She could have had Patrick but didn’t want him; Edith did. Edith wanted Matthew while Mary was avoiding the inevitable; Matthew was polite.  Mary’s parents preferred her to Edith.  Alas, Edith did inform the wrong folks about Mary’s premarital hijinks–but that eventually came to nothing. Except that Mary took revenge by driving away Strallan, who really did care for Edith–back before the War. 

              Now Mary’s future is secure. She will be Countess at Downton Abbey. She is married to The Handsome Matthew–even if she treats him like dirt. She is secure in her knowledge that she will never need any help or sympathy from the “plain” sister.  Or from elsewhere–because neither of them has even one friend–besides the hired help…..

              (Mary could have just kept her mouth shut, given a sad smile & hugged Edith. Nope, she had to rehearse for her future as the witty Dowager.)

          • fursa_saida

            THANK YOU ALLLLL

        • formerlyAnon

           As someone who sometimes responds wryly rather than [what I see as] sentimentally to remarks which I think originate in wishful thinking, I didn’t see Mary’s unfortunate response as mean or bitchy, but as more likely, realistic.  Which doesn’t change the fact that it was an unhelpful and callous response in the circumstances, but then Mary is never a champ at seeing anything from someone else’s point of view.

      • Corsetmaker

        Yup, I saw it as simple realism. No point in gushing out false promises and false emotion. They’ll never be best friends, but they are sisters. No nastiness just truth.

      • jeeplibby02

        (ever wonder why Julian Fellowes has two major characters with, essentially, the same name?)

        He said did it because by happenstance people who are friends, in-laws, neighbors, etc. have the same name in real life, but never on screen.  I remember him saying to the interviewer, “Well, people DO sometimes have the same name, don’t they?,” and shrugging it off.

    • http://twitter.com/TheRealSandraOh Sandra Oh

      When I saw this for the time first last fall, I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks.  It’s as if a real family member of mine had died.  I thought I prepared myself for it last night but I still bawled like a baby.  My husband thinks I’m a loon.  LOL.

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         You’re not a loon! LOL

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

        Come to America! We can cry together.

      • jeeplibby02

        I also saw it when it first aired in the UK, and had trouble sleeping that night.  The next day at work I was visibly sullen, and had to confess to a colleague the reason for my somber disposition.  Thankfully, she understood, and didn’t laugh at me.  My reactions really caught me off-guard, because I Sybil had been off-screen for so much of last season that I didn’t realize that I cared that much about her.  

    • tessasouthworth

      I watched the second half of the SAG awards on DVR last night immediately after the DA airing, so I went right from wanting to slap silly most of the “upstairs” characters for their behavior during Sybil’s death scene to wanting to slap their actors for their conspicuous absence from the awards ceremony (with the exception of Ms. Dockery, who was undoubtedly there because she had also been nominated in her own right). This was in such sharp contrast to all the other ensemble winners who looked as if they had trotted out every last extra and their understudies to the stage! While it is understandable that some of the DA cast members had other commitments, it was obvious to me that the rest of them probably didn’t think they would win so they couldn’t be bothered to show up.

      That said, however, had the rest of the cast been there, we probably wouldn’t have been treated to the resplendent- not to mention nearly unrecognizable- Phyllis Logan and a her wonderful speech (can anyone imagine the words of that speech coming out of Mrs. Hughes mouth?). And although I understand that she made many of last night’s worst-dressed lists, wasn’t the excitement of Sophie McShera/Daisy all kinds of adorable?

      • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

         Well, don’t forget that the DA cast are all from Britain. Several have already been here doing promotions non-stop and some were at the Golden Globes a couple of weeks ago.  The other shows are mostly shot in LA and its much easier to scramble a large contingent of cast and crew. Maggie Smith is busy shooting movies, Brendan Coyle is shooting something in Thailand or other exotic local, he tweeted it yesterday. Dan Stevens is on Broadway and would have had two shows on Sunday.

        • tessasouthworth

          And that’s why I wrote, “While it is understandable that some of the DA cast members had other commitments…” Surely others of the cast and crew could have been moved to show up to accept this honor from their own peers besides the chauffeur, the head housemaid, the kitchen maid (oops- assistant cook) and the “soiled” woman! :-)

          • Corsetmaker

            There’s also been some pretty dodgy weather in England. Lots of snow, which the south never handles very well. So depending on where various cast members are based that may have kept them away. Plus I’d assume there’s a production company budget to only send so many people.

    • 4JJ

      I also knew what was coming with this episode, but I cried my way through it. However, we know now that being young and very sweet is dangerous in Fellowesland: William, Lavinia, and now Sybil – and the last one was definitely the hardest. But well-written and beautifully acted.

      As enraged as I was by Lord Robert’s stubborn refusal to listen to Clarkson, it’s only fair to point out that Clarkson did make errors with Matthew’s and Lavinia’s diagnoses (though they were errors that any doc might have made), and Robert brought Sir Philip, a respected and successful ob/gyn, in out of concern for his daughter’s health. Sir P was right that hospital admission and cesarean section carried their own risks, especially at that time. But as my husband said, the unforgiveable with Sir P is when Clarkson was fretting about Sybil’s swollen ankles and Sir P said, “some women just have thick ankles.” Clarkson’s quietly urgent, “But she doesn’t” should have been considered significant by the specialist, coming as it did from the family doc who knew her all her life.

      Let me quibble with those who found the family’s responses (especially Cora’s) unnaturally restrained: some families keep it inside, and I suspect the Crawleys would be such a family. I thought Cora’s restrained terror before Sybil’s death, and her suppressed rage after it, were both beautifully done – as well done in their way as Maggie’s Smith’s astonishingly perfect reactions. She has been described throughout her career as an actress who uses her entire body in a role, and we saw that last night.

      Finally, I’m going to stand up for Mary. I didn’t think her response to Edith was cold when she said they probably wouldn’t become close as a result of Sybil’s death: I thought Mary sounded sad and realistic in that moment. She did, after all, then make a little speech about being kind to each other in that last moment the three sisters would be together, and she did embrace Edith. And I think Mary had every right to be angry with both Matthew and Mr Murray when she found them discussing business in the library.

      • j_anson

        Good thing Daisy’s always prone to being a bit sulky, then.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1129137319 Paula Pertile

      So. sad. I didn’t see that one coming, although after they announced the baby was born and everything was fine! I had a bad feeling, like ‘its too good to be true’. And then whammo. Man. That was a shock. And so well-acted by everyone, above and below stairs.  { Big heavy sigh } 
      Cora by the bed saying her good-bye was heart wrenching for its poise, and lack of “laying over the bed and sobbing”. It shows such a deep level of grief, a place beyond tears. 

      Sybil was like a really lush and blooming cane of a rose; while Mary is a brittle dried up one who can’t even make new leaves, let alone a flower (can you tell I’ve been pruning my roses?). Seriously. Mary, my god. 

      Robert. *?*

      I’m glad Isobel gave Ethel a job, but too bad she couldn’t have done it and let her keep her child as well? OK, that’s way too much to ask, I know. I wonder how long she will be able to stand it though. I was so proud of her giving Mrs. Bird her month’s wages and a polite good bye. 

      OK, this is a waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out-there odd thing, but someone help me with this please. In prison, that guard who was friends with Bates’ cell mate – something about him seemed familiar. I was going “I know him … who is he?” and then a few beats later I thought he might, just might, be Laurence Fox, who plays Sgt. Hathaway in Inspector Lewis. Done up with dark hair and contacts. I’ve googled, can’t find anything. I’m probably wrong, but for a bit last night I was so sure. 

      • Lilithcat

         too bad she couldn’t have done it and let her keep her child as well?

        She wanted Ethel to keep the child.  It was Ethel who made that decision in the face of Isobel’s opposition.

        • not_Bridget

          Besides, the kid will still get a better education than he would have as a maid’s child.  Most domestic jobs had no day care provisions, anyway. 

          • formerlyAnon

             Not just a better education. Darn sight better chance of being well-enough fed and cared for to survive childhood . . . to go to war in WW II.

    • VermillionSky

      This episode wrecked me, too.  My daughter was born 10 weeks early by emergency c-section due to severe preeclampsia.   After she delivered the baby I was mentally screaming “she’s not OK.  Women still die from preeclampsia/eclampsia after delivery, even with modern medicine!”  I had magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures and steroids for my baby’s lung development and an amazing NICU to care for seven weeks after birth, and luckily my baby is a happy and healthy two-year-old, but I can’t really fantasize about living in a past era any more because I would have died like Sybil without modern medicine.

      • formerlyAnon

         Yup. My family is amazingly healthy as adults, but few of my generation would have made it to age 3 before the late 1940s.

    • VermillionSky

      By “ugly cry episode” they meant an episode that will make you weep so much you look pretty awful afterward.  They didn’t mean the episode was bad.

      hmm.. looks like this showed up as a new comment and not a reply to a previous post, which was the intention.

    • bluefish

      I didn’t see that coming at all.  I must be hardhearted because while I was saddened to see it, I didn’t cry.  For me the most heartwrenching and uncomfortable scene of Season 3 was the renunciation of Edith by Anthony at the altar.  I didn’t cry then either but my heart broke for both of them — had to to fast forward through it the first time and rewatch it later.

      Julian F. has created a wonderful world and some great characters — and I would watch for the costumes, scenery, food, and decor alone — but he just can’t help himself with the plot points and twists, and for me the death of Sybil — and Sir Robert’s decision-making process throughout — were a prime example of the show’s weakness.  Robert has proven himself to be an utterly devoted father time and time again.  For all his snobbery and whatevers, he’s also capable of being pragmatic and broadminded.   His all of a sudden inability to cope with female biology at the expense of his youngest child I found entirely unconvincing.  The show wants to make grand statements about a variety of issues and so here we go again with the overly melodramatic.  It’s definitely entertaining but the debt JF owes to these extraordinary actors can’t be overstated.

      • Adriana_Paula

        Robert was just as sqeamish about biology back when Cora was pregnant in season 1, despite his love for Cora and obvious delight at the thought of another baby.  And as others have pointed out, he did try to get the best possible doctor for Sybil; that doctor just turned out to be wrong and pigheaded about it.

        • j_anson

          Yeah, I said this up above, but I have some sympathy for Robert. C-section wasn’t a common, safe operation in the 1920s the way it is today, and he had the supposed subject-matter expert right there insisting that it was totally unnecessary and dangerous. There were definitely moments when he was a bit of a twit but I don’t think this is so clear-cut when you don’t have the benefit of knowing what the narrative was telling the viewers.

    • VermillionSky

      Bed rest doesn’t always work.  When I was diagnosed I was given magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures and steroid injections to boost my baby’s lung development, and delivered by emergency c-section within a week, 10 weeks early.

      • Lynn Landry

        I had preeclampsia post partum and had to go back to the emergency room when my ob IGNORED WHAT I WAS TELLING HIM AND TOLD ME I WAS JUST STRESSED. So, this episode REALLY hit me hard. They did a pretty good job of playing out what happens. Luckily, I got shot up with magnesium sulfate AND lassex and pee’d 25 pounds of fluid out of me in 24 hours! the good news, I pee’d out all my baby weight!

        • mskgb

          You deserve some sort of Bitter Kitten Silver Lining Visionary award for drily finding humor in the horrific.

          • Lynn Landry

            I love you, mskgb! MWAH!

    • Sobaika

      I hadn’t been spoiled and began this episode right after the high of them winning at SAG… how heartbreaking. I thought it was particularly evil that Sybil, arguably the most feminist sister, died due to good old-fashioned sexism. “Oh ladies, you know, and their childbirth…” I wanted to throttle that doctor.

      • siriuslover

        I commented on the sexism running rampant throughout this episode. Certainly, it’s been there since the beginning (with the entail), but tonight, it wasn’t about legal issues, it was about social issues and women’s place and their voices (or lack of them). It stung me so hard because Fellowes was so dead-on with the history last night.

    • http://twitter.com/ToddieDowns ToddieDowns

      I haven’t cried that hard over a television show in a couple years. “Wrecked” is the right word.

    • CeeQ

      It all started when Tom looked over at Matthew; confused, devastated, terrified. And all Matthew could do was grip the bed post as if it was his last refuge and he could do NOTHING else but cry. The scene that drove me over the edge? Thomas, inconsolable in the hallway. They really were a family overcome in that episode, upstairs and downstairs. 
      Worst was that I saw it coming the entire episode! I must have screamed “FUCK!!!! She’s going to die!!! DO SOMETHING!!!” 10 times. And she did. FUUUUUCK.Cousin Violet barely able to contain her tears just made me bawl all over again. What an episode, I’m still upset!

      “It’s true, y’know. No one ever could mistake Mrs. Byrd for a prostitute.”
      Leave it to Isobel to give the one line that made me chortle. 

      Robert….ah shit. I really don’t know what to think of him. He’s fucked up royally and I just don’t know why he wouldn’t listen to Cora or his mother. But I guess you are right – it’s that thick headed stubbornness that’s his down fall and could well have finally cost him his marriage. He just goes around with this unbelieving look in his eyes the whole time. As you say – this doesn’t happen to us. We’re the Granthams.

      So my favourite character is gone. Damn it. 

      • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

        Oh, I know!  Poor Thomas!

        Violet is their grandmother, not cousin.  She’s Robert’s mother.  I always get the feeling that she wishes he was still small enough that she could give his bottom a good hard smack, lol.

        • CeeQ

          I know, I just say Cousin Violet because that’s what Matthew and his mum call her. Plus it’s shorter to write than Dowager Countess =D 

          • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

            Ah, got it!  =-)

    • Eileen Mannion

      OMG, oh how Dame Maggie Smith can even act with her f’ing back to the camera … she is amazing … that tortured walk after her words with Carson as she struggled to pull herself together to face the family … simply phenomenal …

      • DeTrop

        I so agree.  She is truly a great actress.  When I saw her flip her veil and walk unsteadily towards her family, I felt her pain.  

    • ScarlettHarlot

      Is Mary sterile? 

      She said she’d been to the doctor, and immediately decides to convert the nursery into a parlor? She has given lots of little visual cues that something is off…maybe the doctor told her she can’t conceive/carry children? Something is up. 

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        Well, I think one of them is.  Matthew had that conversation with Dr. Whatshisname from London asking whether his war injury could affect his ability to have children.  There were several other one-line comments (which I can’t remember!) throughout the episode alluding to their (suspected) inability to have children, made by Mary, I believe.

        • ScarlettHarlot

          I know – I can’t remember any of the specific lines/instances either, because my brain is too full of Sybil grief! All I can think of is poor Cora sitting by the bed after Mary left her for the night. 

          If I were Cora, I wouldn’t have sent Lord Grantham to sleep in the dressing room, I’d have exiled him to the stables. Or suggested he spend the night at Sir Phillip’s. 

          • TheDivineMissAnn

             This is off topic, but I am amazed at people who can memorize entire pieces of dialogue from movies!    I am only good for remembering one-maaybee two-sentences in a dialogue.

        • Girl_With_a_Pearl

          Unfortunately, we saw last night that Sir/Dr. Whatshisname has his limits when it comes to medical knowledge.  Maybe Matthew will have to have this conversation with Dr. Clarkson or still a third doctior?  

        • Lilithcat

          Hmm.  Wonder if Mary will get preggers by someone else and pass the bastard off as Matthew’s child, just to ensure the inheritance.

          • j_anson

            She totally would. And honestly, if she could pull it off without Matthew knowing, I’m not convinced she’d be wrong.

        • formerlyAnon

          At first I wondered if Mary was avoiding pregnancy for some reason, but now I fully expect their probable sterility to be brought to light. In a 19th century novel they’d eventually adopt little niece-with-no-name-yet, but with this lot, the odds are even Mary turns up pregnant with twins after much hand wringing.

          I’m still waiting for the supposed *real heir* presumed dead (though I can’t remember why, was he also on the Titanic with Robert & Cora’s son, or just lost in Canada?) who may or may not have surfaced as a patient during the war, to put in a reappearance. Wishful thinking, maybe.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/CYGGYQDGESKN4PWJTA2KN25PLI ruff

      On the bright side, if Sybil had to die, at least her (very not jolly) hair-do went with her.

      • 4JJ

        Ha! Very true. It’s worrisome that her deathbed hair looked better.

    • StPauliGrrl

      Question:  If Sybil had a boy, would he become second in line as heir after Matthew or would he move to the front of the line since he is the grandson of Lord Grantham?  What happens if Mary and Matthew have a boy?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

        Go to Daily Mail UK version, search for Baron Braybrooke. He has 8 daughters, no son. His oldest daughter has a son but that boy won’t inherit Audley End. Entail still rules.

      • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

        I think that the line runs through Matthew now since Lord Grantham didn’t have any sons.  Women aren’t allowed to inherit.  If Matthew and Mary had a son, he would be next in line but if they had a daughter, I really don’t know what would happen.  I think Matthew was the last male heir.

      • Tally Ho

        A boy of Sybil or Edith would have no chance at the title, no matter if he’s the first grandchild of the earl of Grantham. 

        The first born son of Matthew and Mary will be the next heir. If Matthew has no sons then the title will pass to the nearest male heir that’s a direct descendant down the male line of earlier Earls of Grantham. You don’t need to go back to the very first earl but just the most recent earl who had a younger son with an unbroken male lineage to a surviving son. That’s the nearest “heir.” Pesky women have no role. 
        Having said that there are a handful of ancient English baronies that can be inherited by a female in the absence of a male heir, as are a number of Scottish titles. 

        • jw_ny

           ok…IF Mary is barren and IF Matthew were to have a son out of wedlock, would his son be considered an heir?  Trying to grasp this “entail” thing, and just playing out many scenarios in my head.

          • Lilithcat

            Bastards are not in the line of succession.

            ~edited to add: that’s “bastards” in the technical sense of the word

        • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

          Thanks for this explanation.  At this point, the title and the estate will go to Matthew and then his oldest son, should he have a son.  No inheritance through any of the daughters.

        • not_Bridget

          If Matthew had no son, the next heir would be sought.  (Actually the keepers of the stud books know good & well who would go next.) 

          If there was no heir anywhere, the title would go extinct.  This happened & still happens….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

      The doctor – Tim Piggot-Smith
      The actor is perfectly smug! I first saw him years and years ago in another Masterpiece/BBC production – The Jewel in the Crown.
      Set in years before India gets liberation, Piggot-Smith plays Ronald Merrick, a Brit from a not so great family who rises in rank in India. He was cruel and evil in that role and he was also gay.

      • lobsterlen

         Yes I loved to hate him in Jewel in the Crown. Has Tim Piggot-Smith ever played a good guy?

        • Meredith_P

          He played Margaret’s father in North and South.  Rather “singleminded” but not a bad person.

          • 3boysful

             Every time someone mentions North and South, I think of the old Patrick Swayze mini-series.  I had to look it up a while back, because whoever was referenced I didn’t think was old enough to have been in it.  Now I know it’s a British thing.

          • j_anson

            Oh, is that who that was!

            Ah, North and South. Still the best place to see Richard Armitage.

        • not_Bridget

          Recently, he was in series 1 of the most excellent show, The Hour.  He turned out to be a decent chap–but my memories of Ronald Merrick kept me in suspense….

      • Wellworn

        I just made a comment about him above before I read this.  Yes I remember him too, but hadn’t realized it was him until I saw the credits.  Jewel in the Crown is worth a rewatch or a watch if you haven’t seen it before.  So many great past BBC miniseries to discover for those who love Downton.

    • Zippypie

      I had seen spoilers, knew this was coming, and still, even reading your words NOW, boys, I’m all teary. O.M.G. What a blow to the gut and heart scene.  I want to hang Robert up by his scraggly Lord balls and beat the living shite out of him.  You son of a bitch pompous piece of …. well, you get my drift.  Slapping’s not good enough.  Cora, you skin him alive.

      Violet shuffling off into the gallery had me just lose it.  Branson, Cora… damn.  And I give it to JBF.  She didn’t pretty that scene up at all.  Good for her.

      But surprisingly, what got me was Thomas.  He’s only broken down once before, when the soldier killed himself.  And this time, he was even worse.  I actually felt horrible for him.  His lonely world inside was just opened up for all to see.  And I’m glad it was Anna, and not O’Brien, who saw it.

      Speaking of O’Brien, nothing is as delicious as O’Brien on a vicious vindictive rampage.  Oh, the evil!  The evil!

      Mrs. Byrd as a prostitute just had me rolling in an otherwise despair-filled episode. 

      And speaking of slapping, can someone really smack the snobby, frozen tundra out of Mary?  Her response to Edith was so frigid, her treatment of Matthew so wintery.  She’s a piece of work, a regular Robert Jr.  I’ve never liked her, but had warmed up to her a little last season after she showed some self-awareness .  Now, she’s back to being her true miserable self.  Ugh.  And they had to kill off Sybil…why not Mary?!

    • StPauliGrrl

      Last question: What ever happened to the (unrecognizable but might be the missing heir) Patrick storyline?  Are we sure he was a hoax and will he return to whisk Edith and the $$$$ away from her cold, “don’t think so”, sister and mocking family?

      • not_Bridget

        I doubt it.  He wasn’t pretty enough!

      • downtonfan_ma

         They dropped that plot line quickly with no mention of it since. I wonder if people were not responding to it so the writers ended it? Just a guess.

      • ujkle

         I think Fellowes has said he won’t be returning (can’t find a link unfortunately, but I remember reading it er, somewhere). They could always change their mind though.

      • formerlyAnon

         I keep waiting for him to re-surface. Probably wishful thinking.

    • suzq

      Actually, the best comment was made right before Mary asked if they could all get along.  “She was the only person on this Earth who thought we were good people.”

      I laughed out loud when Mary made that comment.  Both my husband and I did, which is why we are so well suited for each other.

      I do agree that it was a brilliant death scene.  Very real and uncomfortable.

      • formerlyAnon

         Yes. That line is an example of why I can’t hate Mary. She’s not warm and fuzzy, she’s entitled and self-centered and she rarely can see someone else’s point of view – but she often is willing voice the unsentimental truth, at least as she sees it.  That’s also why I’m disappointed she’s not getting on board with Matthew about running the estate so as to solve its financial problems.

        • j_anson

          She’s quite pragmatic, but to her own ends – and running the estate economically simply isn’t an end she cares about as long as failing to do so doesn’t mean things can’t go on as they are. To be fair, I imagine she really does believe that running it the way it’s always been run means staving off the evils of industrialization by helping needy peasant farmers avoiding their inevitable slide into the clutches of dirty factory work. Lady Mary’s interesting because I think she really does have principles, but they’re very much the principles of a stereotypical upper-class British nobleman. That is, she doesn’t seem to engage emotionally a lot, but she does believe in a concept of “doing the right thing” that is half-moral, and half about knowing and fulfilling one’s proper role. If she’d been a boy she really would have been the perfect son for Lord Grantham. I like her, without necessarily thinking she’s a really great person per se.

        • Corsetmaker

          Yes this. I never get the Mary hate yet the Violet love when they’re so obviously cut from the same cloth. Is it simply that a young, pretty woman should be sweet and cuddly whereas an elderly woman is allowed to be cutting? Granted her wit hasn’t developed to the same level but give her a few years.

    • http://twitter.com/AWIDesignCo Ashleigh Weatherill

      Mary is truly her father’s daughter.  

    • lobsterlen

      I watched both episodes together last night and quickly realized the last photograph of the 3 sisters together was the day of Edith’s ill-fated almost wedding. What a tragically sad memento.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

      UK comments – please correct me if I am wrong. I am surprised that the family deferred so much to Sir Philip. He is a doctor and he works! It’s so, well, so middle class. 

      I recently read Saturday by Ian McEwan. The main character is a neurosurgeon. He doesn’t get treated special. Over here in the US, he would have been treated almost like a god.

      • Tally Ho

        He’s a specialist (as opposed to mere doctor) with a practice popular among the aristocracy. Even though he has a profession the very senior members of the professions – especially law – could and did hobnob with the aristos. By 1920 the practice of awarding titles and hereditary peerages to the most accomplished doctors and lawyers was in place. 

    • YolandaHawkins

      Wrecked!  Ungly cry indeed.  I too lost it when Tom and Cora were begging and pleading with Sybil to just breathe.  And please just give Dame Maggie another Emmy.  She did more acting walking away from Carson across the hall with her back turned to the camera than most do looking full on into the lense.  You could just see the the sorrow weigh down on her shoulders like the burdens of the world.  Carson and Mrs. Hughes, Thomas and Anna.  My Lord, wrecked.  If it wasn’t so devestating watching Cora say goodbye to “my beauty, my baby” I would have cheered when she told Mary to tell her father “to sleep in the dressing room tonight.” 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/DNWEFT2SVBX5T3NPMROQCT4U2U jennyv

        Every time I think of Cora saying, “my beauty, my baby” I get all choked up. That was so heartbreaking. 

    • DeTrop

      I’m afraid the Earl of Grantham has passed his sell-by date.  What a pompous and useless fool.  He is stuck in the 19th Century.  His estate is crumbling around him and Mary is protecting him from the truth.  Matthew is the future of Downton and he has to fight on too many fronts to keep it viable. 

      His behavior this episode showed his many weaknesses.  He relies on a ‘London’ doctor who assures him all is going as it should and dismisses Dr. Clarkson who has misgivings and honestly cannot give him the absolute assurance he needs.  He gets squeamish if certain physiological functions are mentioned.  This despite having Downton as an Army hospital.  It boggles the mind.  How Cora maintained her cool and yet stood firm in her resolve to keep Dr.Clarkson in the loop, impressed me no end.  (If any of that had happened in my household, they’d have heard the screaming and shouting for miles).  There was some very impressive acting this episode. Tears were spilt.  

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/57DSN5XCR5VONZ2JUMQ5M6EF54 Sabrina

      Damn you. Your post made me cry again.

    • http://twitter.com/HeckYeahHeckNo KC

      You guys…I somehow found out about this beforehand. I got on a message board totally forgetting that this season has already aired outside of the US and I was spoiled about a lot of stuff. Once I found out about Sybil I knew I couldn’t even watch the rest of the season until I could deal with her death. Ridiculous I know, but I don’t really think I can enjoy it knowing that something like this is going to drop. 

      • ThaliaMenninger

        I had exactly the same reaction. Normally I don’t mind being spoiled, so I looked for British summaries as the episodes aired there. Once I knew what happened to Sybil, I just couldn’t watch this season. I loved season 1, liked season 2 ok (with some reservations about stupid Lavinia and Matthew walking again and Bates and his bitchy wife problems) but have stayed away from season 3 for the very reasons you give. I prefer Gosford Park to Terms of Endearment, you know?

    • imakeart

      That last scene w/ Tom at the window holding the baby – was almost too much.  Bewildered, out of place, widowed.  Truly heartbreaking!

    • Flora O

      Nobody will read this at this point, but a few comments:

      Anyone notice the hand cam in that scene? Normally it’s reserved for downstairs.

      Why was Matthew leaning on the bedpost and not comforting his wife? Poor.

      And it’s generous of you to blame Lord Grantham’s lack of emotion on the writing, but it looks more like poor acting. One could deliver the line, “How can this be? She’s twenty-four years old,” in a way that showed someone struggling to keep up a facade under the weight of tremendous emotion. Instead, he delivered it like lunch was served late. I think we’re looking at Downton’s January Jones.

      Finally, my tears during this episode were for the spinoff that should have been: The Bransons in Dublin.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F73LIJ3SJGI5AJQMXMWXCKILHI Pamela

        Hugh Bonneville is a wonderful actor.  Lord Grantham was, as they say, gobsmacked b/c he couldn’t conceive of anything like this happening when he had his aristocratic doctor running the show.  I would say Robert was also in some serious shock & denial.  Lord Grantham truly IS the Upper Class Twit of the Year.  And his stubbornness cost him his daughter, which wasn’t supposed to happen in HIS world.  Talk about being shaken to his foundation.

        • j_anson

          I dunno, I have some sympathy for Lord Grantham. In a world where C-sections are common and not very dangerous, I think this looks different than it does in the 1920s, where they’re relatively uncommon, dangerous, and where some of the modern techniques that make them safer had been developed in the last decade or so. In 1865, around the time Lord Grantham would have been born, the mortality rate was 85%. And it’s not like Lord Grantham was resisting the unified advice of doctors – they had two doctors on hand who were disagreeing violently about whether this dangerous procedure was even necessary, and the one that was insisting it wasn’t was the one who was supposed to be an expert in childbirth. Sure, the narrative makes it pretty clear which one is right, but Lord Grantham doesn’t have the benefit of knowing that he exists in a modern drama where upper-class twits who dismiss women’s concerns are always wrong, even when speaking on subjects they are experts in.

        • Qitkat

          *Upper Class Twit of the Year*!
          How I wish I could work that into some conversation down the road.

          • Lilithcat

            Emjoy:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSqkdcT25ss

            • Qitkat

              I did! 
              Britain’s answer to the Stooges, but so much better. I had never seen that one.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

         I think he intended to deliver it that way. Robert literally could not comprehend what just happened.

    • HobbitGirl

      The strongest moment for me was Thomas breaking down in the hallway. It was nice to see a little touch of complexity in a world where villains tend to metaphorically twirl their moustachios at every turn. Still hasn’t changed my opinion that every single man in DA is *pointless*, with the possible exception of Carson. Just write off Lord G and BateZZZZ already.

      • fursa_saida

        Dr. Clarkson! Save Clarkson! (Even before this episode I loved him.) And Matthew has his moments, mostly involved with being nice to Edith.

        • HobbitGirl

          I’ll give you Dr. Clarkson, especially after that last episode. And I actually like Carson, because he seems genuine in a way that Lord Grantham doesn’t. But I have never cottoned to Matthew, and I’ve never bought the chemistry between him and Mary, so he can go away along with the rest of the bunch. Send him and BateZZZZZ to the continent or something!

    • nannypoo

      Some on-line idiot revealed the news about Sybil before the season even started, so I knew it was coming, but I still blubbed through the whole thing. Then we had Violet’s long walk from Carson to the sitting room, and Thomas weeping outside the servant’s hall. Great acting all around.

      And, really, a kidney souffle? This is what these people eat?

    • sweetlilvoice

      Truly a heart breaking episode. I’ve already watched all the episodes and this is one of the saddest moments ever in DA. I literally could not believed it happened.  Re-watching it last night, I was again struck by the sight of Mary and Edith sobbing over their sister’s body. Finally they have come together as sisters in the face of tragedy. The impotence of both doctors made me so angry. My friend almost died last year from preeclampsia…it’s a horrifying thing.

      And could Bates just die/disappear already?

    • Corsetmaker

      Oh I was so chuckling at some comments last week and sitting on my hands knowing what was coming. :D 

      The bit that got me the most was Violet’s little stumble as she crossed the hallway. Maggie Smith aged Violet a decade with just that.

    • Marjean Fieldhouse

      So Lady Sybil dies and the servants just go to bed? Excuse me, there were mourning wreaths to hang, clocks to stop, the family’s mourning clothes to get in order, black armbands to be made for the staff, food to be prepared in anticipation of guests … a family that uses bouillon spoons AND soup spoons would have known this and so would the staff…..big miss there Julian!

    • fatima_bird

      I bawled my eyes out and didnt expect to. As soon as there were problems with the pregnancy, I was thinking “Well, there goes Sybil. Oh, well. She wasnt really around much anyways. She’s always contributed to the plot by her crazy gallivanting around, not by being present at the dinner table.” And then she died and I totally lost it. This show seriously knows how to turn on the water works. 

    • RroseSelavy

      Cora saying goodbye to her baby. I can’t even think about it now without holding back the gushing tears.

    • http://ultimatevariety.blogspot.com/ Thombeau

       A searing, heartrending episode. The death scene was brilliantly done. Devastating. Tom and Cora’s grief — I get teary just thinking about it.

      Great recap, boys. xoxo

    • SassieCassy

      i kept screaming SHE’S GONNA DIE!!! at my tv and then gave up and started stress eating. tv can be so emotional.

    • Cesar Negrete

      Indeed. we were surprised they killed the most interesting sister off.
      We expect that Tom will go back to Ireland and leave the baby in the care of cousin Matthew and Lady Mary. Thus one more tragedy will be “averted”.

    • hwylo

      Actually, Clarkson’s not English either.

      • Corsetmaker

        Haha, yeah, I was going to point that one out too :D

      • BayTampaBay

        What is he then? American? Canadian? Scottish?

        • anotherEloise

          Scottish!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F73LIJ3SJGI5AJQMXMWXCKILHI Pamela

      What got me was Carson & Mrs. Hughes.  He was barely keeping it together & when she said “the sweetest spirit of this house is gone”, I was waiting for him to lose it.  I figured Dr. Kelly Clarkson was right but I sure didn’t think they’d kill her off, soap opera or not.  Not happy with Mary’s U-turn into Bitchville again this season.  In fact, neither she nor Edith seemed as wrecked as even the audience, especially when they were standing over their dead sister’s body. On another note, thank you to T-Lo and their proper use of contractions in their writing.  (There’ve.) You haven’t succumbed to the lazy “there’s” for everything, like the rest of the world.

    • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

      Just a warning for anyone who hasn’t seen the rest of the season yet…Stay away from People magazine’s website discussion of this episode.  Even though the story itself doesn’t spell out exactly what happens, there are a LOT of assholes in the comments section who do.

      • mmc2315

        I’ll add, be very wary of Googling much of anything about the series!  I looked up something about DA that I thought was innocent enough, and the Google search results–without even clicking on them yet— treated me to some big spoilers.  Poop.

        • Qitkat

          THIS!

    • http://moniqueblog.net/ Moniqueblog

      I concur completely with all of your points, TLo! This was by far the best episode of Downton Abbey since the pilot! I hate to say it, since I hate Sybil’s gone, but hopefully her death will keep the good writing and now grounded storyline going!

    • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

      I know I am chiming in ridiculously late but my eyes were red last night and my day was too jampacked for TLo. But here I am, still wrecked. I knew it was coming because a friend had warned me (I gave her permission too, I’m not good with surprises) but it didn’t lessen the sting one bit. Of course you want to slap Robert. He killed Sybil. Let’s all slap him. And a very astute observation about the American/Irish response vs. the aristocracy’s. It’s just too sad to have no Sybil. Pauvre Branson. Pauvre Cora. Pauvre all of us.
      And thank you TLo for the comic relief bullet points. I needed that. ps: I think Mary’s not pregnant because she doesn’t want to be. Just waiting for Matthew to find the douche appartatus. But he won’t be able to accuse her because Robert won’t let them talk about  such vulgar things while in the house.

      • Qitkat

        lol. I just posted I was spoiled too, not of my wanting though. It totally kept me from being wrecked. I’ve never ever understood people who say they don’t like surprises. Why ever not? I love surprises!

      • BayTampaBay

        I must disagree.  I think Mary wants to be pregnant.  Mathew is worried about his fertility as he has talked about it.  He does not seemed to be concerned with a lack of sex.  If he were concerned with a “lack of sex”.  I am sure he would ask Branson how often he and Sybil partake in such things.  Now that would be a hell of a scene for Sir Julian to write. LOL! LOL!

    • http://profiles.google.com/dmb610 Doreen Bierman

      sorry, it really does show how good a writer Julien can be.  I just wish he could be more consistent.

      • http://twitter.com/carelessriver Caterina Maria

         He’s a short-form writer (see Gosford Park. No, see it). He proved his concept worked in Season 1; he should have been given a large staff and one or two episodes of his own thereafter, instead of the entire show.

        • fursa_saida

          I agree. It’s very rare for a single writer to be responsible for an entire television series, and there’s a reason for that. Also, Gosford Park is indeed fantastic.

          • Corsetmaker

            It’s pretty common here. Often UK shows are one or more often two writers with sometimes one or two guest writers on long running shows. Although I’m surprised he’s not even handed over one episode over three series.

            • fursa_saida

              I should clarify that by “be responsible for” I meant “actually write all of.” I mean, Matthew Weiner is in charge of every episode of Mad Men, but he still has a writers’ room. Sometimes I feel like Fellowes is treating Downton as His Grand Novel, which is not a good way to approach a TV series or a novel.

            • Corsetmaker

              I know, that’s what I mean too. That writer’s room set-up doesn’t really happen here. The process is just different so single or dual writer series are the norm. Most of our sitcoms for instance are wholly written by pairs of friends batting ideas across a desk with little or no other input – Gervais and Merchant for instance. On really long running things it’s often the one writer for the first couple of series then other writers come on board later on.

            • http://twitter.com/evangelineh Evangeline Holland

              Two episodes in S1 were co-written with other writers. Fellowes really needed co-writers in S2–he was stretched too thin between that, the Titanic script, and possibly other projects, and he really needed someone who would have brought more punch and gravitas to WWI.

    • http://profiles.google.com/dmb610 Doreen Bierman

      I can’t even listen to that SONG!!

      • ferngilly

        Are you talking about the theme?  

    • http://profiles.google.com/dmb610 Doreen Bierman

      I’m going to see Dan Stevens in The Heiress on Wednesday.  I have rotten tomatoes at the ready.  You’re welcome.

      • not_Bridget

        How juvenile!

    • mrspeel2

      May I also say that I was extremely moved to see Thomas does have a heart hiding beneath is smarmy veneer! His scene with Anna was so moving, it made me wonder if he’ll be a kinder person going forward.

      • formerlyAnon

         I am afraid that it means he’ll be a traumatized person very soon. I swore just last week that I couldn’t sustain any sympathy for Thomas and this week they make him almost likeable – at any rate, vulnerable. I fear this is just to engage our  emotions so we care when the next subplot twist rips his life apart. O’Brien is still gunning for him and he’s showing himself perhaps too easily lulled into letting his guard down with healthy young footmen.

        • mrspeel2

           I know O’Brien’s setting Thomas up for a major fall, but at least for just that one shining moment, I actually liked him for the first time since the program started. Can’t wait for Sunday!!

    • http://profiles.google.com/dmb610 Doreen Bierman

      Me, too!  Especially since I’d heard Maggie Smith wanted out of the show, so she was the one to die.  I remember being shocked and so sad for DAYS!!  I’m crying again rewatching it and now, with everyone’s comments. 

    • Wellworn

      I didn’t realize until the end credits that the evil Dr. Phillip Tapsell was played by Tim Pigott-Smith.  I remembered him from the 1984 (yes, before some of you were born) mini-series “The Jewel in the Crown” where he played a very similarly evil prig.  Both caught up in class issues as well.  It was almost as if Ronald Merrick had moved from India and in his old age had become a doctor taking care of the British aristocracy’s pregnant women.  Good casting.

    • http://twitter.com/NJedwina Edwina

      I must have a heart of stone but Downer Abbey is just too emotionally manipulative for me to take the bait anymore. I am touched by how much it effected so many of you. Me? #notwrecked

    • Damien W

      God help me, but even when he grieves, Tom is one sexy beast. 

      • formerlyAnon

         More so when he grieves. First time in all these seasons that I’ve gotten what people have seen in him.

        • BayTampaBay

          I have always liked the Branson character but never felt, until this last episode that Sir Julian, that the part was written correctly.  Branson is not a progressive liberal.  Matthew is the progressive liberal.  Branson is a radical wanting a free Irish state.  When in comes to life in general….I feel Branson is as conservative and as “old-fashioned” as Lord Grantham.

    • LittleKarnak

      “The Dowager Countess, flipping her veil as she shuffled off to another tragedy in a long line of them? Wrecked a third time” Just watched the ep for a 2nd time and that whole scene with The Dowager just had me all verklempt.

    • baxterbaby

      Absolutely.  The alter ego.  Ngaio Marsh did the same thing with Agatha Troy in the Inspector Allen books.  I think they fall in love with their heroes.  Wish fulfillment.

    • Pepperful

      Me too; and they won the SAG award at the same time. This episode demonstrated why. Probably the best moment of ensemble acting I’ve seen in….I’ve seen.  Only one moment in The Hour comes close. I couldn’t breathe…all the air sucked out of the room.  Devastating and bravo to the actors and the writing.  I’ll be watching this as long as it’s on the air.

    • Buffy

      Agree with every single point.  I sooooo wasn’t expecting that.  Childbirth can be – even today – a dangerous thing, so easy to forget that amidst all the anticipation and joy.  Kudos to the makeup people because Sibyl actually looked dead, not like an actor acting dead, if that makes any sense… sob.  The stricken looks on Mary and Edith’s faces, you know they are thinking “I am *never* having a baby”… sob.  Violet holding the door frame… sob.  Thomas & Anna… sob.  That last shot of Tom holding the baby… sob.  

    • Pepperful

      Yes!!  Thank you.

    • Pepperful

      Um, I’m replying to myself as my replies keep getting moved to inappropriate spots, and by no means do I agree with the “ugly cry” comment; I meant to give a “thumbs up” to BayTampaBay.  I’ll refrain from commenting now, except to thank T & L for their wonderful work from a novice commenter.

      • BayTampaBay

        I do not know what you are giving me a “thumbs up” for but I humbly accept.

    • kaking17

      My son died at 18.  I can tell you that Cora’s response is not unusual. She was brittle and frozen and so very careful in what she said ~ under tight control because if you let go of one little thing you will go over the edge.  Great acting.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PBGUD7Y6KYRNL7PCKYNPD2UGSM Carol

        {{{kaking17}}}  I am so sorry for the loss of your son.  I lost my daughter when she was 11 months old due to complications of  prematurity.  Cora’s response rang so true to me, too.

        • kaking17

           I am so very sorry for the loss of your little son Carol. It tears a hole that never heals.  Keep breathing.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PBGUD7Y6KYRNL7PCKYNPD2UGSM Carol

        {{{kaking17}}}  I am so sorry for the loss of your son.  I lost my daughter when she was 11 months old due to complications of  prematurity.  Cora’s response rang so true to me, too.

      • BayTampaBay

        NO SHIT!  I have thought all a long that Elizabeth McGovern has been greatly under estimated in the role of Cora.

    • texashistorian

      “Call a Midwife,” a fantastic book (and also a BBC series), describes what happens to a woman who suffers eclampsia during delivery in great detail – let’s just say it’s much, much worse than depicted. It’s still a major risk for women, especially in the less-developed world. Downton Abbey takes place in the era when pregnancy wasn’t considered a real medical condition, and it was perfectly acceptable to have a woman labor over several days (!!!!) before intervening. LOVED how this episode not only brought about class differences, but the historical low regard for women in general as well.

      • Qitkat

        One of my daughters-in-law had it with her second child. It was so unexpected and scary, even though they jumped right in with modern medicine, she still felt really strange and awful. It was such a relief when she and the baby boy were just fine. I don’t think we really realized how horrific things could have been.

    • BookishBren

      Because Thomas is being played more sympathetically of late, I fear something bad is about to happen to him, possibly at the hands of Jimmy. I see him being the victim of an attack or hate crime, possibly. 

      When we are seeing a soft side to a character like Thomas, it usually foretells some sort of doom for that character. 

      • formerlyAnon

         Exactly. Though I suspect disgrace and loss of his position rather than an attack. It’s O’Brien who’s gunning for him and she wants her nephew to move up. And she understands Thomas well enough to know that loss of his position- and thus his place in the world – would be worse than any physical harm.

        • j_anson

          Yeah, I think there’s no question they’re setting up Thomas getting dismissed because of O’Brien’s machinations.

    • GTrain

      I was convinced of everyone’s grief except Thomas. I just didn’t buy it. But then again I loathe him and can’t wait for O’Brien to destroy him.

      • http://twitter.com/carelessriver Caterina Maria

         Thomas convinced me — remember back to his time in hospital. Sybil treated him very well, probably better than anyone in the house had ever treated him, and now the only decent one of the lot is gone. Leaves him with even less to lose, which is kind of sad-making.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PBGUD7Y6KYRNL7PCKYNPD2UGSM Carol

      Lord Grantham just got Andy Cohen’s Jackhole of the Day on Watch What Happens Live on Bravo.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      http://abcnews.go.com/Health/eclampsia-death-downton-abbey-worldwide-killer/story?id=18337984

      ABC News did a piece on it.  Magnesium Sulfate wasn’t known to be effective until the 1930s.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      Oh lordy, the last time I watched it (1994 version) I cried nearly the whole time.  So I thought I’d wash it down with something light-hearted.  Toy Story 3 was a bad choice to follow Little Women.  A bad, bad choice.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      Are you a Harry Potter fan?  I nearly cried when I bought the last book and I definitely teared up.  And then I started reading and there was much, much more crying than I expected.  I cannot read that book without outright sobbing over Dobby.  We even named our shredder box at the place I worked at after him, complete with “Here lies Dobby, a Free Elf.”

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      Edith was asking her to try to get along better and Mary’s no was just… gross.  Your baby sister just died and you can’t even try to try to get along better with the sister you’ve treated as a doormat your whole life?  This is a woman who thinks being asked to be nice to her sister is like asking the fox to spare the chickens.  She’s a bitch, hands down.

      • BayTampaBay

        Same thing happens to me all the time.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      Sorry, but there are no such things as the “right” emotions after death.  I’ve known more than one mother to lose a child, and sometimes, there is nothing but quiet.  Just the stillness of trying to process that the creature your life revolved around doesn’t need you anymore and you can’t do a damned thing.  She begged for her daughter’s life while she was alive, and then she was gone and there was nothing to beg for.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      A big NO SHIT on the Mary/Edith scene.  She couldn’t even try to try.  It pisses me off to no end, people who can’t be fussed to make themselves better.  It’s that whole “fuckit” mentality over things that are easily changed.  “Love your sister more.”  “No thanks.”  Drives me crazy like you wouldn’t believe.  Lazy, selfish assholes I tell ya.

    • Rachel Council

      At the end of this episode, I wanted so badly for her to peace out back to New York. Maybe take Edith with her to go be an awesome flapper.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      Like Carrie from Homeland.  I thought maybe it would have been another terrorism episode because that’s what I think of when I think of ugly crying.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      My heart goes out to both of you for surviving such a terrible thing as the loss of a child.  *virtual hugs*

    • TRSTL

      Lord Grantham and his self involved, ungrateful bitch daughter, Lady Mary, can just move to London & be snobs otgether while Matthew & Cora save the estate and make it a much more pleasant place for everyone.  Seriously, he was such an unbelievable ass last night and she just BUGS in her ungrateful and snotty attitude to her husband that she BEGGED, THREATENED and PUSHED into giving all his money to save her families home and now that it is done, she is just dismissive and rude to him. Bitch….

      • TRSTL

        Oh, and is Tom Branson needs some someone to comfort and hold him in this time of need, I am so available.

        • BayTampaBay

          Sorry TSSTL, I am first in line!

    • The_English_Teacher

      My daughter, who first urged me to check out your comments on Project Runway several years ago, told me that my ignorance of current slang was to blame for my misinterpretation of your title. Since I feel silly arguing about a title–although I DO think they’re important–I’d like to change the subject and thank you for entertaining me all these years with your astute insights and witty comments. I do have one complaint, however: I wish you two got cracking earlier in the day because I have to wait until late morning to find out what you have to say about the previous evening’s Runway and Downton episodes. Talk about torture!

      • Qitkat

        What are you talking about? their “title”?

        • The_English_Teacher

          I thought “The Ugly Cry” meant that they were going to pan the episode. I’d never heard that expression before. (My daughter had to explain that it was slang for crying so hard that you look horrible.) So, because of the title, I prepared myself to have to defend the fact that I thought it was one of the best DA episodes ever, albeit sadder than sad. I just thought the title didn’t match their comments. I pay attention to titles because they should be significant and set up expectations for the reader. I think English teachers are overly sensitive to things like titles. We read everything as if we had a red pen poised to suggest improvements when needed. We can’t help it.

          • jeeplibby02

            Would “The Ugly-Cry Episode” have made it more sense to you?

          • Qitkat

            If you keep reading TLo, you will find that quite often they use a phrase or meme from the internet or pop culture or other TV shows/movies/songs for their titles. If your daughter didn’t say, *the ugly cry* refers to Claire Danes on Homeland, who has one of the most amazing ugly face cries of any actress.

            • The_English_Teacher

              I haven’t seen Homeland (I can’t do italics in forms, e-mails, etc.), but I’ve seen Claire Danes cry in enough movies to know exactly what you’re talking about! (I used to show the updated Romeo and Juliet to my classes after they read the play. To my horror, they laughed when Juliet let out a howl after watching Romeo take his last few breaths; she looked so ugly and sounded so odd that I started laughing too.) As far as keeping current on slang, I do my best but miss a lot, I’m sure. 

            • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

              To put a word in italics on this site, type and put an i inside the brackets then type another set of brackets with /i inside.  Like this but remove the period.

            • The_English_Teacher

              I really appreciate your telling me how to do italics, but I need some more help. I typed Romeo and Juliet, which didn’t work. Then I tried Romeo and Juliet: As you can see, didn’t work. What am I not doing?

            • The_English_Teacher

              Wait–the second one DID work! Of course, you can’t see what I did because all the bracketed stuff didn’t show up in the reply. I just couldn’t see anything happening as I typed. This inability to italicize has bugged the heck out of me; I like to set a good example. ;-) THANK YOU FOR TEACHING ME!

    • mmc2315

      I’m still on Team Mary.  I see her as weary & proud, more then straight up bitchy.  

      • BayTampaBay

        Mary is very driven, makes no bones about the fact she is very driven and makes no apologizes for making it clear that she has no desire to change.

    • Qitkat

      I wish I had been wrecked. Normally I’m the most emotional person in the room. Sunday night, dry eyes. Why? Because I was spoiled by the internet, inadvertently, surfacing innocently somewhere else. ARRGGHH, I HATE being spoiled. I kept thinking how sad it all was, why couldn’t I feel the sorrow. crap!

    • GorgeousThings

      “Oh My God – they killed Sybil!”

      “You bastards!”

    • librarygrrl64

      The fall of the Earl of Grantham continues. It’s like he’s a different character completely than he was in season one.

    • Jennifer Coleman

      Yeah, just saw the episode. Actually didn’t realize I was crying for about 30 seconds after I started. And I even knew after Dr. Bad-Guy-from-V-for-Vendetta showed up, it was going to be a bad, preventable one. While the sentiment was well thought out, that hug between the sisters was weak. Cora should be really fun to watch – the showdown between Robert & Matthew just got a lot more interesting as Cora will clearly be on Team 20th century Management. The Dowager Countess set up the skirmish nicely last week. Speaking of setups, O’Brien is putting her Evil Plan into action on Tom (who totally broke my heart this week) after creeping around, spying on Tom & Hot Footman. I’m not exactly sure what she is doing, but for sure it is nasty. Regarding that love rhombus, all I know is Daisy should prevail.

    • The_English_Teacher

      Huh? No difference.

      • The_English_Teacher

        I just realized what the difference is–the hyphen between ugly and cry. Using the hyphen there is correct, but I don’t think it changes the meaning. My problem was that I read it literally when I should have recognized it as slang.

    • BrightsideSusan

      I hope Mary catches on to the fact that her father is behind the times and idiotic in his attitudes or she is going to blow her marriage to bits by always siding with and defending him.

    • Maggie Smith

      I think Game of Thrones has ruined me for tragedies like this.  I’m a crier, but all I could do when this happened, was shout, You’ve Got to be Fucking Kidding Me!”,throw something at the TV and storm off.  I did the same thing during the Grey’s Anatomy plane crash saga.

    • http://twitter.com/TMamBo Therese Bohn

      I didn’t know that the actress playing Sybil wanted to leave, so the death was a super shock to me! Cora and Branson were the only two human people in that room when she died; all the others were in denial.

      I do know that this is the last season for the actor playing Matthew — I hope they handle his exit and its consequenses realistically too.

    • another_laura

      Finally saw the epi last night.  Kill Robert, is all I have to say.  Oh, so MAD and you could just see it coming, you know?  Now I just wonder how long it will take for Tom to leave his baby with them and go back to Ireland because of how pigheaded they all will be about how the baby has to be raised.  He won’t be able to fight it.  I’m just thinking/writing out loud, here.

    • http://phdoula.blogspot.com Rebecca

      Having worked in/around L&D for a while (disclaimer, not a nurse, midwife, or OB) there are various grades and warning signs around pre-e, and delivery method will very much depend on how sick you are, how close to term you are, baby’s position, etc. We see many inductions and successful vaginal deliveries for pre-e, some failed inductions turned c-sections, and some straight to c-section for a variety of reasons. I am not sure – want to talk with the next OB or midwife I run into! – but agree with you that I’m not sure that Sybil would have survived with or without a c-section, given that she progressed to eclampsia after delivery anyway.

      Pre-eclampsia is a very scary condition, indeed, and women still die from it all over the world. Yes, in the developing world it is very rare for women to progress to eclampsia now, because we can treat them with mag sulfate and deliver the baby, but given that it often happens long before the baby is term, it is still a major contributor to preterm birth which of course has serious consequences for the baby. Finding a cure would be a holy grail!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001862363157 Caitie Low

      I just wanna cuddle you now.
      If you think you’re wrecked now, just wait.
      Just wait.

    • http://twitter.com/Josietoyou Joanne Abrams

      I hate seeing Lord Grantham turning or being exposed as such a boob!  I could have throttled him in this episode.