Downton Abbey: Nooooo!!!

(Series 3, ep.5)  Well I didn’t expect that. In Game of Thrones, yes – major characters fall by the wayside fairly regularly. But not in lovely, cosy, prettily-dressed Downton Abbey. But it’s true – the pretty dresses have been carefully folded away now and the mourning clothes are well and truly on.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading now, because I’m about to go spoilering.

When heavily pregnant Lady Sybil started exhibiting symptoms that would routinely be spotted now as pre-eclampsia, there was a heated debate between the dear old faithful doctor who’d looked after the Crawley girls since they were bairns and the posh consultant type brought in by Lord Grantham. The trouble was, dear old faithful doc knew what was what and that the baby would have to be delivered by Caesarean, but posh consultant (and Lord Grantham) disagreed. If anyone had harboured any thoughts that life was nicer in those days, you only had to be faced with the realities of just how dangerous childbirth was and you’d reconsider.

The baby was delivered safely and we could relax. Only we couldn’t, because Sybil deteriorated and started fitting. It was a truly gut-wrenching scene, with the entire family assembled round the bed, Tom distraught, Sybil not breathing and the doctors admitting there was nothing they could do. Excellent work all round by the actors, particularly Jessica Brown-Findlay, who made sure we knew that dying wasn’t easy, and the makeup department who turned her a convincing shade of blue.

Sybil was always the sunniest and kindest of the Crawley sisters, without Mary’s haughtiness and Edith’s bitchiness, so her death hit everyone hard. Even Thomas had a little sob. Sybil was just about the only person who’d ever been nice to him, he told Anna, who was being nice to him. Mary and Edith agreed that they’d probably still never be bezzie mates, but they had a sisterly hug anyway because it’s what Sybil would have wanted. Cora blames her husband for siding with the posh doctor and is making him sleep in his dressing room for the foreseeable. And in an absolute acting masterclass, Maggie Smith managed to convey just by the way she walked across a room that Violet was completely broken by grief. And she was filmed from behind as well. Genius.

In other news, before Thomas’s hair was rendered floppy by grief his step had quite a spring in it because of the new boy, Jimmy Kent. O’Brien is being brilliantly manipulative with this situation, telling Jimmy he has to be nice to Thomas so he’ll put in a good word for him with His Lordship. O’Brien and Thomas were a bit “Mwah-ha-ha-ha!” when they were sidekicks and I’m enjoying them a lot more as enemies.

Posted by PLA     (other Downton-related blog posts here)


Filed under Downton Abbey

3 responses to “Downton Abbey: Nooooo!!!

  1. inkface

    Thomas’ hair was excellent in this and I want him to have a lovely man to fancy and who fancies him back. Maggie Smith superb. I’m not quite sure why Cora didn’t just throttle Lord Grantham, a man who makes perpetual poor judgements from the moment he gets out of bed. The spare bed these days.

  2. remotecontrolled (kopitron)

    I don’t think I’ve ever been so extremely broken by TV. And I am frequently broken by TV! Still not sure I’m over it, I may never be able to face an episode again just in case. You expect this of a Gaskell novel but not of safe, happy Downton where Doctor Clarkson is always wrong!

    The acting was sublime! If JBF had to leave (and let’s face it, we were all suspicious at how little she had been popping up in the kitchen recently) I’m glad that they did it this way really, it allowed Downton to recapture its roots from the first series where shocking things weren’t always resolved with a kop out solution of extreme bruising that looked so much worse. Plus it facilitated probably the best scene Downton has ever produced, in my opinion. Fabulous! I will never forgive them though. Never!

  3. I still can’t believe Sybil is gone, she was my favourite character out of the sisters.

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