(Series 3, ep.6) Following last week’s shocker, the inhabitants of Downton Abbey were still obviously very much in mourning and Lord Grantham was still very much in the doghouse (“I thought I might sleep here tonight?” he suggested hopefully to Cora, whose response was an icily polite version of, “I’d rather sleep with a pile of fermenting toads than you, you child-murdering swine.”) The Dowager decided enough was enough, and commanded the doctor to tell Cora that Sybil would have died anyway, Caesarean or no, thus getting Robert off the hook for supporting the Posh Consultant. She’s a wise old Dowager, because now they can get on with grieving for Sybil rather than hating each other.
It was the best thing that happened to Robert all episode, because elsewhere his power is very much on the wane. Matthew Crawley has got all sorts of plans to drag the Downton estates into the 20th century, and not even the power of Lady Mary’s eyebrow is going to stop him. Lady Edith’s journalistic career received another boost when she was offered a regular column. And, worst of all, Sybil’s baby is going to be christened Sybil (“Don’t you think it’s a bit morbid?” said Robert) and she’s going to be a Catholic. “There haven’t been any Catholics at Downton since the Reformation!” spluttered Robert. “I’m a Catholic,” said Tom, who is also the baby’s father, so he has some kind of say in the matter even though it’s only five minutes since he was Lord Grantham’s chauffeur and Lord G is not taking easily to treating him as an equal.
Meanwhile, the women of the family were blithely ignoring the explicit orders of Lord Grantham by popping over for lunch with Isobel Crawley. Lunch prepared by Fallen Woman Ethel, indeed. The shame of it! Robert even went so far as to jog over there to command them all to leave. They all refused. It was a beautiful moment. It was a similarly beautiful moment when Mr Carson attempted to tell off Mrs Patmore for giving the Fallen Woman cookery hints and tips and she ignored him as well. Is nothing sacred when even butlers start being ignored?
In other news, O’Brien was busying herself with her long-term scheme of getting Thomas into hot water via the medium of encouraging Jimmy Kent to not complain about what we would now call sexual harassment; Daisy was offered the chance to own her late husband’s father’s farm; and it looks like our visits to HM Prison Wherever will soon be over, as Mr Bates is about to come home.
Posted by PLA (other Downton-related blog posts here)