As always, I’d like to preface this blog post by warning you that this is a review of the most recent episode of Downton Abbey that aired in Britain. If you have not yet seen it, reading this will spoil things for you. If you have, click on through!
Last week’s episode was a heartbreaking game changer. I, like everyone else, was shocked and sad when it became clear that Sybil would die. But losing one of my favorite characters was also a fantastic piece of dramatic storytelling, and I was looking forward to this week’s episode immensely.
Sybil’s death touched all the relationships in the family and resulted in multiple complications. Cora and Robert’s marriage was all but destroyed, and while I’d hoped that would play out a little longer, it was interesting to see the Dowager Countess intervene out of true empathy rather than the desire to avoid a scandalous divorce. She knew Robert and Cora would be stronger and more able to overcome their grief if they were facing it together.
Then there is Tom and baby Sybil. Robert is too heartbroken to understand just how much his son-in-law has been crushed. He’s taking his anger over the death of his youngest daughter out on less important things, like the name of the baby and Tom’s wish for her to be Catholic. That put Robert at odds with Mary, who knew Sybil had intended for her baby to be Catholic.
And what will Tom do? Move away and take the baby with him? I don’t think so – he’s determined to keep her. Although Mary and Matthew’s inability thus far to have their own baby does seem like a bit of foreshadowing. Will something happen to Tom, and Mary and Matthew will raise Sybil? I’d like to see Tom stay, and maybe run that farm that Matthew’s so worried about. Robert is too proud and set in his ways to accept the fact that Downton will have to be managed differently if he wants it to stay in the family.
I originally wasn’t so interested in Violet’s mission to rehab ex-prostitutes, but her decision to hire Ethel on as a maid/cook has paid off exponentially. Carson’s own discomfort contrasted by everyone else’s relative sympathy and ease has been a fascinating display of the changing times. It’s 1920, and the Dowager Countess is willing to eat a pudding prepared by a prostitute just because it’s delicious. Cheers to progress!
I also like how the O’Brien/Thomas/Jimmy storyline has been building. Can we pinpoint when O’Brien stopped being BFFs with Thomas? Was it when the horrible thing happened with the soap and Cora’s miscarriage? Anyway, Jimmy is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with Thomas’s flirtations and so far O’Brien has been discouraging him from taking them to Carson. But I don’t think she’ll have Thomas’s back much longer.
Other storylines included Bates’ imminent release from prison (thank god, I’m so over that whole thing), Edith revisiting the idea of writing a regular newspaper column, and Daisy reminding us that she was once married for a few minutes. I liked Daisy’s storyline quite a bit. There’s so much sexual tension and unrequited love in the kitchen, it’s a wonder Mrs. Patmore hasn’t suffocated on it. I’d love to see Daisy move out to the farm, marry a nice lad, and sell some jams and pies or something.
What did you guys think of the episode?
Tags: Downton Abbey