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The latest episode of Downton Abbey aired in the U.K. last night, and wow was it a big one! U.S. fans, if you haven’t seen it, turn away now if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Lady Sybil’s death in Downton was the biggest shock to the fandom since Lord Grantham’s dalliance with the maid in series 2. I think it’s fair to say that no one expected it to happen. Even after the warning signs that all was not right with Sybil’s labour, there was still the hope that there would be a last-minute rush to the hospital or that Dr. Clarkson would step in and save the day. The hopelessness of her death, with none of them able to do anything to help was completely devastating.

I for one spent the rest of the episode in tears. Cora’s emotional goodbye to her daughter and the Dowager Countess’ arrival both had me sobbing. Thomas showing what seemed to be genuine emotion was equally heart-breaking.

Of course, Sybil’s death wasn’t the only thing happening at Downton last night. Elsewhere, Mrs. Crawley has hired a prostitute (and former Downton maid Ethel) to run her house, causing Mrs. Bird to quit in protest, while O’Brien is clearly up to something with the new Footman (what exactly is her plan?). There is hope at last that Anna may have found the evidence may to get Bates out of prison and tension may be on the horizon as Matthew starts to make suggestions for ways to save the estate some money and run more efficiently.

Next week’s episode will no doubt continue the storylines started this week as well as showing the family dealing with the aftermath of Sybil’s death and what will happen next to Tom and baby Sybil.

Share your thoughts on this shocker of an episode below!

  • Elphaba Thropp

    I wasn’t shocked, as my mom had read a spoiler online and told me someone I liked was going to die. Of course I knew who it was as soon as I saw Sybil lying in bed :/ I kind of wish it had been a surprise though.

    It was extremely depressing, but by far the best death Julian Fellowes has ever penned for Downton Abbey. It was very dramatic, and so, so sad. I wish him luck, as he has past the point of no return (where Moffat currently sits. That place where writers go when their fans hate and love them with passion at the same time).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Wang/542480760 Maria Wang

      that’s a shame. It’s better when its a surprise. Since I don’t really follow Downton Abbey fansites I am not up to date with any spoilers whatsoever, Not so with Doctor Who. Since the total non-surprise of Rory and Amy’s Swansong, I’ve decided that its better to stay away from spoilers.

  • Seamus MacGillicuddy

    Lord Grantham annoyed the hell out of me this episode. He is always sticking his enormous head into matters that aren’t his business. Branson should have been the only person to make the call on his wife’s treatment- not Grantham, not Cora, not anyone else. Why they kept him uninformed while they bickered by poor Sybil’s bedside is confounding to me. And why they suddenly decided to seek a second opinion before the birth is mind-boggling. You can no longer trust the doctor who has treated your family since the birth of your first child? What is the matter with these people? It looks like the next episode is going to be the culmination of Grantham’s tyrannical attitude- not allowing his late daughters child to be baptized a Catholic. I’ll be shouting at the television the entire episode. It was his Sybil’s wish for the baby to be Catholic and it’s Branson’s call to make. I hope that Grantham’s chickens come home to roost and his infidelity is revealed to all. He’s such a hypocrite and a useless old fool.

    • http://twitter.com/Snapescape Laura Cain

      Well, looking at Cora’s reaction in next week’s episode, I think she’s definitely going to let her voice be heard about Robert’s attitude.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Clarke/100003182479854 Jane Clarke

      Lord Grantham was obviously the one paying the doctors (Branson doesn’t even have the money to buy a set of tails or an evening jacket), so Grantham had every right to make the decision.

  • ane_drew

    OMG. I didn’t think the spoiler will be that big a deal. Now I’m sorry I went ahead and gotten myself spoiled. :’(

  • http://twitter.com/inkasrain Michal

    I’ve been steadily losing patience with “Mr. Bates Goes to Prison”, but after Sybil’s death, that storyline is irredeemable for me. It was almost insulting when they kept hopping back to Bates after the incredible tragedy at Downton– it felt like hanging a Monet next to a LOLcat.

    • http://twitter.com/romvlvscaesar Czar

      I couldn’t possibly agree more! I’m tired of the prison scenes and, particularly in this episode, they should have put that storyline aside.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Wang/542480760 Maria Wang

      me too. I wish they’d get him out already. I want him back in the house. They can’t keep going on like this. I really like Bates and Anna, but the whole prison storyline is so depressing. Every time, I worry about his prison enemy and the corrupt guard’s sinister plotting.

  • http://twitter.com/Woffles92 Sarah Barnett

    Jessica Brown-Finley wanted out of Downton to do other acting things, but there was no need for Julian Fellows to make her exit so heartbreaking.

  • http://twitter.com/ufninja7 Nikki G

    I was not emotionally prepared for this episode. I had forgiven Robert for the stupid affair with the maid, but now he’s just dead to me.

  • goldensnidget92

    Throughout that episode, I was telling myself, “I will not cry, I will NOT cry!”, but when Mary and Edith were saying goodbye and wondering whether they were going to get along better, that was it. I thought it was getting better, until I saw Maggie Smith. MY HEART. WHY?

    I’m starting to get frustrated with these writers who think the only way they can be dramatic is by killing people off. That said, I would have danced jubilantly if they killed Sir Philip/Lord Grantham/O’Brien/Bates’s prison enemy/Moseley (he’s just annoying…), but no, that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Wang/542480760 Maria Wang

      But I like Moseley. and I wouldn’t kill Lord Grantham b/c that would just kill Cora and his daughters, not to mention the Dowager, and the servants. I’d kill off Thomas, Even though he’s shown that he does indeed have a heart, on the rarest of occasions. That boy is more trouble than he’s worth and then some.

      • goldensnidget92

        He definitely is! The world would be a better place without him! But Grantham, although his death would have astronomical ramifications, is to me preferable to Lady Sybil because she was so lovely! At least Matthew and Mary are married, so the house can still be kept in the hands of the family! It would be a tragedy, and it wouldn’t be fun, but after this episode I’ve lost a lot of respect for him.

        • downton darling

          I know Thomas is meant to be the soap’s main villain, but imagine how hard and frustrating it must have been for him to grow up gay in England at that time. Maybe he was taunted and abused growing up and that’s why he’s so hard hearted. I don’t mean to be a Pollyanna, but let’s remember that Thomas is not just a one dimensional bad guy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jxmcdonough John McDonough

    I find myself personally going through the five stages of grief over Sybil. Last night I was in shock and couldn’t believe it happened, this morning I feel like it was a cheap move done purely for shock and have an intense rage toward Grantham. Talk to me tomorrow when I try to figure out how they can reverse it and bring her back to life.

    But also, the acting in this episode was phenomenal. Half the cast just got themselves back on the Emmy noms list and some of them may have garnered themselves a win.

    • wearecollege

      The plot twist no one saw coming. Zombies.

      • Toni

        or vampires, that way tom and sybil could really live happily ever after.

  • http://twitter.com/notenoughpuff Sarah

    “Cry-worthy.” HA! I think you mean HYSTERICAL SOBBING WORTHY

    Sybil was my absolute favorite character. I was COMPLETELY not ready for this to happen. I was shouting at my computer “OH GOD. OH GOD NO.” And then when Thomas started crying I just completely lost it. Then again when Cora was talking to her body, and once more with Lady Grantham losing that slip of control.

    I was not prepared for the events of last night. At all.

  • http://forgiveyourmind.tumblr.com/ Tariq

    This was honestly the saddest thing I’ve ever seen on a television show, and one of the best done death scenes I’ve seen as well. Literally never cried so hard from a TV show!

    The only thing that came close was Rose’s departure on Doctor Who.

    • http://www.facebook.com/carlie.barr Carlie Barr

      Or Wash’s death on Serenity. :( These two are engraved in my head as impossibly tragic.

  • Faile

    Wasn’t Jessica Brown-Finley up for a role in Captain America? I think she got it and then didn’t have time for Downton anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/akacj7 Caroline J.

    oh my goodness… ALL THE CRYES. as soon as there was evidence that clarkson might have been right – when sybil was hallucinating before the birth – i was going back and forth in my head, “they’re gonna kill sybil! ballsy!… no no no, they’re not going to kill sybil, this is just for dramatic effect… oh my god they’re going to kill sybil…” (by “they” i mean the writers), and then of course it became clear that’s where they were going, and it happened, and my initial anticipation of it all kept me from really being in the moment, but as soon as cora sat down and was saying goodbye to sybil i was pulled back in and tears were flowing the rest of the episode. as evidenced by cora’s last words of the episode, admonishing robert for his behavior and essentially blaming him for sybil’s death, the rest of the season is NOT going to be rosy. we’re in for some seriously low times at the grantham household i’m afraid.

    i’m also afraid now that violet it going to die because when she said to carson that nothing could be worse, and then she VERY slowly walked across the hall… it would be worse if we no longer had a dowager countess. i’m worried this is going to break her.

  • http://twitter.com/inkasrain Michal

    The one thing I will say for this dramatic choice is that after two and a half seasons of ambivalence ranging to dislike, I am now behind Cora 1000%. She hasn’t often gotten to display the intense love and protectiveness for her children that clearly drove her during and after Sybil’s death, and I hope I am right that Cora really will “look after them both” — that she will use that righteous energy to defend Tom and her granddaughter. They were clearly united in terror and grief at Sybil’s deathbed, and while Tom is friendly with Matthew and Mary, I really think that a genuine bond with Cora will be the healthiest and most healing thing for both of them.

    • Hannah E

      Oh yes, I completely love Cora now – she rose so much in my estimation during last night’s episode (while the Lord couldn’t sink much lower) and I was in pieces when she was sitting by the bed saying goodbye.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=722496967 Ana Selene Rodriguez Garcia

    I’m still in shock and angry at Lord Grantham!! he’s always there messing things up, I’m done with him first what he did to lady Edith and now this.

  • ForFrodo

    so sad, i love sybil :(

  • ForFrodo

    wait.. the baby’s name is Sybil? didn’t catch that when i was watching

    • Hannah E

      It actually came out in the preview for next week’s episode – Tom is heard referring to her as Sybil. It’s hard to imagine that they would have named her anything else!

      • ForFrodo

        Yes! if the baby’s name was something other than Sybil i’d be upset. I’m eager to see how the baby grows up, and soon (prob in series 4, depending on the time jump from S3 to S4) we’ll see another addition to the cast

  • Raychole

    I’m honestly so heartbroken that I don’t think I can watch anymore. Sybil meant so much to me, and I was so emotionally invested in hers and Tom’s story that I sort of feel betrayed. I was already upset that in previous episodes she was completely shoved into the background and barely given any dialogue. And the writing about Ireland was so one-sided. Tom was never allowed to give his side of the story besides the one line about living in a “harsh world” (which was a brilliant line by itself, but why was that the only one?) Their story was one of hope and dreams of a better world, and I feel it was snatched just for the sake of shock. Well, hope squished. I don’t think I’ll be able to get over this.

    • Raychole

      But all the awards to Allen Leech, JBF, Elizabeth McGovern, and RJC. They are amazing actors. My goodness.

    • anodyne1

      This happened in the 1920s. If you think you’re sad now what if it happened to your child/sister/friend, etc.? Women died in childbirth. They still do.

  • PagetoStage

    Way too much anger at Robert, folks. Lord G definitely sided
    with Sir Thingie, but it was out of love for Sybil and concern that Dr Quackson
    had missed major elements of diagnosis under Downton’s roof over the years and
    does not inspire confidence. (And many fans had joked about Clarkson’s
    ineptitude, too.) And calm the fangirl hate at the grownup who is ‘mean’ to his
    young daughters. He has always acted from love and what he thought were their
    best interests, and IS lord of the manor and EXPECTED to make decisions there
    in 1920. Now, he has lost his daughter just as Cora has, he knows the ‘truth’
    in Cora’s accusations, and I hope we get to see his grief and guilt at work
    against him. Robert and Cora now have an interesting storyline, and Hugh and
    Elizabeth have work to do. Good for them. The show is a soap, and can’t just focus on the cute little 20somethings and their happy ‘ships. And if we get to see more of Dowager
    Maggie playing a real grieving and caring mum instead of just brilliant manipulative
    comic relief, all the better. Her kind and reasoned words to her son Robert
    should be heard by us all, and were likely intended for the viewer as much as
    Robert. It was a sincere moment rather than a trade of quips, and those do more
    for character development than anything else. She will probably make Cora see
    that Robert is not the enemy.

    As for Sybil, I understand the actress wanted to leave, and
    so JF wrote Sybil out in a very dramatic style and left storylines to tie up in
    the aftermath. Brilliant. To criticize the scene as too heartbreaking is, well,
    immature. It is a drama, after all. If JF broke your heart, he did his job well
    and so did the actors. And actors LOVE playing conflict and rage and baddies
    and grief. It is what they do, and how they win awards. No one wins for being
    happy in every scene, and no one watches either. To blame Robert for Sybil’s
    death is doing what grief-stricken Cora is doing, and that will be undoubtedly
    shown to be cruel and not entirely fair. It is Cora who is ‘muddled’ now. We
    should pity him, as he has lots to deal with. He knows what happened as well as
    you do, and must deal with it for the rest of his life. And, did Robert blame
    Cora for being careless and falling and losing his only son? He could have, and
    he would have been wrong and targets of fan rage if he had. Yes, Cora will
    distance him, but will eventually come to realize he is simply the easiest
    target for something incomprehensible, and the only place she can lay her anger
    until she works through the stages of grief. That, like the occasional temptation by a willing maid, happens in long term marriages. Since
    this is a TV couple, they will manage to endure and will likely have a sweet reconciliation
    coming up this season. Maybe Cora, who seems to be oddly distant and restrained
    in her grief, will finally break down and cry and shout and let it out, and they
    will then begin to move forward. Fans need to see this coming, and prepare
    yourselves because Robert is not the devil you want him to be. They have never
    written him that way. He is basically a good man, and always has been. He is
    just a dinosaur facing extinction, and he knows it better than anyone. He is
    just clawing the walls trying to find something to grab onto to confirm his
    purpose in life and his home, but is making the wrong choices every time in
    this changing world. It is sad. He loves his family and estate above all else in the world. There will be conflicts with his sons in law,
    too, as that makes for good stories that reflect the changing of the guard. (How
    about perfect Matthew being a bit insensitive on the day Sybil dies? Making a
    power grab while his father in law is dealing with overwhelming grief? No
    fangirl rage at him, huh? Too young and good looking? Imagine if the reverse
    had happened! You’d be killing Lord Grantham.) Hugh B plays both power and
    vulnerability well, so I look forward to wherever they take our Earl and
    Countess. It’s a good cast. This is a good storyline. Let them
    act. Sorry-way too long, but lots to talk about.

  • http://twitter.com/ValeKementari Valeria Kementari ♫

    a) this was totally unexpected, not in a million years I would’ve imagined Sybill was going to be the dead one
    b) The Dowager’s arrival was such a powerful scene. I smell another Emmy for Maggie
    c) Cora’s finally becoming interesting! I love it how she blames Robert (and with cause too!)

    This series is totally my favorite one.

  • Casey

    Where was Isobel? Usually you can’t keep her away from medical situations. I would have expected her to invite herself to the birth, then make them take Sybil to the hospital. But she was just sitting at home drinking Ethel’s gross tea?

    Whether I’m pointing out a plot-hole or trying to reverse the death in my mind, I’m not sure.

    • http://forgiveyourmind.tumblr.com/ Tariq

      I think they were all just so busy with the moment and trying to figure out what to do that they forgot to contact her. Plus they already had two doctors in the room and no one really takes Isobel seriously because she’s so annoying, so they might not have wanted her there? I don’t know.

      • Casey

        I thought about that too, but I don’t know. Didn’t she mention something to Ethel about knowing Sybil was in labour? Being unwanted has never stopped her from getting involved before.

  • Lisa

    Just finished. If I wasn’t watching at work (hard to explain… but it is acceptable for me to be watching at work today) I would have been sobbing uncontrollably. I still couldn’t stop all the tears and sniffles… One of my favorite characters, gone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001368411440 Anna Shadid

    I came on here after watching to find a way to express my feelings with my fellow Downton fans and there wasn’t an article. Thank you for writing this. Although, apparently my feelings are purely in tears and a breaking heart within me. I have no comment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001368411440 Anna Shadid

    I came on here after watching to find a way to commiserate with my fellow Downton fans and there wasn’t an article. Thank you for writing this. Although, apparently my feelings are purely in tears and a breaking heart within me. I have no comment.

  • severus<3lily

    omg, just shock and denial and sadness

  • Matt

    Is anyone else totally convinced by now that O’Brien knows Thomas is gay and is trying to catch him putting the moves on Jimmy so that she can get him fired? Also, why can’t they just be friends? They were so much more fun when they were conspiring together, not undermining each other.

    • anodyne1

      Of course she knows. And she’s going to use it against him. Maybe it’ll finally get rid of him. (Why they brought him back after the war is beyond me.) I think the O’Brien vs. Thomas battle will be a lot of fun. Until it hurts an innocent person,

  • craziblu

    My reaction went like this: WHAT?!?!?! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY WHYYYYYYY????????? AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ok, the writers of Downton Abbey are insane.

  • M

    Before watching the episode I knew that something shocking was going to happen, and I did think that maybe a character would die. As soon as I saw Sybil in bed, I thought she would give birth, but the baby would die. Yes that would be sad.

    But this is sooo much worse. Whilst Mary and Matthew are my favourite, there is something purely good about Sybil that I think drew everyone to her character. As Thomas said, she was one of the few kind people to him.

    The death was so shocking that I didn’t cry then. No, I cried when Cora spoke to Sybil, I cried when Thomas cried and I cried when the Dowager Countess arrived. Even more horrifying that the death was the reactions to the death, some reactions weren’t nearly as significant as others who knew her less. Tom’s reaction was devastating compared to the others too.

    Also, I never liked Cora, but now I think she is the only one who makes sense. It really is Lord Grantham’s fault. I hope she stays strong in that.

    Most importantly though, I think this episode shows how important Sybil was to everyone else, purely because of her kind, generous nature. I think she is one of the few characters who actually ‘deserve’ a truly happy ending, and she didn’t get hers.

    I’m going to miss Jessica Brown Findlay, hopefully her incredible talent is recognised and we see her again!

  • potterjay

    I’m the sort of person who doesn’t get upset at TV shows/ films etc… but even I was bawling at this!! I think part of this was because it was such a shock! I hadn’t been on the lookout for spoilers, but I definitely managed to avoid this one… I don’t think it would have had as much of an impact if I had have known what was coming up.

    Also, completely agree that Robert didn’t need to get involved- I never really liked him as a character, but only just disliked him!

  • Blue

    I truly grieved for this character. And like with the death of a real person, I was left asking, “Why?” The writers and producers control the fates of their characters, and I puzzled over their reasons. I heard that Jessica Brown-Finley might be leaving to do Captain America, but I’d rather have a story where Sybil is enjoying a happy ending in Ireland, and occasionally guest stars, than this tragedy.
    I wondered if it might have to do with Mary and Matthew’s possible infertility. Should Branson decide, in his grief or due to his strong love of his country, to return to Ireland, he would be immediately imprisoned. The baby would be left in the care of Mary and Matthew, giving them — and only them — a happy ending.
    This would make me so angry. After years of pining for Sybil, and finally marrying her, only to have her die in his arms, Branson deserves some measure of joy. But that’s the only reason I can think of, unless it’s for the shock factor, which would be despicable.
    I’d love to hear any ideas, if you can guess why they killed off the sweetest, bravest, prettiest, and my favorite, character on the show.

  • dave bull

    You can write a story and a script, as Julian Fellow’s has done with Downton Abbey, but it’s ultimately up to the actor’s and actresses to bring it to life, and WOW did they do it for the deathbed scene of Lady Sybil, anyone who didn’t feel the emotion generated with those performances, that of jessica brown findlay and her co actors must be completely devoid of sensitivity and feeling…I didn’t cry, but tears were brimming in them….it was the by far the most heartbreaking death bed scene on T.V. I have ever witnessed…..

  • Arielle

    Ughhh. I just don’t understand why they would kill her! She’s one of the more interesting characters with many promising story lines. Tom and her were my favorite to watch. I hope we start getting some happier episodes.

  • Quatre Mains

    I think the producers (or whoever decides it) made a bad decision by not allowing the US and the rest of the world to show Downton simultaneously with the UK. This has got to be one of the most shocking episodes in any soap and however hard one tries it will be hard for most Americans, who follow Downton, not to hear 2nd or 3rd hand about what happened to Sybil. And even just a hint that Sybil is going to die would be the ultimate spoiler. It would have really upset me if I had heard about it beforehand.

  • PagetoStage

    One other thing to consider, with regard to Matthew and Mary as well as Sybil and Tom: Once the ‘will they or won’t they’ couple is happily together on tv shows, it is often the kiss of (literal or metaphorical) death. Where would Sybil and Tom have gone in storylineland? Their primary storyline was done, and they’d be relegated to second-class to Matt/Mary again. Trouble would be ahead no matter what, as it likely is for Matthew and Mary in the not-too-distant future. Beware, fangirls. Their ‘ship might have its own iceberg ahead in the form of inability to conceive an heir, trouble over Matthew’s power grab of Downton, or maybe even an ill-placed lightning bolt or shooting accident (or bomb planted by certain Irish rebels targeting mean ol’Robert) ;) B’way boy Dan Stevens may or may not return for Series 4 according to press reports.

  • Esther P.

    This was absolutely heartbreaking. I could not believe it.
    As soon as there was the conflict between the doctors I could tell something was going to go wrong… at first I thought there would be a problem but that they would take her to the hospital. (I thought she might give birth to a stillborn child, but I didn’t realize that two dead babies on the same show would be a bit unoriginal.)
    I thought something was going to go wrong during the birth, and when it didn’t, I was surprised, but somewhat mollified- almost put off my guard. I thought, well, that wasn’t particularly dramatic, but oh well. Of course the cockiness of Sir Phillip What’s-his-name was suspicious… When Sybil was going to bed, she seriously looked ill, I was becoming more worried by the moment- OBVIOUSLY something was wrong here- and then I remember, during the shot of the corridor when Mary’s shadow flits across it, I specifically thought, “there’s a shot they’ve never done before… they’ve panned around in different ways, but never a shot of the corridor sitting in the dark like that, with one creepy light and a frightening shadow… something’s gone awfully wrong.”
    Then of course as soon as Lady Mary woke up her mother all the alarm bells went off- but all the way through the seizures, despite my rage at that good-for-nothing Sir Awful Doctor and at stupid Grantham with his faith in his posh doctors, despite my clutching my face in horror and repeating, “Oh no, oh no, oh no,” I could hardly believe that Sybil would die. I held out a shred of hope, thinking that the writers couldn’t possibly do this- why would they, except for Jessica Brown Findlay wanting to leave the show? (Oh yeah, that’s right, I hadn’t heard…*hmph!*)
    It wasn’t until I saw her face turn ashen that I believed it- but I was in complete shock. I teared up and was wracked by dry sobs the whole way though…
    The tears really came when the Dowager Countess came in. I think we ought to stop for a moment to appreciate Dame Maggie Smith’s absolutely stellar performance. I thought I was the only one to really be truly touched by that moment- but reading through the comments, I realize that it wasn’t just me appreciating it; it was so powerful that it reached out to everyone. Dame Maggie is really a wonder; unparalleled in what she does and how she does it.
    I’d like to add that I found it odd that neither Cora nor Mary cried, really, at Sybil’s death. I found Lady Edith’s reaction moving, and Allen Leech’s acting was spectacular- when he was standing at the window with little Sybil the sobs came on doubly strong- but somehow I would have liked it if Cora and Mary had cried.
    Lord Grantham- where was his grief? I may not remember correctly, but as far as I do remember, he was extremely upset by the miscarriage that Cora suffered; why didn’t we see him upset now that his daughter died? He actually knew her- moreover, it was somewhat his fault that she met the pitiable, undeserved, desperately sad end that she did- so where are his tears? Hm? I understand Grantham’s motives, but I just cannot agree with him or sympathize much with him. I’m usually not a huge fan of Cora’s, but she was just so sensible, so properly motherly, and so pitiable that I stand by her. Even if she is unreasonably angry at Grantham- even if he deserves to be forgiven, I understand where she’s coming from and would probably act the same way.
    I think Tom’s the same way as Cora for me- I don’t usually like him particularly, but I think this is concrete proof that he was truly madly in love with Sybil, for which I respect, like, and support him all the more. I believed it of the character, but I usually didn’t think Allen Leech did (or indeed could have done) a superb job; to be honest, I think the character was written with too much emphasis on the politics and too little on the romance.
    To sum up, I’m absolutely heart-broken by Sybil’s death, and not looking forward to the drama in the next episode (which I haven’t watched yet), as I think it’ll be very depressing, and will probably mostly consist of arguing over the baby.
    As a side note, if Mary and Matthew end up infertile, I will probably throw an orange at the screen- at the screenwriters, in fact, if I can manage it. Please let Mary and Matthew have something positive to worry about for once!
    Anna and Bates’s storyline is getting a bit dry- I think they’ve been draggin it around for a bit too long, and Bates is getting a little violent for my taste, judging by that clip from the preview. That’s not the Bates I know and like- perhaps the screenwriters have been hiding the true Bates from us all this time… and that prison guard if definitely up to no good.
    Thinking of the way Lavinia’s death was handled, I’m almost upset Sybil didn’t get a funeral or at least some flowers, but on second thought I think it was best this way. They effectively relayed the shock and grief and helplessness by making it sudden and raw.
    Before I end this ridiculously long post (thank you for reading through it if you have!) I’d like to give a shout-out to Thomas, who becomes more like-able (sp?) and more human with every episode. His tears on Sybil’s behalf won me over completely. Poor Jimmy- ahem, excuse me, James- is definitely in for a surprise when he finds out Ms. O’Brien’s been playing him to get at Thomas (which I think is her plan), but I’ll be on Thomas’s side this time.
    I’ll conclude before I think of anything else with which to make this post longer! Thanks for sticking to it if you have :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Clarke/100003182479854 Jane Clarke

    When Bates was first convicted of murder, I thought, Great!, they’re going to hang him (which would have been apropos for the times) and we will be spared anymore of those boring Bates-Anna scenes. But no, he gets his sentence commuted and we were even more bored by all those Bates-in-prison scenes. Then, I crossed my fingers and hoped he would be stabbed to death in prison, but no, instead, they killed off Lady Sybil, one of the most interesting characters, and now we’re bored by Bates and Anna fixing up their cottage, etc.. The best way around the Bates-Bates-and more Bates scenes is to record the show so that you can fast-forward through all the Bates scenes. I can’t recall any other character on television being more annoying than Bates!

  • Sophia

    I CANT EVEN EXPRESS IN WORDS HOW HEART BROKEN I AM AFTER WATCHING THAT EPISODE. The way Tom was begging her not to leave him, how he was still clutching onto her lifeless body and they never even got to say goodbye. It sickens me that we didn’t get enough of them on screen and now never will. He waited years to be with her and in the end only got a year to live happily with her, her death was horrific and couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. THEY WERE SOUL MATES AND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COUPLE TO EVER WALK THE EARTH, EVER.

  • J.Simpson

    I know I’m late to the party, but I just started watching Downton Abbey a few weeks ago. I’ve finally watched this episode last night, and I just cried so much! First of all, I now consider this Downton Abbey’s “Jump the Shark” episode. Up until this happened, all I wanted to do was watch the show. Now, I have no desire. My hope was based on Sybil eventually leaving Branson and going back to her aristocratic life, even with a baby, that perhaps Mary and Matthew adopted. Sybil was the prettiest and most dynamic. Now, I feel bored to death with the remaining characters.

  • marilyn

    The actress playing Sybil did a spectacular job in her dying scene as did the other actors. I was not, however prepred for that at all! She lent a sweetness and sincerity to the three sisters as she was the only one who loved the other two. I do like the character of Edith as well and I’m hoping they will develop her character considerably now. I think she has alot within her to become a real force in the show.

  • Chris Noble

    I really started crying when I saw Cora wishing her back to life. And I just started weeping like crazy when Thomas started crying!! I really felt sorry for him.

  • anodyne1

    As PagetoStage said so well “As for Sybil, I understand the actress wanted to leave, andso JF wrote Sybil out in a very dramatic style and left storylines to tie up in
    the aftermath. Brilliant. To criticize the scene as too heartbreatking is, well,
    immature. It is a drama, after all. If JF broke your heart, he did his job well
    and so did the actors. And actors LOVE playing conflict and rage and baddies
    and grief. It is what they do, and how they win awards. No one wins for being
    happy in every scene, and no one watches either. To blame Robert for Sybil’s
    death is doing what grief-stricken Cora is doing, and that will be undoubtedly
    shown to be cruel and not entirely fair.”

    Happy endings for everyone, particularly the characters we like, turns into boring, white bread TV (Movies, etc.) Real people died in childbirth. Even rich people. A good drama breaks your heart. If you want nothing but sweetness and light then you can watch…I don’t know. Probably Qubo shows. I was touched by Thomas’ reaction to Sybil’s death, as well as Daisy’s.

    It’s sad. But is it a good program. And if Mary can’t conceive, and if Edith never marries, Lord Grantham is faced with his only grandchild being a girl (gasp!) who is the daughter of a chauffeur and a Catholic if Thomas gets his way. Interesting possibilities.

    Grow up. It was terribly, terribly sad. But it’s real life and good drama.

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