Last week’s shocking turn brings some family and staff closer together, while others are driven apart on Downton Abbey.

The atmosphere in the Abbey was shaken this week while upstairs and downstairs alike tried to regroup after the heart-wrenching loss of Sybil in last week’s episode.

As anticipated, tension between Robert and Cora was at an all-time high as Lady Grantham – trembling on the verge of tears throughout the episode – continued to blame her husband for Sybil’s death. In an uncharacteristically direct intervention, Violet arranged for Dr. Clarkson to fudge the facts and assure Cora and Robert that Sybil’s life could not have been saved; it remains to be seen whether that will be the all on the controversial progression of Sybil’s fatal labor.

Robert also clashed with Sybil’s widower Tom, over Tom’s determination to baptize his daughter as a Catholic. The rest of the family rose to Tom’s defense, however, and luckily Mary’s blunt support of Sybil’s wishes seemed to settle the bulk of her father’s vociferous objections. For his part, Tom remains uncertain as to his future, and that of his newborn daughter.

Elsewhere on the estate, Isobel continued to battle prejudice as Robert and Carson loudly protested the female members of the Crawley family enjoying a lunch cooked by former prostitute Ethel; hearteningly, it was only the men who seemed to mind, as even the Dowager Duchess refused to leave the table.

Meanwhile, Anna learned that Bates has secured his release from prison, Matthew continued to chafe against Robert’s resistance to change in the management of Downton, and romantic tension continued to sizzle downstairs between Daisy, Alfred, Ivy, Jimmy and Thomas (yes folks, it’s a pentagon).

As for next week, ITV says:

It’s a happy day for Downton as Anna’s patience is rewarded.
Edith receives admiration from an unexpected quarter.
Matthew refuses to back down over the estate management, will his tactics pay off?
Branson’s plan for the christening causes consternation, as does the arrival of his brother.
O’Brien counsels Thomas but what are her motives?

ITV has also released its official synopsis for the series 3 finale, airing on Nov. 4.

There is excitement in the house and village as the annual cricket match approaches, and it brings out Robert’s competitive side.
As Violet’s great niece Rose arrives, a trip to London reveals there is more to her than meets the eye.
Thomas’s future is in Carson’s hands, but Bates may be an unlikely ally.
What secrets are Mary and Matthew holding back from each other?

What do you think these next two episodes will bring?

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