‘Downton’ Drama: An unexpected tragedy

1:00 pm EDT, October 18, 2012

From the miracle of a birth, to the tragedy we never saw coming, Downton Abbey doesn’t get more dramatic than this. Major season 3 spoilers ahead.

I’m sure everyone you ask was deeply affected by the fifth episode of Downton Abbey. Not only was it profoundly sad, but it was also infinitely tragic. This reaction could only have been emitted from a tragedy surrounding a beloved character, which is why I truly believe that Sybil’s death was more than sad, it was powerfully moving. It got the reader’s attention just as the deaths of beloved characters in Harry Potter such as Sirius, Lupin, Snape, Fred, Dumbledore and Dobby. These deaths had an impressive effect on the fandom, who refused to forget the sacrifices and honour of these characters.

The significance of Sybil’s death, in comparison to these immeasurable tragedies, is the legacy that she leaves behind. Whilst Sybil may not be your favourite character, I believe that it would be hard to find anyone who could possibly dislike her. She was always kind, caring and generous, which makes her death that much more tragic. I personally claim Mary and then Matthew to be my favourite characters, but there is a purity within Sybil that has always stood out to me.

Do you remember in series 1 when Sybil worked to help Gwen the housemaid to achieve her dream of becoming a secretary? She refused to give in to the roles that everyone else in society had accepted. She continued to rebel against her family and her station, going to political rallies in support of women’s right to vote, and demonstrated her compassion in working as a nurse during the war.

In order to prepare for being a nurse, Sybil secretly asked Mrs. Patmore and Daisy for help regarding cooking skills, as Isobel suggested she would need some basic skills. When Sybil came back to Downton as a fully trained nurse, Branson asked her if she could go back to her life after the war, and she responded, ‘No I could never go back to that.”

This is severely contrasted against almost everyone else at Downton.

Even her relationship with Branson emphasises the tragedy of her death. Rather than the beginning of a romance, their first meeting marks the beginning of a strong, yet ‘undesirable’ friendship, as her family members come to worry about her reputation. In an interview, Jessica Brown Findlay, who plays Sybil said, “The connection she has with Branson is beautiful. In the first series, I never saw it. I never saw it sort of being romantic or anything like that. I never read it as that. She’s just so happy for there to be someone she could talk to, and understand her.” Their friendship evolves into romance as they come to understand each other intimately, demonstrating the breaking of ties between the classes.

Reflecting on this reminds me of the importance of Sybil. She was kind and generous to a fault, irrespective of status. Her importance lies in this legacy she leaves behind, that we all share the same role, we are all human. Unlike others of her class, she refused to disregard the efforts and circumstances of those ‘below’ her, and never treated them as such. Therein lies the tragedy of Sybil’s death.

How else could we possibly describe the death of a beloved character, who had so much further in life to go, as a mother and as a woman of an aristocratic family who believed in equal rights?

Knowing that someone was to die in this episode, as soon as the episode began, I believed it would be Sybil’s baby, and yes, that would be sad, but not so infinitely tragic as the death of Sybil herself. There is something purely good in Sybil, her soul radiates a purity that cannot be found elsewhere. Her death was not only shocking to her family, but also to the servants, who too were devastated by her death. This is particularly evidenced through Thomas, who is visibly in tears at the word of her death, “In my life I can tell you that not many have been kind to me, she was one of the few,” he said, further demonstrating her complete goodness.

Because of this, I feel that Sybil is one of the few characters on not only Downton Abbey, but countless other TV shows and in countless books, who actually deserves a truly happy ending. But she didn’t get hers. This is why Sybil’s death was a complete tragedy, because her pure goodness is unparalleled and utterly deserving of true happiness. I for one, am just grateful that she got her moment with her husband and child before she had to leave them.

I am certainly going to miss Sybil. She will be remembered.

Intellectual property law may prevent Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report from appearing on The Late Show, but it cannot stop his identical twin cousin.

Last week, Stephen Colbert brought a familiar face to visit The Late Show. Tucked away in the woods living happily ever after with Jon Stewart was Colbert’s character, host of The Colbert Report, champion of America, Her Excellency The Rev. Sir Doctor Stephen Tyrone Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World** featuring Flo Rida La Premiere Dame De France. Or Stephen Colbert for short.

Colbert resisted bringing the character to The Late Show, choosing to introduce the world to the real Stephen Colbert. But the Republican National Convention selecting Donald Trump as their candidate for President demanded that Colbert dust off his Captain America shield and return to glory for one night only. And one night only is all we are going to see of that man.

Colbert late show colbert returns

Colbert announced on The Late Show that immediately after the live show on July 18, 2016, Viacom’s lawyers called up CBS and said that “the character Stephen Colbert is their intellectual property.” And so, Stephen Colbert revealed that Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report would never be seen again.

Luckily, Stephen Colbert had an identical twin cousin! How might that work, you ask? Well Colbert’s mother was an identical twin and she and her sister married identical twins and gave birth at the same time and both named their sons Stephen Colbert. Rest assured attorneys, the two men are very different people. The banned Colbert went to Dartmouth, the cousin Colbert only applied there. The banned Colbert wears smart fitting suits, the cousin Colbert prefers a breezy American flag button down. Night and day those two.

Colbert late show werd

Real Stephen Colbert (are you confused yet?) asked cousin Colbert if he’d be willing to make himself available for future appearances on The Late Show, a task cousin Colbert was more than willing to take on. Loopholes!

Another intellectual property to fall to the wayside was “The Word,” a segment Colbert revived from The Colbert Report to introduce the word, “Trumpiness.” There’s a way around this one too. Introducing, “The Werd.”

Watch all of the Stephen Colberts in action and get the lowdown on “The Lesser of Two Evils” in the full segment from July 27.

The Late Show continues its live coverage of the Democratic National Convention tonight at whatever time Hillary Clinton is done speaking on CBS.

When in doubt, look to Harry Potter. At least, that’s what Marvel and Sony are planning for the latest Spider-Man reboot.

When Tom Holland showed up in Captain America: Civil War as Spider-Man, fans were obviously hesitant to throw too much weight behind his version of Peter Parker. The webslinger had been seen at the forefront of a blockbuster movie twice in the past couple decades, and even the biggest Spidey fans were wary of yet another incarnation.

But Holland swung himself right into our hearts with his charm and enthusiasm, both on screen and off. The cast took him under their wings and fans were soon to follow. So, when it was announced that he’d be starring in another solo Spider-Man film, titled Homecoming, the response was optimistic.

There are a lot of things Marvel and Sony are doing differently for Homecoming, not least of which is actually working together. Peter is also much younger than we’ve seen him in the past, and his story will focus as much on his time in school as his time fighting bad guys.

spider-man homecoming logo

In fact, the school year may even help structure Homecoming and subsequent Spider-Man solo films. Speaking to Collider, Kevin Feige even said they may take a leaf out of Harry Potter’s book:

“Should we be able to make more after [Homecoming]? Sure. This is sophomore year, is the next one junior year? Is the next one senior year? Is there a summer break between each of those? I don’t know what, but it was sort of how do we do a journey for Peter not dissimilar for what the students of Hogwarts would go through each of their years, which was one of the early ideas we had for the movies.”

This structure allows for a consistent progression of time for both the characters and the world. We’ll say goodbye to Peter at the end of the school year, but welcome him back again at the beginning of the next. It allows for changes to take place over the summer, for new threats to materialize, and for the story to stretch its legs and develop over the course of nine months, rather than a few short days.

But first we have to see if Spider-Man: Homecoming will be the hit both Marvel and Sony are hoping it’ll be.

How are you feeling about the current developments regarding ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’?

Netflix has passed on picking up Agent Carter for a third season, and now they’re explaining why.

The cancellation of Agent Carter sent shock waves through the Marvel fandom. We get so few female-led properties in the superhero world, and Peggy was unapologetically kickass on every level. When ABC didn’t renew the show for another season, fans immediately started pitching to Netflix, hoping they would give the S.H.I.E.L.D. founder a new life.

Alas, it wasn’t to be so. In an interview with EW, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos explains why they decided to pass on the opportunity.

The first reason was because they’re looking for “truly original brands to own.” Netflix, as you probably know, already has a pretty clear corner on that market with Daredevil and Jessica Jones, both of which have been wildly popular, as well as their upcoming series Luke Cage and Iron Fist, all four of which will eventually merge into an Avengers-esque crossover series called Defenders. Plus, the Punisher is getting his own series, too.

ABC had already owned and put out two seasons of Agent Carter, which means, creatively, Netflix couldn’t take over the show and make it their own. They would have to honor what came before and make sure it had the same look and feel. Considering how wildly popular their original series have been (for reference, check out the current buzz about Stranger Things), it’s understandable that they’d rather focus on something they can build from the ground up.

The second reason why Netflix passed on Agent Carter is a bit more technical in that the streaming service likes to release its original content globally, something that would be difficult, if not impossible, due to Agent Carter’s current international restrictions. As Sarandos says, passing up on Agent Carter was “a business decision more than a creative one.”

But neither of those reasons make the situation any better for fans of the character and her solo show. While Netflix would’ve been an ideal place to watch Peggy’s next great adventure, we’ll have to hope the showrunners and Hayley Atwell can swing something else instead.

Are you disappointed Netflix isn’t picking up ‘Agent Carter’?