‘Downton’ Drama: An unexpected tragedy

1:00 pm EST, 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.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Read full article

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

Read full article

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?

The first two cast members for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Lion King have been announced by director Jon Favreau.

James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the animated movie in the ’90s, is returning as the character in the live-action adaptation. Interesting!

Meanwhile, Donald Glover — who will co-star in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming for Disney and Marvel — will play Adult Simba.

Read full article

The first two cast members for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Lion King have been announced by director Jon Favreau.

James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the animated movie in the ’90s, is returning as the character in the live-action adaptation. Interesting!

Meanwhile, Donald Glover — who will co-star in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming for Disney and Marvel — will play Adult Simba.

Favreau tweeted the news Friday evening:

According to a statement from Disney, The Lion King “will build on the groundbreaking technology used in The Jungle Book to bring the story of Simba to photorealistic life.”

A release date for the film hasn’t been set. Favreau also helmed the live-action Jungle Book for the studio.

So far casting is off to a great start!