‘Downton Abbey’ Recap: Goodnight, Sweet Princess

We lost one…

You’re probably dehydrated from all of the tears you shed during last night’s Downton Abbey episode. Grab a glass of water and sit down, because we need to talk through the grief we are feeling at the loss of one of the show’s most beloved characters. If you haven’t watched, we suggest you skip work, but a box of Kleenex and watch it right away before reading on.

The first scenes of the episodes left us so hopeful. Our dear Sybil was experiencing early labor pains, so the Crawley crew called Dr. Clarkson from the village to make sure there was nothing to worry about. The impending birth of baby has the whole house chattering, especially since Dr. Clarkson misdiagnosed Matthew’s broken penis back.

Sybil is planning on raising their child Catholic because it’s important to Branson. Too bad her father has made it abundantly clear that he hates all Catholics. Sybil waxes on religion, talking about how she believes in a higher power, but not really the church. And in that moment we were like:

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Mary reveals that she hasn’t been holding off on trying to start a family. The golden couple just hasn’t had any luck, leaving us to wonder if fertility issues are in play. Lord Grantham has called in a family friend to oversee the birth, a doctor of nobility. Sir Philip sees himself as an expert in childbirth, so Matthew thinks he’s the best person to ask about his formerly broken man bits. The doctor assures him that the couple should just relax, because in some cases, fertility issues come from anxiety. So really, the two should just do this:

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O’Brien’s weird subplot of revenge is in full effect. She’s manipulating the new footman Jimmy into getting closer to Thomas. Our favorite closeted valet has a huge man crush on the newbie, and it seems O’Brien is hoping for Thomas to out himself. Her scheme is working, because Thomas has become a touchy creep, and she does her best Emily Thorne impression as she watches him dig his own grave. We know he will be outed this season and basically, it’s like:

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Anna starts making headway in the mysterious death of Vera Bates. Straight out of an episode of Rizzoli and Isles, Anna and Bates discover that Vera poisoned herself long after Mr. Bates was a train back to Downton. Hopefully, this discovery will get him out of the clink.

In other smaller, unnecessary plotlines: Cousin Isobel offers Ethel a gig working in her house, as long as she promises to leave her Sweet Charity days behind her. Mrs. Bird, The Dowager Countess and others all disapprove. Daisy has become the Regina George of the kitchen staff and is hazing the new girl. But the only reason Daisy is mad is because she’s not getting any attention from Alfred. It’s like a dumb version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The only thing less exciting in this episode was Edith’s big break as a writer, as she was asked to write a regular column for a London newspaper. Snooze.

As Sybil goes into full labor, Sir Philip and Dr. Clarkson notice that she is having issues. Sir Philip and Dr. Clarkson express different opinions of her condition: Sir Philip thinks it is all normal, and Dr. Clarkson fears she has preeclampsia. Sybil starts hallucinating, sweating and her labor looks hella painful and Dr. Clarkson’s warning go ignored by Sir Philip and Lord Grantham. And as we bit our nails, Sybil delivered a beautiful baby girl.

But Julian Fellows giveth, and then he taketh away. In his typical life-ruining ways, Sybil succumbs to the trauma of childbirth. Yes. Sybil died. Let’s all take a moment of gif silence to deal with that bomb of information.

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Done? We aren’t either. We are crying at Thomas’s cries. We are crying at Mrs. Hughes’s reaction. We are in hysterics at Mr. Carson’s reaction. We can’t even look at Branson right now. We lost it when Cora promised her daughter’s corpse that she would watch over her widower and daughter–and then proceeded to inform Lord Grantham that he will be sleeping alone. We EVEN cried when Edith asked Mary if their sister’s death will bring them closer together, and Mary was like:

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The facepalm award of the night goes to Matthew, who decided that it was totally okay to talk about reforming Downton’s business affairs the day after Sybil died. Good job, idiot. Now your wife definitely won’t be sleeping with you. And Cora won’t be going near her husband anytime soon, as she made it clear that she casts some blame upon him for ignoring Dr. Clarkson.

Our parting shot is Branson holding his baby girl, a portrait of a family with one person so obviously missing.


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How do YOU feel about last night’s episode? Let’s work through this together in the comments.

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