Sunday, January 27, 2013

Downton Abbey 3.5.

(Review originally posted in October, 2012. Episodes 1&2 were combined for the American broadcast, making this the 5th British episode, but only the 4th US.)

This is a serious spoiler warning. I know most people on tumbler have been unable to avoid this because the fandom has been vomiting it up. But still, if you haven't been spoiled yet, please don't let me be the cause of spoiling you now. Move away from the computer quickly.

Yes, I was spoiled. I've rarely seen such a reaction get so violently widespread on tumbler so that even an accidental viewing with spoil it. Normally I avoid tumblr until after watching Downton, but my head has been off this week and I accidentally ventured to scroll down a bit after it aired (not remembering that it would have just finished).

No warnings. None. Just ranting. And so of course I then had to go into the Downton tag and learn what had happened because I couldn't wait for captions to get up to learn more details.

Oh my fellow Downtonians... handkerchiefs all around.

Sybil was probably the single most universally adored character on the show. I've never met or heard of a person who didn't love Sybil. She was sweet and kind and spunky and independent  She was gorgeous and devoted and so very, very loving. She was an idealist. She would have been a wonderful mother.

I don't know why they chose to kill her off. Well, drama and plot, but... this seems a really huge thing to insert for the sake of story. Seriously. This is worse than Joss Whedon, and that's saying a lot.

Even Thomas cried. Thomas. And I felt bad for Thomas.

I can't believe Robert insisted the way he did. I can't believe he wouldn't listen to Cora. Childbirth is a female arena and was doubly so in those days - he knew nothing about the subject and yet insisted on controlling the situation. His pride wouldn't allow him to utilize an option that could save his daughter.

Although to be honest a Cesarean even now has plenty of risk, so Sybil or her child might still have died. Medicine was changing in these days, and it wasn't until after WWII that most babies were born in hospitals, meaning that medical intervention was still looked at warily by older, traditional physicians like Dr. Phillip whatshisface. Dr. Clarkson may not be a perfect doctor, but he still knows his stuff and demonstrates the wisdom of having a medical professional who knows your situation well and understands your body, so he can notice when something is going wrong.

 You can read more about toxemia here: (and it is worth knowing about).

Anna and Bates progressed, but honestly their whole storyline should have been moved up an episode. Set in this episode it just distracted from the emotions we were all tied up in.

Still, I'll admit that I cared about Ethel in this episode, which is a big change for me. I didn't mind having her around, especially since they dialed her part back once things got serious with Sybil.

And the bright note - Huzzah for Edith getting a job offer as a columnest! I hate that her family keeps putting her down, although I understand the mindset they're coming from. Thank God she has such an awesome brother in Matthew!

Now we have a whole new set of things to deal with, and Downton is never going to be the same.


Emilie said...

Probably the saddest thing I have ever seen. I cried right from the moment Mary got her parents, and didn't stop crying until after the episode. I'm still in danger of bawling my eyes out right now.

I knew that something was going to go wrong. There was still half the episode left, and I just knew everything couldn't be perfect.

Emily said...

Just thought I'd leave a comment to say hello and how much I've been enjoying your posts. I just discovered your blog recently and now I look forward to your new posts, and I always enjoy your posts on Downton Abbey and Once Upon a Time.

This last episode broke my heart. I don't think I shall ever recover. I loved her so much. *sob*

Anyways, ever so glad I found your blog!

Elizabeth Amy Hajek said...

I think this is where I say "hugs all around!" and pass a box of tissues.

I still don't get why the show would risk turning off so many fans by killing Sybil.

Emily, I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog! Thanks for letting me know! :) I always love hearing from my readers.

Elora Shore said...

I was so shocked that Sybil died--although I did wonder if it would be used as something to move other characters. Almost nothing is as effective as the memory of someone. I was so surprised to see Barrows crying! I thought it was sweet though. I was like "Oh, I knew you had a shred of heart left in you!" I wonder if they'll name the baby Sybil? Or something in remembrance of her? I think that would be so sweet! I wonder how Branson will change? And then there's Cora, who has always been so supportive and understanding of her husband--to have lost her "baby" and knowing how they might have prevented it, I look forward to seeing how she might change. Hopefully nothing bitter/sharp, as I've always valued and respected her character, but this will be interesting. This will be something new for us!
One thing is for sure--I thought the actress for Sybil did a tremendous job. I'm always like, "I don't know how I could do a labor scene! I'd feel so ridiculous, I'd burst out laughing! Well, then I'd probably look realistic, sense my face would be all red...."
I'm so looking forward to the next episode! It's a good thing my mom hasn't seen this one, or else she would be bawling. I just got teary-eyed. I rarely cry as it is, though.

Elizabeth Amy Hajek said...

Yes... they only did it because the actress, Jessica Brown Findlay, had other commitments she couldn't get out of and had to leave Downton. Which is heartbreaking, but that's what happen when the studio doesn't announce plans to renew early enough.

And yes, they do name the baby Sybil - Sybbie. (I don't think that counts as a spoiler...)