Season 3, Episode 5
Downton has concluded the funeral proceedings for Sybil. Her death has brought Tom and Matthew closer together. Violet has shown a softer side as well and treats Isobel more kindly. However, Cora is still angry as absolute hell at Robert with the jabs she continues to make. She also keeps him out of their bedroom, rehashing that he chose a doctor who’s fashionable and knighted over the chance of saving his daughter’s life.
Downstairs takes a moment to breathe after the service. Two new maids that help with the baby giggle at a harmless comment that Alfred makes. This brings Mr. Carson to anger but before he can unload his fury on them, Anna diffuses the situation and reminds them that the entire house is a family, regardless of being upstairs/downstairs. She sends a word of comfort to Thomas who was the closest to Sybil out of all of them, sans Anna being the lady’s maid. James, sitting next to Thomas, encourages him as well and Thomas touches his hand in appreciation. Another uncomfortable moment for James. Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes lament on the sad state of the new crop of service girls. Mrs. Hughes offers that their mothers are not teaching them manners because they probably do not want their children in service anymore. Mr. Carson is offended that the lower class would want to strive for more.
At Crawley House, Ethel brings Isobel another bad bowl of soup for her dinner. They discuss the funeral and Ethel relates to understanding the loss of a child. Isobel wants to have a luncheon for the girls but she absolutely does not want Ethel to cook! Mrs. Patmore is out in town when Ethel catches up with her to ask for her help with the luncheon. Mrs. Patmore has her doubts but is quickly reminded that Isobel should not be shunned for showing kindness that no one else will.
Breakfast is somber with Edith and the boys until Tom begins discussing his plans. Everything he wants, Robert despises. He wants the baby to be named Sybil in remembrance and also have her raised Irish Catholic. At the mention of religion, Robert quickly excuses himself so as not to begin an argument. He finds Mary outside reading and blows off some steam at her. Robert is furious because there hasn’t been a Catholic Crawley since the Reaffirmation. Mary reminds him that the baby is a Branson. She also agrees with the naming of Sybil while Roberts thinks it ghoulish.
During the exercise time in prison, the corrupt guard in cahoots with the cellmate has a talk with Bates. He hints that there is some good news for him but he should be careful or that good news will disappear.
Robert sits down with Violet and tells her of Tom’s plans with the baby. She learns that his marriage is in trouble and suggests they take some time away from each other. Travis, the vicar, is invited to dinner and they both doubt his powers of persuasion over Tom. Of course Travis is ganged up upon when he states God does not approve of Catholics. Mary announces that Sybil had told her she wanted the baby raised Catholic to please Tom. Robert is dumbfounded. Tom is renewed!
In a moment downstairs, O’Brien talks to Alfred and James about their like or dislike of Ivey, the new kitchen maid. She gets James to say she is not his type which peaks Thomas’ interest. O’Brien is certainly gunning for revenge. At downstairs dinner that night, their discussion is religion as well and James makes a comment that Thomas takes as an opening to further his cause. Mr. Carson continues to jab Thomas and he clearly dislikes the shoe being on the other foot!
Daisy visits her father in law and he asks her to help run his farm. He wants to leave his fairly large fortune all to her. She always thought she’d live her life in service and he tries to persuade her to change her mind. Daisy tells Mrs. Patmore and she is surprised at the generosity of Mr. Mason, telling her what a wonderful offer she has been given.
Violet invites Dr. Clarkson to her home to discuss Sybil’s death. She tells him he has caused a division in her son’s marriage. They need to know that even if they took Dr. Clarkson’s route of a c-section, Sybil still could have died. They need to face the truth together and she asks him to speak with them and enforce that the smallest chance of survival was still a risk that could have been met with death.
Matthew takes Tom out to the Downton cottages that he wants to reinvest in. He finds out that Tom comes from a long line of farmers. They discuss his unknown future. But it is a future in which he will not be separated from his daughter.
The solicitor, Murray, meets with Mrs. Bartlett and finds someone has tipped her off to change her story and lie to a man of the court. Bates knows it is the corrupt guard. Bates threatens the cellmate to call off the guard or he will tell the governor of the prison about their inside drug dealings.
Mr. Carson sees Mrs. Patmore leave Crawley House and is not only appalled that she went there under strict orders not to, but that the ladies of the house have been invited to luncheon there. At lunch with Robert, Matthew, and Tom, Matthew begins to discuss the failures of Downton management again but again, Robert will hear nothing of it. Mr. Carson interrupts and informs Robert where the ladies are and Ethel’s former status of a prostitute (which only downstairs had knowledge of). Robert bursts in at the Crawley House luncheon and announces what he has learned about Ethel and he wants his ladies to leave. He is angry that Isobel has exposed her family to scandal. No one leaves with him. The ladies make it known to him that they will not judge her or Isobel.
*My favorite part of the episode comes when Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes are discussing the happenings at the luncheon. At learning that the ladies stayed for dessert, Mrs. Hughes wondered if the world was starting to become a kinder place. Mr. Carson countered by questioning if it was not getting weaker and less disciplined. This is the moral question we face today. How do we curb the destructive actions like prostitution or babies being born out of wedlock without stifling the Christian notion of charity and forgiveness? Jesus forgave but also commanded to “go and sin no more”. Today’s society has lost sight of that last part since we fail to administer consequences to the sinner and expect reformation from them.*
Mary and Robert have a discussion after dinner about his recent actions. She tells him his anger is not for Cora or Isobel, it’s because the world isn’t going his way at the moment. He is also angry with Matthew because he thinks change will come sweeping in when he is not ready for it. The thought of Robert destroying Downton with mismanagement is too much for him to bear. Mary reassures him that she is always on his side, yet not when it comes to the baby’s christening. Robert breaks down a bit and admits he still runs to speak to Sybil but then realizes she is gone. Mary pleads with him to tell Cora how he feels.
Downstairs, James lightens the evening by playing a little music on the piano. His talent catches the ear of Mrs. Hughes who compliments him on his ability. Thomas agrees with her and places his hands on James’ shoulders. O’Brien comes up to tell Thomas he is needed elsewhere. James tells her that if Thomas does not stop touching him, he will go to Mr. Carson. O’Brien meets up with Thomas in the upstairs hall and says that she thinks James has a crush on him. Thomas is thrilled.
Anna gets news from Murray that Mrs. Bartlett gave a new statement that will clear Bates from his murder charge. After all the formalities are taken care of, he will be set free !
Daisy finds Alfred trying to dance the foxtrot. She thinks he has changed her mind about her and is happy to teach him how to do it. James steps in and says Alfred needs to do a better job if he is to impress Ivey. She is instantly shattered. Mr. Carson finds them messing about and dresses them down.
Violet invites Cora, Robert, and Dr. Clarkson to her home. Dr. Clarkson tells them the truth about Sybil. When they realize that Sybil was going to die because of the eclampsia, regardless of early delivery, Cora and Robert come together in grief to heal.