Downton Abbey Recap: Good News For People Who Like Bad News
So here we are. Halfway through the third season of Downton Abbey. No one believed in us except for us! We've had some laughs along the way but now the honeymoon is over and it's time to get down to the serious business of childbirth. Remember: SPOILER ALERT: I watched the show and I am going to tell you what happened in it. Now, follow me, won't you? Here we go, into the mystical land of English manners fetishism that we call Downton Abbey...
We begin with Downton at night plus a doctor plus condescendingly smiling sisters. This can only equal one thing: baby time! But not yet my friends! Oh no, not yet. (Spoiler inside spoiler: I think that's what this episode is ALL ABOUT.)
Before we see any sweet cute baby cheeks, let us head downstairs, where old Thomas is flirting with new Jimmy and Daisy is apparently trying to break the new maid's spirit. I'm with Daisy on this one. She's too chipper. She is what we call in my family, "cruisin' for a bruisin'" -- emotionally, of course.
Upstairs there is some drama over which doctor should be called. The town doctor, who knows Sybil inside and out, or the famous doctor, who is famous and oh so famous. Because of ego issues (that is directed at YOU Robert) it appears we will be treated to dueling baby doctors! I was hoping for a Call the Midwife crossover, but I guess a sort of Obstetrician Apprentice is good too. Who will get fired? Who will do the firing?
Uh oh. It looks like Sybil wants a Catholic baby. Lord Grantham is a known hater of Catholics. Is this why he made that weird offhanded comment last episode? PLOT POINT.
Downstairs, Thomas treats Jimmy to the MOST ROMANTIC CLOCK WINDING EVER. Oh how tender one must be with a clock. It can never be too hot or too cold. And how tenderly Thomas will caress you, Jimmy, and make sure you never get too hot or too cold either.
Anna -- explaining her detective work to Bates in prison -- has given me a new idea: The Killing: Downton Abbey: Who killed Vera Bates? The beauty part is, it's already been going on for 2 seasons, just like the original!
At Mrs. Crawley's, her do-gooder hire of an ex-prostitute who was kind of a lackluster maid to begin with seems dangerous but in a good way. I hope those two girls go crazy together and Mrs. Crawley becomes a can-can dancer.
Back at the prison it is Downton Oz again. There's nothing I like more than people plotting in English accents. And it seems like the guard and the celly sure have a lot of time to plot. You'd think they would come up with an actual plan with all the jibberjabbering they are doing.
While walking around the Downton village, Matthew says to Mary, about her father: "I think he equates being business-like with being mean or worse, being middle class." The future is now, and in the future, Matthew and Mary are in constant class warfare.
At dinner, the famous doctor, Sir Philip, is talking too freely about lady parts at the table. He points out there won't be any problems and that Sybil will have an easy birth because she's beautiful. It's called science. Deal with it.
Apparently the floodgates of inappropriateness have been opened because now Matthew is speaking a bit too freely about his man parts. The science whiz doctor tells him to calm down because "anxiety is an enemy to pregnancy." What Sir Philip doesn't know is middle class-ness is an enemy to pregnancy and Mary isn't going to let any of those business-like sperm NEAR her eggs until Matthew starts acting like a gentleman by walking his dog, shouting people to bed and completely ignoring his finances.
Lord Grantham has a serious talk with Anna about Bates. I had forgotten that Robert and Anna share a love of Bates. In fact, maybe part of Robert's problem is that he is missing his rock, the only man he loves, the only person who understands him. Get Bates out of prison! Downton needs him!
Uppity Edith, the heroine of the season so far, scores a job writing a newspaper column! On one hand, yay! So glad she gets to have a passion other than gardening. On the other hand, boo! This is such a Lena Dunham situation. She's a privileged white girl with famous parents who gets the world handed to her on a silver platter. Next thing you know, Judd Apatow will be ghost writing her HBO show. Wait, WHO IS WRITING DOWNTON ABBEY?
Side note/that reminds me: the last person of color on this show was Mr. Pamuk. Just FYI.
At Mrs. Crawley's, Mrs. Bird still can't say prostitute. Even though this makes her extremely virtuous, Mrs. Crawley still fires her and tells her she isn't even cute enough for people to pay money to be with her in an intimate way. At least, she implies it. Oh Mrs. Crawley, I have a very good idea where this story line is going, and that is a ridiculous place, but still, I like your spunk.
Downstairs, a complicated love-rhombus is developing: Daisy loves Alfred loves Kitchen Maid loves Jimmy.
In a clutch hollandaise sauce move, Alfred proves to be the best cook ever! Top Chef Downton won.
Upstairs, all the fancies have convened in the drawing room to discuss Sybil's symptoms. As they should, everyone seems to care a lot more about propriety than Sybil actually living through childbirth.
Mrs. Crawley is forced to eat burned kidney souffle as punishment for carrying on about whores.
Back in the big house, Sybil is losing it. Does anyone know where her childhood friend Larry is? Though the good local doctor suggests it is eclampsia or whatever, I believe sneaky Larry may be back at the secret drugging game.
Down in the drawing room, there are more high-level talks about Sybil's condition. A lot seems to rest on the premise that Sybil might regularly have fat ankles. Sir Philip, the mad scientist, thinks this is a possibility. The unfamous doctor knows for a fact that it isn't possible because she is a gorgeous swan from heaven (true, a boring swan, but a swan nonetheless). Lord Grantham, again doing battle with his ego, sides with Famous Phil. If Sybil dies this one's on you Robert. Maybe you could benefit from a meditation retreat?
But just like that, a baby is born and the will-Sybil-live-or-die drama seems to be over and everyone is okay. Sadly though, the baby is a girl. Throw Robert a bone people! Give him a grandson! Someone less middle class than Matthew really needs to inherit this place quickly before it gets leased to a production company that wants to make a television show that appeals to the bourgeois!
Downstairs, O'Brien's devious matchmaking is coming off a little like pimping. I'm just going to say this: portraying Thomas, the only gay character in all of the show for the most part, as a person who manipulates other people into sleeping with him and who is inherently evil, is a bit problematic. But that's a discussion for another time, because Jimmy is cute and they all have English accents.
Uh oh. It looks like the doctor who knew about the ankles was right, because in the middle of the night Sybil is flailing around and freaking out. However, if this was Obstetrician Apprentice I would fire both doctors because it appears like this girl is dying and they are just standing there doing nothing about it. Look busy guys!
Um, did Sybil just die?
Downstairs, Thomas crying! He really liked Sybil! Thomas crying is almost more touching than Sybil dying! Finally, a little humanity for the guy!
In the opposite direction, Lady Grantham is getting creepy by talking to dead Sybil alone in the room with a completely flat affect. A little Psycho. Just my opinion.
I really can't believe they killed Sybil. The thing with a TV show is that when someone dies, it is always murder. The Killing: Downton Abbey: Who killed Sybil Branson? Maybe Edith really is writing this show.
Back upstairs, Mary is as cold as ever to Edith, who is continually trying to pass her an olive branch. Maybe Mary needs to head to the meditation retreat with her daddy. It's called forgiveness girl. Get on the train.
In the drawing room, heard-hearted Mary hates Matthew, who is just trying to get the estate's affairs in order. Those two are never having a baby. Sorry team. Maybe Matthew and Edith? Matthew and the prostitute cook? But definitely not Matthew and Mary.
In prison, Bates' celly is still chit chatting with the dirty prison guard. Doesn't anyone, like higher up, notice?
And oh snap. In the final scene of the episode, Cora blames Robert for the death of Sybil. Everyone's getting a divorce! You get a divorce, you get a divorce, you get a divorce. And scene.
5. Larry's memory: Oh how we wished for Larry this episode when Sybil went all Drunk Branson on everyone. But he wasn't there and in his place was a fatal condition called "eclampsia." We missed you Lar, and your old-timey date rape drugs.
2. Branson and Sybil's Catholic baby: Though she doesn't have a name yet, this baby is clearly the future of the show, which will henceforth be called Rasing Hope in Downton Abbey. Already, she's killed her mother and forced her dad to stay in his least favorite manor house maybe indefinitely. Don't mess with this baby guys.
3. Thomas: Get it girl.
2. Daisy: Daisy's been burned before. Remember when she totally liked Thomas? And now Alfred is hitting on the kitchen maid like it's his job (IT ISN'T), I respect the shade she's throwing.
1. Edith: Activist, non-gardener, woman who drives, columnist. Should we just add showrunner to this list? Edith is a star and she will shine, shine, shine.
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