Get your handkerchiefs ready because this episode of Downton Abbey is a doozy.
Advance warning: We are absolutely beside ourselves with grief. Yes, we take losing our favorite TV characters very seriously. So if you've seen the episode read on, but otherwise know there are huge spoilers coming...
Downton loses the sweetest rebel, Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay), a girl who wore pants (The horror!), got a job (Gasp!) and fell in love with the chauffeur (The scandal!).
WHAT WE LEARNED
The Sweetest Spirit: The joy of a new baby at Downton was quickly dampened by the tragic death of the rebellious, Lady Sybil Branson. Please, someone just give Jessica Brown-Findlay, Allen Leech and Elizabeth McGovern all the awards. We might have watched while sobbing, but they absolutely nailed it. Part of the tragedy of Sybil's death was just how horrifying her last moments were while her husband, Tom, begged her to breathe. (Darn, we're crying again.)
Father Knows Best: We are savvy enough TV watchers to know when everyone starts talking about "nothing wrong at all" and "healthy young woman," that it's actually a sign of impending doom. The other tip-off should be Robert's (Hugh Bonneville) instance on hiring a fancy doctor from London. Sure Dr. Clarkson (David Robb) has
never rarely been right, but even we know Robert's arrogant choices are always a bad idea.
This time the doctors squabbling over an eclampsia diagnosis cost precious time that would have allowed Sybil to get to the hospital to deliver. Just when you think everything's worked out and everyone is all smiles and cooing over the baby. Bam! A sucker punch right in the heart.
Meanwhile: Oh Matthew (Dan Stevens), we love you, but you have terribly timing. While Sybil's body isn't even out of the house and he is making plans to fix the mismanagement of Downton. See above regarding Robert's terrible decisions. Also at the most inopportune time, Anna reveals the
most obvious groundbreaking discovery that Vera Bates was a terrible person who killed herself to frame Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) for murder. No one is shocked.
"Just be here. We can lie back and look at the stars." —Sybil
"I think he equates being businesslike with being mean—or worse, middle class like me." —Matthew
"There's nothing more tiring than waiting for something to happen." —Cora
"I hate to get news secondhand." —Dowager Countess
"I didn't think she was running a brothel in Mrs. Crawley's kitchen." —Carson
WHAT LIES AHEAD
Tom vs. Robert: Think a ceasefire between Robert and his son-in-law will be called during the mourning period? Think again. Now more than ever Tom will have to fight for his rights as a father. Robert will not be happy about the baby's name and, even worse, the church she'll be christened in.
Scandal and Scheming: If you think Mrs. O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran) might be up to no good, well you are right. She has definitely not forgotten her newfound hatred for Thomas (Rob James-Collier). Let's just say she plays really dirty.
Mary Moving On: SPOILER ALERT! Avert your eyes if you aren't spoiled for the other shocking season three exit, but Downton producer Gareth Neame tells us that Matthew's departure is a "really big loss in the moment [that] will actually turn into a great opportunity." In season four will see Mary (Michelle Dockery) attempt to "rebuild her life."
Are you still sobbing like we are? Do you think Cora is right to blame her husband for Lady Sybil's death? Head to the comments for a group therapy session!