No, that is not a typo.
This past episode was so disturbing that I almost chose not to review it. Even my girl Maggie couldn’t save it for me.
It begins with Sybil having early labor pains, the family all clustered around her bed. The Earl, who we can always count on for comedy relief, gets queasy when Dr. Clarkson explains that ‘the womb is preparing itself for birth.’ I ask you Robert, where’s your manhood, at the tailors?
We shoot right down to the kitchen to hear Daisy, who’s turning into Attila the Hun, boss Ivy around in a tone of voice that could shatter considerable stemware. Mrs. Patmore, who’s looking more and more like one of her own layer cakes says, “Alfred won’t like you any better Daisy treating Ivy that way.” I agree. Any man if he were smart would be thinking, I’m staying away from that little cook, I don’t care how cute her chops are.
Jimmy, the hot, new footman, has been given the high honor of winding the foyer clock. Who are these pretentious people anyway? O’Brien, still out to ruin Thomas, tells Jimmy, Mr. Barrow (Thomas) is the watch expert and he should ask him for advice. Meanwhile, Thomas, thanks to O’Brien’s in-house sorcery, is getting the impression Jimmy has eyes for him which is the farthest thing from the truth. It’s hard to watch Thomas get all girlie every time he’s around Jimmy. I like him much better when he’s just plain mean, like when he kidnapped the dog.
The Earl’s pomposity has hit new heights when he sends for a fancy London obstetrician named Sir Philip Tapsell to attend Sybil causing Cora and the girls loyalty pains. Seems good, old reliable Dr. Clarkson, who’s known them all since they were babies, just isn’t de rigeur enough to suit him. I say this every week…The Earl is an asshole. Cora should snap his suspenders every so often to remind him of this.
The Bates saga continues with Anna playing Agatha Christie trying to find evidence to free her man. She visits Vera’s neighbor, Mrs. Bartlett, who slips and tells her some stuff she didn’t tell the police about Vera’s alleged murder. Oh who cares. It’s such a boring storyline anyway. Come on Julian, either have Bates smoked in jail or get him the fuck out.
Isobel, that irritating Good Samaritan, has decided to hire Ethel so she’ll have a good reference beneath those busy knickers of hers. “I’ve given all that oop,” Ethel says, but when Mrs. Bird hears the news her feathers are more than a little fluffed. She’s worried people will think she too is a prostitute if word got out she was working alongside one. Isobel, without missing a beat says, “Mrs. Bird, no one could look at you and ever think that would be the case.” You’ve got that right. She’d scare anybody standing in a doorway with her skirts up. Isobel lets her go which now leaves Ethel on her own in the kitchen. All I can say is, I hope she was a better whore than she is a cook.
We see Alfred and Jimmy fighting over fish, Edith offered her own column in a London tabloid and Carson stunned to hear Mrs. Crawley has hired a prostitute. What Carson needs, in my opinion, is a nice long roll in the hay with Mrs. Hughes. When it’s over instead of smoking they can polish silver together.
Okay, here it comes…
Sybil, after Dr. Clarkson tries alerting everyone that she might be in peril, delivers a healthy baby girl. The fancy doctor takes bows like he just performed Hamlet while Dr. Clarkson becomes the anti-Christ.
Cut to – lavish family dinner, all congratulating themselves as if they gave birth…the Earl simpering and smirking when suddenly we hear screams from above. Sybil has gone into toxemic shock like Dr. Clarkson predicted. Let me just say, the scene is so gruesome that I had to run and open a beer. The entire family is helplessly watching her writhe in pain, her mother and husband kneeling helplessly at her side.
For the longest 5 minutes we basically, with all the bells and whistles, watch Sybil die. Now we’ve witnessed death at Downton before, but nothing like this.
I’m convinced Julian Fellowes is one sick Englishman. I have visions of him splayed on his sofa eating bons-bons laughing knowing how affected we’ll all be by this medieval scene.
We go from roast duck to eclampsia, a bacterial condition pregnant women in the 18 and 1900s, throwing them into convulsions, all too frequently died from because their idiot doctors didn’t bother to wash their hands. Kind of gives Purell Hand Sanitizer all new meaning doesn’t it?
Couldn’t you have made it a little less primal there Jules? Have you ever heard of, too much information for prime time? What happened, did your sugar drop while you were writing?
I love how he depicts the men. Matthew is wrapped around the bedpost like a streamer unable to move while both doctors just stand there. The Earl turns to Sir Philip pleading for help and all he can say is, “The human life is unpredictable.” See, any other father at that moment would have knocked him on his knighthood…but The Earl instead, in a close-up, looks out yonder and says, “This con’t be, she’s only twen-tee-fur yeas old.”
There was so much Kleenex strewed around my bed it resembled a cloud. I sobbed like I knew her. What am I saying, I did know her…after 3 seasons Sybil was like a relative. After all, we went through a war together.
Carson assembles the staff all in their bed clothes to break the news. Thomas takes it the worst weeping with a distraught Anna draped across his shoulder.
Cora blames Robert for not listening to Dr. Clarkson instructing Mary to tell her father to please sleep in the other room. Maggie shows up drenched in black upset that Cora is blaming her son.
Dammit Maggie, you know better than anybody what a buttoned-up boob you gave birth to. Stop making excuses for him. Admit it, he fucked up. If they had rushed Sybil to the hospital for that emergency cesarean Dr. Clarkson recommended, she might have had a fighting chance but…nooooooo, Julian Fellowes had to show the world the dark, downside of Downton fucking Abbey.
Do I sound put out to you?
Mary then goes off on Matthew because he’s talking Downton business behind her father’s back with Murray, who sounds more like a bookie than a lawyer, on the same day he lost his youngest daughter. She does have a point but curb that tone will you please? If you’re not careful Mary he’s going to be sleeping with one of the former maids who now works for his mother. You must admit, it is rather handy.
I can’t even make fun of this episode it was that upsetting.
If you haven’t seen it as yet, I highly recommend you don’t.
Let’s hope life lightens up at Downton in Episode 5.