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Moment of Heartbreak: Sybil Dies, Downton Abbey “Season III, Episode 4″ 

Although I really like Downton Abbey (and would prefer to watch it at the same time as the UK does – do you hear me PBS?), I don’t always love all of the storylines. I loved Sybil and her storyline until she got together with Tom. It just felt forced to me so I was more than ok when they went off to make a life for themselves in Ireland. But things got very interesting when they came back. I love that Tom is such a firebrand and is a bit of an embarrassment to the Crawleys. I love that he got drunk at dinner (although that wasn’t his fault) and couldn’t keep his opinions to himself. I was shocked when he left Sybil in Ireland to fend for herself after he got into some trouble. But I was not expecting to be sobbing my eyes out during “Episode 4.” I mean, ugly crying. Now, I knew months ago that Sybil would die but I had no idea it would be that awful.

Photo Credit: PBS
Photo Credit: PBS

And I think what really added to my devastation was not only the way she died, but also the reactions of her family and the doctors. Dr. Clarkson knew something was wrong and tried to make his voice heard over that of Sir Philip Tapsell. Cora could see how much distress Sybil was in and wanted to listen to the doctor who had known her child since birth. But she was “overruled” by the men and forced to watch as her child suffered. Everyone was relieved when Sybil was able to deliver the baby, but her lingering confusion was still cause of concern. And then when the doctors and the entire family are in the room watching Sybil in so much distress? So heartbreaking. They couldn’t do anything except watch her die. I’m getting chocked up again just writing about it. I know women died in childbirth – and still do – but I was not prepared to see it happen like that.

Photo Credit: PBS
Photo Credit: PBS

On top of all that, Cora. Elizabeth McGovern is so great in this role and even though it’s so devastating, I love that she’s getting to play something like this. I can’t blame her for being upset with her husband. I can’t blame her for kicking him out of her bed. I can’t blame her for the blame she places on him. Now Lord Grantham thought he was doing the right thing, thought he was putting his trust in the man with so much expertise, so much experience.  I do feel like his pride got in the way of common sense. And in this case, it cost the life of his youngest daughter.

I wonder how long Tom will stay at Downton and whether or not he’ll ever be fully accepted into this family. They were making great strides before all this happened. The first grandchild in any family is such a big deal. I hope there’s a place for Tom and his daughter at Downton.

Downton Abbey airs Sundays at 9/8c on PBS.

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