Monday, January 28, 2013

Downton Deliberations – Season 3 Episode 5

Heading down the backstretch of this very exciting third season, the pace picks up. This most emotional episode is filled with emotion. From the perspective of the men, tempers flair, egos hijack any sense of reason, but the white water subsides thanks to the ladies’ interventions.  

Robert’s concern for Dr. Clarkson’s reliability causes him to bring in another doctor, a Sir Phillip Tapsell, from London – an expert in childbirth.

Robert forgets that Tom is the father and should be making the final decision. He is losing his grip of control. He cannot bear that Tom – an Irish Catholic chauffeur – is taking the reins.

One can see egos being tested. Professional territorial boundaries are also evident. And they stupidly want to squeeze Clarkson out. However, he arrives and sees things aren’t quite right. They argue and Sir Phillip bullies him into submission. 

He returns to suggest that Sybil is having eclampsia as he expected. Egos are at a fever pitch. A normal birth brings a healthy daughter. But then suddenly the seizures set in and Sybil dies a tragic death. The egos were laid to rest for a moment. Robert admits his share of responsibility.

Robert was callously insensitive to Edith’s new writing opportunities. One might think he could be more sympathetic to an unwed third daughter.

Thomas paws James and one can see his wheels turning. Miss O’Brien puts James in his place, assuring this unsavory dynamic will continue. Thomas is distraught by Sybil’s death. She was the only one of the lot who would have been sympathetic to his being gay without judgment and above the law.

Bates –to Anna in response to her candid thoughts on the late Mrs., Bates. “Don’t go down that road (of hatred and revenge), once you do, there’s no going back.”  How he maintains his level head is miraculous.

Robert supported Anna in her efforts to free Bates and went to the authorities to try to clear him. Fortunately the family attorney, in stark contrast to the emotionally charged men in the family, has a totally open mind and an open ear to Anna.

Matthew has new (to Downton) ‘middle class virtues’ and one of them is husbandry. He interestingly has a conversation with Sir Phillip about conceiving a child himself. He is challenged by his wife’s accusation about her father’s losing grip of the estate and blames him. Double-edged sword she is.

What was your take on this episode? Leave your comments below.

Etiquette Guy

This episode left me reeling.  ITV did such a good job of keeping this secret, I didn’t see it coming until it was too late.  In light of Sybil’s death it doesn’t seem like the other stories are that important but just like in real life, everyone is important.

Anna has managed to add up the clues from Mrs Bartlett and is now certain her husband will be found not-guilty and released from prison.  It really speaks to their love that she would never give up on him and do so much to prove his innocence.  We should all be so fortunate.

One must wonder about the incompetence of the police who investigated Vera’s murder.  How did they miss the poison in the pie?

Matthew continues to work his way into the dealings of Downton while putting pressure on Mary to conceive.  Really, Matthew?  A chat in the hall with the doctor about your *ahem* plumbing? 
Edith is still defeatist and dreadfully middle class as she storms away from the breakfast table when Robert chastises her for wanting to write a newspaper column.  I often wonder what she might be like if anyone just encouraged her to follow a dream – oh wait…she is the reason Bates is in prison…never mind.

Kudos to Mrs Crawley for giving Ethel a job and letting her learn a trade.  Remember when we liked Mrs Bird, for a moment, when she was almost kind to Daisy?  She did start the soup kitchen for the local soldiers so her refusal to work in the same house as Ethel surprised me.  Surely she has some compassion for the girl?

As I said, I didn’t see Sybil’s death coming.  I think this made it even harder to watch her go from beautiful new mother to dying in her husband’s arms.  After all the nonsense between the doctors I am sure Cora will blame Robert for this for a long time.  I can only wonder what will come of Tom now that his connection to Downton is gone.  He can’t go back to Ireland and doesn’t belong upstairs or downstairs.  I do hope the baby will prompt Robert and Cora to keep him there and shelter him while he recovers from the loss of his beloved wife. 

I used to love this show so much, but it just keeps breaking my heart.  I understand an actor wanting to move on but surely the script could’ve been written to keep her alive and leading suffrage marches somewhere?  Let’s hope the rest of the season is a bit cheerier shall we?