Monday, January 28, 2013

Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 4

*****Spoiler alert. If you have not yet watched Episode Four, DO NOT read ahead unless you want to know what happens. Seriously. You will be very upset if you have not watched. Just warning you now.*****

Have a seat. We have some discussing to do.

First, how are you? Are you doing O.K. today? Have you come to grips that Downton Abbey is fiction or are you, like me, really feeling something here?

Second, I’m ashamed of my behavior. The crying, the carrying on, because, seriously, it’s FICTION, people.

Of course, I have been known to sob at the ending of a really good book (My Sister’s Keeper, anyone?).

I watched this episode last night with my husband and youngest daughter (and, yes, forgive me, but I kept looking at her and thinking, “what if?”—she’s the youngest of three daughters). And then, stupidly, I watched it again this afternoon to, you know, put me in the mood to write about it. Oh my! Why? I think I cried more the second time around than the first.

Am I getting ahead of myself? Yes, I think I am. Because my blog posts are supposed to be about the five best lines of the episode, and my number five line happened before all the . . . you know . . . happened.

So let’s start with number five, shall we?

5. Happier days, to be sure. When Sybil was awaiting the birth of her baby and all was right with the world. She and Mary are talking in her room, Mary making it all about her (as usual) and how someday she would have a baby, too, when Sybil brings in a reality check.

She tells Mary that she feels as big as a house, her ankles are swelling, and her head hurts (uh oh!), and then she says a line that I think every pregnant woman in her last trimester of pregnancy has uttered a time or two:

“Honestly, I cannot recommend this to anyone.”

Yes, Sybil, I remember those days. My sister, Jodi, is three weeks away from delivering her first child, and I have a feeling she would probably agree with your sentiments right now as well.

Moving on . . .

4. It wouldn’t be a Downton episode without some pitiful remark from Edith now, would it? She’s gotten an opportunity to write for a London newspaper. She’s excited, as she should be, but, of course, Robert’s cutting remarks bring her down a notch or two. Matthew tries to encourage Edith, but she takes the opportunity to present her pathetic side.

“Don’t bother, Matthew. I’ve always been a failure in this family.”

Oh, Edith, you’re getting tiresome.


And now I can’t avoid it. The matter must be taken up—the matter of Sybil’s death, which, I must say, is almost too horrible to even write.

3. I’ve never included myself in this list before (although I would love more than anything to be given the opportunity to do a cameo on Downton Abbey and be able to legitimately quote myself from the show), but today, I think I get the number three spot. Because as everything was going on, the walls crumbling down around them, people screaming madly at one another, doctors standing helplessly by, I shouted (O.K., I may have even pointed) at the television. Robert, more specifically:


Anyone with me?

Talk about living in a delusional, fictional fantasyland—I screamed at the T.V. I actually yelled at Robert through my tears. I was hysterical.

I’m better today.

I think.

And how about Cora basically telling everyone that this is Robert’s fault and that if they had followed Dr. Clarkson's instructions, Sybil would probably still be here? Harsh, but true. (B thought that was the most realistic scene of the night.)

I guess Cora agrees with me.

2. Now let’s talk about all the tributes to our darling Sybil. She really was a favorite, wasn’t she? And with good reason.

Here I’m just going to include my favorite tributes from various characters because they were all so good.

First up, Cora. Could you believe that scene with her sitting next to Sybil saying goodbye? My heart could barely take it in when she said, “My beauty. My baby.”

And then there was Thomas. Oh, Thomas. I might have found just a trickle of sympathy for him last night when he said, “In my life, not that many have been kind to me. She was one of the few.” Finally, some truth spoken from Thomas’s lips.

Mary, to Edith: “She was the only person living who always thought you and I were such nice people.” Yep. Got that right.

Mrs. Hughes, though, put it best: “The sweetest spirit under this roof is gone, and I’m weeping myself.”

1. I think the best lines of the night, however, came from my Lady Vi. Even though I disagree with her sentiments, to a point, I think the delivery was absolutely perfect.

Just at the end, after Cora gave it to Robert in front of everyone and left the room to go write the apology letter to Dr. Clarkson, Violet walked over to her son and, in the midst of palpable grief, delivered such beautiful words. Most needed at the time, I think.

“My dear when tragedies strike we try to find someone to blame. And in the absence of a suitable candidate, we usually blame ourselves. You are not to blame. No one is to blame. Our darling Sybil has died during childbirth, like too many women before her, and all we can do now is cherish her memory, and her child.”

And so, cherish we will. 


Just in case you didn't get enough last night, I found this on the PBS website. Grab some kleenex and watch:

Watch Downton Abbey: Sybil and Tom on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.


Talk amongst yourselves in the comments.




  1. See, I knew you would do it justice!

    So did the actress want to leave the show or was that part of the story?

  2. I don't know, Linda. I read somewhere that she did not renew her contract. SUCH a bummer.

  3. Why wouldn't she want to be on such a wonderful show that is so successful? Oh, and that video was so sweet and sad. I didn't really cry last night until that last scene with Tom and the baby. I would have had I not know what was coming. Plus, I'm not a crier. Oh, well, I think worse things are yet to come so we better buckle up.

  4. You are hilarious, Shelly! I look forward to reading your Top 5 lines. Did not understand it last year, because I never watched the show. Yikes! (Now I do)

  5. UGH!!! I haven't cried so much at a TV show in YEARS. I could not believe she actually died, I thought maybe she would come close so they could teach Robert a lesson, but good grief!!!

  6. Becky, glad you're finally on board!

    lovemyabbie, I feel your pain. So sad.

  7. I was flabbergasted and cried SOOO hard! (Then laughed at myself for getting so emotional over a FICTIONAL show. :) I loved her character and have been googling to find out why they killed her off. And I, too, felt a bit of sympathy for Thomas--who normally just creeps me out.