Two Thumbs Down(ton)


  1. ViolinMama says:

    Oh my Lawd… to the ever loving hoo is true.

    I was devastated. It played out like tragic, well written/acted poetry, but it killed a little part of me. My favorite character, my favorite couple, sigh….

    I sense Globes and Emmy’s for that scene….but I want Sybil and Branson together in exchange for artform glory.

    I am wearing black….where is my veil and cane in solidarity with the Countess?

  2. That was such an incredibly sad episode. I’ve already seen all of season 3 as it aired across the pond. It was killing me for the past three months that I couldn’t go online and blog or talk on FB about Lady Sybil. I cried so much when I saw that episode. I feel like the entire season is an emotional roller coaster.

  3. Agree five times. I’ve always liked Cora and Dowager Violet better than the rest anyway. And Robert deserves the dressing room for years. Between that and his conversation with Matthew regarding the estate’s management, Fellowes appears to be assigning him the new role of obtuse twit. How nice.

    Even though I also knew about Lady Sybil, this episode was almost obscene. And it annoys me more than a little that I feel I must invest more time in this story simply to be able to walk away with something better from it. It almost has the feeling now of being made up on the fly, and of exploding in all different directions at once. I’m not finding it pleasant, mainly because this season seems more soap than drama.

  4. Here’s what’s going on with Thomas and Jimmy. Thomas obviously likes Jimmy. Jimmy is creeped out by Thomas. Now would be the natural time for Jimmy to say “Keep your distance, man!” But O’Brien is making sure that doesn’t happen; she’s trying to convince Jimmy that Thomas is just being helpful, and if he is rebuffed it will cost Jimmy his job. Because Jimmy has not rebuffed him, Thomas will be emboldened to make a full-fledged move on Jimmy. At this point, Jimmy will be repulsed and reject Thomas, Thomas will be humiliated and broken-hearted, and O’Brien will have had her revenge. It will make us all extremely uncomfortable, but Thomas will seem more human to us when he is sad.
    I haven’t seen past this week’s episode, I just wanted to share what I’ve seen coming since Jimmy walked on the scene.

    • I agree. I just get frustrated at the power she has. Why can’t Jimmy just tell Thomas to back off, regardless of the little seeds O’Brien is trying to plant. Use your brain, man!

  5. Aaannnnd, if Jimmy gets fired, Alfred (O’Brien’s nephew) gets to be 1st Footman.

    I knew that they were going to kill off Sybil this season, and I guessed it would be in childbirth, but that scene was too much. I agree about the doctors just standing there. Not even soothing her or the family members?! Come ON!

    Am I the only one confused as to why Bates’ cellmate and the guard started hating him in the first place? And, Anna, just go trick the stupid woman into signing a statement! I mean, if we’re going all-out soap opera this season, then don’t hold back ALL the ridiculous!

    Dang, I hate crying because of a TV show….

    • The guard and Bates’ cellmate were in some sort of drug dealing thing. The authorities were onto them, so they tried to plant the drugs in Bates’ bed and frame him, but he found it first and stuck it in the wall to hide it while they searched the room. Then later, when they came back to search again, Bates had planted it in his cellmates’ bunk, so he got in trouble and the guard in cahoots with him got a reprimand. So they are both out to get revenge on Bates. At least…..that’s what I *think* is going on……

  6. I shall not spoil anything for you, I’m not that cruel, but having seen this season already (it aired in Britain over the summer) I can tell you you have not suffered the worst of Mr. Fellowes imagination.

    Totally agree about Bates/Anna- boring.

    Enjoy the season!

    • OH NO! Please tell us that it’s not going to “jump the shark” — though I feel like Sybil dying already made that so. Maybe I should go read some episode synopses so I don’t get shocked again.

      • If you don’t read any synopses, you will be in for a rather overwhelming shock-it’s been months and I’m still hoping I’ve interpreted the scene wrong…

  7. Bawled my eyes out. Just sobbed. So sad. But that scene at the end between Carson and the Dowager Lady Grantham. Just beautiful. Maggie Smith is a genius. Tired of Anna/Bates also. And I think O’Brien is going for exposing Thomas. So we’ll see. However, I must say that Thomas being devastated about Lady Sybil brought him some real humanity points in my book. And Mary? Why is she so negative about Matthew managing the estate? I don’t get that.

    • I agree that O’Brien is going for the whole “exposing Thomas” thing. She is going to throw Jimmy and him together somehow then have it so a member of the family walks in on them. Just my guess!

  8. Just curious what you mean about attitudes towards hospitals? I don’t think this was trying to be “pro-hospital” vs homebirth at all, but rather, a testament to doctors knowing their patients, simply b/c being in a hospital wouldn’t have saved her. Pre-eclampsia is only manageable by prevention – and csections weren’t yet successful at that time.

    Homebirthing is perfectly safe, as long as you’re low risk, then or now. The sad part is that her high-risk factor wasn’t treatable 🙁

    • I totally picked up on the “knowing your patient” theme for sure.

      At one point though the celebrity doctor said they couldn’t risk going to the hospital because of how sick she was sure to get there. That’s what I was hearing anyway. That the family doctor said there was a slight chance they could save Sybil but only if they went to the hospital and the other doctor said it wasn’t worth the risk of all the infection there. Did anyone else hear that??

      I guess I was thinking of the eclampsia in the way I hear “pre-eclampsia” now — that it’s dangerous but treatable. I guess I wasn’t thinking her death was inevitable. When Cora said her husband was partially responsible, I totally had been thinking that.

      • he meant from the resulting surgery – the success of cesearan at that time was verrrrrrrrry low. as in, most of the time, the mother died. thats what he was talking about.

        granted, he was also a tool, don’t get me wrong, lol but the other doc’s prescribed course of action wasn’t actually a “real” option….

        the other thing i learned after watching this, is that the postpartum eclampsia that Sybil have is more dangerous b/c its not as expected 🙁 so sad

  9. Still crying in my porridge over this one – it was cruel, and so very close to home (I’ve had the whole toxemia/pre-eclampsia must deliver baby NOW scenario happen to me). I want Sybil back – take Lady Crowley if you must take a main character but NOT Sybil.
    *I think Mary was just reminding us all that she is still Mary.
    *I need Bates out of jail, the whole thing is too tedious for me! Free Bates!
    *I do hope what Betsy says is true, I can live with that.

  10. Amen to Bates/Anna. Get him outta jail so something interesting can happen.

    Matthew: save the estate! Don’t worry if you tick off your wife. She’ll thank you later when she doesn’t have to move into Downton Place. Could we see something steamy between Matthew and Mary? I’m tired of her looking earnest and him determined. Remind us why they got married.

    As someone who survived infertility hell, the “doctor to the stars” lost all sympathy from me when he told Matthew to relax! That is the last thing you tell a couple trying to get pregnant!

    I’m looking forward to the Catholic/Protestant fight over the christening!

    I cried buckets and then had to go to 9pm adoration. I was worried someone might come up to me and ask what was wrong!

  11. You are my favorite Downton reviewer by far. Agree on every point but especially on Bates and Anna and the prison scenes. Ross won’t watch with me because I mute it everytime it cuts to the jail, convinced Bates is about to get a beating. Ugh. TIme to get the man out of jail. Hope your downton installments become a regular Monday post!

  12. YES!!! I am in total agreement! Cybil was one of the BEST characters on the show, and the whole birth/death scene was so upsetting, I stayed up and snarfed down a pan of rice krispy treats while ranting to my husband about all of it. My big beef with the whole thing is that I am SO SICK AND TIRED of every male character on every television show being portrayed as an absolute heartless, irresponsible boob, while the women are the smarter, more responsible species. Downton is following suit – Lord Grantham is unreasonable, Lady Grantham wise, Matthew is an insensitive buffoon, and Lady Mary is always there to upbraid his reproachable child-like behavior. I was so hoping for Downton to take a different turn, but it seems as though I’ll be watching Pride and Prejudice again just to remind myself that someone out there is capable of imagining and writing about an authentically masculine character with humor and grit. Thank you, Jane Austen. Great review!

    • Oh my gosh. — “stayed up and snarfed down a pan of rice krispy treats while ranting to my husband about all of it.” Oh that made me laugh.

      Paul asked me right after the episode if I was all set to blog and I told him emotionally I just wasn’t ready. Melodramatic but true.

      Thanks for your thoughts — good points on the way the men are starting to look lame. Someone last week said they read the actor who plays Matthew isn’t staying on…maybe this is part of his getting written out?

  13. I felt this way, but it was after the elections. YUCK!

  14. If it’s any comfort, the actress playing Sybil asked to be let out of her contract early because she was cast in a movie. That said, he didn’t have to kill her off. But the pattern has been set, and that’s all I’m gonna say.

    • This makes me feel so much better! That was actually the first thought I had — “I feel so bad for the actress who plays Sybil. She was probably so excited when she landed this part.”

      Which of course makes me wonder about the OTHER actor I’ve heard is leaving…

  15. I agree with your hubby…her throat was huge! And although I am so sad, everybody kept talking about the awful thing that was going to happen so I sort of watched my recording of the show like “who’s going to die?” Which made it much less shocking and therefore more bearable.

  16. I watched the entire time thinking that she was not going to die. Even when she did die I was thinking she is somehow coming back to life. I know crazy right? But here was my problem….I watched thinking I had seen a picture somewhere of the three sisters together and Sybil holding the baby. So I kept thinking she is not going to die. I have no idea what that picture was that I thought I saw but it sort of wrecked the whole thing for me. I don’t know how to explain it but because I could not get the “picture” out of my head I was not fully immersed in what was actually happening…if that makes any sense.

    I too hate the prison stuff.

    O’Brien…..I watch her and feel like I almost know what her angle is and then I can’t quite put my finger on it. She for sure wants to hurt Thomas and is out to make good for her nephew. I don’t think she has anything against Jimmy but I think she needs to use him to do whatever it is she wants to do.

    A family member just today mentioned a spoiler to me about another cast member, not thrilled I know that either and I will not say it here.

    Tuesday season 3 is out on DVD and on sale at Target. Since I have season 1 & 2 I guess I will go get 3 but I will try to force myself to keep from watching them. I can’t believe there are only 3 more left. Also since there are only 3 left it bothers me that there will not be much more story before they get to the spoiler I heard about.

  17. Love your synopsis. I agree with your commenters that I feel similarly about all that is happening.

    Have I invested in 2 seasons and the beginning of another for a show I’ll lose interest in by the end of the 3rd? I hope not.

  18. “Scoop that dough from the corpses’ fingernails and get on with it.”

    Priceless! Rachel, you have a wonderful way with words, and this is why I love your blog!

  19. Agree with everything said…and I can’t figure out O’Brien’s angle either or why she and Thomas have this love/hate thing going. I gotta say I saw them setting up Sybil during the whole episode, how she asked both Mary & her mom to “fight for her” when the time came. I was actually surprised she made it through the birth only to die hours later (I had no idea there was postpartum eclampsia).

    I’m joining the party a bit late so I’m still watching Season 2 and watching Season 3 at the same time. I was really getting into the Lady Sybil / Branson relationship and now it will be hard watching that knowing what is to come.

  20. I’m too lazy to comment often, but I cannot resist taking the time now to tell you your brilliant analysis was just pure gold! Loved every part of your review and agree 100% down to how the heck Sybil’s neck blew up like that. Thanks so much for the laugh and wish I could watch along side you all. Sounds like our viewing reactions were the same.


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