Spoilers Alert! But if you’ve seen the Episodes, throw in your 2 pebbles and make some ripples.
The SAG Win
First off, a huge CONGRATS to the cast of Downton Abbey for their win in the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. Too bad there were only five of them there. An unexpected win, no doubt. Click here to view Mrs. Hughes’s acceptance speech and Tom’s big smile.
Episode 4: Saddest Scene
Now, to a sombre tone. Episode 4 left me stunned and speechless. It will go down my TV viewing history as the saddest scene. Eclampsia was even trending on Twitter, I suppose. But if you Google the word, Sybil and Eclampsia will show up on the first page.
Ok, just a little deconstruction. At least this is how I take myself out of a daze. Sybil’s post-partum death is I’m sure a real life contract issue, and not the misdiagnosis of the high brow Sir Philip from London’s Harley Street. The last time I checked IMDb, Jessica Brown Findlay is filming with Russell Crowe in Winter’s Tale. So, Downton is a nice springboard.
Nevertheless, we will remember her as the most angelic character of them all. The deathbed scene is heart-wrenching. Did you not notice the positions of all the characters? The two doctors turn their backs, friends in need indeed, thanks. Matthew holds onto the bedpost wincing helplessly and Robert stands there stunned. Mary tries to be helpful but has to step back at the end, for the scene belongs to Tom and Cora.
Reaction downstairs is moving too, especially with Thomas. Can he not be a changed man just like the two remaining Crawley sisters, pledge to get along better? But he is a bit changed already, hasn’t he? It’s Mrs. O’Brien who remains the schemer now.
And I must mention the impressive performance by Maggie Smith as the grieving grandmother. Her posture alone is heart-breaking. But soon we find she rises above the tragedy and takes the rational helm of the family. “Cherish our memories, and the child.” She tells Robert.
Episode 5: Quotable Quotes
Just when I thought E4 is a good one, E5 gets even better. Every storyline captures my attention. We have numerous one liners from almost everybody. E5 once again confirms why I like Downton Abbey. Let these dialogues speak for themselves…
Violet Crawley: Grief makes one so terribly tired.
Go home, lie down, life goes on.
And what does life bring? A rift on religion in the Crawley family. Downton writers sure know how to stir the
pot, plot. Tom is going to christen his daughter, baby Sybil, in the Catholic tradition. Robert understandably is outraged. He knows his history.
Robert: There hasn’t been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation!
But Robert, Tom Branson is not a Crawley. For the first time, Robert feels he has totally lost his daughter, and his authority.
Not only that, Robert has lost control of all the ladies in the house, as he finds them sitting at Isobel’s table being served by Ethel the ex-prostitute. More outrage. Flabbergasted.
Cora: You’re always flabbergasted by the unconventional.
Robert, have you forgotten your fling with your former maid, what’s her name?
And all this cannot have happened without Mrs. Patmore going over to help Ethel to fortify her career move as Isobel’s cook.
Ethel: Can I really do it? Salmon mousse?
Mrs. Patmore: Anyone who has use of their limbs can make a salmon mousse.
Meanwhile downstairs, Mr. Carson, Robert’s alter ego, is equally indignant with his staff, from associating with an ex-prostitute, to Fox-Trotting, to the giggling of the maids. Don’t they learn any manners from home? Flabbergasted.
Mrs. Hughes: Perhaps their mothers don’t want them in service.
Mr. Carson: What are they supposed to do? Become BANKERS and LAWYERS?
Violet Crawley can certainly add, ‘so middle class.’
As for the vibes downstairs, Daisy, Alfred, Ivy, Jimmy, and Thomas form a love pentagon. Mrs. Patmore is most sensitive with this sort of things.
Mrs. Patmore: You’re all in love with the wrong people.
And Violet Crawley, she’s always the most rational of them all. Robert and Cora not on speaking terms, the marriage of the grieving couple is crumbling. Grief does not only make one tired, but tired of one another, and let blame set in. Violet knows where the key lies (no pun intended). She persuades Dr. Clarkson to research on Eclampsia to denounce his previous diagnosis.
Dr. Clarkson: Even to ease suffering, I could never justify telling an outright lie.
Violet: Lie is so unmusical a word… Have we nothing in common?
Well, Dr. Clarkson just might not have needed to lie, for as a Tweet says, even a Caecarean Section could not have prevented Eclampsia and death in Sybil’s case in their time, citing this medical article.
You see why Downton Abbey is amazing? Its viewers would go all out to fuse facts and fiction, living vicariously with its characters.
While E4 ends with mourning, sending viewers to devastation, E5 ends with hope and good news. After all his ordeals, Mr. Bates will finally be released from prison. Thanks to the investigative work of Anna. Now, Mr. Bates Legal Team on Twitter can disband, and the real life ‘Free Mr. Bates’ signs can come down.
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS AND NOT LETTING OUT ANY SPOILERS.
Other Downton Posts:
Downton Abbey Season 3: Episode 6 & 7 Finale
Downton Abbey Season 3: Episodes 2 & 3
Downton Abbey Season 3: Episodes 1
Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey