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‘Downton Abbey’ Recap: Tom & Sybil — International Fugitives?

Sun, January 20, 2013 10:00pm EDT by Andy Swift 5 Comments
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 4
Courtesy of PBS

The rebellious couple returned to ‘Downton Abbey’ on Jan. 20 with the fuzz hot on their trail!

Tom (Allen Leech) may be a beautifully wrapped package, but sometimes I wonder if the box isn’t completely empty. He arrived at Downton this week, all wet — I know what I said, let’s move on — and all alone. The police believed him to be an instigator of a rebellion, so he fled Ireland and left Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) behind. Yes, pregnant Sybil. God, how could someone who looks so good in a nightshirt be so stupid?!

Sybil eventually made it to the abbey — her and Tom’s 360-degree kiss in the main hall was a nice touch — but her troubles are far from over. It looks like she and Tom will have to stay there at least until the baby is born, which by my calculations should be sometime next week! Get excited.

Now let’s talk about what the other Downton Abbey couples were up to this week…


Now that Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Mary (Michelle Dockery) are married and Downton’s little money problem has been solved, it’s time for them to focus on their next plot point — I mean the next phase of their relationship: babies! But when Matthew brought the subject up this week, his wife shot him down pretty quickly. She also dodged his questions about why she was making so many doctor’s visits lately. Could we have a 20th-century Khloé Kardashian on our hands? I think we’re all rooting for these two to start spawning; those babies would be totally sexy and very proper.


Breaking news: Edith’s (Laura Carmichael) life didn’t totally suck this week. She was understandably mopey after her elderly, one-armed boyfriend left her at the altar, but a few constructive words from the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) kicked her back into gear.

“Edith, you’re a woman with a brain and reasonable ability,” she said, both of which would make fantastic additions to Edith’s OKCupid profile.. “Stop whining and find something to do!”

Of course, good ol’ Violet was less excited to hear that what Edith really wanted to do was to write about women’s rights for the newspaper. (“No lady writes to a newspaper,” she told her granddaughter.”) Once again, her mind was blown by the “modern” world.


Isobel (Penelope Wilton) told Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) about Ethel (Amy Nuttall) becoming a prostitute — “My, my, that’s not a word you hear in this house everyday!” — and the two blessed angels decided to lend her a hand. She wanted the Bryants to have custody of Charlie, so the ladies set up a meeting with them, but it didn’t go according to plan.

“I judge her, and I find her wanting!” said Mr. Bryant, a line I’m definitely going to start using to describe things I don’t approve of. I didn’t think I cared about Ethel, but watching her say goodbye to Charlie was nothing short of gut-wrenching.

(Side note: Who knew Mrs. Bird was such a self-righteous bitch? She couldn’t have been ruder to poor Ethel. Prostitutes have feelings too, or so I’ve heard.)


Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Bates (Brendan Coyle) began to worry when neither of them received any letters — it was a Gretchen Weiners moment for them both — but Bates had a plan to set things right. Working the prison system like the boss that he is, Bates got his cellmate in trouble and went back to being in the guards’ good favor. So he got his letters, Anna got hers, and they both went back to being super boring. The end.


OK, they aren’t technically a couple, but a new footman named Jimmy (Ed Speleers) arrived at Downton this week, and Thomas (Rob James-Collier) is so hungry for him, it’s not even funny. Everyone is smitten by Jimmy’s beauty, but only Thomas literally stood outside his bedroom door and watched him get dressed. That’s dedication right there.


Daisy (Sophie McShera) sucks, so I’m very happy to report that this week’s episode introduced a major roadblock on her journey to happiness. Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) hired a new kitchen staffer named Ivy, who literally entered the room right as Ivy was about to tell Alfred (Matt Milne) that she’s warm for his form. Within seconds, Alfred and Ivy were flirting, and Daisy went back to pouting and being awful. So, basically, all is now right with the world.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you worried about Matthew and Mary’s future kids? Are you smitten by Jimmy? Are you jealous of Mrs. Hughes’ sweet new toaster? Drop me a comment with your personal review!

— Andy Swift

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