‘Downton Abbey’ Recap: Everyone Suffers Sybil’s Labor Pains

The Crawley family was changed forever, as the show's most dramatic season yet took another dark turn. On the Jan. 27 episode of Downton Abbey, Anna (Joanne Froggatt) discovered a way to prove Bates' innocence, Edith (Laura Carmichael) finally found a small amount of self-worth, and Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl. But wait, this is Downton Abbey, right? Cue the unexpected, horrific tragedy...

Downton Abbey Sybil Dies
Image Credit: Courtesy of PBS

Sybil began to show signs of eclampsia after the baby was born, and following a series of full-on seizures, she died. Dr. Clarkson tried to warn everybody, but no one ever listens to him. He’s like the Edith of the medical world.

Seeing the Crawleys and the rest of the abbey react to Sybil’s death was heartbreaking — don’t even get me started on how my sweet prince Tom (Allen Leech) wept by her bedside — but my favorite death-related interaction came courtesy of Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Edith.

Mary: She was the only person living who always thought you and I were such nice people.
Edith: Oh, Mary, do you think we might get along a little better in the future?
Mary: I doubt it, but since this is the last time we three shall all be together in this life, let’s love each other now, as sisters should.

(Translation: We may be the only two Crawley girls left, but you’re still f*****g awful, and we will never be friends. Carry on.)

The effects of Sybil’s death will be felt for many weeks to come, not only because Tom is now left to raise their daughter alone, but also because Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) clearly blames Robert (Hugh Bonneville) for letting her die. He’s in the dog house for sure — even if, given that this is Downton Abbey, the dog house is probably a two-story building with a full staff of servants.

Matthew Talks About His Penis

With everyone in the house excited about the new baby, Matthew (Dan Stevens) is starting to worry about beginning his own family with Mary, so he had a super-awkward chat with Sir Phillip about whether or not his peeper might be on the fritz. Mind you, this was long before Sir Phillip let Matthew’s sister-in-law die, so I really hope he doesn’t put too much stock in anything the “good” doctor has to say.

Downstairs Drama (aka Everybody Hates Daisy)

The relationships downstairs at the abbey became more complicated than ever this week. Here’s a rundown, in case you need a refresher: No one likes Daisy who likes Alfred who likes Ivy who likes Jimmy. (But seriously, no one likes Daisy. That point cannot be stressed enough. She’s the worst.)

Thomas also has his eye, and hands, on Jimmy; and O’Brien, whose God-awful hair is looking more God-awful than ever, is loving every minute of the uncomfortable drama. In fact, she’s egging on both sides, hoping Jimmy will get Thomas fired for “unseemly” behavior. Just when you think she can’t be a bigger bitch…

Ethel Parks: From Hooking To Cooking

Because this was such a heavy episode, let’s end on a lighter note by discussing what went down at Isabelle’s house. Because she’s a firm believer in “once a ho, always a ho,” Mrs. Bird refused to work alongside Ethel, so she quit. I’m OK with that for two reasons: First, Mrs. Bird has always sucked, and second, her quitting allowed Isabelle to make an incredible back-handed joke. When Mrs. Bird suggested people might think she‘d become a prostitute, Isabelle replied, “No one could look at you and think that, Mrs. Bird.” Burn!

Speaking of burning, Ethel pretty much screwed up everything she did this week, first by burning the kidney souffle, then by putting honey in the tea. She should go back to hooking, I think. At least she was good at that.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Were you devastated by Sybil’s death? Do you hate Daisy as much as I do? Drop all of your thoughts in the comments section below!

— Andy Swift

More Downton Abbey on HollywoodLife.com:

  1. ‘Downton Abbey’ Recap: Tom & Sybil — International Fugitives?
  2. ‘Downton Abbey’ Recap: Matthew & Mary’s Wedding Day Finally Arrives
  3. ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3: Five Most Epic Moments To Look Forward To

More From Our Partners