I must warn you now that somebody dies, so if you do not want to know then i will warn you just before i mention it, i have to say i was gutted.
This episode starts of with early ‘false’ labour paths for sybil, everyone is a bit on edge for her but all she seems to be worried about is the future for her little family. Ethel starts working for Mrs Crawley, the thought of working with a women who use to be a prostitute is so disagreeable to the cook that she leaves, informing the other staff at Downton. Mr Carson is mortified and bans anyone for visiting the Crawley house. Back in the kitchen the new footman is settling in very well with everyone being friendly, a little too friendly on Thomas behalf. The new kitchen maid Ivy however is having a hard time of it from Daisy, now assistant cook to Mrs Patmore, though perhaps some of this stems from jealousy thanks to her budding friendship with Alfred, the first footman.
Anna makes a breakthrough with evidence from one of the late Mrs Bates’ friends, who is not on Mr Bates’ side so Anna must extract her evidence cunningly so the old lady does not no she is helping Bates. Edith receives some good news as well, she has been asked to write a newspaper column once a week on anything that she likes, Matthew is thrilled for her but Robert comments enthusiastically on it, bringing Ediths spirits down.
Robert invites a specialist on childbirth to come and help Lady Sybil, yet Cora is convinced that Dr Clarkson, who has known all the girls since they were children will be perfectly fine. Eventually both Doctors come to blow when Dr Clarkson thinks Sybil could be suffering from pre eclampsia, because she has swollen ankles and her baby is small. The other is convinced he is talking rubbish and tells him to keep quite, eventually the house is divided and Cora and Tom want to take Sybil to the hospital yet Robert gets his way in the end and the baby GIRL is born and everything is fine and everyone is happy, though Dr Clarkson still has a worried face.
SPOILER – everyone is woken in the night as Sybils condition gets worse and she starts having fits, the other doctors is mortified that he has to admit Dr Clarkson was right and it is pre eclampsia, Dr Clarkson states that once they start to fit their is no hope. Sybil struggles to breath and with everyone by her sides dies, rather painfully it looks. I have to say i was taken completely aback by this, they did say a well known character would die but i never thought it would be sybil. Tom is broken, Robert is so shocked he can’t except what is happening and Cora eventually blames Robert and shuts herself away from everyone else. The staff are woken and informed of what has happened, showing true grief in the news and demonstrating how deep the relationship between employer and employee can go.
While everyone comes to terms with what has just happened, Mr Murray comes to talk to Anna about her evidence for Mr Bates, while at the same time Matthew gets a word in about the management of the house which Lady Mary overhears and is greatly insulted that Matthew could mention any of this just after her sister has died and while her father is not there to discuss it with them.
I can’t stop thinking of Lady sybil’s fate, obviously its fiction but is based on a very real fact that women did very often die in childbirth and i even know of this from my own family history, makes childbirth seem like a very scary thing indeed.