Downton Abbey
Episode Five

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admin: B+ | 3 USERS: A-
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Life Goes On

Let's check in with another melancholy figure, as Thomas is sitting at the servants' table staring mournfully into space. Alfred tells him to cheer up, but Anna intervenes, saying that Thomas knew Sybil better than any of them. Thomas pipes up that Anna, too, knew Sybil well and Jimmy James offers that Thomas' grief speaks well of Sybil. He comes to regret these kind words, however, when they result in Thomas squeezing his hand and although I can understand the instinct, the look on Jimmy James' face suggests Thomas is headed for trouble here.

At Crawley House, Ethel brings a tray into the study for Isobel. She asks about the service and Isobel, far away for a moment, replies that it was nicely done, "but you know how it is when you bury someone young." Understandably, Ethel claims some empathy on the subject of losing one's child and Isobel, who seems really quite affected by Sybil's death -- you'll remember how impressed she was with Sybil working in the hospital -- hesitantly advances the idea of trying to cheer Cora up with an informal lunch party. "Just [Cora] and the girls." Ethel brightly offers to cook something special, but just then Isobel takes her first taste of the dinner in front of her and after taking a moment to recover, replies, "Well, we don't have to decide that now." Hee. No one ever accused me of being overly difficult to please, but I'm not going to tire of Isobel's heroic attempts to stomach Ethel's cooking anytime soon.

Mary is getting an update from Anna, which is that Murray hasn't been to see Mrs. Bartlett and even when he does, she's afraid she won't repeat the things she told Anna. Mary thinks she'll have to, but Anna's worried about all the things that could go wrong. Mary, in her usual sugar-free way, tells her that it may take time, but it's the moment "we've" all been waiting for and Anna's tears start to flow at Mary's use of that inclusive pronoun. Mary stands and, looking a little verklempt herself, says they need some good news in the house. "And this is it! This must be it." Anna smiles...

...which is a facial expression we won't be seeing for a moment, as Lord Grantham enters Cora's bedroom and asks for permission to return, which is summarily denied. Lord Grantham tells her that he should have listened to Clarkson as she did, but Tapsell does have a reputation as an expert. This is the wrong thing to say, as Cora bites out that Clarkson is the one who knew Sybil's history; her voice breaks as she goes on that he believed Tapsell "because he's knighted and fashionable," and got caught up in all that instead of focusing on saving Sybil's life, which is what she can't forgive. Lord Grantham disbelievingly asks if she thinks he misses Sybil less than she does, getting this reply: "I should think you miss her more, since you blocked the last chance we had to prevent her death." You can almost see the words slapping Lord Grantham in the face -- individually and collectively -- and after a moment, he bids her good night. In the hall, though, he looks like he's going to break down and bites his hand to control himself, for which you can hardly blame him as that last line of Cora's was hellacious.

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Downton Abbey

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