Downton Abbey
Episode Four

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A+ | 9 USERS: A+
Good Night, Sweet Princess

The Dowager Countess, in mourning black, arrives at Downton and sadly clasps Carson's hand as she notes that the two of them have seen some troubles, but nothing worse than this (and given that she lost her husband, that's saying something). He replies that nothing could be worse than this, and then -- when she starts to walk in -- she has to take a moment to collect herself, looking as frail and old as we've ever seen her. But, like they all are, she soldiers on...

...into the sitting room, wherein she finds the family (Isobel is there too). As she greets everyone, Lord Grantham informs her that a nurse for the baby has already arrived. She's happy to hear it, but then asks where "Tom" is and Edith sadly replies that he's upstairs; she's offered to bring him something, but he's refused. Cora, looking like the words physically hurt, says he wants his wife back, but he can't have her. She then stands and says she must write to Dr. Clarkson and when Lord Grantham says there's no need, she says she wants to apologize for their behavior. Stunned, Mary asks why, but -- sounding wilder by the second -- Cora tells her: "Because if we'd listened to him, Sybil might still be alive. But Sir Philip and your father knew better and now she's dead." With that broadside delivered, she steps out, leaving the Dowager Countess to ask why Cora would say that. Lord Grantham admits that there's truth in it and while the Dowager Countess emotionally tries to tell her son that there's no blame in a tragedy like this and all they should do now is cherish Sybil's memory and her child, Lord Grantham isn't inclined to let himself off the hook so easily...

...and then we cut to an outside view, from which we see Branson in the bedroom window holding the child. He looks bleakly out at the expanses of Downton and we're out. Great, great episode. Sybil was fine, but they certainly hadn't given her much to do in a while. Her death, on the other hand, rocks the foundations of the family and makes me think the rest of the season is going to be great. But I hope for my keyboard's sake that there will be fewer tears.

John Ramos is a writer and film producer living in Los Angeles. His new film, a documentary on online privacy and the sale of personal data called Terms And Conditions May Apply, recently premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in January. You can get news on it from the film's Twitter account. Also, you can email John at, follow him on Twitter at, or check out his blog, "Pull Up A Chair," which he'd just love for you to stop by.

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Downton Abbey




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