Downton Abbey
Episode Four

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A+ | 8 USERS: A+
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Good Night, Sweet Princess

Another meeting has been called and Dr. Clarkson wastes no time in expressing his opinion that Sybil is at risk for eclampsia. He details the warning signs -- the small size of the child, Sybil's confusion and the high levels of protein in her urine. Lord Grantham practically clenches at the mention of that last problem, like, I know you're an aristocrat but GET IT TOGETHER or leave the room. He tries to say his discomfort is on behalf of his mother, earning this reply: "A woman of my age can face reality far better than most men." Sing it, Dowager Countess. No really, I mean it! Mary asks what Dr. Clarkson is proposing, and his answer is that they get Sybil to the hospital and conduct a C-section. Sir Philip, however, thinks that would expose Sybil to great risks -- infectious and otherwise -- and as easy as it will be to cast him as the villain of the piece, I have to believe he's telling it as he sees it here, not the least of which because Dr. Clarkson doesn't deny the risks. However, he does say that an immediate C-section is the only way to avoid "the fits" that would come with natural birth coupled with eclampsia and this very real fight, out of nowhere, between the two medical professionals makes the situation impossibly immediate. Lord Grantham thinks they have to support Sir Philip, but Mary, Cora and the Dowager Countess all pipe up that the decision should ultimately be Branson's. Handcuffed, Lord Grantham at least doesn't make a regretful comment about women's right to vote.

Downstairs, Anna reports that the doctors are arguing, which she rightly takes as a bad sign, but no one can do anything other than wait...

...while upstairs, the fight rages on, as Sir Philip says that moving Sybil now would be tantamount to murder. Poor Branson looks completely desperate and lost as Clarkson pleadingly says that Sir Philip must be starting to detect the symptoms himself. Honestly, everyone is in hand-wringing mode at this point; they know the wrong decision could condemn Sybil, but worse, they must also know there may not be a right decision. Branson asks Clarkson if he can swear a C-section will save Sybil, which is an impossible question, of course; better to ask if he thinks it's the only viable option. Clarkson does say without equivocation that if he's right about Sybil's preeclampsia and they do nothing, she'll die, prompting Lord Grantham to step forward and say that Sir Philip is sure Sybil will be fine. Cora, however, desperately says that if it were up to her, Sybil would have been taken to the hospital an hour ago, and the split between Sybil's parents sure can't be helping Branson's decision-making abilities any. Just then, though, an anguished cry comes from Sybil's room, postponing any further discussion about her care...

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Downton Abbey

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