(SPOILER ALERT!) Wow. This episode was . . . both expected and unexpected. I know I was just complaining that nothing really bad ever permanently happens to this family. Apparently the writers thought the same thing, so they decided to wallop the Granthams right upside the head. Here are my responses to the latest developments:
- I have to lead with Sybil’s death, of course. As soon as the dueling doctors plot line was introduced, I turned to Denisa and said, “Sybil’s either going to end up in a coma or dead. My bets are on a coma, so they can miraculously bring her back a few episodes later.” Well, my prediction was right, but the writers finally decided to make some tragedy stick. Yes, we’d had Lavinia’s death last season, and Daisy’s forlorn lover, but neither of those deaths were really unexpected. Loverboy was a minor character. Lavinia was an obstacle to what people really wanted: some hot Mary and Matthew action. Sybil? The nice sister? Yikes. And can I just say that watching that episode next to your 6 months-pregnant wife isn’t exactly the most fun way you can spend an evening? (Note to self: I am very glad for modern medicine.) Still, props to the show for following through with it, and for not putting some soft touches on it. Death happens, even to rich people. It’s no prettier.
- Speaking of the dueling doctors plot–I was overall pleased with it. I especially like how Cora has now taken it as proof that her husband is to blame for Sybil’s death. That’s a perfectly reasonable conclusion, though it just as easily could have been Cora getting the blame, if they’d gone to the hospital and had the c-section, only to have her die. It’s not like such an operation would have been a walk in the park. So, great way to use a character death to introduce a slew of new conflicts. Sorry, Sybil.
- Matthew consulting with that guy about how to run the estate–What an idiot. “He was here anyway, and who knows when he’d be back.” Really? Because . . . what? You’re too busy eating breakfast every morning to haul your bum out to the city to visit the man in person? Matthew was a complete bonehead there, and Mary was 100% justified in being disgusted with him.
- Thomas breaking down crying–a very nice touch. I felt bad for the troll. Just for a minute.
- Daisy being the She-Harpy from Hades–Not fond of this plot at all. Daisy’s not a mean cow. It’s not in her. Yes, she’s dense. And I get that she’d be jealous. And I suppose power corrupts. But still. Please make this plot line end.
- Maid-turned-whore-turned-maid–Fascinating to see how people respond to her and are shocked Mrs. Crawley took her in. Also interesting to see what a failure of a cook she is. Not my favorite plot just yet, but it’s got some potential. Part of me would really like to see Mrs. Crawly face the cold hard fact that a cheerful disposition and good old fashioned determination really can’t cure the world of all its ills. But maybe I’m just a mean cynic. I’m not a fan of her former cook at all, but I’m intrigued how important it was to the woman that she not be seen with the ex-whore. At all.
- Bates and Anna still continue their lame Murder She Wrote side story. Maybe if Anna got a big dog and named him Scooby. I might start caring a bit more. But now we know he’s innocent, and we can already see the evidence evaporating from a mile off. Maybe I’d like the plot more if it weren’t predictable.