Downton Abbey Recap: Bad Medicine

Downton Abbey Joss Barratt PhotographerThis week on Downton Abbey, Sybil gives birth to Robert and Cora’s first grandchild. So why does everyone end the episode looking even glummer than Carson on a good day? Read on to find out!

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DOCTOR, DOCTOR | As Sybil’s due date nears, Robert brushes aside Dr. Clarkson and brings in fancypants Sir Phillip to deliver the baby. Big mistake, it turns out. Bloody huge! Though the family’s longtime physician diagnoses the mum-to-be as suffering from eclampsia and wants to rush her to the hospital, Sir Phillip insists that she’s right as rain — and, much to Cora’s chagrin, Robert backs him! Needless to say, as soon as Sybil and Tom’s daughter is born without complication, Robert and Sir Phillip get busy patting one another on the back… or at least they do until Sybil starts having seizures and drops dead! After that, everyone cries — even Thomas, for pity’s sake! — and Cora makes it plain that she blames one person and one person only for the tragedy: her know-it-all husband!

WE ARE DETECTIVE | Prior to the waterworks and all-black period fashion show, Anna tells Bates about her visit to Vera’s neighbor, and he tells her that she’s found the Holy Grail — the testimony that could set him free! Now they just have to get that mean ol’ neighbor lady to repeat what she said to Bates’ attorney before she figures out how her recollection will help him. “On it,” says Anna (basically). She rushes home and informs Robert, who, in turn, calls his barrister to Downton Abbey. Unfortunately, at the same time, Bates’ prison nemeses begin plotting to make sure that he never receives a Get Out of Jail Free card!

KING FOR A DAY | When not worrying about his ability to produce an heir, Matthew busies himself by stewing over how badly mismanaged the estate is. He makes a (pun intended) grave mistake, however, by taking advantage of the aforementioned lawyer’s visit and discussing his plans to set things right — before Sybil’s body has even been taken away! (Timing, old chap! Timing!) Happening upon the scene, Mary reacts so poorly that it’s a wonder her husband doesn’t inquire whether it’s not too late to pawn her off on Sir Richard.

HOLD ME NOW | Flirting with disaster as much as Jimmy, Thomas falls into Mrs. O’Brien’s trap by getting a bit “familiar” with the new footman. Ivy fancies the fresh meat, too, but “James” is as oblivious to her charms as Alfred is entranced by them. And, of course, the concept of subtlety being utterly lost on Daisy, she continues to make her jealousy of Ivy so obvious that, at one point, Mrs. O’Brien all but cracks, “Oh, snap!”

YOU TAKE ME UP | Isobel is reminded that no good deed goes unpunished when she hires Ethel to work in her household — prompting Mrs. Bird to quit! — then tastes her young replacement’s cooking. And, of course, Robert is physically incapable of being proud of Edith when she’s offered a weekly newspaper column. “I’m always a failure in this family,” she sighs. And frankly, she’s not exaggerating.

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised that Sybil was killed off? Will Cora leave Robert over his (very, very) bad decision? Is there any room in Matthew and Mary’s marriage for him to ever be right? And how whimsical is it that I made all the mini-headlines in this recap titles of Thompson Twins songs? Sound off below!

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