Lady Sybil fell victim to a bad diagnosis, an in-home delivery and her father's intransigence after she gave birth to her and Branson's daughter
Downton Abbey lost the first member in the immediate family of Lord and Lady Grantham and it's difficult to know who is suffering the most.
"The decision lies with the chauffeur."
Grannie, the Dowager Countess of Grantham was the one constant during the episode filled with intrigue and tragedy.
Her reasonable approach to giving ex-chauffeur Tom Branson a voice in the decision making process about his wife's medical care broke the tie between Lady Cora and husband Robert. Robert expected as lord of the manor and father to the patient he would have the final word. Cora disagreed.
That took time as well as trying to decipher conflicting medical advice from the two physicians present.
Branson, like everyone else was torn between family physician Dr. Clarkson and some white-tie, titled snob who Robert insisted handle the delivery of his first grandchild.
Cora insisted that Clarkson be present since he had a history with the family. The wrangling between the physicians ate up more precious time
They argued about whether Sybil suffered from Preeclampsia and needed an immediate C-section. If Clarkson was correct about that, she would die either in childbirth or shortly thereafter.
The family was stunned into what to them was a Hobson's choice. Cora begged her husband to believe Dr. Clarkson but the arguing and inaction lasted too long.
A healthy little girl was born but Sybil succumbed the very next day as husband Tom grieved.
"And Mary, could you ask your father to sleep in the dressing room tonight?"
Cora sat vigil at the bedside of Sybil's body and in no uncertain terms set up a boundary she wasn't willing to have breached.
Always the loving and supportive wife, Cora believed Robert was responsible for her youngest daughter.
She has seen all her daughters, each in their own way, buck the system so to speak and seek more equitable responsibility for themselves and the household. Cora's time might have come.
"No one is to blame. Our darling Sybil has died during childbirth and all we can do now is cherish her memory."
As Cora stunned the drawing room the with an accusation against her husband, Grannie Violet once again stepped in to calm the waters.
As emotional and sincere as viewers have ever seen the character, Violet was the lady of steel for a family left speechless and almost lifeless, except for Lady Cora's anger that grew from despair.
Violet's son has had a bad run of decision making. He almost lost Downton due his financial incompetence and now this.
Might Robert be losing the ability to regain control? Will Matthew continue to chip away at his father-in-law's authority? Tune in next week.
What was the best quote of the night in your opinion?
PBS airs new episodes of Downton Abbey season three on Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT with full episodes viewable at the show's website.
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