'Downton Abbey' Season 3 Episode 6

By Liz Crumpacker,
"Do I look like a frolicker?"

The Crawley family is still reeling from Sybil's sudden and unexpected passing. Cora is channeling the grief over her child's death into anger towards Robert for making a very poor judgement call when Sybil was giving birth. Cora believes that if he hadn't interfered their daughter would still be alive, and ensures that her husband is well aware of her feelings.

Tom tells the family that he wants to name his new baby Sybil and also wants to christen the child as a Catholic. Robert is quite upset by this news and says, "there hasn't been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation." Lady Mary reminds him that baby isn't a Crawley but a Branson, and later reveals to the rest of the family that Sybil's last wish before her death was that the baby be christened as a Catholic.

While things become more tense, Violet tries to offer her son some helpful advice. They have an endearing, intimate moment where Violet suggests he give Cora some space to cool off. She assures Robert that it is impossible for the two of them to be unhappily married, and that it will just take time.

However, not one to sit idly by, Violet approaches Doctor Clarkson to review the circumstances of Sybil's death. He admits that if they had followed his advice and performed a C-section, her chances of survival would have been better but not guaranteed. Violet asks him to relay this information to Cora and Robert so they understand the situation and can stop fighting. She isn't asking him to lie, she assures him, she just wants him to "review the evidence honestly and without bias".

Following Violet's earnest glances and subtle suggestion to pad the truth, Dr. Clarkson meets with Robert and Cora to tell them there is no way to know if Sybil would have survived, even with a C-section. The news is sad but brings some relief, and husband and wife are finally able to begin their grieving process together.

For a little bit of good news to cheer the family, Bates will finally be released from prison! After enlisting the help of some good old-fashioned scare tactics, the neighbor eventually testifies on record to prove that his ex-wife committed suicide. Anna and the rest of Downton are thrilled to hear the good news.

In the kitchen, the love complications continue. Mrs. Patmore says it best when she tells Ivy, Daisy, Alfred and James, "You know the trouble with you lot? You're all in love with the wrong people". Although it is an astute observation, the tension and conflicts continue throughout the episode. Romance was never meant to be practical, after all.

Mrs. Patmore kindly helps out Ethel in preparing a luncheon for Mrs. Isobel and the grieving Crawley women. Mrs. Isobel is hosting the event in an attempt to distract them, even if just for an afternoon. Mr. Carson and Robert are very upset that Mrs. Patmore and the ladies, respectively, would associate themselves in anyway with Ethel.

The changing world and Mr. Carson's and Robert's resistance to these changes is continuing to create tension. Hopefully, the men will begin to see these developments of the world in a positive light, even if they don't approve. One thing is for sure, if anyone can show these slightly grumpy old guys how to accept what they cannot change, it will be the ladies of Downton.

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