Who Won the Game? (Plus, “Downton Abbey” Recap)

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Please, please comment below! Who won the game? I haven’t had time to follow up. I was busy watching “Downton Abbey” during the latter part of the event, and recovering. “Downton’s” 53 plot-lines were INTENSE this week. In case you missed the continuing mega-excitement — spoiler alert — here’s an update after the jump.

Fade in and Sybil’s funeral is already over!

The Dowager Countess to Cora in the library: “Try and get some rest now that it’s over.”

Cora (after DC exits): “Over? When one loses a child, is it ever really over?”

You’ll recall that friend-to-Vera-Bates Audrey Bartlett’s words might overturn Bates’s verdict for the better. But of course when mustachioed lawyer Mr. Murray visits her drab home, she goes stone-cold mute. The witch.

Tom decides to call the baby Sybil, which gives everyone chills, except Edith because she’s literary.

T: “I want to remember her mother whenever I look at her.”

Of course, Tom wants mini-Sybil to be christened Catholic “like her father,” and of course that doesn’t sit well with Lord of the WASPs Lord Grantham. (“There hasn’t been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation!” he hollers then purses his lips.)

Isobel Crawley has her heart set on throwing a lame ladies’ party for Cora and the girls, to pull Cora out of her sorrow for an hour (as if). (Cora, by the way, has told Lord G. not to visit her bed chamber until further notice; she’s super enraged because he didn’t listen to Dr. Clarkson’s practical warning that Sybil would require an emergency C-section to have any chance at survival. Robert gave visiting physician Sir Philip Tapsell his full trust, because he’s fully classist. Oh, by the way, Elizabeth McGovern’s at her most believable when she’s polite + passive-aggressive in this series, no? Let me know below.)

Anyway, Lord Grantham talks to his walleyed mother about his troubled marriage. She tells him, “People like us are never unhappily married.” Hoping to ease their marital tension, the Dowager asks Dr. Clarkson to tell Cora and Robert G. that Sybil likely would have died no matter whose medical option they’d chosen, Clarkson’s or Tapsell’s. He’s like, “Lie?” The Dowager’s, like, “Lie is such an unmusical word,” and her syllables sound like a familiar song.

The ladies’ luncheon goes down — cooked by erring woman-of-the-world Ethel, with some sweet support from Mrs. Patmore. When Lord G. hears about it, he freaks because Ethel is a former prostitute who bore “a bastard child.” Forgive my language. Robert shows up in an officious rage at the luncheon and orders his females home…but they won’t go! Touchdown for the women’s movement! (He’s actually angry because Matthew’s just told him he doesn’t manage his estate very well. Side note: In the somber aftermath of her sister’s death, Mary’s on Matthew’s side all the way.)

After Bates shakes down his prisoner nemesis, Mrs. Bartlett miraculously changes her mind and provides the information that will set Bates and his sweet chipmunk cheeks free. But we worry maybe he’s done “something stupid,” as Anna would put it. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the young service staff continues flirting with all the wrong parties (there’s a cute foxtrot lesson in the kitchen, interrupted by Carson, in maybe one lordly admonishment too many for a single episode).

Finally, Dr. Clarkson decides to visit the Dowager and offer Cora and Robert some additional “perspective” on their daughter’s tragic passing: “The chance was a small one, a tiny one, really.” The Dowager gives the doc her well-meaning evil eye. He continues. “When all is weighed in the balance, I believe that Lady Sybil was going to die. And now I’ll take my leave.” Cue: Couple hug. And the red Masterpiece Theatre curtain. And the Ralph Lauren ad you’ve seen 12 times. And the dorky cruise commercial.

You can see why I’ve been distracted. Okay, so who won?! I can’t wait.

p.s. I almost forgot: Edith never answered the editor’s invitation to write for the paper. Even though she figures it’s too late, and even though she’s still undecided because Lord G. pooh-poohed it, I bet that gig might come through soon. What do you think?!!!

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  1. Well done, Betsy. Your commentary is cleverly written. So glad you could fill me in. I was unable to watch, because there was a football game on at my friends’ — Sally and George — beautiful home. The Ravens won!

  2. Happy to discover that someone in this city has her priorities straight. Most delicious “Downton” development from last night’s episode: O’Brien setting up her erstwhile buddy, Thomas, for a crushing defeat in his pursuit of beautiful footman James. Oh, dear.

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