'Downton Abbey' Season 3 Recap: A Shocking Lie Saves a Shattered Marriage (VIDEO)

robert grantham
NOT WINNING! 0 percent tiger's blood!
As much as we hate it, Sybil really is dead. That was no soap opera dream sequence fake-out; one of the most beloved characters of Downton is gone, and the Crawleys are in mourning. So am I. And now it looks like we may have something else to mourn: The demise of Robert and Cora's marriage.

The lord of the manor has been turned out of his own bed! Now we know who really runs Downton. Cora is still heartbroken and furious. She doesn't know if she can ever forgive Robert. And frankly, neither can I. Can this marriage be saved?


Well it sure seems as if Lord Sabotage is killing his own chances at forgiveness. Branson wants to baptize the baby a Catholic and he won't have it! Matthew wants to manage the estate better (better, did I say better? No disrespect -- we mean differently, in a less throw-away-money kind of way), and Grantham is insulted! And then, horror of horrors, Isobel allows former prostitute Ethel to serve the ladies of Downton luncheon. Lord Grantham storms the castle to save the ladies from disrepute. Oy, facepalm Grantham. You are so losing it all.

I almost started to feel sorry for him, except he can be such an asshole. (But can we hear it for Ethel, pulling off a successful luncheon like that? Girlfriend! That was a Beyonce at the Super Bowl level performance. I'm so proud of her.) He doesn't mean to be, though.

Does it relieve the misery of Sybil's death a little to be so angry with Grantham? I kind of feel like it does -- both for the Crawleys and for us, the audience. Sadness can be bottomless, without form, but anger always has a direct target.

Anyway, before I get too deep with that ... Don't you love how Branson named the baby after Sybil? That was awfully sweet. And everyone's being so kind and loving toward him. I also liked that scene of Matthew walking with Branson around the estate, talking farming. I hope, somehow, a place can be found for Branson there. I get how he wants to get away from Robert's death stare, but wouldn't you love to see him running a farm? Or even the whole thing?

Speaking of running the farm, another bright spot for this episode was Daisy getting offered her father-in-law's farm. Daisy has such lowly aspirations, is always so grateful for every little morsel, and is such a hard working, loyal person. She's so deserving of that farm! And her father-in-law is right to see the end of estate life in the future. I hope she takes it on.

Anna is loyal, too. But if she really knew what Bates was up to ... Gah, the way he threatened that change in testimony, jabbing that pointy thing into his cellmate's jowl. (What was that, anyway? A dentist's tool?) I used to love Bates, but now he gives me the creeps. Then again, the guy is just doing what he must to survive. Can't blame him -- and he's getting out, apparently. And he's probably going to take his job back and Thomas will be demoted.

Oh poor Thomas, he's flirting with cute James and it's going to end in disaster for him. Dude, you are so screwed! And WHY is he listening to O'Brien's encouragement, anyway? I thought those two were explicitly sworn enemies?

Okay, back to the folks upstairs. So, I think it's kind of shitty of Violet to put Saving the Great Grantham Marriage on Dr. Clarkson. Jeebus, the guy lost a patient to Sir Fancypants and now this? I think it's asking a lot of a doctor who has sworn an oath to LIE about Sybil's chances, but it was kind of him. I guess. 

But lest anyone think otherwise: SYBIL'S ECLAMPSIA MOST DEFINITELY WAS TREATABLE, even then. Anyway, well done, Dowager Countess. You and Clarkson saved a marriage.

Next: When are Mary and Matthew having a bay-bay??? Get on it, you two. Enough lovey-dovey pillow talk. Bla bla bla, we'll never take your love for each other for granted, either. BABY. Make one. 

Favorite lines:

"People like us are never unhappily married." Dowager Countess

"You're always flabbergasted by the unconventional." Cora to Robert

"Lie is so unmusical a word." Dowager Countess

"Do I LOOK like a frolicker?" Mrs. Padmore




Watch Downton Abbey, Season 3: Episode 5 Preview on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.

Do you think Robert Grantham will ever change with the times, or is he hopelessly stuck in the past?


Image via PBS

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