Episode 5 of Downton Abbey proves to be one of the saddest and emotional yet as we shockingly say goodbye to the beautiful Lady Sybil.

The Grantham family, although wealthy and privileged, have gone through their ups and downs but never have they been hit so hard than with the death of a daughter. But never did many of us expect Lady Sybil to die, even though Downton producers hinted that a character would pass on this season.

Just when Sybil gets back into her father Lord Grantham’s good graces and is safe back at Downton—along with her rebellious Irish husband and former Downton chauffer, Branson—she begins to experience major complications with the birth of her first child.

And this is where the drama and emotion begins. Dr. Clarkson says Sybil is pre-eclamptic and wants her rushed to hospital for an emergency c-section. But Lord Grantham calls in his own doctor, Sir Philip, who insists she’s just “a woman having a baby” and guarantees both Sybil and baby will be fine. Cora tells Robert she’d rather have Dr. Clarkson examine Sybil since he’s been her doctor since birth. She trusts his opinion and is frantic they will lose her. Right then, you knew while watching this gripping scenes that  Sir Philip’s and Robert’s pompous attitudes would not bode well for Sybil.

Robert plays the “I’m the master of the house” card and says he trusts Sir Philip’s guarantee. When Sybil goes into labour she finally gives birth to a baby girl and gets to hold her. Everything at that moment seems fine but shortly after, with Mary by her side, Sybil goes into shock. As everyone gathers around the youngest daughter and sister, they watch Sybil go into shock and seizure and die.

It was gut wrenching to watch Sybil die, and to see Cora by her bedside. Cora sends a strong message to Robert that he should sleep alone and blames Sybil’s death on his ego. Ouch. Who isn’t mad at Robert at this point?

Meanwhile, downstairs, everyone is devastated by Sybil’s death, even Thomas who sheds a tear. But drama brews as Thomas begins to show more romantic interest in Jimmy, egged on by the scheming Ms. O’Brien.

Anna has learned that Vera’s death was caused by poisonous pastry in the pie she ate to commit suicide. This is a major development in his case and he’ll be out in no time where we can see these two lovebirds back in each other’s arms (eek). It’s about time that storyline got put to bed.

Rest in peace Lady Sybil (played by Jessica Brown Findlay). We’ll always remember your good-natured soul and flamboyant dress pants!


—Toni-Marie Ippolito

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