Downton Abbey

Season 3 Episode 6

Episode 6

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 21, 2012 on PBS

Episode Recap

As mourners leave Sybil's funeral, Matthew approaches Branson to tell him that he and Mary want to offer whatever help they can.  Isobel and Countess Violet leave together, begging off the offer of dinner.  Violet gives Cora a rare kiss goodbye, urging her to get some rest.  Cora, still cool toward her husband, wonders if one can ever really get over the loss of a child.  Downstairs, Thomas and Anna are particularly mournful, earning a well-intended compliment by Jimmy that he regrets when Thomas squeezes his hand.

Ethel admits to Isobel that losing a child is unbearably painful.  Isobel thinks it might be a good idea to invite the Crawley women to a luncheon to cheer them up.  She isn't quite ready to commit to a menu when Ethel offers to make something special.

Mary is encouraging to Anna when she learns that, while Murray hasn't seen Mrs. Bartlett yet and there's no guarantee he will get the truth out of her, the household really needs something to be happy about and she's sure this is what they've all been waiting for.

Robert enters his wife's bedroom and asks if he is still to sleep in his dressing room.  He apologizes for not listening to Dr. Clarkson over the expert Tapsell.  Cora tells him she cannot forgive him for putting so much stock in Tapsell's title and credentials over the doctor who knew Sybil well, especially when doing so cost their daughter her life.  He points out that she acts as though he doesn't miss Sybil.  Cora hopes he misses her the most as it was his decision that prevented her from getting the treatment she needed.

At breakfast the next morning, Edith suggests getting a permanent nurse for the baby once she's weaned.  Branson admits he's not intending to stay that long.  He needs to find a job so he can care for his child whom he plans to name Sybil.  Grantham asks if that won't be too painful, but his son-in-law, while admitting it will be, thinks it is the best way to remember his wife.   He also plans to have her baptized as a Catholic, which sends Robert scurrying from the room faster than Carson.

Ethel approaches an uncomfortable Mrs. Patmore in the village, explains Isobel's plan for a luncheon and admits she could use some help making something special.  Mrs. Patmore tells her that Mr. Carson has forbade any of the servants from visiting Crawley House.    Ethel asks why Isobel should suffer for being kind to someone else.

In the prison yard, Durrant gives Bates a hard time about how he doesn't know that his big plans are going to fall part.  Bates isn't excited about this, but, as Durrant isn't elaborating, he's got nothing specific to be upset about.

Grantham is storming around the grounds before he finds Mary reading on a bench and rages to her about how Tom is planning to name the baby Sybil and raise her a Catholic.    Mary is in disagreement with her father as to his granddaughter's prospects.

Isobel assures Ethel that the luncheon doesn't have to be overly complicated, just ham and some salad, insisting they keep it safe.

Meanwhile, Countess Violet reminds her son that the person who raises the baby will be the one to determine her future.  She wonders what he intends to do if Branson really does take the baby to Liverpool.  Robert doesn't know and admits that Cora isn't really talking to him in order for him to know her wishes.  Violet points out that their kind of people are never unhappily married, but just spend less time together than they would like.  She will not go so far as to criticize a grieving mother, but wonders if Cora should go visit her mother in New York.    She knows the pain of a broken heart and wishes her son wasn't being tested like this.

Daisy has harsh words for Jimmy and Alfred who are waiting for Mr. Carson, before reminding Ivy that she's going to be out the next day.  She's headed to Mr. Mason's farm on a visit.  Mrs. Patmore arrives and shoos the men away before taking off again.  She heads back to Crawley House with a list of ingredients and instructions on how to cook the food.

Isobel appears to invite the women to her luncheon just in time for dinner to which the vicar, Mr. Travis, has been invited.  She includes Countess Violet in the invitation when she realizes she's present.  Cora really isn't interested in going out, but Mary appears and thinks it's a good idea.  Grantham and Edith appear and encourage Isobel to stay for dinner.

Meanwhile, Daisy is looking forward to her visit to the Mason farm and, Ivy, wanting a chance to get James alone, suggests Alfred go with her.  Alfred offers to take Ivy there with him.  Mrs. Patmore laments how they are all falling in love with the wrong people and sends the men out again.

At dinner, Travis is digging himself a hole by suggesting that God is less pleased with the prayers of Catholics than of Anglicans.  Branson is not taking that well, but he gets support from Mary, Matthew and Edith who point out the large populations of the world that are Catholic and, presumably, in the mind of Mr. Travis, not pleasing to God.  Robert tries to side with the vicar, but finds it hard to do when his own mother isn't helping him out.  He does, however, point out that Sybil's wishes should be considered here.  Mary tells him that her conversation with Sybil before her death has led her to believe that she would be fine with the baby being Catholic.

Carson doubts that Catholics are loyal to the crown, Jimmy believes that men can choose their religion without being traitors, Thomas wholeheartedly agrees to Jimmy discomfort, Alfred is loyal to the Church of England, while Anna thinks that talking about religion isn't a good idea.

Matthew wonders if Sybil didn't have some premonition that she was going to die, seeing as she made sure some of her wishes were made known.  He can't help but be surprised that they should be shocked at the death of a young person after the years of war.  Mary tells him that this is a lesson that nothing should be taken for granted.  Matthew believes she's accepting his wish to update Downton's estates, but Mary was speaking of them personally.  They both agree that they will love each other with their dying breaths.

Murray isn't happy that Mrs. Bartlett is backpedaling on what she told Anna.  She insists that the pie was for mid-day meal, before Mr. Bates arrived, instead of for the evening meal.  The gas lights that allegedly caused a halo around Vera's head she dismisses as not being something she said at all.  He wonders why she agreed to speak with him if she had nothing of use to him.  She tells him she thought it would be a good idea if he saw how real people lived.

Ivy is dancing to herself and admits to the footmen that she likes the foxtrot.  That's as far as she gets before Mrs. Patmore arrives and the young men run off.  Daisy arrives at the farm where Mr. Mason warns her that times are changing.  Houses like Downton won't last for her lifetime and she needs something to fall back on.  He wants her to move in so he can teach her how to run the farm, sell her goods and inherit the place when he dies.

Countess Violet has summoned Dr. Clarkson and explains how his belief that Sybil could have been saved is causing problems in the Grantham marriage.  Clarkson empha that it would have been a small chance as there's never any certainty in these things.  She does, however, get him to admit that he knows of only a few cases where a caesarean section saved the mother and baby when eclampsia was the problem.  So that they can face the tragedy together, she wants him to tell her son and his wife this information in the hopes that they will realize that their daughter was likely to die regardless.  He is loathe to lie, even if it's an embellishment, but Violet believes that it would be a kindness to them both.

Matthew takes Branson on a walk around the grounds, impressed to find that Branson knows about raising sheep, something Matthew believes some of this land is good for.  Branson admits he believes Matthew is right that the land isn't being worked right, but he doesn't think he has a place here.  He isn't sure exactly how he'll handle raising the baby himself, but rejects Matthew's offer to leave her at Downton.

Mrs. Patmore gives Ethel some advice and promises to check on her, grudgingly admitting that Ethel may have done herself a favor.  Mr. Carson doesn't think so when he spots the cook leaving Crawley House against his wishes.  When he confronts Mrs. Patmore, she explains that Ethel is wanting to cook for a luncheon Isobel is holding for the Crawley women.    Carson is horrified to think that any of these women would darken the doors of Crawley House with Ethel working there.

Meanwhile, Isobel is unhappy to smell cooking when she expressly told Ethel not to try it for the luncheon.  With nothing else to do, she promises to hold Ethel responsible if the food doesn't turn out right.

Murray and Anna explain Mrs. Bartlett's change of story to Bates who thinks he knows who was responsible.  Anna warns her husband not to do anything stupid.

Matthew is not convincing Robert that changes at Downton are needed and Branson is not helpful as backup.  Carson makes things worse by asking to speak to the already-agitated Lord Grantham privately.  Jimmy notes that Mr. Carson seems upset upstairs while Daisy tells Mrs. Patmore about Mr. Mason's offer.

It's a lovely lunch at Crawley House where Isobel is stunned to find that the food is good.  Isobel asks Edith about her job offer, but Edith doubts it's still open and admits her father is opposed.  Cora doesn't think his opinion matters at all, but Isobel is conciliatory enough to admit she wouldn't go so far as to advise Edith to go against her father in this.

Grantham bursts in just as Mary is commenting that Matthew thinks Edith should go for it.  Tired of hearing what Matthew thinks, Robert orders his wife and daughters out of the house as they are eating food prepared by a woman of ill-repute.  Though Cora looks a bit concerned, she dismisses her husband's assertion that their family will be scandalized by it and Violet points out that good servants are hard to find.   All of them refuse to leave, especially after Ethel appears with a lovely dessert.

In the prison yard, Bates drags Craig into a shadowy doorway and threatens him with a bent piece  of metal.  If Craig and his cohort don't get Mrs. Bartlett to tell the truth, he will tell the warden that they tried to recruit him into selling drugs for them.

Carson is horrified that none of the women would leave Crawley House and even more upset when Mrs. Hughes suggests she might visit the place herself.

Mary finds her father in his study and points out that he's just upset about things not going his way.  She doubts what he did that afternoon made anything better between her parents either.  Robert admits he's unhappy that Matthew is coming in, trying to clean up Robert's messes.  Mary tells him that he needs to give up the battle over the Christening as it's a lost cause.  She knows that Sybil wanted Branson to be happy.  That's something they should all remember.  Her father tells her how he can't quite accept that Sybil is gone.  He sees and reads things she would have appreciated, goes to tell her and then it hits him that he can't.  Mary implores him to explain that to her mother.

Downstairs, Molesley is as indignant as Carson that the ladies stayed even after they knew who Ethel was.  Mrs. Patmore realizes that Ivy has rouge on her cheeks and orders her to remove it while Alfred still can't keep his eyes off of her.  Jimmy plays the piano to the appreciation of all and to the definite gratitude of Thomas. Privately, Jimmy tells O'Brien that he's tired of Mr. Barrow touching him and has a mind to go to Mr. Carson or the police for help.  O'Brien continues to discourage him from making a fuss.

Daisy finds Alfred practicing the foxtrot himself and joins him for some dancing when Jimmy arrives, makes fun of Alfred and offers to be Daisy's dance partner as Alfred is only interested in impressing Daisy.   Mr. Carson catches them and chastises both of them for having fun during this sober time and points to Alfred as a model footman.

Anna races to to Mary and Edith to tell them that Mrs. Bartlett told the truth and it's only a matter of weeks before her husband can return.  They drag her to their father who will surely appreciate the good news.  He is overjoyed to have something to look forward to as his mother has invited both he and Cora to her house and neither are in a mood to go.

Ethel appears to give Mrs. Patmore flowers in gratitude for her help.

The Granthams are surprised to find Dr. Clarkson at Violet's home where Robert steps forward to apologize for not taking the doctor's advice.  Clarkson, while admitting that Sir Philip arrogantly ignored all the evidence, explains that his research has shown that a caesarean section had only a remote chance of saving Sybil.  It is very likely she would have died anyway.

Robert and Cora hold each other, weeping, while Countess Violet looks away to grieve alone, knowing that her granddaughter's chances were greater than that, but willing to bear the burden of that knowledge herself for the sake of her family.