downton-abbey-sybil-dies-season-3-episode-5

 

Aw man. I truly love aperiod drama. Something about all that fabric and men in fancy suits (and occasionally hats) and subtlety of wit that our modern world only wishes it could command.*

But after yesterday's death episode, I have to say that the much-lauded show Downton Abbey  is dunzo.

After all, how can you execute your moral compass and still maintain a discernible direction? Lady Sybil was the only person in the Crawley household with an egalitarian perspective (she learned to cook, worked as a nurse, married a chauffeur, and was even open to baptizing her baby in the Catholic church), a positive view of humankind, and the balls to follow through on her beliefs with action.

Really, no one else in the cast can take up that mantle and wear it proudly.

Lady Grantham is out of touch with reality and has no skill in discerning character (see O'Brien).

Lord Grantham panders to the mores of the day as he struggles to maintain control in the face of a second fiscal cliff. (The first was when he lost his wife's fortune. The second would be if he were allowed to squander the second bail out from Lavinia's father's money.)

I feel like Lady Mary needs no further discussion.

Lady Edith might be able to grow given the opportunity to write for the paper...but she's still a meek sheep.

The chauffer is a loose cannon.

Matthew Crawley is as stuck to his own middle class ways as Robert is to his upper class ones. Funny that he's become a wealthy man several times over and can't seem to shake the guilt. Still he has accustomed himself to white tie at dinner so easily...

The Dowager Countess might be the only one remaining (above stairs) who can step into the vacuum that Sybil's death leaves behind.

You might also know that Sybil's character died because she didn't wish to renew her contract. SPOILER ALERT. Matthew will not be the cast in seasons four and five either because he's off to start a movie career too.

Kinda stinky that two of the fan favorites would jump ship at the height of the show's popularity (it's destined to go down after this), but then, they are the two characters on the show with a greater sense of individual responsibility as opposed to the weight of doing what's right because of tradition or expectation. Perhaps life imitates art?

Regardless, I am disappointed. I will continue to watch the show but they've burst that unspoken bubble of a cast with chemistry sticking together.

 

*The characters of period dramas do, however, have access to scripts.

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