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'Downton Abbey': About that twist... (+video)

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Downton Abbey” fans were shocked by the death of a main character in the newest installment of the British show, which aired its fifth episode on Jan. 27.


Youngest daughter Sybil Crawley Branson (Jessica Brown Findlay) suffered complications from childbirth, and died after giving birth to her daughter. The family had been paralyzed by indecision over what to do about suspicious symptoms that Sybil exhibited during her labor, with the family doctor, Dr. Clarkson, recommending that she be moved to a hospital. However, Sybil’s father Robert, who had lost faith in Clarkson, brought in another expert. The new physician, obstetrician Sir Philip Tapsell, said a public hospital wouldn’t be a safe area to perform an operation and that Sybil shouldn’t be moved.

After lots of blustering, Robert agreed to let Sybil’s husband Tom make the decision. Eventually, Tom chose to keep her at home, even though Dr. Clarkson warned that he may not be able to save her life. Clarkson was proven right when Sybil woke in the middle of the night, suffering from seizures, and died.

“Downton” creator Julian Fellowes mentioned Brown Findlay’s departure from the show while discussing the exit of another character (we won’t spoil it for you).

“We would have loved to keep Jessica [Brown Findlay] too,” he told the Daily Telegraph. (Spoilers in the linked story.)


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