Episode 6 is the sixth episode of the third season of the UK-US period drama, Downton Abbey.
This episode focuses on the immediate aftermath of the death of Lady Sybil Branson and another slight explosion when an act of kindness by Isobel nearly covers the Crawleys in a miasma of scandal.
After the funeral of Lady Sybil, Tom Branson is standing apart from the family. He is sad about his loss and he also knows now that he will be raising his child as a single parent (which was often a rarity in that time and age, especially for a single father).
Tom's closest friend and brother in-law, Matthew offers Tom some help and support; and he told him, that although they may sound like parrots, they do want to help.
The abbey is still in mourning with Sybil now gone. Both the family and the servants are mourning her as she was well loved by both worlds.
A sad Cora Crawley wonders if it was finally over. She is given advice by Violet Crawley, usually the first to criticize the way Cora does things, to get some rest and sleep. It was clear that she hadn't slept since Sybil's death.
Downstairs, both Thomas Barrow and Anna Smith Bates were mourning her more than the others as they seemed to know her the best (Anna had once been her lady's maid; while Thomas and Sybil had worked together when the abbey was a convalescent home).
Cora still insists that her husband, Robert Crawley, sleep in his dressing room as she still holds him and Sir Philip Tapsell directly responsible for her daughter's death. She berates him for believing Tapsell "because he was knighted, and fashionable, and had a practice in Harley Street" over the family physician who had known Sybil and her medical history ever since she was born.
During the next day's breakfast, Lady Edith begins to talk about the christening and the preparations. At that point, Tom decides to name the baby, Sybil, after her mother. The talk about Christening comes as a surprise when Tom announces that he wants to baptize Sybbie (as she would be called) as a Catholic.
Ethel Parks, a former maid at the abbey, now works for Isobel Crawley Grey as a combined cook-housekeeper, and is looking to help Cora and the rest of the family when Isobel asks to have a luncheon. She enlists the help of Mrs. Beryl Patmore to help her make a wonderful luncheon, in spite of the restrictions against it by Charles Carson.
Robert complains to Mary about Tom baptizing the baby as a Catholic. Robert doesn't like the idea that his granddaughter would be Catholic, as there hasn't been a Catholic Crawley since the reformation, He also complains that Tom's background is nothing and whatever advantages the baby would have, would come from the blood of her mother.
Mary, who was a lot more pragmatic than her father, doesn't agree with his resentents, and reminds him (as Robert once again is taking over things that he shouldn't be taking over) that Tom is a Branson, and Sybbie is his daughter and that he is the one ultimately reponsible for Sybbie's upbringing.
Robert also has resentments about Tom naming the child Sybil, as he finds it ghoulish. Again, Mary doesn't agree with her father, telling him that it would be a fine tribute to her late sister.
Meanwhile, Violet tries to tell him the same thing that Mary told him. Robert tells his mother that Cora is not happy with him and that she does still hold him responsible for Sybil's death. He also says he is mourning her marriage as well.
Violet suggests that Cora should take a break from things and go to New York to go see "that woman", but Robert does not believe that would work out.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Daisy Mason, the assistant cook, berates the new kitchen maid, Ivy Stuart. She would later go and visit her father in-law, Mr. Mason. He stuns her by offering her the tenancy and the equipment for his farm. It is the first time that he invites her to move in with him.
Daisy is rather stunned, and is still stunned when she reveals to Mrs. Patmore that she was offered the entire estate of Mr. Mason. "You've become a proper heiress," Mrs. Patmore tells her assistant.
During a dinner, Reverend Travis is besieged on all sides by Cora, Isobel, Edith, Mary, Matthew, and Tom about Sybil being baptized Catholic. Mary reveals to her stubborn father that it was Sybil herself who revealed to her that she would want her baby to be christened Catholic. Mary told her father that on the day her sister died, she would want to have her child baptized as a Catholic.
When Robert announces that he is flabbergasted, Cora tells him coldly that "you're always flabbergasted by the unconventional." She also reminds her husband that nobody conforms to religion to satisfy Debrett's (Debrett's Peerage; Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage; which is an annual register of the British aristocracy, similar to Burke's peerage, both of which are still published today), and that Tom wanting his daughter to be Catholic was perfectly all right.
Meanwhile in London, Mr. Murray, the lawyer for the Earl of Grantham, goes to Mrs. Bartlett, and finds out that she had told another story. It is revealed that the evil York prison guard, Mr. Durrant, and Craig, Bates' cell-mate, had manipulated her to lie.
However, later on, Murray tells the Bateses that it was her who would rather see him imprisoned for life. Bates takes matters into his own hands, when he yanks Craig into a covey hole, and threatens him with a longer stint and with his friend Durrand losing his job for bringing drugs into the prison unless he and Durrand quit their lying and stop their manipulation.
Carson berates Mrs. Patmore for helping Ethel with the luncheon. Robert and Matthew have a row about the running of the estate, with an uncomfortable Tom watching. Carson reveals to the Earl that the ladies are going to Crawley House for a luncheon, which is being served by a prostitute!
Robert storms over to Crawley House and demands that Mary, Edith, Violet and Cora return to the abbey, Cora refuses, and so do the others. Robert is stunned that nobody leaves with him and storms out.
Carson is disgusted that the ladies did not come back from the luncheon. He believes that makes the world weaker and less disciplined.
He then berates Elsie Hughes for not having any standards. Mrs. Hughes, undaunted, believes that since none of the ladies came back from the luncheon, she felt that she would be willing to go down to Crawley House, which really displeases Carson.
Mary tells her father that he is just angry that the world is not going his way. She tells him that he will not win on the Christening. It was at that point that Robert finally realizes that Sybil is truly gone. He tells Mary that he sees something in the paper that would make her laugh or that he longs to tell her that her favorite rose is in bloom. The pain he has held back is only beginning to be known.
Later on, Mary and her husband, Matthew Crawley get to hold their new niece for the very first time.
Violet earlier had talked with Dr. Clarkson (who tells him that Sybbie is a tough little thing, a compliment indeed) and convinces him to lie that there was no way that Sybil would have lived, despite the proof that she could have.
She felt that her son's marriage would be greatly saved by telling a harmless lie. At first, Dr. Clarkson was not willing to do so, but Violet manages to get her way in this.
However, Anna gets the news that she has been waiting to hear. The news that Bates will be released in a few weeks. The proof that everyone was waiting for finally came through, the police's case was weakened, Mrs. Bartlett tells the truth, and the conviction was overturned.
As for Durrant and Craig, what happened to the conspirators was undetermined. However, it was presumed that Durrant was fired from his job for his drug smuggling (and might well have become an inmate himself, possibly landing in prison for the drug smuggling), and Craig's already lengthy sentence was extended even further for his treachery.
Anna, Mary and Edith are overjoyed about this news and they run to tell Robert, who was in such need of good news. He is pleased that Bates would be released, as he missed his valet (he resented Thomas as a valet, given the troublemaking, i.e.: stealing and attempting to frame Bates for said thefts; that he had done in previous seasons).
Robert and Cora are told to go to the Dower house, it was there that Dr. Clarkson tells the little white lie that brings them together to grieve their daughter. The episode ends with Cora and Robert weeping for Sybil, while Violet tactfully turns away to allow her son and daughter in-law to grieve.