I think the point of the storyline was to show that romance can happen at any age, or be rekindled too.
Personally I would've been happier had they found Gregson instead of Princess Kuragin. I wanted Prince Kuragin to continue pursuing Violet.
It also shows why the Dowager is such a stickler for tradition; she almost lost everything when she eschewed tradition and attempted to run off with another man... so she made sure none of her family ever did anything like it again.
Which is also why she allowed Sybil to nurse; Violet's youthful wild spirit was unable to be released - resulting in her running away with Kuragin - so Violet hoped to avoid any elopements. It's also how she knew Sybil and Tom had a plan in 2x07 - Sybil was like Young!Violet; stubborn, rash, a tad hot headed.
I'm not sure why the OP feels that mind-altering drugs must have been involved to write what is quite a simple forbidden-romance-followed-by-elopement storyline. It's not like they tried to escape Russia in a UFO....
They would have been successful if they had!
Talk about strange,why Was Shirley MacLaine picked to play Cora's mother?? Did she ever come back for Sybil's funeral.
Not strange at all - they needed to cast an American actress with enough clout to go head to head with Dame Maggie Smith - she fits the bill perfectly. We never saw the funeral on film, so she may well have come over (in-series) but perhaps ms Maclaine wasn't available.
I don't know why I didn't see it before, but the name of Violet's cook is an obvious reference to the HP series.
What do you think?