Downton Abbey: Visitors from the South

Posted on February 18, 2013

Laughing was wrong of us, wasn’t it? We’re going to hell.

But come ON; that was a ludicrous way to handle a main actor’s exit from the cast. In fact, it was so godawful that Downton+Abbey+S3E7+14it smacked of some form of revenge on Dan Stevens by Julian Fellowes; a case of “You’re leaving? Fine. I’m going to make you look ridiculous on your way out.” How else to explain that not only did Matthew become a moral scold, and subsequently a bit of a bore, but his dialogue got progressively worse with each line, until, seconds before his onscreen death, he was exclaiming things like “Can this hot and dusty traveler enter?” and “Oh my darling, I feel like I’ve swallowed fireworks!” Fellowes is too good with a quip to not know how awful and unreadable those lines are.

And how else to explain the manner of his dispatching? Fellowes clearly knows how to write a heart-wrenching death scene, as evidenced by Lady Sybil’s harrowing last moments. And he knows when to pull away from a death scene and have it remarked upon by other characters, but unseen by the audience, as with the death of Patrick Crawley in the series premiere or Mrs. Bates suicide-by-pastry. He even knows how to mount an old school Downton+Abbey+S3E7+7melodrama-style death, with fading light and heartfelt goodbyes, as with the late Lavinia Swire’s shuffle off this mortal coil. But it was kind of hard not to see Matthew as a sap and a rather silly man, in light of his final moments. It was just a bit too on the nose, what with all the “Oh my darling, I’m just so happy TO BE ALIVE!” followed by the “What a marvelous day! Look at that blue sky! Look at these green hills! Look at anything but the road!”

Look at my head, leaking like an overripe fruit on the side of the road. Subtlety has never been Fellowes’ strong suit – or even one of his goals, it seems – but even for him, this was oddly staged. There was something almost vindictive about it.

In a way, we can’t blame him, because Dan Stevens’ stubborn insistence that he not play the same character for the rest of his career has left the story of Downton Abbey without one of its main players and his leaving pretty much negates all the work in the story up to this point. A great deal of the Downton story revolved around Downton+Abbey+S3E7+6Matthew and the succession. This is such a hard left turn in the plot that we almost feel like we wasted our time with all that marriage and entail drama of previous seasons. And where is the story to go from here? Mary will never be the Countess of Grantham, which is a goal that has driven all of her actions since the opening scenes of the first episode. Little Matthew Junior will inherit the title and we find ourselves wishing that, for the next season, Fellowes just skips ahead about 16 years and we settle in to watch the nearly grown Sybil Branson and Matthew Crawley Jr. take over the reins of Downton as World War II bears down on them. The prospect of watching the family shuffle through the rest of the 1920s bores us, especially since the only interesting thing happening to a Crawley right now is Edith’s decision to become a mistress to a married man. Since Fellowes wimped out on showing anyone’s reaction to Matthew’s death, he should just skip through the whole mourning process and the dreary “raising a child on your own” story and just have teenageDownton+Abbey+S3E7+8 Matthew Jr. inherit his estate just as war breaks out again. It’s the only potential plotline with any interest to us – and it really says something that we have to jump ahead that far to find anything that might keep our attention.

And if you need further evidence that Fellowes is tapped out on story for the current cast, look no further than Mrs. Patmore, who almost but didn’t have a relationship, or Branson, who almost but didn’t have a scandalous relationship (with YET ANOTHER of Fellowes’ stock “cheeky second housemaid” characters), and Dr. Clarkson and Mrs. Crawley, who almost but didn’t pursue a relationship. He’s run out of ideas for all of these characters. Meanwhile, Anna and Bates finally have no major troubles in their lives and what we all knew deep down to be true has been revealed: they’re as dull as two people can be. Also: Thomas is BEYOND creepy with Jimmy and Jimmy is grateful to him for that. Wait. What? Don’t even get us started on THAT. “I can’t give you what you want, but I’ll happily sit here, alone in your room, by your Downton+Abbey+S3E7+12bedside.” We want to salute Fellowes for trying to take a look at the hard life of the closeted gay in this time period, but not if he’s going to reduce the whole thing to a silly fantasy. It’s ridiculous enough that Thomas even has a job there after having forced himself on another of the male employees, but it’s the height of fantasy to have that same male employee decide to befriend him for it. He’s lost the plot – in more ways than one. Except for Sybil’s death and the fallout from it, this has been the worst-written of the show’s three seasons, by far.

Ah, well. At least there were pretty pictures of tweedy country fairs and Scottish highlands. At this point, we fear that’s all Downton has left going for it as a series: pretty pictures of beautiful places and expensive things.

Season 4: 1938. Think about it, Fellowes. We’ll probably lose the Dowager, but you can just shuffle Maggie over into Rosamund’s role.

EDITED TO ADD: If you want to hear Tom spewing even more Downton opinions in his cartoon voice, you can check out the latest Ryan & Ryan podcast, with Mo Ryan and Ryan McGee, here.

 

[Stills: tomandlorenzo.com]

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  • GorgeousThings

    Yep, there was some serious shark-jumping in this episode and season. I haven’t decided if I’ll bother with Season 4. 

    ETA this from the Daily Telegraph:
    But Lord Fellowes has defended his decision to have Matthew die at a time when everything seemed to be going right for him, saying “nothing is harder to dramatise than happiness”.

    True, if you’re a hack writer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380079551 Marie Dees

      I now suffer from Downtonabbeyphobia – a fear of uttering the phrase “I’m happy” because Julian Fellows might overhear and arrange an untimely death.

      • Elizabetta1022

         And whatever you do, don’t give birth!

    • MilaXX

       Here’s the ITV press release.

      “After three
      successful series and two Christmas editions of ‘Downton Abbey,’ Dan
      Stevens decided not to renew his contract beyond the initial three years
      he had been contracted … Over the last three years, audiences across
      the world have been captivated by the ups and downs of Mary and
      Matthew’s relationship, culminating in their wedding. Fans have enjoyed
      what has become a solid and loving marriage. It is for this reason that
      the Producers decided Matthew and Mary could not simply be estranged or
      parted, resulting in his untimely and tragic death at the end of the
      Christmas episode.”

      • siriuslover

        Which is pathetic, because with Matthew proclaiming how he knows the “real Mary” because he’s seen her naked and held her in his arms, all I could think of was that he was an idiot and enamored by sex and never really saw Mary for the horrid woman she really is. Now that she’s a widow, I can see her being even more cruel to Edith and others.

        • MilaXX

           heh, I thought I was the only one who disliked Mary.

          • BookishBren

            I cannot stand Mary. I don’t even understand why the actress is the one always nominated for the acting awards. It is such a one-note character and one-note performance. Lady Edith is the interesting one to me!

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/BJTY6KY7LOR7MDOD6QCZUC3VVI Donna Tabor

           And that coldhearted bitch sent him off with a wave, then said to tell Matthew not to come back because he’d already seen the baby.

          I have never seen the appeal of Lady Mary. She’s such a brat.

          • BayTampaBay

            Her character is very true to the historic period and is a blend of her grandmother and father.

          • Adriana_Paula

            Thank you for saying that.  I’m not sure why people feel they have to hate her (or love her), rather than just see her as a person, a result of her times and circumstances like anyone else.

          • Fed_Up18

            Why can’t we do both?

          • greenwich_matron

            I think she was also setting up for a battle royal for season 4: Lady Mary, staunch conservative, respectable widow and mother to the heir presumptive v. Lady Edith, modern woman having a long-term illicit affair. Mary will try to shame her parents into not receiving that harlot, while Edith will force everyone to reexamine their morals and positions.

          • Tally Ho

            In that battle Mary will win. “Reexamining” morals doesn’t mean an earl and countess of the 1920s will suddenly become as accepting as people today may be. 

          • greenwich_matron

            More precisely, it’s a battle Mary should win, but her parents are obviously from an alternate universe. They made that clear when they chased away an eminently suitable fiancee. 

            I think it would be easier to turn a blind eye to your spinster daughter and her very dear friend than it would be to ignore the sodomite you’re employing.   Also, given that the mistress of Highclere was half Jewish and illegitimate, it’s pretty clear that people were perfectly capable of only seeing what they wanted to see.

          • BayTampaBay

            NO SHIT!   I am glad you brought that up.  The Brits are as bad as us Americans….when money is laying on the table all bets are off.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KAFYDPCVNCKHWI57YPQRXEJADE Maria

        It was hard watching this episode knowing that Matthew would die based on the announcement before the season started.  You also knew Mary had to have a son in order to keep the series alive.

        • Jecca2244

           Yep. I was actually dreading watching it all week because we already knew the ending. I love this show. a lot. but have a feeling Season 4 is going to be difficult to get through. My friend (and DA watching buddy) and I were incredulous that the producers waited so long to work out contracts. Matthew’s exit is a huge problem conceptually.

          • BayTampaBay

            IMHO Season Four will be great because Sir Julian is going to start with a new ream of paper.  All the  prior character history and plot development can be thrown out the window,

          • O H

             First laugh of the day…I needed this, thank you!

            *exiting, and tripping on the rug on the way out of the parlor room*

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/BOTZEESDABUA3T4GS2RBYXMO5A Jennifer

             I also winced through the whole episode knowing what was coming. I actually hoped that they might just replace the actor and keep Matthew going. I know that’s horrible but it’s better than what actually happened.

            I’m all in for season four though. Can’t wait to see how it is salvaged.

      • Jennifer Coleman

        So now Dan Stevens might not be typecast as an early 20th century British quasi aristrorcat, but as the guy that helped gum up Downton Abbey.

    • Lynn Landry

      I just read the NYT article about the last episode and Fellowes said that the only way to really get rid of the characters that wanted a clean break was to kill him. I thought Matthew could have gotten bored with the whole estate thing and could borrow from the Evelyn Waugh books: He becomes an explorer and goes to the Amazon and is never seen or heard from again, but everyone for generations will speculate that he’s still alive somewhere in rain forest.

      • Tally Ho

        He already tried that (sort of) with Patrick the heir who presumably drowned on the Titanic/and the Patrick impostor of Season 2

        • kmiller1k

          Which is where I think this will go– Patrick will reappear for Mary next season

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/BJTY6KY7LOR7MDOD6QCZUC3VVI Donna Tabor

             But wasn’t there a thing between Patrick and Edith? Now that could be a fun storyline, with Edith giving the post-Victorian finger to her snooty sister.

          • Lisa_Cop

            According to this interview with a producer they’ve already sent out a casting call for a suitor for Mary. http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/02/17/downton-abbey-matthew-death/
            Also the producer says Mary is the central character in DA, which is why she get nominated for awards. Clearly, Dan Stevens wanted more money and the producers wouldn’t give him any.

      • BayTampaBay

        Matthew would never leave his child.

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

           Although Mary didn’t have to have a child, and it’s not as if infertility hasn’t ruined marriages before.

          • Tally Ho

            Matthew as the heir was a central component of Downton Abbey. With Matthew gone and if Mary was childless who would then become the next heir? A distant cousin that no one knows. The whole thing gets messy and it’d just be a repeat of the first season. 

            By giving Mary a male child and heir to the title it provides a stable framework for Fellowes to move onwards with new plots rather than retelling the same story over again. 

  • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

    Thank you, gentlemen, for voicing what i thought myself.  Matthew’s death was not only needless, from a storyline point of view, but hilariously badly handled.

    On another note, I loved watching the interplay between Lady Grantham’s maid and her Highland Counterpart.

    • Nancy Dunn

      My friend, who,is a big fan, just said she will never watch again because this was so bad.

    • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

      There was NO WAY they could write Matthew off believably.  He’s the heir to Downton.  

      • AudreysMom

         though I think there’s a way they could have done it more satisfyingly, for viewers (though it wouldn’t have been the same FU from Fellowes to Stevens). Countless shows have dealt with characters who didn’t return. We could have ended things happily with Mary and Matthew and baby. Then at the beginning of the next season had Matthew part for some estate business early in the episode (viewing new tractors in France or something).. from which he didn’t return, due to an out of town accident. In the original Upstairs/Downstairs they did this with Lady Bellamy’s Titanic voyage). She didn’t return but we felt her loss. Matthew (Stevens) leaving at the beginning of a new season would give us (as viewers who have invested in this godforsaken soap)the chance to mourn with Mary and the family, but we’d have some time to do it. At least as long as Sybil got.

        Oh well, now that it’s over, it’s almost worth the horrendous ending to think about and laugh. A blogger online (NJ Star, I think) said that if Matthew’s death could have been more silly, they would have had the truck that hit him, back over him one more time to prove to us that he was REALLY dead.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          This brings to mind the Monty Python sketch about the death of Mary Queen of Scots: “I think she’s dead”..No, I’m not!” Thump, thump, thump…

        • LittleKarnak

          I read an interview with Fellowes where he said that’s how he had planned it out but Dan Stevens wouldn’t agree to come back for the 1st ep of Season 4…..

      • VanessaDK

         Better revenge would have been to recast the role….

        • Susan Collier

           Exactly!
          Either go Darren Stevens with the role.
          Or do the Lisa Bonet/Cosby shun and have him “go to America” and have various characters “talk” to him over the phone, “We’re so happy that you’re getting good grades at Hillman College!”

        • Excellence_and_Elegance

          Well, after that accident, he had to undergo some massive plastic surgery, so….

    • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

      I loved watching  O’Brien with Lady Shrimpie’s Maid.  I thought for a split second that maybe O’Brien was going to let her bands down and get herself a little Highlands Sapphic lovin’.

      And speaking of same-sex love, I hoped James the Handsome Footman was at least going to say “Since you got the shit beat out of you to defend my honor and pretty face [because why?], I’ll say yes to a quick handie.”

      • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

         Oooooh lesbeterian loving amongst the Ladies Maids.  Now there is an idea that hadn’t occurred to me. And for a bit there, I thought O’Brien was going to jump ship to Lady Shrimpy, since M’lady’s maid made it clear she was not interested in going to India. 

        I certainly would have liked to hear pretty boy, at least say “thank you” right out, instead of dancing around it.  And boy, They sure do love beating Thomas up a lot, don’t they?  How many times have we seen him in bandages?

        • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

          Yeah, I don’t love how often the one gay character gets injured, to be honest.

          • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

             Just another cheap shot, in a long string of them.

          • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

            But O’Brien in India would be an awesome spin-off.

          • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

             And have her pining hopelessly for some dashing Indian Rajah.

          • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

            Oh!  She gets caught up in the moment, and makes a pass at him, only to be rebuffed.  He, exploiting her new career vulnerability, forces her to reveal where an attractive member of the household’s room is for some quick nookie, only to wind up dead!

            Oh, wait — that’s how we got into this mess in the first place.

          • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

             Hey, its at least as good as where things seem to be heading.

          • greymain

            sign you two up for writing the next installment….absolutely brilliant!!!

          • Judy_S

            Or Rani.

          • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

             But of course.  Wait,….What if she bats for both teams?  Even more fun.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CNDPMVO4W23R5TVC2QMTJ5BZE Heather

            Omigod, yes. Like ‘Heat and Dust’ but with O’Brien instead of Greta Scaachi.

          • Topaz

            Once I found out about hurt/comfort fan fiction, I was pretty amazed by how many professional paid up writers seem to go down exactly the same alleys in their storytelling. Not necessarily to do so much with Thomas being gay as with Robert James Collier being extremely good looking.

        • Tally Ho

          At the ball O’Brien went and spoke with Lady Flintshire and I thought, oh, she’s trying to get wormed into being hired as her lady’s maid so she can go to India and see some of the world. That plot seemed to be heading towards that direction, after all what was the point of the ongoing tension between Lady Flintshire and her maid if not to provide a way for the maid to be sacked and O’Brien hired in her place? The maid must have feared for her job so she spiked O’Brien’s drink. All the pieces together add to that conclusion but we really didn’t get one, did we?

          • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

             I could easily understand her wanting a road out of Downton, since there is a Terrible Secret she could leave behind her.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/BJTY6KY7LOR7MDOD6QCZUC3VVI Donna Tabor

             Maybe next season, was what I was thinking.

          • Sweetbetty

             ” after all what was the point of the ongoing tension between Lady
            Flintshire and her maid if not to provide a way for the maid to be
            sacked and O’Brien hired in her place?”     I thought it was just to show what a disagreeable person Mrs. Shrimpie was.  I thought Fellowes was building a case for Shrimpie being a likeable, easy-going chap and his wife to be a true beioch.  But I agree, the stage does seem to be set for O’Brien to take  off for parts unknown with the Flintshires.

        • Jecca2244

           Well I hear the woman who plays O’Brien hasn’t had her contract renewed…so you never know…

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

            Heard the same thing! A better way to get rid of the character.

          • sweetlilvoice

            No! O’Brien is such a great character to love. And hate. And ruin lives.

          • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

            I couldn’t lose both Matthew and O’Brien.  O’Brien is by far the more interesting character, it’s not that — it’s that they’re both so critical to the dynamic upstairs/downstairs.  It would be hard to imagine filling that much character vacuum.

        • MissAmynae

          I still think she’s going to go to India next season somehow, maybe convincing Thomas to go with her as Shrimpy’s valet.  I would expect a “discovery/confession of the soap, we can’t fire her with no reference because we love her so much, but she has to leave England right out. oh! Shrimpy, my good man, take these two! We took your jazz-baby Rose, remember?”

          ETA- can you imagine what India’s humidity would do to poor O’Brien’s bangs? oh my.

      • MilaXX

         O’Brien tipping the velvet? Oh that’s funny!

      • Sweetbetty

         Those many long, lingering looks between the two ladies maids had me thinking that they were heading for some girl-on-girl action too.  And just when you thought nobody could be more dour looking than O’Brian, there was Lady Shrimpie’s maid looking like the ultimate Mrs. Danvers.

        • jeeplibby02

          Can you believe that this is the actress who played Wilkins? http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1670285056/nm0481547

    • Ms_Flyover

      It makes a simple, but very straightforward point – sleep with Lady Mary, die young.  Seriously, she’s 2 for 2.

      • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

        Oh Lordy, I hadn’t thought of that!  She’s a Black Widow!

        • Ms_Flyover

          Suddenly Lady Edith’s (presumed) virginity is looking very enviable.

      • roadtrip1000

         Plus her first fiance (reportedly) went down with the Titanic.

        • Ms_Flyover

          Dea God, you’re right.  Sex doesn’t even have to be involved (that we know of.)  I fear for the “new love interest” they bring in for her next season.

  • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

    It wasn’t just Matthews lines that fell flat.  The whole episode was poorly written.  In the UK this was the Christmas Episode right?  Something that was done months after the last episode which was the Season finale for Season three.   My guess is that they were negotiating for the actor who plays Matthew to return, and the talks fell apart and had to pate this together in a short period of time.

    • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

      I kind of figured the reason we didn’t actually see anyone get the news that Matthew was dead was to leave the door open to Stevens’s (or at least Matthew’s) return — in soap opera world, it is still possible for the next season to begin with “Matthew’s been seriously injured!” or “Matthew’s had a terrible car accident that has altered his face so that he’s even better looking than before!  And brunette!”

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        I was thinking the same thing too. In soap opera world no one is truly dead. I recently watched another British series called The Grand and one of the main characters had a different actor the 2nd season. It was bit jarring at first, but I got used to it after awhile. They might do something similar with Matthew perhaps…

        • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

          Nighttime soaps have had a dismal time with the “plastic surgery” excuse for recasting an actor.  For daytime soaps, its done all the time and the better ones have a lot of fun with it (Like One Life to Live did with Max Holden and the two Todds).   I suppose a Matthew tries out a spiffy new biplane and is lost in the Scottish Highlands plot would have been permissible, but it is what it is.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/BJTY6KY7LOR7MDOD6QCZUC3VVI Donna Tabor

             A la The English Patient.

          • MRT144

            The two Todds were some of the most fun over the top moments of OLTL

        • Lisa_Cop

          I saw The Grand. I loved it.

      • formerlyAnon

        There is an awful soap-world logic to this. Maybe New Matthew would have some chemistry with Mary! But only till his amnesia wore off – then it’d be back to wooden puppet loving.

      • Kathleen Tripodi

         Or, Matthew was secretly a time-lord from Gallifrey, and is being regenerated into a new body!

      • Selena1979

        Nope. Gareth Neame confirmed in an article on Entertainment Weekly they had been given ample notice and plenty of time to craft an ending. The actor was in NYC from September onwards, so this had to have been filmed in July or August. Nope, not a last minute job, just a hack job.

        • Lisa_Cop

          Read that interview and posted the link up thread. Sounds like Stevens wanted more money and no one wanted to give it to him. And after all this series has generated:((

      • Sweetbetty

         Or the poor villager whose lorry collided with Matthew’s roadster is terrified of what will happen to him when it’s found that he was involved with the death of an aristocrat so he hides the car and body and nobody ever knows what became of Matthew….until it’s a good time to re-introduce him into the story as somehow having survived the accident by the tender nursing of a country maiden or some other miracle.

        • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

          Matthew could always come back in a later season with burn scars and a Canadian accent.

          • formerlyAnon

            XO

    • MilaXX

       Yes, this aired on Christmas day. Fellows did say he was hoping for 2 or 3 guest appearances and Stevens said he couldn’t commit.

    • http://www.facebook.com/darva.sutra Darva Sutra

       Yeah.  Merry Christmas… DEATH!!!! UK sure is different than US.

    • Jackie4g

      I agree with you, As a matter of getting through the dismal winter months, I stayed away from spoilers about the season, but I knew something was up when the actor Dan Stevens started doing promos and commercials on PBS and local channels for a Broadway revival of something or other in which he was to star last fall, and if he were involved in season four, he couldn’t be doing Broadway plays. So there was something not adding up. I also thought the episode was incomplete, it was as though no idea was ever completed, only brought up and momentarily explored.

      • Sweetbetty

         A few weeks ago I innocently started reading an article about Dan Stevens and was shocked when Sybil’s death during childbirth and Matthew’s death in a car accident was mentioned.  It spoiled the rest of the season for me.  It’s a shame when those of us who consciously try to avoid  spoilers stumble onto them by accident.

        • Elizabeth Davis

          This happened to me, too. I could never get into the season because I knew the two actors were exiting the series and it didn’t take too much guessing to figure out how they’d be taking their leave. : (

        • Lisa_Cop

          Someone posted the NYT article on Twitter where they disclose Matthew’s death before the season started. I was pretty angry.

    • http://twitter.com/vesperbeauty Vesper Beauty

      It would’ve explained a lot, but no. Dan Stevens decided he was quitting in February 2012 – months before they started shooting season 3.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/downton-abbey/9765334/Dan-Stevens-Why-I-left-Downton-Abbey.html

    • Lisa_Cop

      No, I read an interview witha producer who said Stevens gave them plenty of time. But UK viewers (who saw this episode on Christmas) were furious that their holiday was spoiled.

  • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

    Why oh why! Isn’t it far too much of a coincidence that the two new babies born this season lose one parent on they day of their birth? The cousins are half orphans from the very start of their lives! Who decided that?

    And that’s just the first of many thoughts I have about the S3 finale.

    I’m already over Matthew.

    • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

      My main reaction to last night’s episode was to be annoyed at Dan Stevens for leaving the show.

      • juliamargaret

        Me, too.

      • CozyCat

        But can you blame him?  It’s hard for us to watch the unbelievable plot twists and badly written dialogue.  Can you imagine having to perform them? 

        I doubt that this is going to be a 7 year series, so it’s got a year or two more at most.  It’s not stupid to leave while the show–and the impact on his career–is still “hot”.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          In his interview today in the NYT Fellowes said that in the U.K. it’s customary for actors to commit to a TV series for a maximum of three years and that Stevens wanted to leave.  Sounds as if he felt he’d done as much with the show as he could.

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           I don’t find anything hard about watching Downton. It’s period candy.

    • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

      And didn’t the pregnant maid’s baby-daddy die too (not day OF, but still)? It’s dangerous having a kid around there.

      • Sweetbetty

         And then there was the maid Robert had the hots for who had a son and whose husband was dead.  Of course those men were soldiers and war does leave a lot of fatherless children.

        • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

           True, I suppose then Ethel doesn’t count, but still… baby=death around there!

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    The whole Mrs. Padmore being pursued by a man who is only interested in her for her cooking abilities was stolen from seaside episode on Upstairs/Downstairs.  Never mind that the idea of this show was “borrowed” from Upstaris/Downstairs.

    • Jackie4g

      Yes! Mrs Bridges and the butcher. Somee kind of remark about getting someone “between me legs” and it was enough
      to give the entire staff the vapours.

      • Girl_With_a_Pearl

        Mrs. Bridges had a narrow escape there.  I remember him saying, “it’s not the way she looks.  It’s the way she cooks.”    

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1405004314 Cindi Tracy Aune

    I was so hoping Ediths new boyfriend would accidentally kill Matthew while hunting…or maybe Matthew get hit by lightening while tramping about. The death was anti climactic to say the least.

    • charlotte

       I certainly expected that. A hunting accident just seemed so obvious.

    • Topaz

      I spent this whole episode with my Mum trying to predict how he was going to wink out. I was convinced it was going to be by stag-goring, by a beast enraged from hours of listening to discussions of minor set-tos between relatives that seem to worry everyone tremendously but never, ever actually come to anything significant.

    • deathandthestrawberry

      We were sure Matthew was going to be shot. It would have had better potential for drama too. Mary could have gone into early labor, and her delivery would be fraught with memories of Sybil’s untimely death by pregnancy. But Mary would have pulled through with a health baby boy and heir, perhaps ending the show with an uplifting note.

      • jeeplibby02

        TallyHo probably knows for sure, but I think that according to the rules of inheritance it was necessary for the baby to be born while Matthew was alive in order to become the new heir presumptive.  If Matthew had died first, then some other unknown distant cousin who is a descended from a brother of a previous earl would immediately step into Matthew’s place as the new heir presumptive, displacing Matthew’s unborn child. Of course, Little Matthew can still be displaced by the birth of a baby uncle, however unlikely that might be.

        • Kathleen Tripodi

           No, because then Matthew would never have been heir presumptive to begin with since his father was dead before Matthew became heir in 1912.  Inheritance would go down to the end of a line before it jumped branches.

          • Tally Ho

            Yep. Baby’s safely the heir because he was male. It doesn’t matter when Matthew died. 

            There were titles that went from grandfather to grandson because the son died before the grandson’s birth (this happened a few times during the two world wars. If Matthew’s baby had been female then the title goes somewhere else (or is extinct) but the girl would, upon her grandfather’s death, inherit the right to the courtesy title “Lady X” as she was the daughter of the heir presumptive who would have been earl had he lived.

          • jeeplibby02

            Wasn’t exactly sure, so thanks for the clarification.  However, I don’t think we can say that the baby is “safely the heir” until Robert dies.  As long as the possibility exists (however remotely) that Robert could father a son, Little Matthew is only the heir presumptive, not the heir apparent.

          • Tally Ho

            True. I’d forgotten that. Assuming Robert never remarries little Matthew is the heir presumptive but apparent. 

          • BayTampaBay

            Kings too! George II to George III was grandfather to grandson.

        • BayTampaBay

          No, little Master Crawley would be the heir provided he was born 9 months or less to the day of his father death.  Check out Wikipdeia: Duke of Albany & Duke of Saxe-Couburg-Gotha.

    • TippiH

      We predicted a quick meteorite death

      • dawn stough

        we thought the train would somehow catch fire.

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    Too bad Matthew wasn’t driving Sir Anthony’s Look-a-Like’s wife.  

    • jw_ny

       Too funny! 

      Fellows will find a way to kill her off eventually…will be one of those convenient and unseen deaths to add to the others that TLo mentioned. 

    • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

      Now that would have been a plot contrivance worth having!

    • Winter_White

      Since it was the final scene, we don’t really know.  Perhaps the mad wife had escaped the asylum, and was having a brisk walk on the road — it was such a fine day — just as Matthew was speeding along and that other big vehicle was barreling toward him.  And perhaps we’ll learn in the first episode of next season that she has been crushed under the wheels of that  other car!!!  WE DON’T KNOW!  We might spend all of next season watching the breathtaking romantic saga of Edithzzzz and her publisherzzzz.

      • siriuslover

        Maybe next season we’ll find out why she’s mad. I keep picturing publisher dude coming home one day to find her crawling around her room peeling off the yellow wallpaper.

        • Carrps

          That is such an awesome allusion!

      • http://www.facebook.com/darva.sutra Darva Sutra

         That’s it, Julian is fired, you’re hired!

        • Winter_White

          Why, thank you!  Hope you’re all going to like my version:  lots of Branson.  Mostly Branson, really…with just enough Dowager seasoning.

          • Sweetbetty

             Lots more of Branson with his shirt off?

          • Winter_White

            There will be many scenes of him wandering the glorious countryside with that beautiful dog.  Sometimes, in the fairest spring weather, yes, he may feel over-bundled and need to remove some of his garments.  I’m thinking he could be shirtless while frisking with the dog at least once per episode?  (Also, he’s the kind of guy who charmingly and unselfconsciously talks to dogs…because we need to hear his voice too.)

            Thank you for asking.  *g* 

  • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

    “Shrimpy”?  It got explained but really, imagine, everyone still calling a 60-year-old-plus titled gentleman and military professional “Shrimpy”.  This episode was just about the most unsatisfactory of any I’ve seen.  You’re right, Matthew’s death (and dialogue right beforehand) smacks of revenge and writer’s pique by Fellowes.  There was an article in the NYTimes today about how Dan Stevens was asked if he would just do a couple of episodes for season 4, to ease the transition, and Stevens demurred.  This is what he got in return: fatuous dialogue and a stupid demise. 

    That Scottish lady’s maid had NO idea she was toying with a master when she tangled with O’Brien.  Silly fool.

    I love your idea of skipping to 1938, except that we would lose Maggie Smith, who probably has no intention of agreeing to be written out of the series if she can help it.  Which is too bad, because I’d like to hear what she had to say if she had to endure the blitz.

    • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

       And frankly, turning down a cherry role like this one, over the fear of being typecast, has rarely if ever worked for an actor.  What the industry remembers, is not that one was a great performer, but that one bolted, and caused trouble.  Hired?  not so much.

      • not_Bridget

        How is not renewing a contract “bolting”?  The cast was signed on for three years.  Then Fellowes et al. decided to drag it out for a season or two or more.  Dan Stevens & “Sybil” decided to explore other options.  

        David Caruso made headlines with his pouting & quitting. I’ve never been a fan–but he’s been working in TV quite successfully for the last few years. 

        • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

           I grant you that bolting was probably not the best term.
          And I’m not saying that he won’t get work again.  It will be a consideration though, when he’s being thought of for something.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1084733830 Kate Andrews

            He’s on Broadway with Jessica Chastain, so I’d say Dan’s doing pretty well for himself! 

          • http://twitter.com/MissBunnyBixler Miss Bunny Bixler

            It just closed.  Now what, Mr. Stevens?  

          • Judy_S

             He’s in a Wikileaks movie, but not as Assange. Maybe next time.

          • not_Bridget

            Check IMDB. He’s got a couple of projects going. He’s also writing & editing on the side.  

            How often do producers check Tumblr to see what the 12 year olds think?  An actor fighting to leave after signing a contract is different from finishing a contract & deciding that was enough….

          • CozyCat

            I don’t think it will hurt him in the professional reputation sense.  He fulfilled his contract, he just didn’t want to renew.  He didn’t pull a diva and think he didn’t have to meet his professional obligations. 

            And it may have been a good time to leave.  As TLo says, where are they going to go with the plot at this point?  All the

        • MilaXX

           Caruso left for a movie career which tanked spectacularly. His return to tv was viewed as him returning with his tail between his legs.

          • MRT144

            To be fair he was only the lead actor on the two most popular police procedurals of their time. 

        • jeeplibby02

          Yes, but David Caruso quit NYPD Blue because he thought he was going to become the Next Big Movie Star.  His short-lived film career produced one or two bombs, and he returned to tv with his proverbial tail between his legs.  My schadenfreude over that one has never quite disappeared. 

    • MissAnnieRN

      It seems like a shitty career move if you ask me.  Here you are, the arguable star of the series, making a name for yourself in England and across the pond on a show that has caught the cultural zeitgeist and you decide, nah, forget it, I don’t want to be typecast?  It’s not as if Downton will continue forever and ever.  Likely a few more seasons and he can move on to films and such.  Dumb choice Dan Stevens.

      • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

        Yeah, look what jumping ship did for MacLean Stevenson from “MASH”.

        • MilaXX

           lol, he thought the show wouldn’t last and did Hello Larry instead.

        • siriuslover

          but boy what a shocking death scene that made!

          • Sweetbetty

             I still remember sitting there with tears streaming down my face.

        • Susan Collier

           Shelley Long, anyone?

        • Lisa_Cop

          It sounded to me like actors were not getting the salaries they deserve. Given how big a hit DA has been, the producers could afford to give the actors a bit more money.

    • Topaz

      I thought the silly nickname was pretty believable – plenty of posh boys spend their entire lives harking back to their time at boarding school or Oxbridge. They never really let go and don’t have much of an incentive to grow up, since they just carry on socialising in the identical crowd they went to school with.

      • Tally Ho

        The current Duke of Devonshire’s name is Peregrine. Nickname is Stoker. He’s still called Stoker and he’s 70. 

        • Toto Maya

           If my name was Peregrine I’d go by Stoker (or even Shrimpy) too.

          • jeeplibby02

            Julian Fellowes’ son is also named Peregrine.  I was thinking about that last night, and decided that I like the name.  Perry is reasonable diminutive if the bearer can’t stand it.  

      • funkypeanut

        It’s like all of Bertie Wooster’s ridiculous friends.

    • formerlyAnon

      This will go into link-moderation limbo for a while, but from the following interview, it doesn’t sound as if Dan Stevens is unrealistic about the chances he’s taking, or that he lacks opportunities, even if they aren’t all opportunities to be a big star.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/downton-abbey/9765334/Dan-Stevens-Why-I-left-Downton-Abbey.html

    • Imogen_Jericho

      Also, meeting “Shrimpy” in the flesh was so much less entertaining than watching Maggie Smith shriek “Shrimpy!” into the phone last season. After that introduction, I expected someone with comic potential. What a waste of a fabulous nickname. Shrimpy was a snore!

      • Sweetbetty

         I agree completely.  I commented after his name was mentioned last week that I hoped we’d get to meet him since I had built up such an image of him after that one hilarious phone call.  What a boring letdown he turned out to be.  His wife almost took up the slack as a caricature of a shrieking harpy but she was softened with her scenes with Cora so we were left with nothing.

        • BayTampaBay

          I believe the correct term for his wife Susan,  is ‘Tooth Pick Harpie”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Austen-Jane/100002245814326 Austen Jane

    Then again, Matthew’s eyes make for primo death stare.

    I really can’t see why the actor would have wanted to stay on after the AWFUL plotting in season 2. This forces Fellowes to move on – which can only be a good thing.

    • Tally Ho

      I had mixed feelings about Matthew/Dan Steven’s exit from the show (first found out about it last year by seeing it as a headline in the British papers). 

      Does Dan Stevens owe DA a debt of obligation? One could say yes because before DA he was another budding actor with talent and a promising future but that’s easily said for scores of actors who never truly make the breakthrough. DA thrust him firmly into the limelight and made him internationally known and opened tons of doors that might otherwise not have happened. Part of me says you owe Downton a few more seasons. It’s only a few months’ production each year and you have plenty of time to work on other productions.

      On the other hand, Stevens is talented and I can see how the soap opera plotting of Seasons 2 and 3 could make him feel frustrated. There were rumors last year of Maggie Smith leaving the show and some of the speculation centered around that famous actress’s becoming irritated with how the show had devolved into a cheesy soap opera. Another aspect is that since Matthew married Mary and firmly produced a heir, he’s done his job so what is his function now? Just hang around till Robert dies? Fellowes would have to make him go through seriously stupid plots just to keep the interest in the character going. 

      Ultimately while I’m sorry to see him go his death does make DA more interesting and relevant as a show to watch because we don’t know what happens next. It’s left us hanging and wondering, which is how producers keep viewers interested.

      • PaulaBerman

        Killing of a beloved character and the star of the show, with identical timing as the last “shocking” death of a major character makes the show more interesting and relevant? Nope, I don’t see it. The death and the lead up to it were so badly handled that they came off as just another cheap soap opera plot twist in a series full of dead ends and boring stories. For me, it might be the last straw for my continued watching of the show. We wouldn’t know what happens next either way, but this way, we have this extra ration of disgust and disappointment with the bad writing. Badly done, Baron Fellowes!

        • Tally Ho

          It was badly done but only if we don’t recognize that Fellowes never planned to kill Matthew from the onset of the third season. Dan Stevens later decided not to renew his contract and firmly made clear he had no interest in even a recurring guest role so Fellowes couldn’t invent a plausible excuse for sending the character to India as a colonial administrator with the occasional visit home. 

          It was obvious from the season finale last week that Fellowes had planned Mary’s pregnancy to be a driving theme for Season 4 as it was clear she was having difficulty conceiving. But when Stevens made his decision, Fellowes had to quickly decide how to change the story line. I can easily see how Fellowes felt he had no choice but to kill Matthew off because without Matthew what could he plausibly do with Mary, the question of pregnancy and the next heir? So he did a clean break here by firmly giving DA its next heir and opening the door for future plot developments for Mary with other men. The abruptness of the whole change is due simply to Steven’s decision to exit the show after the third season had been written, cast and produced and initial drafts of the fourth season probably already written. 

          • PaulaBerman

            This sounds like a lot of excuses. If my sole job in life was to write a TV series, I think I could be expected to come up with an ending for a character that wasn’t cornball and mawkish in the extreme. You can’t blame Dan Stevens’ exit for the bad writing that led up to his death. Also can’t blame Dan Stevens for every other horrible, dead end, out of character, or boring story line from this season. Fellowes even managed to make me disappointed in the Dowager and Edith this season. Boo!

          • Tally Ho

            I too have been disappointed with Fellowes and his decision for many of the characters. Why does he make Edith suffer so? 

            Still, with a million and one ways to a character to exit a show we got something that was not ideal but at least it conveniently provided a way out for the actor while giving the show the next heir (and thus some stability) and room for Mary’s further character development that wouldn’t be plausible if her husband was still alive, just absent on the other side of the globe. 

          • PaulaBerman

            I don’t have a problem with him killing off Matthew per se. I just think he could have done a MUCH better job of timing it, leading up to it, and making it a lot less cornball and badly constructed. It was so cheesy! I was laughing when I should have been crying. 

      • siriuslover

        he could’ve done loads of interesting things, like have him go back into law and re-establish his business. But that kind of thing is outside Fellowes’ narrow views here.

        • BayTampaBay

          It would not work if Dan Stevens was not willing to do 2-3 guest apperances in Season 4.

          • siriuslover

            I understand that. I meant previous to the end of this season. By the end of this season, he became so boring as to be unbearable, and then that fishing expedition with Journalism man sealed the deal for me.  My point was that Fellowes missed important opportunities while Stevens was still on the show to take his character into more interesting directions.  Instead, he settled on “heir to Downton, become more like Robert.”

      • jeeplibby02

        I believe I read in an article about Stevens’ exit that each episode takes nearly a month to shoot, in part because it has to be scheduled around public visiting hours at Highclere, so doing the show is a much longer time commitment than the final product might suggest. 

        • formerlyAnon

          One article I read mentioned that shooting a season is a 7 month commitment – but I don’t know how accurate that is.

  • theblondette

    Just C&P the quick review I wrote back when it aired in the UK… I didn’t hate this ep as  much as T&L clearly did, and in fact I quite enjoyed it because it seemed to be ladling on the Classic Downton Qualities, but I’m also not convinced there’s anywhere that exciting to go next series.

    It had everything you’d expect from an episode of DA: snobbery from the servants, quips from the Dowager, romance both illicit and licit, humour, and last minute DRAMA. I saw the Matthew thing coming from a
    mile off – there’d be some heavy-handed effort to make us think Mary was in danger, then Matthew would get killed off. Still, it was sad, despite being obvious, largely because he was so very happy, and Mary for once let herself be a bit soft and emotionally vulnerable. Matthew may as well have had DOOMED written all over him.

    I do hope Edith’s romance isn’t doomed. I wanted to cheer her when she decided to flout
    convention and go with her heart. Julian Fellowes has never liked Edith, which is a bit weird from her author, but anyway, I wouldn’t put it past him to have her latest attempt to find happiness end in misery,
    since that’s what he’s always done before, blah!

    Thomas and Jimmy – hmm. Not sure how I feel about this. On The one hand, I’m glad they
    made peace, and anyone who says they didn’t want them to kiss after Jimmy went up to check on Thomas who TOOK A BEATING on his behalf is a big lying liar, but on the other, I dislike that we’re supposed to feel Thomas should be
    satisfied with this. He deserves a boyfriend!

    The Edna/Branson story was boring, but I liked how it showcased his awkward social position. And his scene with Mrs Hughes was lovely.

    Speaking of lovely, Carson with baby Sybil was adorable. Awwww.

    Basically this show should just be about the servants now, with an occasional visit from the Dowager and Edith.

    • siriuslover

      And how even a year after her death, he’s not over Sybil in the slightest. She was his true love! That sweet scene was done so well.

    • Sweetbetty

       When Tom asked the new servant girl her name and she told him it was Edna I just about screamed.  Maybe it had already been revealed but I didn’t remember it and all I could think of was that there was another two-syllable “E” name to keep straight after Edith and Ethel.  Looks like she’s gone for now, though.

      Carson and the baby…..adorable, but I wonder how long it took to get a scene where the baby was crying as Carson walked in then stopped crying after he picked her up.  Working with children that young can be frustrating, to say the least.

      • LaLeidi

        I don’t know… My baby always cries when he is not being held, and rarely does if he is being held. He could do that scene over and over again all day!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1266410766 Phyllis Craine

    Laughabley bad and since there was zero chemistry between Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery might as well ditch one of them

    • Topaz

      Remember the time Matthew smirked at her and said “let’s go and make babies”? I think I even felt my pancreas cringe.

    • CozyCat

      They had chemitry the first season.  But it seemed to gradually fade away.

      If they jump ahead a few years, Mary will be a young, handsome widow on the market.  So maybe we will be treataed to seeing her get a second wedding before Edith even gets a first….

      • Sweetbetty

         If Mary remarries what happens to her title?  Do she and her new husband still get to live in the abbey for the rest of their lives?  Does the new husband get any sort of title for becoming her spouse and the step-father of the heir?

        • Tally Ho

          Mary has always had the title: Lady Mary Crawley. Her husband, Matthew, has no title even though he’s the heir presumptive. Socially they’d be announced as Mr. Matthew and Lady Mary Crawley. It’s convenient that the last name is the same so she doesn’t have to change her monograms.

          She’s now a widow but if she remarries another commoner, say, Dan Smith, she’d become Lady Mary Smith. But if she marries a baronet or earl or whatever, she takes her husband’s title. If she’d married Sir Richard Carlisle she’d be known as Lady Carlisle. 

          No husband can take a title from marrying his wife. Let’s say Richard Carlisle reappears on the scene and she marries him and he moves into Downton as a guardian for the little boy, he doesn’t take any of the Grantham titles.

          • greenwich_matron

            I wonder how same-sex marriage will fit into all of this.

          • Tally Ho

            No change. When a woman is elevated to the peerage her husband doesn’t get a title. When a man is, his wife gets a title. Old fashioned but it’s hard to see that changing and same sex marriages will make no difference. 

          • greenwich_matron

            I suppose it’s naive of me to think that the rules of peerage wouldn’t be old fashioned.

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    I too was left with the thought: what are they going to do next season that they haven’t already done to death? Downstairs folks getting romantically involved with the family: Check, major deaths in the family: Check, Robert nearly running the estate in the ground but everything gets saved at the last minute: Check, servants bickering with each other and O’Brien hatching a devious plot: Check.  If they don’t zoom ahead in time drastically as TLo suggests they should at least broaden out a bit and show events in the U.S (maybe Mary can go visit her grandmother to help deal with her grief, etc.) or elsewhere beyond the estate. I’m already dreading the thought of any major story lines involving Rose (aka Sybil 2.0).

    Last night I ended up watching Downton and The Walking Dead back to back and had strange dreams as a consequence. This got me thinking though…crossover episode! Downton Walking Dead! Robert would be the first to go as he foolishly tries to cling on the “old ways” and refuses to meet the zombie hoard head-on. Branson would of course fair the best since he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty! The Dowager would would sit back and zing the zombies to death and Isobel and the Doctor would use science. Bates and Anna would simply bore the zombies to death! {sorry for the random zombie story line}

    • MissKimP

      Who knows why, but I had a dream last night that vampires were on the loose at Downtown.  Next season’s plot?   Wouldn’t be much sillier or more far-fetched than the silliness and far-fetchedness of last night’s episode…

    • EAV

      I want the focus of the show to shift entirely.  I want to follow the adventures of Edith, who goes to Oxford to learn about philosophy and journalism.  She has to deal with her aristocratic sister (who holds the purse strings for her tuition) and her new housemate, Daisy (who sold Bilbo’s farm and is now in school learning to be either a chef or a veterinarian, can’t decide).  They have all sorts of wacky adventures, two independent women in the 20′s.  I’d watch it.

  • Michelle Argento

    LOVE that idea. You’d still have a lot of your main cast. Thomas would be the head butler with Anna as the (I have no idea what it’s called) head maid. Edith, Mary, and Branson would still be around, though older. And I would LOVE to see Edith as an older mistress. Sybill Jr. would just be in courting years. Daisy would be head cook and could have a son going off to war. O’Brien could still be there in her retirement- doing hair and plotting. 

    I see SO MANY subplots. 

    • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

       Alfred would be head cook. Daisy would be off running the Mason farm.

      • charlotte

        I’ve always imagined Daisy making big money with her homemade jam business, inadvertently living the American dream of entrepreneurship in the England of the 1930s.

      • greenwich_matron

        Crossover! Daisy would be in charge of the Land Girls, Cousin Rose would have gone with her parents to Asia and be in the Empire of the Sun internment camp, and Foyle would come to investigate a Gosford Park type of murder. 

      • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

        Is there time for Daisy to have a sweet duck-faced son who starts in service at Downton only to be called up in WWII?  Because that would bring us full circle.

      • Topaz

        It would be nice to see Thomas actually use some of that medical training (and experience running a convalescent home) since as soon as WW1 finished he seemed to magically forget that he now actually had 6 years of qualifications and experience to go and do something else, and that there was a nationwide male labour shortage, rather than continue to try and become valet in a house where everyone hates him.

        They don’t hate him now though, no. Because he’s out and proud, and if there’s one thing that 1920s Britain loved, it was outlawed sexuality.

      • Winter_White

        They keep circling around this “Alfred wants to cook” thing…I wonder where Julian F. is taking that.

        • Girl_With_a_Pearl

          Maybe Daisy moves to the farm and Alfred takes her place?  Eventually he opens a restaurant and they meet again when Daisy’s farm, which has grown in size, is supplying vegetables to all the fashionable restaurants.  Romance ensues now that Alfred is a bit wiser and mature. 

    • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

       Little Matthew Jr (as yet unnamed) and little Cholly would be eligible to fight in WW II, wouldn’t they. If the Crawley heir does not survive that war, the whole entail & finding an even more distant cousin drama would ensue. The estate may not survive, but the title???

      • Tally Ho

        For the long term-stability and survival of Downton Abbey Matthew’s death is convenient because it means the estate will go straight to the unnamed heir, skipping a generation. What now really needs to happen is Robert dying before WWII as the maximum death duty rate in 1939 was 40% (up from 20% in 1919) but post-war years it rose to 80%. Many estates never recovered from the shock of post-war death duty rates. If Robert hangs on till, say, 1950, Downtown is probably doomed unless the Reggie Swire fortune is genuinely enormous. But if he expires before ’39 and Matthew’s son survives the war to reach the safe shores of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain in the 1980s, chances of DA’s survival to the present is quite good.  

        • decormaven

          Thank you so much for these insights into the complexities of U.K. estate law. Very helpful. 

        • Corsetmaker

          I’m thinking the house may end up with the National Trust sooner or later. 

          • Tally Ho

            I may know too much on the subject but that’s what comes from having an interest in architecture and architectural history. Keep in mind that the houses featured in last night’s episode – both Downton Abbey and Duneagle are still privately owned houses in the hands of the family built by them (Highclere Castle and Inverary Castle) so it’s not automatic that every great house passed into the hands of the National Trust or is now occupied by an institution of some type, or was demolished.

            These are a couple factors that determine the long-term survival of Downton Abbey (as was the case with Highclere and Iverary and the hundreds of great houses till in private ownership):

            1. Death duties. Already implied above. How often the death duties had to be paid. In times of war it wasn’t unusual for an estate to go through two heirs within a few years, with double sets of death duties to be paid. Death duties, manageable before WII, soared to 80% under the Attlee post-war government. That’s 80% of the value of the entire estate and contents and all assets. There were ways to mitigate the effect of the death duties through transferring of ownership and assets during lifetime and establishing trusts, but all these required certain time frames before they could go into effect. so if you didn’t have the time or luxury to carefully plan in advance you really could get smacked. A duke of Devonshire arranged to have most of the controlling interests in the assets of the great Devonshire estates transferred into his son and heir’s name. It required three years to go into effect, during which the government changed the required time to five years. The said duke died a month before the fifth year would have ended and the son still had to pay 80% death duties. It took 17 years and the sale of 120,000 acres, scores of artwork and the transfer of Hardwick Hall to the National Trust. But so great were their fortune that they were still able to retain Chatsworth, two other houses and 80,000 acres. 

            2. Impact of WWII. During WWII just about every great house in Britain was used for war effort. This ranged from hosting a school evacuated from a bombed out city, storing artwork from a city museum or direct takeover by a government ministry to be used as offices, or worst of all, as a military and training camp by the army. During the six years of war practically no upkeep and repair were done on these huge, ancient houses. Depending on the use during the war by 1945 when the houses were handed back to their owners they were often in shabby shape and in many cases, very bad, derelict shape. The best case scenario was storage for art, schools had more wear and tear but was bearable, but military garrisons often did rip up the houses, carve apart panelings and break apart plasterwork and let leaking pipes run for years on end. In the post-war years the Labour government did offer compensation to the owners but it was often calculated at a fraction of the total estimated repair bill. It must be said, however, that Attlee’s government was faced with the task of rebuilding a war torn Britain with its bombed out cities during a time when the government was practically broke. The concerns of the owners of the great houses took a back seat to the need to build hundreds of thousands new houses for working class Britons. 

            But even if you had plenty of capital to restore your house after heavy war-time use, strict rationing of building materials made them scarce and the government actually imposed a cap on how much you could spend on repairing your own house. It was quite low – a couple hundred pounds when a repair bill might be as high as 40,000 pounds.

            3. Desire to keep going. The post war years saw radical changes in the structuring of British society and many people genuinely thought a new socialistic age was coming in which class had no function. One of the most obvious changes was the disappearance of the servant class. People simply stopped going into service. What was left were the older, senior servants who had served for decades and really couldn’t move on to other occupations either out of loyalty to their old owners or a disinclination to do so. Suddenly these great houses, built to be run by fleets of maids and footmen, were left with only an ancient butler, a cook and a woman or two who might come up from the village as “dailies,” to do the heavy cleaning. The high income tax rates of post-war years also meant that the upper classes had far less disposable income and couldn’t entertain on the scale they once did, or even employ the numbers they did assuming they could find servants. Soaring fuel costs and rationing made heating these huge barns a difficult matter. It’s no surprise that many families, seeing the handwriting on the wall, threw in the towel and retreated to the more comfortable dower house or a smaller house on the property and either sold the main house for use as a school or had it demolished outright. 

            So, will Downton Abbey survive? We know very little about the estate but enough is implied in season 3 that it’s small that once Cora’s money is gone it’s doomed to the point that the whole thing has to be sold, not just the spare acreages.  I’d venture it at around 5,000 acres or a bit less. Insufficient to support the house as it is so the capital (or the fortune) is important in factoring DA’s survival. With MAtthew out of the picture and the new heir inheriting directly from his grandfather, the best case scenario is that Robert dies before WWII, the house is used to store art from the British Museum and survives the war in relatively good shape. The new heir’s desire to keep on to the house is driven by his mother, Mary’s, Scarlett O’Hara’s obsession with preserving the estate and house. So they live relatively modestly with a housekeeper/butler couple to take care of the place along with a daily, and careful investment of the fortune helps protect it, and perhaps even establishing a trust that will own the house and its contents (and thus avoid death duties) while the family “rents” it. So, yes, a good chance of surviving.

            But if the army takes over the house and uses it as a prison camp for German POW, Robert dies in 1950, requiring 80% death duties, no institution can be found to buy the house for use as a school because it’s too derelict, Downton will probably see the wrecking ball sometime in the mid 1950s, most of the estate sold off and the family living in the dower house or retreated to a comfortable former rectory in Dorset.  

          • Corsetmaker

            Jeepers that’s a long reply! :)

            Yes, certainly there are quite a few properties still in family hands. I spent a lot of my childhood visiting various castles and stately homes. The ones still with their original families in Scotland tend to mostly be the clan chief’s seats. And if anyone has been savvy with power and politics over the years it’s the Campbells. 

            My feeling though is that Downton, owned by such a small family with a questionable management history has a poor chance of remaining with them. Mary’s son will grow up with her as the only real force for tradition once Robert goes. And that could depend on if she marries again and who.

          • Tally Ho

            Yep. A lot will depend on the desire of the baby heir to keep the place once he inherits. Even in the best case scenario for the house survival I can see a retreat to that other manor house the family owns (and seen in episode 2 of this season) as more comfortable and practical than trying to keep the huge barn that is Downton. It’d be much easier to retain the estate without the house as a financial drain so ordering in the wrecking ball sometime in the 1950s is plausible. The house featured in Downton is grand enough but it’s not truly special and it doesn’t seem to be set up to easily allow a scenario where the family can live in one wing and open the rest of the house to visitors. Even today the present earl and countess of Carnarvon don’t live in Highclere Castle – they reside in another house on the estate and use the castle as a business. 

          • Corsetmaker

            It always amuses me that they seem to be relatively on top of one another internally, given the scale of the house externally. Of course in reality, many rooms would be shut off and unheated (and of course they’ll be limited in the parts of the house they’ll be able to shoot in). But nevertheless.

            I didn’t know they didn’t actually live in Highclere Castle. I suppose it allows them to open up more of the house to visitors. It’s always rather frustrating when you hit the no entry sections in these houses, then you feel a bit mean for thinking that. 

            I do remember visiting Duart Castle on Mull, which is relatively small. The Macleans were dotting about the grounds and the rooms were full of family photos. It did feel very much like you were in their home.

  • http://twitter.com/NJedwina Edwina

    What a hot mess, I can’t blame Dan Stevens for bolting.

  • Kaye Evans

    Downton Abbey is becoming Eastenders

  • nannypoo

    I agree there was a lot of silliness here but I love it anyway. It seems a lot has happened in the year that passed since the last episode. Alfred and Jimmy are pals despite Jimmy’s promotion, Thomas bought a fabulous hat for going into town, Edith did something even more jolly with her hair, Sybbie grew into her enormous head, Anna and Batezzzzzzz….. . Matthew should never have been texting while driving, we know that now. The slutty maid had to go, soon to be replaced by Shrimpy’s slutty daughter. My head is just spinning from all the excitement. 

    • ringthing

      That hat was indeed fabulous, as were all the tweedy tweeds worn in Scotland.

    • Sweetbetty

       I thought it was interesting that Matthew’s suggestions had turned the financial situation of the estate around in just a year.  Shrimpie seemed to imply that they were making money hands over fist.  I could have accepted that they were no longer drowning in debt but in just one year it seems that the changes would be just bearing fruit.

      And Anna and Batezzz…for some reason I had the idea that when she said they should toast the future and his Scottish blood during their picnic, where the supposedly cripple dropped easily to sit on the ground, that she was going to announce that she was with child.  There is still that possibility for drama in the future, unless Bates’ war injury to his leg also damaged his reproductive bits.  Or will we find out that he’s already fathered a child or ten by another woman or women that he knew before he came to Downton?  His background still seems rather murky.  It does seem that the only stories left to explore are the lives of the downstairs bunch.

  • Dhammadina

    Maybe a bit more credit to some of these actors, for what they can play without time traveling 16 years into the future and all the age makeup that requires. 

    If they stayed within a year or two or even the next day:  
    Lady Mary will have to make her own hard left turn due to motherhood, and the very fact of not being an alive Matthew’s “Mary” or ever inheriting herself.  It”s possible she will come out of her arrogance due to being roughed up by grief and reality. Here’s to Michelle Dockery taking the ball and running with it, and doing more than looking spectacular in every outfit while saying mean things.  

    And rather than being tapped out via these characters who had tepid marriage offers, it may be that they can steam ahead without or in spite of them. Surely Mrs. Crawley’s rejection of the doctor was masterful and also opens some doors for that character. And for Downton Abbey itself: it seems possible that the place as “character” will have to rely on people collectively pulling themselves together to sustain it. That might be quite interesting and give actors more opportunities.

     I am sorry about the blood dribbling down dead Matthew Crawley’s face, as well as Dan Stevens having to stare out with unseeing eyes on whatever comes next in his career. I agree with you about the possible vindictiveness.But really, I am cheering for Downton Abbey to be stronger next season.

    • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

      ” Maybe a bit more credit to some of these actors, for what they can play without time traveling 16 years into the future and all the age makeup that requires.”

      They’ve already time-traveled ten years in the space of three and not one of the characters looks any different. Age continuity was tossed out the window midway through season one.

      • Sweetbetty

         But the hair-dos have changed.  Even O’Brien’s yarn has morphed into something sleeker and softer.  But, yeah, no grey hairs on any that didn’t have them in S1 E1; no wrinkles; even the old dowager has stayed suspended in the same physical condition.

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         Who needs it when the Dowager is so timeless?

    • Judy_S

       They would need a script.

    • PaulaBerman

      Well, that’s a non-statement, since it could hardly be weaker next season…

  • charlotte

    “Season 4: 1938. Think about it, Fellowes. We’ll probably lose the
    Dowager, but you can just shuffle Maggie over into Rosamund’s role.” Exactly! That was my idea,too.

  • Topaz

    In terms of UK TV, this has just become another Sunday-night sepia-tinted nostalgia fest about times gone by. Basically Heartbeat with a gay guy thrown in for spice. 

    There’s almost no conflict between any of the central characters – which is bizarre considering that at the start of series one everyone was absolutely ghastly to each other. I don’t blame Dan Stevens for choosing to go. He has a right to move on, and I’m sure Fellowes could have dealt with it properly if the show as a whole hadn’t already run out of steam. Just like he completely bungled Thomas’ storyline by making him do things that no one with even an ounce of sanity would do, and then have Jimmy and everyone else respond to it equally implausibly. Everyone has to turn out to be fundamentally decent and compassionate and right-on because awful things can’t happen on a Sunday night on a show set in lots of gardens. Because the combination of bad things and greenery – THAT would just confuse people. Unlike totally incoherent plotting.

    • CozyCat

      Yes, to me the worst plot point was how there was no residual tension between Thomas and the footmen.  I know at least 9 months have passed (Mary wasn’t even pregnant last episode), but after one character tries to get another sent to prison for immoral behavior, it’s hard to believe their relationship would ever be the same. 

      • formerlyAnon

         And if they wanted to make us believe (as if) that rather than an intentionally misled-by-that-b*tch-O’Brien attraction, Thomas has developed a doomed, high-Romantic deep but unrequited devotion to Jimmy, which Jimmy could come to accept calmly as his due without being massively creeped out – because, given all previous character development, THAT’s not unlikely at ALL, right? – it would take a good bit of character- and plot- development that was missing to convince the viewer.

  • MissAnnieRN

    I didn’t even watch last week’s episode, and I don’t think I’ll watch this week’s.  Having Matthew die is a ridiculous plot turn.  Mary and Matthew WERE Downton Abbey.  Like you pointed out – Mary’s entire motivation throughout all 3 seasons was directly related to succession.  I’m done with this show.  jumped the shark indeed.

    • Robyn Garrett

      I agree that they were DA! I feel like I don’t have much to latch onto without their relationship/the succession issue. Kind of sad because I finally got caught up for season 3 and now it sucks.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FDQR3MXFKMHKQCSXT5J7HXSSIM jo

    Despite trying to avoid spoilers, I had caught enough hints about Matthew that I spent the entire episode waiting for the Very Bad Thing to Happen.  Would he get killed in a hunting accident?  Fall down a cliff trying to save Mosely?  Be poisoned by the Evil Highland Counterpart to O’Brian?  No, he dies being Too Happy to Live!  Argg!

    Loved Carson taking care of baby Sybil.  Enjoyed the bit between Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes.  Have no idea why the doctor decided he wanted to marry Cousin Isobel… And why was Daisy reduced to wallpaper? 

    • Imogen_Jericho

      Speaking of Dr. Clarkson and Cousin Isobel, wasn’t he openly irritated with her for most of WW1? Thought his sudden puppy dog eyes in her direction after one dinner invitation highly implausible. If anything, I always thought she had a crush on him.

      • Tally Ho

        They have a lot in common. He’s an educated professional. She’s from a comfortable upper middle class background whose father, husband and son were all educated professionals. They’re not from the landed gentry. In a small village and country area where most of the more affluent would be tied to the landed estates, Mrs. Crawley and Dr. Clarkson probably would naturally gravitate towards each other and I wouldn’t be surprised if Dr. Clarkson is lonely and feels limited with whom he can associate with. So the concept of them marrying isn’t implausible from my perspective, but her firm point that she’s happy with her lot and isn’t interested in marriage was pretty decisive and I’m sure the two will grow old and comfortable as good friends. 

        • AudreysMom

          a very nice explanation. The other interpretation I took was that maybe Isobel just had enough taste of the aristocratic life that she preferred her perch close to the top, rather than marrying someone who was closer to her intellectual, experiential and previously social equal.

          Regardless, I just wish it’d been handled with a little more thought than yet another quickly done sidestory in an overwrought finale episode. I’ll forgive it only if something is done with this in the future. Nah, probably not.

          • BayTampaBay

            It will come up again in Season/Series 4.  It is too good of a plot point for comic relief.

        • Kayceed

          Shall we call her Mrs. Fletcher?

        • BayTampaBay

          True! However, Tally Ho, she has no idea that he is interested in her in that way.

        • Imogen_Jericho

          I completely agree that as individuals they seem like a plausible match. But I was surprised at his out-of-the-blue 180 after all the annoyed looks he gave her back when she was trying to tell him how to do things differently at the hospital. We never saw anything to indicate his opinion of her as a busybody had changed.

    • AudreysMom

       i know, it wasn’t as if the dark clouds hanging ominously over things all episode wasn’t enough…

  • AuntieAnonny

    Maybe Bates will kill Anna next season? That whole threatening thing he did in prison, what if that’s the REAL Bates? Oh, who cares.

    Anyway, I laughed for maybe 10 minutes when Matthew died. You can’t do anything but laugh. It was Liz Lemon eye-roll territory.

    • Topaz

      Hah! When Bates was watching Anna dance, the camera lingered on him for so long I really thought we were about to see a sudden slip of his noble facade and the undercurrent of loathing and contempt for all of human life that I just knew was lurking there under the surface come briefly to the fore.

      Reeling – the chink in every sociopath’s armour.

      • formerlyAnon

        Hahaha!

      • PeaceBang

        YES! I’m only watching out of hope that Bates is revealed to be an actual sociopath. Who knows? The writing could hardly be worse next season: maybe Bates will start murdering people and  Mrs. Patmore will bake them into pies. And the whole thing can become a musical. 

        • Lilithcat

          I would say “it’s been done”, but that obviously doesn’t bother Fellowes.

        • Topaz

          It’s the only way to save the show at this point. That, or the show becomes a panto. The Dowager Countess’ new nemesis is Ian McKellen in a dress and wig, every time O’Brien appears on screen we hear the loud sounds of boos and hisses from somewhere off-camera and the next time Branson gets stalked by a lusty housemaid we’re encouraged to scream “SHE’S BEHIND YOU” as she creeps up on him.

          • formerlyAnon

             You’ve been in my living room during the show, I see.

        • MRT144

          Well in addition to Mary, does this show really need another sociopath

          (O’Brien is just cruel)

    • AZU403

      And yet he wore exactly the same expression on his face that he always has.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Cleary/1201575213 Patrick Cleary

    I think the next season should just be The Many Adventures of the Dowager Countess. Think about it. She could go on a train! She could go on a boat! She could go to the circus! I only really watch the show to see Maggie Smith quip aristocratically anyway. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380079551 Marie Dees

      Oh, the Dowager Countess goes to India to visit Shrimpy!

    • deathandthestrawberry

      And Edith could come along, because she’s the only other Grantham I like anymore.

      • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

        well they ARE almost all dead now.  :)

    • Sweetbetty

       I’d love to see a prequel showing Violet as a late teen emerging into young ladyhood.  She’s already dropped a few clues that she was a wild and crazy gal; sort of a Rose of her day.  Dame Maggie could play her mother and still roll her eyes and shoot zingers.

  • jw_ny

    I expected there to be some kind of cliff hanger or storyline that would make me anxious for the next season…nope.  nada.  Almost every storyline has been neatly wrapped up…so that leaves the next season to start fresh I guess.  Even Robert has come around to Matthew’s business sense in running the estate.  I knew Matthew was being killed off (had been spoiled) so I expected Mary to have a son and then be at odds with Robert on running the estate in Matthew’s way…nope, that ain’t gonna happen either.  It feels like this could have been a series finale rather than a season finale.  I’m disappointed.  Sure I’ll watch next season, but I’m not anxiously awaiting the return. 

    I may have missed one minor thing that occurred.  When the DA servants were all sitting around the servants dining room of Highland, they were always referring to them by the name of the person they served…Mrs. O’Brien was Mrs. Granthem, Anna was Mrs. Crawley, etc.  I didn’t understand the reason for that. 

    Also, I thought it was extremely odd that the servants were at the ball dancing and socializing with all the upper class.  Would that really have happened?  Maybe I missed something there, but I found it to be an unlikely scenario. 

    one more thing…Why doesn’t The Dowager Countess have a servant that traveled with her?

    • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

       Servants and family together was the entire point of the Ghillies Ball.  I believe it was Queen Victoria who first started the event, at her estate in Balmoral (Scotland).

      The Dowager probably has a maid who attends to her but we don’t know her.  I can’t imagine her getting into those outfits without help.

      • jw_ny

         ok, thank you.  I knew I must have missed something there.  :)

        • Tally Ho

          For casting reasons they can’t show the full staff of everyone on the show. We do occasionally see a footman and butler in the background at the dowager’s house and she certainly would have had a ladies’ maid. Given how large staffs were for the aristocracy if Fellowes tried to include all the possible staff he’d be bankrupt and the show would be way too complicated. 

          • Sweetbetty

             Plus, the dowager’s search for a lady’s maid is what set the stage for O’Brien putting the soap on the floor thus causing Cora to lose the baby boy she was carrying in S1.

      • jeeplibby02

        She does.  In Season 1, she was talking to Cora about finding a new one, which led to O’Brien believing that it was she who was being given the sack.  This misunderstanding was, presumably, the motive for the “her ladyship’s soap” incident (although that never made a whole lot of sense to me as an explanation for O’Brien’s cruelty to a pregnant woman).

      • BayTampaBay

        Violet, The Dowager Countess, states to Rose that she went to her first “Gillies Ball” in the 1960s at Balmoral.  If she was at Balmoral, Queen Victoria’s private Scotland home, in 1860 after Prince Albert’s death then her mother was a good friend of Victoria’s maybe even a Mistress of the Bed Chamber as Queen Victoria loathed outsiders and entertaining of society.

    • Stubenville

      It was tradition downstairs to address the attendants of visitors by the name of the visitor to reinforce the names of the important visitors (and not to have to learn the names of the help, presumably.) Curiously, this also determined the order in which the visiting servants were seated at the downstairs dining table.

      Also, if Violet didn’t travel with her own maid (we know she was discussing hiring a new one in season one) then host would assign a maid from the household for her.

      • jw_ny

         yes…it finally occurred to me that there was a hierarchy in the seating order at the servants dining table, since Bates & Anna were not seated together.  I recognized this at DA, Mrs. Hughes and Mr’ Carson had their spots, but never noticed where the others were seated.  They love their status and order…

      • AZU403

        I think this was done in Fellowes’ “Gosford Park” as well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1129137319 Paula Pertile

      “When the DA servants were all sitting around the servants dining room of Highland, they were always referring to them by the name of the person they served…Mrs. O’Brien was Mrs. Granthem, Anna was Mrs. Crawley, etc.  I didn’t understand the reason for that.”

      That’s how they did it, its tradition or something. “We stick to the old ways here.” _ Gosford Park (Yes I’ve seen it too many times.)

    • jeeplibby02

      The servants’ names thing was historically accurate.  Visiting servants were called by the names of those whom they directly served.  I guess it was just easier that way for the host household to keep track of who was responsible for whom during those big country house parties where every lady brought along a maid, and every gentleman, a valet.  

      ETA: I need to read ahead more.

    • http://annequichante.wordpress.com/ Anne

       I have to thank Julian Fellowes and Gosford Park for my understanding of this one, actually.  When aristocrats took their servants to big house parties like the one in Scotland, the servants were always referred to belowstairs by the name of the person they worked for, to avoid confusion.  As I recall, in Gosford Park, Clive Owen’s Robert Parks was called Mr. Stockbridge and Kelly MacDonald’s Mary McEachran was Miss Trentham.

  • formerlyAnon

    Well, I have no pride. I’ll watch again.
     
    Since Dan Stevens didn’t want to return, I can’t think of anything better to do with him – send him on some completely out-of-character archeological expedition to Egypt? Try to convince us that Mary & Matthew, entirely obsessed with the property for years now, decide to take their baby daughter to America for a visit, or on a round-the-world tour?
     
     

    • AZU403

      I figure that the Dowger Countess was born around 1840, as she was a new bride in 1860, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that she could be living at the start of WWII. We chuckle at her trying to cope with telephones and electric lights, but it does make you realize how vastly the world had changed between 1840 and 1920.

      • Tally Ho

        I loved her comment that she had worn the crinoline and bustle and mutton chop sleeves and couldn’t comment on modern day fashion.

        I have photographs of a great-great grandmother who was born in 1842 and died in 1938. It’s astonishing to see how much clothes changed in her lifetime, from the huge crinoline hoopskirts, corsets and extensive lace and ribbon trimmed gowns of her youth and when she married in the 1860s to the very simple, straightforward blouses and dresses of the 1930s. Her (and the dowager’s) generation truly saw phenomenal changes in their lifetime.

    • BayTampaBay

      ‘Well, I have no pride. I’ll watch again.”
      So will everyone else who has posted on this blog today.

      • formerlyAnon

        I would have guessed it at 90-95%, but you could be right!

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           I’ve already watched twice, and may go a third time!

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    First Sybil, now Matthew.  Does everyone who thinks Mary is “nice” gets killed off?  Oh, and did not like that bitchy Mary from Season 1 was back putting Edith down at every turn.

    • ChaquitaPhilly

      No, but people who want out of their contracts have to be “eliminated”. Downton is much too classy to resort to the old soap opera “replacement-by-another-actor” routine. That might be fun, though!

  • ringthing

    Oh, I am seriously in agreement with you guys. However, Maggie Smith’s interview on 60 Minutes last night made clear that she’s in for season four, so no jumping to WWII. And how odd was it that the finale was one year later, but all the characters were in exactly the same place as last week? Obviously just a move to have Mary ready to deliver.

  • ChaquitaPhilly

    When there were stories of Dan (and Maggie!) not readily signing up for another season (and that was last summer), the end was in sight for Matthew. I don’t blame him for wanting to get on with his career, but if he’d agreed to Mr. Fellowes’ proposal to appear in one more episode next season the exit could have been handled better. He’s going to go far but Downton has given him a jump start!
    I really enjoyed the episode, though! Now I guess we just have to wait until NEXT JANUARY! 
    Arrrrrrgh!

  • sweetlilvoice

    Hey, the entire plot can now revolve around Rose and her irritating life. Sounds like the last few seasons of Up/Down to me. Let’s introduce a cousin! Love you two for calling her Cousin Oliver. It saddens me that the two most attractive actors were killed off. I’m glad the episode finally aired, I watched it months ago online. I was on pins and needles the entire time because I knew that Matthew was going to die. I was hoping he’d fall off a cliff or something. Or drown.

  • Stubenville

    The NY Times has an interview with Fellowes today where he complains about having to write out major characters because of contract limitations in the UK. 

    • formerlyAnon

      Oh boo hoo hoo.

      • not_Bridget

        Things were so much easier when serfs did as the master wished!

        • formerlyAnon

           Right? To be fair, it’s a big responsibility, given how many jobs are created by a successful, large-cast serial, when there is a central we-cannot-go-on-without-them character – I don’t envy the actor in that role who gets restless.  But there isn’t any one indispensable character on DA (though I might watch less were the Dowager Countess to be written out), and it’s not as if Fellowes didn’t know the terms of everyones’ contracts.

          • AudreysMom

             right. And the problem isn’t that he’s not adapting to changes, it’s that he’s not adapting well. If he handled Sybil’s death well and the relatively seamless changes that others who’ve possibly left the cast and we didn’t notice (lesser characters) – he could have worked a wee bit harder to handle Matthew’s demise.

  • Stubenville

    I was distracted by the phone when the lines were spoken, but there was an epic zinger from Violet last night; Susan was nattering on about how awful India would be, something along the lines of “It will be horrid and filthy with no one to speak to for a hundred miles in every direction” and Violet replied “My dear, I felt exactly that way every time I had to visit my mother-in-law.”

  • http://14shadesofgrey.wordpress.com/ Salazar

    I don’t know if I’ll continue to watch season 4, but I’d totally watch a WWII-era Downton Abbey! 

  • Judy_S

    Don’t forget that scandal/romance-alert-oops-false-alarm has been Fellowes’s modus operandi throughout. That’s what was wrong with Season 2.
    You are so right about the skipping ahead bit. I was not as bold as you (I was thinking 5-6 years) but really the kids look a lot more interesting than the mourning spouses or the various possible naughtinesses of Rose and Edith.
    Also right-on about Fellowes’ vengeance on poor Dan Stevens. He did make a beautiful corpse, though. Both before and after the accident, poor man, though I don’t suppose his tedious and oft-repeated mushy scenes with Mary were much better than what he would have had to “act” if he were staying on. Just more frequent. Did anyone else wonder if the pajama scenes were all filmed on one day? “OK, Lady Mary, you can just turn that nightgown back-to-front and flip your braid to the other shoulder. Dan, smooth out the creases on that new pajama top a bit. This one will be under the covers. No, she’s not pregnant yet.  We’ll do those last.”
    The funny thing about Thomas the stalker is that he is also being a chivalrous lover. If Matthew or Branson had been following Mary or Sybil at a gathering when the ladies were acting irresponsibly, and had got themselves beat up saving them from worse than death, and then declared they knew they could never be more than friends with the ladies, and the ladies sat down to read to them, that would be sort of normal in the Tennysonian or Fellowsian world.

  • Frank_821

    The episode was what is was. You can tell from the pacing it was a holiday special

    The only part that kind of irritated me was the cheeky maid who went beyond being cheeky. She was a bad and unsympathetic version of Ethel. Total selfish and self-serving. I thought Mrs Hughes should have torn a new one into her. When she said did nothing improper and she was just as good as Bransen, I wanted to yell out “Bitch puleeze!”. The girl was disrespectful, manipulative and bordered on being a tramp the way she threw herself at Tom and behaved towards him. Even putting aside issues of class, that man is your BOSS! Even by today, her behavour was unacceptable

  • Judy_J

    I predict that most of the drama next season will deal with the shenanigans of slutty Cousin Rose and the hijinks that persue in the attempt to tame her wild flapper ways and make a proper English lady of her.

    • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

       And that sounds awful.

      • Stubenville

        Completely. But also believable.

        • MilaXX

           yup

      • http://twitter.com/NJedwina Edwina

        Awful because neither the character or the actress who plays her is compelling.

    • Kayceed

      I’m wondering about a Rose-Branson love connection.

      • siriuslover

        I think they’re setting us up for that, what with her coming out coming up as well as the concerns about her marrying properly. I suppose Branson is a step up from–what did Violet say– low level imperial administrator with bad teeth?

      • PeaceBang

        I’m hoping for something far more scandalous, like a Branson-Cora love affair. I’m tired of Fellowes giving Elizabeth McGovern little bits of juiciness to play and then shoving her back into a purely ornamental role. The less Cousin Rose, the better. Say Shrimpy asks Cousin Robert (that twerp) to join him in India for awhile, leaving the estate to Branson’s care. And then Branson and Cora fall in love and Branson, mad with power, kills off the baby heir (because, you know, Richard III is in vogue again!). As long as we’re going trashy and ridiculous, let’s really do it up! 

        And while we’re thinking up truly nefarious plot twists, who’s going to murder the wife in the asylum out of loyalty to Lady Edith?

        • Lilithcat

          who’s going to murder the wife in the asylum out of loyalty to Lady Edith?

          Bates.  He might as well go to prison for a crime he DOES commit!

        • formerlyAnon

           ”who’s going to murder the wife in the asylum out of loyalty to Lady Edith?”

          My  money would be on Carson.

      • Lilithcat

        Ick.  But considering how repetitive Fellowes’ writing has become, it wouldn’t surprise me.  

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         Please NO!

    • jeeplibby02

      You mean like Georgina in the original Upstairs Downstairs?

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       She’s already mellowed from her “sluttiness.” Now we’ve seen her crying, being abused by her mother, and helping Anna learn to dance very generously. I’m thinking we’re in for her, Edith and/or Mary fighting over the same man.

      • Judy_J

        And I suspect that man will be Tom Branson.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nelle-Fastman-Pingree/1646857497 Nelle Fastman Pingree

    Spot on!  I think you are exactly right about next season, although it would be an unbearable leap to have the Dowager survive until then and we”d lose Maggie, but if we wait until the children grow up, they’ll lose ME by then.

  • http://twitter.com/MissBunnyBixler Miss Bunny Bixler

    Matthew’s death seems as much of a contrived, forced cop-out as the chemistry betwixt him and Mary.  Fellowes is just as bad as Ryan Murphy when it comes to 2nd & 3rd seasons…….

    • http://twitter.com/NJedwina Edwina

      Yes, I was thinking the same thing about Glee and how my love for that show took the same downward spiral as DA. Both Murphy and Fellowes are terrible at the overall story arc and for introducing wtf story elements. However, props to them both for the joy their shows have given us even if they couldn’t sustain it over time.

  • VicksieDo

    Downton was all about Mary and Matthew for me deep down, and the others just filled out their world.  And sure, motor car accidents happen, and it was a convertible with no seat belt, so sure, he could have died that way. What annoyed me was that all season he’s just becomes so perfect, always saying overly sentimental things, stepping up in every possible way, setting us up to really miss him.  Now Mary has to start all over, find some other guy? UGH. A jump in time is the only way to keep any dramatic interest going…

  • Tally Ho

    Let’s assume the dowager is 80. Flash forward 18 years to 1939 and the onset of WWII, she’d be 98. Still feasible. 

    • Stubenville

      Yup. Slap her in a wheelchair and we’re ready to go.

    • Lilithcat

      She strikes me as the sort of person who would give the Queen Mother a run for her money in the longevity sweepstakes.

  • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

    I was really disappointed with where the show ended as well. ANOTHER death surrounding the birth of a child. Edith is pursuing ANOTHER inappropriate relationship. ANOTHER maid who doesn’t “know her place.” Lord Grantham still behaves like an overbearing ass and gets away with it. Cora still has her head up her ass. Thomas screws up again and manages to get out of it and not just keeps his job, but get a promotion. And I’m even tired of some of the Dowager’s behind-the-scenes machinations, where everything ends up working out JUST as she wanted.

    Aaaaaand then everything was tied up in a neat little bow. I sincerely pray that the next season doesn’t focus on that godawful cousin Rose; I might gouge my eyes out if I have to watch 7 or 8 episodes of that.

    • Stubenville

      At least his Lordship realized how close he came to losing to losing it all at Downton after speaking with Shrimpie in the billiard room.  

      • Sweetbetty

         And he gave all of the credit to Matthew, setting him up to be missed even more after his death.  Will Robert go back to being a bumbling fool when it comes to managing the estate?  Branson has the practical farming knowledge but who will take over Matthew’s sharp financial acumen?  Don’t forget, the Great Depression is coming.  If Robert is the only one in charge of finances Downton may yet be lost.  Or will Mary step in with her sharp analytical mind?  This may give her opportunities to come into contact with equally sharp powerful men and perhaps once again find love. 

  • theotherTLO

    I agree, Rose is frakking annoying.  I can’t figure out why, she just is.

    I also thought they set it up for O’Brien to leave – when she said she had no loyalty to the Scottish lady’s maid and then talked to Susan, after talking about how she wanted adventure, I suspected she was nominating herself to be Lady’s Maid in India.

    I love the idea of moving to 1938.  Yes, the Dowager is out, but how about Dowager-ish Mary?  She could play bitchy pretty well, although I’m not sure she could deliver the wisdom.  I am so bored by the rest of the characters, except for Edith.  She really came alive this season.

    • Kayceed

      I was wondering about a swap – O’Brien ships out to India, and Highland O’Brien takes her place at Downton. Eeeek! She looked positively murderous!

  • Tally Ho

    Edna was inappropriate and manipulative but I thought the whole thing was the most interesting part of last night’s episode because it showed Branson caught in a tight spot: he’s from “downstairs” originally but he’s now “upstairs” – sort of. He may sit at the dining table with Robert and the family but he didn’t go shooting with them in Scotland so he now has a peculiar role of having a foot in both camps but not belonging firmly to one or another. I thought Fellowes handled it pretty well, showing Branson caught in tight spots and not knowing what he should do because he doesn’t really know what his position is. 

    Still, I’m amused at the irony in Branson the revolutionary turning gradually turning into a member of the upper classes despite that Sybil was the one who rejected it all. 

  • MilaXX

    Fellows anger at Dan Stevens was evident in the ITV press release issued shortly after this episode aired in the UK. It was pretty much a FU to Stevens for leaving the show.
    Ironically twitter was the biggest parameter of that death scene for me. When Sybil passed pretty much every Downton related tweet was full of tears and sadness. This week, there was hardly a blip.
    I’ll also be very annoyed if Cousin Oliver is set up to be paired with Branson next season.

  • BayTampaBay

    I can agree with TLo’s review of the final review episode
    but I must take up for Julian Fellowes.

    Sir Julian’s hands were tied behind his back with the departure
    of Dan Stevens and I think getting rid of Matthew by braking his neck was a
    great way to make a clean break (pun intended) and not drag out the story line.

    The estate is now safe and until the 1929 and the arrival of
    the great depression.  Mary can get a new
    love interest that is a real emotional challenge someone who is a good cross
    between Matthew and Sir Richard Carlisle. If I were Sir Julian I write the new
    love interest as an America and work Martha Levinson back into the story line
    with a superbly written part for Shirley MacLaine.

    Tom Branson can now become a major character.  When you think about Lord Grantham & Tom
    Branson are more alike than Robert & Matthew.  Strip away the education of Grantham (reading
    history & philosophy at Oxford or whatever one reads when one goes to
    Oxford to read for something) and you have a person who is “of the land”.  Tom Branson is very much “of the land” as
    compared with Mathew really was just a highly professionally trained yuppie.  Also, as Rose is only five years younger than
    Tom Branson it will be interesting to see what develops….will become the surrogate
    big brother….will he try to keep her out of scrapes as Matthew did.  I also see lots of potential for Tom to
    become the brother Mary never had as she always like Tom as did her now deceased
    husband.

    I think the Rose character is a great addition to the plot
    as she can be used to examine what really went on in upper class during the
    Roaring 20s.  The 1920s has always
    interested me (thank you Coca Chanel) in respect to the “lost generation” and
    the true beginning of the modern industrial and pop culture age (cars, mass
    produced cosmetics, café society, jazz bands, short skirts, and so on and so
    on).

    I think everyone, including Sir Julian, would have preferred
    for Dan Stevens to sign a contract for another two years but that did not
    happen.  My bet is on Sir Julian to write
    a season/series 4 that surprises all of us and is better than the previous
    three.

    Also, more Shrimpie please; the guy is one good actor.

    • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

       Good points. I like your idea about Mary’s new love interest being an American. He must be someone who will challenge Mary more than Matthew ever did. Even though she’s mother of the new heir and gets some status from that, now she knows she’ll never be Countess of Grantham so must come to terms with that.

      And I do hope that Tom Branson will stay and have an even larger role in the running of the estate.  Who will keep Robert from making unwise business decisions now? 1929 is coming. Baby playing Sybbie is adorable and her being tended by Carson was one of the more touching scenes.

      As we get further in the “Roaring Twenties” the family needed a younger person to bring the jazz, flappr clothes, behavior changes, etc. into the picture, so there’s definitely a role Rose can play. I’m more sympathetic to Rose after meeting her mother!

      Thomas has become much less a villain in these last few episodes. I want to know more about his background as well as Jimmy’s.  I think there’s more to Jimmy’s past than he has revealed so far.

      Mrs. Patmore…..surely you have better taste!!!!

      • siriuslover

        I agree that Mrs. Patmore has better taste. I did have to snigger at the very mean one-liner from Thomas about Mrs. Patmore. Daisy says she’s a woman and Thomas says “Only technically.” Mean, of the old Thomas sort, but funny too.

      • Sweetbetty

         There was a lot of effort to make Rose more of a sympathetic character in this episode.  Not only did we see what she had to contend with from her mother but her teaching Anna how to dance the reel showed that she wasn’t an upper-class snob.  But that only takes her so far.  She’s still a spoiled, obnoxious brat who needs to be brought down a peg or three.

    • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

       You have an interesting take on where this could go. As long as the Rose character isn’t quite as irritatingly in-your-face as she has been thus far, this could work. What’s annoyed me about her thus far is that she’s THROWN at the audience as the “next controversial character.” There’s no subtlety.

      • MRT144

        POOCHIE!

    • Stubenville

      Shrimpie and Susan sniping at one another was amusing, although it would be hell to have that relationship with a spouse in real life.

      • rainwood1

        I couldn’t get over that Susan was played by the same woman who was Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the A&E/BBC production of ‘Pride and Prejudice.’  She must have a lock on playing desperately unhappy aristocratic women.  I kept waiting for her to say ‘I must have my share of the conversation.’

        • jeeplibby02

          Ages ago, she played Sebastian Flyte’s youngest sister in the original Brideshead Revisited. I always recognize her by her very distinctive voice.  I don’t think she was in P&P, though– not the 1995 Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version, if that’s the one you mean.

          • BostonBuddha

            Phoebe Nicholls also played Hugh Grant’s unhappily married young wife in the movie Maurice, whom he marries in an attempt to repress his homosexual nature.  At one time she had cornered the market in upper-class, young, gawky, unattractive-looking, early twentieth-century women.

          • Lisa_Cop

            OMG! Who would know the cute little girl with pigtails would be that unhappy, dour looking middle-aged spouse. The non-career of Anthony Andrews (Sebastian) should make anyone thinking Dan Stevens shouldn’t have left think twice.

          • Girl_With_a_Pearl

            Oh, Anthony Andrews is still out and about.  He was very good in The King’s Speech.  He was very handsome back in the day and one would have thought he would have had as big a career as his co-star Jeremy Irons, but he didn’t.  But he’s still acting.

          • BostonBuddha

            Interestingly, both Andrews and Irons originally wanted, and read for, each other’s roles.

            Also interesting, in light of the Dan Stevens departure, at one point in the filming of Brideshead, there was a writers’ strike and a very long delay, so that when filming finally re-started, Irons was on set filming the movie ”The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” and, rather than force Irons to drop the movie, the producers of both the series and the movie worked together to film around Irons schedule so that he could do both, saying that it would have been unfair to force a young rising actor to give up a plumb role.

          • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

             Good Lord, that was Anthony Andrews? I didn’t make the connection, and I’ve seen the film twice! And a Prime Minister, too?

          • LittleKarnak

            Brideshead! That’s where I recognized her from…Thanks!

        • AnneElliot

          She wasn’t in P&P; she was Anne Elliot’s older sister in the 1995 version of Persuasion.  Definitely an unhappy aristocratic woman, though!  

          • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

             And she was quite the airhead in Persuasion IIRC, which made her seem very different as the bitter but intelligent Susan. I actually thought her scene with Cora, where they plan Rose’s future, was really great. You could feel Susan wishing she had things as easy as Cora, even if Cora had just lost a daughter.

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       Plus, Shrimpie is kind of hot! How blind is that wife of his?!

      • Lilithcat

        There’s more to marriage than four feet in a bed.

      • Sweetbetty

         They just don’t like each other, Shrimpie says.  If you don’t like someone hotness doesn’t matter over time.

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           But since “their sort” never go in for divorce, what’s the point of torturing each other when they could try to make the best of it. We’ve seen no irreparable character flaws from either; he’s a good host and friend, she’s worried about her rebellious daughter … just seemed so pointless.

      • BayTampaBay

        Hotter than Dr. Clarkson?  Survey says…..????

    • http://twitter.com/evangelineh Evangeline Holland

      Except all that you enjoy about the 1920s happened in America or to Americans (“Lost Generation”). Britain in the 1920s was still suffering from the fallout of WWI, and they didn’t have their glossy days until the 1930s.

      • Tally Ho

        There’s truth to that. The great depression hit America far harder than it did in England – while Britain felt the effects it wasn’t nearly as bad and if anything unemployment was higher in the 1920s than the 1930s. Britain had real labor strife and union strikes in the 20s and it was a period when class tension increased noticeably. 

        So we can’t expect Fellowes to put a great depression spin on DA unless without Matthew Robert goes ahead and puts everything in the stock market again. Or Martha Levinson loses her shirt in ’29 and has to move in with them. 

  • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

    EastEnders has killed off characters in a shortsighted way before. There was an actress who left, rumored to be on bad terms and first they threw her down the stairs, then they ran her over with a car. Another actor left and upon announcing he was going, said negative things about the show in the press, saying he wanted a big exit. Instead the writers sent him off on a trip and a few weeks later the pay phone rang in the cafe, and one of the characters answered and said, ‘Oh hi Beppe, what? you’re not coming back? OK, bye.’ And that was his exit.

    I don’t think Lord Fellowes killed him for spite, but I bet he’ll regret it at some point if he doesn’t already. I know from interviewing a producer and writer at EastEnders that they regret killing the character Tiffany, because they say they could have gotten more mileage out of stories if she was available to come back at some point. A young actor may think they are going on to bigger and better things but want to come back later when those things don’t materialize. But I also think that all the hubbub over Matthew’s death is a bit nutty. It’s not like Lord Fellowes actually killed Dan Stevens. IT is a testament to his talent that he ceated characters that people cared so much about that they are so upset when they die. But even so, they are fiction.

    –GothamTomato

    • Tally Ho

      According to a few interviews in the British press the actor made it clear he never wanted to come back to Downton Abbey even in a periodic guest role. Fellowes had asked him if he’d do it and he would have handled the role by having Matthew going to India or another colony as a colonial administrator (like Shrimpy) with the periodic visit back to England, and he’d invent a reason for Mary to remain at Downton Abbey. But Stevens firmly said no. So off he went to death’s door. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=541700633 Amy Schuepfer Berra

    Just read an article with Fellowes, season 4 will pick up 6 months later….

    • Stubenville

      That’s what the NY Times said, too. So no shot of Violet faltering as she walks across the room.

    • theotherTLO

      6 months later is annoying!  We won’t get to see anyone’s immediate reaction to Matthew’s death.  Grrr… (just like the wedding – taking away the stuff we want to see!)

      • jw_ny

        I guess it’s another F you that Fellowes is giving to Dan Stevens…not gonna give him the satisfaction of seeing tears and mourning at his passing/leaving.  ;)

        • AudreysMom

           certainly not from Mary. Not that she won’t miss him and be sad. It’s just that Mary’s range of emotional display is, as was said about Katherine Hepburn, from A to B (and Mary’s probably more A to A-).

  • SassyKansas

    I confess this is my first season of watching, so not too good with all the names and character histories.
    My thoughts during this episode were:
    1. Lady Cora continues to look like a spaniel.
    2. I was disappointed that those two lady’s maids did not get into a knife fight over who did her ladyship’s hair better.
    3. I want, and deserve, Lady Cora’s beautiful, colorful coat.
    4. That was kind of unbelievable about the gay guys.
    5.  Lady Mary was so mean and catty that, as punishment, her baby must be named Shrimpie, Jr. (My sister offered “L’il Shrimpie”, which is even better.)
    6. Lady Mary did not look like she had been anywhere near childbirth, but had just been flown in from a two-week stay at a spa on the Riviera. Her hair was not sweaty, and you KNOW they didn’t wash people’s hair much back then.
    7. Yeah, the new-parent scene was nauseating, but the end was a shocker. He seemed like a nice guy. Downer Abbey.

    • Lilithcat

      3. I want, and deserve, Lady Cora’s beautiful, colorful coat.

      I’ll fight you for it!

  • Diane Bouchard

    I guess I am the only one who LOVED it!  I cried with Branson in the library, cooed at Carson and the baby and screamed NOOOOOO at the TV when we saw Matthew driving the car.  Mary and Matthew’s bedroom kissy scenes were getting boring, true.  But i will still miss him.  I think this sets up Mary to lord over everyone as mother to the Heir apparent.  She’ll become an even bigger bitch than she has been in the past.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

       The scene with Carson and baby Sybil was probably my favorite of the night.

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

         And then the one with Carson, baby Sybil and Mrs. Hughes? Absolutely adorable. And such a great way of showing how some of the servants really are part of the family – they’ve been with the Granthams since Mary, Edith and Sybil Sr. were that age. They really are like the grandparents/favorite aunt and uncle who have watched them grow up.

      • Sweetpea176

        “Let’s have a little chat about it” to baby Sybil — so sweet!

      • Lilithcat

        Gosh, yes.  That was just adorable.

      • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

         Mine too. The child actor playing baby Sybil is adorable. Oh Carson, you really do have a soft side….especially when the Crawley daughters are concerned.

    • BayTampaBay

      I loved it too! You are not alone.

  • DaveUWSNYC

    Tom Branson shirtless redeemed it for me, just a tad.

    • BayTampaBay

      Just a tad????  It was one of my favorite scenes.  Then again I have always had the secret hots for both Branson and believe it or not Dr. Clarkson (what a silver fox)!

      • PaulaBerman

        Agree about Doc Clarkson. What was Isobel thinking?  A second lease on life with a hot doctor? Whyever not? That plot could have gotten miles and miles out of it– think of what the Dowager would say! It would be delicious. Why would Fellowes build up to that only to have it poop out and go nowhere???

        • Kayceed

          That earnest cluelessness bit gets a bit tiresome.

        • formerlyAnon

           Isobel does enjoy being in charge, though. Not the model for a proper marriage of the time.

          • AudreysMom

             as I mentioned above, I wondered too if Isobel didn’t have enough of a taste of what being part of the aristocracy offered that she didn’t want that tarnished through marriage to the good doctor. She can have the power, prestige and benefits – and she can complain about them and be a do gooder.

          • Jackie4g

            Her aristocratic connection is tarnished now that her son is dead. The family really doesn’t have to  let her stay in that house. She is no longer mother of the Heir presumptive. She’s just a grandmother to the heir. Of course, no one would want her at the Abbey, so I guess they will let her stay in her house and continue to support her.

          • Sweetbetty

             Yes, as long as she is the baby’s grandmama and doesn’t misbehave too badly she’ll still hold her place as part of the family.  If she marries the doctor, even though the Granthams are very close to him, they wouldn’t feel the same obligation to her, especially if she gets on their nerves in some way.

    • formerlyAnon

       I’m a bit concerned about Branson’s next subplot. I never really enjoyed his role, at all (and he’s not my preferred brand of pretty, so there wasn’t even that!) until he and Matthew got to do their scenes of manly bonding, which I quite enjoyed. Without Matthew to walk the estate or play cricket with him, I am not optimistic.

      • DaveUWSNYC

        I agree. Now he’s the only young male upstairs. Besides plots involving females, his scope seems limited, since he will never quite have the “son” status Matthew did with Lord Grantham.

  • Jessica Goldstein

    Serious Question for all: Given JF’s constraints—Dan Stevens left the show and did not agree to come back for even one more episode—what would have been the best way to write him off? I’m thinking that rather than the way they went, which left us with two children who lose a parent on the day of their birth, they should have ended with a happy tableau. Then, if possible, advance film some farewell scene between Mary and Matthew as he goes off to do something business related. Then have him not return and have the death be off-screen. Tricky, but I think better. What other ideas do you all have, besides ending the series, which it may well be time (past time?) to do?

    • not_Bridget

      My suggestion: The last episode in the regular series/season would include Mary’s announcement of her pregnancy, followed by Matthew’s tragic death.  Oh, no!  Then the Christmas show (set at Christmas!) would show the birth of the heir. Downton was saved! Downton would continue in the family!  Alas, brave smiles through bittersweet tears….  

      The folks in the UK subjected to this show at the end of Christmas Day could have joined in the weeping–instead of going WTF!

      But Fellowes kept hoping they could buy Stevens for at least part of a new season–so he was killed off at the end. And the next series/season will begin without any of the actors having a chance to express their grief–or chew on he scenery….

  • BayTampaBay

    Wrong place via wormhole

  • LittleBird

    Why couldn’t Fellowes just have found another actor to play Matthew? Movies and shows swap out actors all the time, when actors want to leave!

  • TippiH

    “man takes shirt off” appears to be Fellows’ only introduction to an awkward sex moment 

    • formerlyAnon

       While there are better, there are worse! ;-)

  • The_English_Teacher

    I’ve got so many questions and comments, I don’t know where to start, but I’ll stick to a few:
    1. I fully agree that killing off Matthew the way he did was Fellowes’s way of giving the finger to Dan Stevens. As for Stevens, he’s obviously never heard the adage “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Can’t he act in DA and accept other acting roles during the off season? Instead of slaying his golden goose, why didn’t Stevens just agree to a reduced role for his character? Matthew’s day in the spotlight was over anyway.2. Why couldn’t Edith’s editor divorce his insane wife? Matthew said the law prevented it, but I’m not buying it.3. I don’t care how love-starved Edith is, she is not the mistress type (to a commoner, no less!), nor would she deliberately hurt her parents by acting so scandalously. She’s just too well bred and, unlike Sibyl, compliant.
    4. Speaking of love starved, Mrs. Patmore wouldn’t have seriously considered the advances of that disgusting man. She is way too cool for that slob!
    5. Fellowes really overestimated the credulity of the audience when he thought he could make Dr. Clarkson’s amorous advances to Isobel anything more than a joke. There was absolutely nothing to suggest that these two were compatible; to the contrary, they seemed to dislike each other. What was he thinking?

    • krelnick

      Regarding #3:  I don’t know why Edith would have a problem being with editor dude; she had no problem doing a little hanky-panky with farmer dude in Season 2 and his wife was perfectly sane and right there.

      • The_English_Teacher

        Good point! I remembered that weird incident but chalked it off to the tendency of people to throw caution to the wind during wartime. After being jilted at the altar, Edith almost seemed resigned to her role as the unmarried daughter taking care of her parents until they died. People actually expected a daughter to accept that responsibility back then.

    • Lilithcat

       2. Why couldn’t Edith’s editor divorce his insane wife? Matthew said the law prevented it, but I’m not buying it.

      Buy it.  The only ground for divorce in England in the ’20s was adultery.  If a spouse could be shown to have been insane at the time of the marriage, a bill of nullity could be obtained.  But if insanity developed after the marriage, divorce was not possible.   Incurable insanity would not become a ground for divorce until 1937.

      • The_English_Teacher

        Thanks for doing the research. So that’s why Rochester’s crazy wife had to die in the fire before Jane Eyre could marry him. Got it.

        • AudreysMom

           which brings us back to the above thread about who will be the one to rub out the editor’s cray-cray wife. Tho I do like this subplot with plain ole Edith being the scandal of the family. Maybe S4 will be Edith’s story.

          • http://www.facebook.com/winston.stone Winston Stone

            Editor’s cray-cray wife STARTS a fire at whatever asylum in which she’s being warehoused, all other patients/staff escape/are rescued.  She perishes dramatically a la madwoman in the attic.  Dancing along the flaming parapets. Problem solved. ;-)

          • MRT144

            Wife dies in car accident involving milk truck at the end of the episode. 

  • schadenfreudelicious

    by the time Matthew finally bit it I was laughing out loud and shouting “you must be kidding me” at the TV, my first thoughts were that there was going to be some type of unfortunate hunting accident on the moors wherein Matthew was mistaken for a wayward stag…actually i think i would have preferred that exit…

  • greenwich_matron

    Given what I am reading here and other places about Dan Stevens and Julian Fellowes, I am finding it hard to believe that they are adults. It sounds like Stevens is behaving like the petulant Cousin Rose and refusing to have anything to do with DA and Fellowes peevishly killed him off with the writer’s equivalent of a bar of soap. They may have destroyed a career defining project, and it sounds like it was an impulse that lasted several months.

  • siriuslover

    I choose to take away some of the more intriguing aspects of last night since that’s the only way I can defend my continued allegiance to the show. To wit:

    1. O’Brien really is the master, and don’t F with her. As deliciously evil as she is, I found myself hoping she’d jump ship and go to India–not to be rid of her character, but because her character seems so very sad in some ways, longing for adventure. 
    2.I get your point about the fantasy of Thomas, and it’s poor writing, but I choose to take away that he truly loves Jimmy. First, he seeks no revenge and won’t hear anything bad about him.  That pathetic, “but can’t we just be friends” really tug at my heart strings (and yes, I realize I’m being manipulated, but it’s a Soap, I’m supposed to fall for it).  I think it would have been more interesting to have Jimmy say, “I can’t give you what you want. I do have feelings for you, but it can’t happen, not in the world we live in.” That would’ve been a twist.
    3. LOVED Alfred and Jimmy trying out the furniture. It was a splendid little scene.
    4. Set Up for Alfred the chef
    5. Carson may be the “leader” (didn’t you love his speech about being the king?), but it’s Mrs. Hughes who knows EVERYTHING.
    6. The scene with the bag pipes was hilarious.
    7. Edith is a modern woman and makes her own decisions with no regard to anyone’s happiness but her own. Good for her. But she was prophetic I think when she said, “I can’t see a happy ending.”

    But questions:
    1. So it took a year, but now Daisy is all buddy buddy with Ivy (or whatever her name is…and they’re both named after plants?) 
    2. Isobel should’ve agreed to marry Clarkson, then have renewed happiness wrenched at the death of her son
    3. Shrimpy’s wife should’ve committed suicide because her life was so damn miserably. Yes, she was horrid in this episode, but she seemed so miserable at her lot in life with Shrimpy.

    • PaulaBerman

      There was one moment last night, where she was joking around with Shrimpy about not expecting the men-folk, and he said, “Well, sorry to disappoint you!” Her face fell. I think they could both break through all that and find something still between them, but their communication is horrible. I am actually far more interested in their marriage than any of the marriages or false start BS relationships of the main cast. In fact, I want to see a spin off: Shrimpy in India, with O’Brien as Susan’s maid. 

      • siriuslover

        I caught that too.  She seemed to be making an effort and he wanted no part of it. I don’t blame her for lashing out. And she probably lashes out at Rose because she is an extension of Shrimpy and he gives her everything she wants.

        • PaulaBerman

          They are both using Rose as a way to punish each other. Kind of makes me feel bad for Rose, except that she’s such a privileged brat that I find myself siding with her crabby mother. Shrimpy & Daughter are pretty stuck on themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

    Thomas did take a beating for Jimmy, and it had been a year of working side by side supposedly harmoniously since the incident. And there’s two ways to leave a soap in my mind: wander upstairs with little comment, or go out in a blaze of bad driving blood spatter! In a way, Fellowes gave Mr. Crawley the most dramatic of exits possible.  And there was just a little bit of that “just when you think everything is fine” frisson. I remain interested in what happens at the Abbey next, I’m almost more worried about Isobel than I am about Mary.

    • twocee

      Your comment about Isobel makes me wonder how they are going to continue having Isobel in the storyline.  She was really only part of the family because she was Matthew’s mother.  I suppose she might stay because of her grandson but that is going to be really weird, since none of the family has ever seemed to like her much.

      • Girl_With_a_Pearl

        Oh I think the draw of a grandson is a big one for Isobel or for most anyone really.  Especially with Matthew gone.  There probably will be clashes with the The Dowager Countess and the family as to how to raise him.

      • formerlyAnon

         Her grandson is the only real family she has left, as far as we’ve been shown – and the son of her well-loved son. She is going NO WHERE, at least until he’s shipped off to boarding school.

        • Tally Ho

          Boarding school will happen when baby boy is seven, so we’ll have her around for a while. 

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         I dunno, I think the Dowager would miss her terribly. And you know she has ways of getting what she wants!

    • formerlyAnon

       I just want, perhaps, more than a time-constrained serial can give re: Jimmy and Thomas. I’d maybe buy it from Jimmy’s POV if we’d been shown a gradual development of ease between them; from Thomas’ if we’d ever been shown him making any real personal sacrifice for someone else. (Maybe there’s been something I’ve missed?) But it just read as too easy acceptance on Jimmy’s part of an insufficiently motivated unrequited affection on Thomas’ part.

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         Well, everyone downstairs thinks Jimmy’s hot, even Mrs. Hughes allows for his rampant flirting. That’s all the motivation Thomas needs, then O’brien’s lies complicated everything. Thomas being nice: he did bond with that dying blind soldier, for no other reason than companionship.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryann.zins Mary Ann Zins

    Totally agree that Fellowes was “punishing” Dan Stevens for leaving the show.

  • Lilithcat

    I was just gagging at the Matthew/Mary scene at the hospital.  

    • Sweetpea176

      And Robert’s voice over at how blessed to have “TWO HEALTHY HEIRS”!

  • http://twitter.com/marydoesnttweet Mary D

    I’m really angry with the writing too, and don’t know if it’s worth watching anymore – and I was DEEPLY in love with this show after season one. Remember how subtle and heartfelt the characters were then? Their biases were challenged through relationships and real life and they GREW from that experience – Mary making bad decisions and learning from them, falling in love with Matthew as a result. The servants (excepting Thomas and O’Brien of course) accepting Bates as one of their own.  The Dowager realizing Mr. Moseley deserved to win the blasted flower show.  ARGHHHH!!!  I don’t understand why the same writer has become SO STUPID!  EVERYTHING O’Brien did this season was pointless and lacked motivation.  Is there a good reason why Daisy inheriting the farm was dropped until next season, apparently?  Why even introduce it now, then?  Ugh, I could keep ranting, but why….

  • AZU403

    I loved the way the baby really was crying, and then stopped as soon as the actor playing Carson picked her up. Those two had chemistry!

    • AudreysMom

       Maybe Dylan on Modern Family is a descendant of Carson’s (oh, you know Carson had to have a kid from those wild and crazy years in the circus….)

  • Lynn Landry

    ugh and let’s not forget how we’ll have to deal with Cousin Oliver (Rose) next season. She’ll hit on a local farmer, join a feminist group, and be a bitch: let’s roll up all the daughters into ONE!

  • schadenfreudelicious

    I really need to work Mrs Hugh’s ““chewing the mouth off some poor woman,”  into daily conversation….

  • http://www.facebook.com/darva.sutra Darva Sutra

    Yeah, this season was such a sad disappointment, writing wise.  Good God, how heavy handed!  Hubby and I were shouting at the TV because we could see the setup for everything that happened, or more annoyingly didn’t, and really, WTF?  It went beyond begging belief, it wasn’t even done in a good campy soap-opera-y way.  Sigh.   Boring except for the lovely costumes, interiors and scottish scenery.  I do need to hire a (hot) piper for my castle – will speak to the butler.

    • Sweetbetty

       Speaking of lovely interiors, I had my breath taken away by the manner in which the camera introduced us to the great hall at the Scottish castle.  You can have the piper and I’ll take their decorator.

      I know there’s been a lot of info put out on Highclere, the setting for Downton Abbey; do we know anything about the setting of the Shrimpie family’s home?

      • Lisa_Cop

        I believe Tally ho, up thread, said it is Inverary Castle.

        • Tally Ho

          I have been there and it is a lovely place, although if I was to use a Scottish castle as a setting I’d have gone for Blair Castle. In the more dramatic Perthshire countryside and more Scottish and with a phenomenal ballroom filled with deer antlers. Either that or a genuinely hideous Victorian shooting lodge similar to Balmoral. The interiors of Inverary is still oh very English. 

          But that’s just me nitpicking. 

          • Corsetmaker

            Soft rolling Perthshire more dramatic than Argyll! I love that view as you come down from the climb over the Arrochar alps and round the bend in the road and see the Castle and the town around the edge of Loch Fyne. Inveraray itself is fascinating. But I know what you mean in that the castle and it’s immediate surroundings perhaps don’t look as stereotypically ‘Scottish’ as Blair Castle which is stunning too of course. And the Dukes of Atholl have always known how to play to the tourists. They were opening to the public in the 1930s, ahead of the game. 
            Balmoral is just a twee English idea of Scottishness.Maybe the Duke of Argyll undercut the Duke of Atholl on the shooting rates! 

  • janneyb

    As a devoted follower of DA from way back when the first episode of Season 1 aired, I have eagerly looked forward to each new season.  But like everyone else, I have found season 3 a big disappointment for all the reasons discussed here in the past several weeks — the sometimes hackneyed writing, plot contrivances that seriously tax the “willing suspension of disbelief” clause, the unfortunate waste of Shirley MacLaine, loathsome Cousin Rose/Oliver etc., etc.  HOWEVER — I have to say that the one saving grace of season 3 (aside from the consistently fabulous Dame Maggie) has been the hilarious and insightful posts by TLO and fellow commenters.  I feel like I belong to a virtual book club of clever and witty members, so I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for making the tedious moments of DA less painful and the truly great moments even better!

  • bertkeeter

    Downton Abbey??? More like DOWNER ABBEY!!!

  • lostonpolk

    Oh, Blimey!  Just get another actor already!!  It’s not like Dan Stevens was the end-all, be-all of British acting.  We handled a new Derwood Stevens; we can handle a new Matthew.

    • siriuslover

      never liked the second one. The personalities were sooo very different. Second Darrin was overbearing and so anti-witch it was ridiculous. At least the first one dabbled a bit with Uncle Arthur.

      • PeaceBang

        Okay, this segue into “Bewitched” lore has me loving the BKs even more, and I didn’t think that was possible.

    • Sweetbetty

       There have been several comparisons with replacing Matthew to replacing Darrin.  That happened in 1969; have there really been no similar replacements of characters since then?  If so, maybe it isn’t such a simple matter.

  • TRSTL

    The only really important information I gleaned form this episode is that Tom Branson dresses to the left.  Significantly so….. *sigh*

  • PrincessSlaya

    I don’t understand why he didn’t just Bewitch it and replace Dan Stevens with another good looking vanilla pudding actor.  They even could have worked the car crash in:  Ooh,my face is a bit different since it was smashed in by that lorry’s grill!

  • PrincessSlaya

    We had the same thought at the same time!  

  • AudreysMom

    especially since Matthew wasn’t well, the most memorable of characters. Sure the show’s a massive hit, but it’s not like Matthew was Fonzy or something. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FBVC5LBEOWEHBYYCH3A2IZGZHI yahoo-FBVC5LBEOWEHBYYCH3A2IZGZHI

      Matthew is like Richie Cunningham.  Never liked that Richie left.  But Ron Howard did indeed go onto far bigger and better things, so good for him and us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1129137319 Paula Pertile

    “Bloody hell” indeed.

    But the show must go on. Next season can we please see them all having a seance to contact Matthew’s spirit? (I would pay money to see Violet at a seance.) Or have him haunting the halls of Downton? Please. I’m only half kidding.

    • Sweetbetty

       Maybe we can have him appearing to Robert when he starts thinking of new ways to invest the family fortune and frightening him into keeping his hands out of the accounts.

    • BayTampaBay

      Wonder if the servants still have that spirit board downstairs?

  • CeeQ

    As I was watching the last scenes of Matthew & Mary, I was getting a creepy feeling of….”Why…is he being…so….fucking weird?!?!” And then just as the family gathered together at Downton to toast their good fortune & the new baby – I yelled out “SOMETHING BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN!!!”

    Even as I watched with widening eyes Matthew driving way too fast along a country road, I thought…..”Why is he larking about like a wanker looking at everything but the road WITH THAT CHEESY SMILE ON HIS FACE????!!”…..and then BLAM. Dead. That last shot of him bleeding to death on the side of the road was traumatising.

    And then came the QUESTIONS.

    “WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!? I can’t believe it!!!!!!”
    “Is it even remotely possible that Matthew is not dead?!?!?!”
    “Julian Fellows!! I shake my fist at you!!!! Which of my favourites are you going to kill off next?!?! Carson??? Daisy?!? Mrs Hughes?!!!! ANNA?!?!!! I can’t bear it……!!”
    “He lived thru the Great War only to die in a car accident?!?! WHAT????!!!!”
    “So what NOW??!! His son will inherit but that won’t be at least over a decade and what about baby Sybi? What’s going to happen to her? Will Branson run the show now? Is Mary going to become BFF with Edith cuz that’s all she has LEFT?? What was the POINT of everything then if only to kill him off?!?!?”
    “No seriously, he’s dead?? Really??” 

    I get your point about the writing being bad. In the moment, I was pretty distraught. But usually, after most of the episodes I’d have a REACTION followed up by exclaiming “THIS IS THE BEST SHOW EVER!!” No such exclamations lately – it’s more been a morbid desire to see what happens next. My last thought of the evening was “wow, now I can understand why people were saying it’s become just another soap opera…”

    Probably not a good sign, ay? I haven’t given up on it yet so I’ll be tuning in to season 4. Side bar: Branson is pretty hot. 

    Mrs. Patmore & Mrs. Hughes made me giggle. I’m pretty sure Mrs. Crawley and Dr. Clarkson will get it on cuz she’ll need a shoulder to cry on now that she’s all alone in this cruel cruel world. OR she’ll drive Mary to drink by becoming an overbearing mother-in-law. Even as Mary tortures herself for not declaring her undying love to Matthew during their last moments. 

    Thomas following Jimmy around the fair….terrible. And him taking a beating for him just so they can be friends later?? I can’t even with that. What is the point of making Thomas look borderline psycho? Daisy and Ivy are BFF a year later and that tall red headed bloke whose name escapes me right now is still as clueless as ever but he wants to be on Top Chef so YAY! Watching O’Brien get a bit of a dose of her medicine by that Scottish Bitch was fun but also boring cuz NOTHING HAPPENED. 

    Also: I thought that the BAD THING that was clearly lurking around the corner was that Anna or Bates were going to be accidentally shot during their picnic, by the aristocrats stalking deer! Not a good sign that that would even occur to me would happen on this show! hahahahah  I’m warming up to Rose but only because her parents are disastrous. I should have known it would all come crumbling down when Robert declared how thankful he was that Matthew SAVED HIS ESTATE and that he LOVES everyone before planting a saucy kiss on Cora. Good grief. I need a lie down, my nerves can’t TAKE all this drama!!!!

  • Judy_S

    Oops, Fellowes from the NYTimes interview: “In a way I think it [Matthew's death] works quite well because we begin Series 4 six
    months later. We don’t have to do funerals and all that stuff. That’s
    all in the past by then.” Opportunity missed to follow TLo advice.

    • susu11

      Wow, sometimes I just want to scream at Fellowes – LET THE MOMENT PLAY ITSELF OUT! Skipping storylines ahead so dramatically by months and years just smacks of lazy writing most of the time. He has an incredibly talented cast that I’m sure can get through an emotional funeral scene. It’s bad enough we were denied Matthew and Mary’s entire wedding (I wanted to see vows, dammit) or scenes of the budding romance of Branson and Sybil prior to their engagement (A few meaningful glances and a quick scene of hand holding does not usually jump right into ‘Abandon your family and run away with me, or else you don’t love me!” between characters) Looks like the Downton love/hate for me continues…

      • Sweetbetty

         I am grateful, though, that we didn’t have to witness another dramatic childbirth.  When Mary got off the train and it was obvious that something was going on with the birth process I was waiting to be treated to some evidence of her water breaking or something equally gross.  Thank heavens Fellowes didn’t subject us to that.

    • Judy_J

      Just like they didn’t do Matthew and Mary’s wedding. We saw the events leading up to it but no payoff.

  • Susan Collier

    Matthew isn’t dead; that was his evil twin that we never heard about until now.

    • siriuslover

      or it was the dead Cousin come back with bandages all over his face. He had plastic surgery done to make him look like Matthew, but he really wasn’t Matthew at all! haha

  • Inspector_Gidget

    That quick death at the end smacks of last-minute edit to me.  Like they finished the episode and then Dan Stevens quit, so they scrambled together some footage to tack on the end.  I’ve never seen a main character suffer such a “oh yes, and he died” fate. Bizarre.

    Personally, I think they should have just recast the role for next season. Instead, they suddenly threw a giant wrench into everything they’ve been building towards. Then again, that happens on a regular basis on this show. And it’s usually jarring, not interesting.

    • SRQkitten

      Inspector G,

      I agree, just recast the role, it has been done before and frankly, might bring a bit more excitement in. The soapishness of this season has engendered quite a few discussions with the dh over that element of this series. Would have been much more interested in the ongoing (’cause you know it would have continued) tension between Mathew and Lord G, with Branson in the middle, over the future direction of Downton Abbey. Now it appears we’re just going to be treated to more of the soapratic elements of Mary’s new suitors in season 4. [YAWN]

      srq

  • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

    When Shrimpy was like, “I lost the manor” and Lord Grantham was like [sympathy/fear], I had to roll my eyes heavily. There’s only so much sympathy I can have for rich people losing their palatial manors and having to possibly live in a SMALLER MANOR with FEWER SERVANTS I can handle. I know that’s been part of the thrust of the show, but when it’s totally new characters doing the same exact thing, one just has to roll one’s eyes and say, “Maybe you SHOULD move.”

    • Tally Ho

      Well, Fellowes was commenting on the beginning of a trend. The world’s a changin’ and even the aristos aren’t immune from it. The 20s was a time when most landed aristocrats downsized although it usually meant selling off surplus estates. The archetypical marquess at the time owned 3, 4 or 5 or even more estates each with a big house so historically the Flintshires would also have had another family seat probably in Wales and Duneagle used mainly for shooting and the summer (Scottish estates were usually the first sold off as they were rarely financially productive, cost a great deal of money to maintain and were easily sold to newly rich industrialists who wanted them for shooting). But I think Fellowes simply wanted to drive home the point that the economic conditions underpinning the landed aristocracy was radically changing so nobody could take anything for granted anymore and the aristocracy was beginning to split into two groups – the haves, who successfully changed with the times (a la Matthew’s changes to Downton) and the have-nots, who remained inflexible and gradually lost everything over the years. 

      • jeeplibby02

        Tally Ho,
        What would happen if a broke aristocrat couldn’t find a buyer?  (The pool of potential buyers couldn’t have been large).  Would they just sell off the furnishings, move out of the grand manor they couldn’t afford to maintain, and let it fall to dust?  At what point in British history did the National Trust come into play to preserve these properties?

        • Tally Ho

          No buyer = demolish the house because the land is now more valuable without the house. 

          There was a surplus of country houses in the interwar years and some were demolished but some were still being bought by the newly rich who wanted to model themselves on the aristocracy. They didn’t want the estate that went with the house (financial drain these days) but just the house and could pay for it out of their fortune. Other houses were converted into boarding schools. Some houses were simply shut up. Some were rented out. 

          Otherwise, yep, sale of artwork and furniture and silver. Auction houses were busy enough during the 1920s and 30s. But the real demolition/sale boom was after 1945. 

          The National Trust first appeared in the late 1930s. The first house it acquired was Blickling Hall from a lord who already had several other estates. 

          • jeeplibby02

            Thank you.  I knew you would know.

    • Corsetmaker

      Remember though that those palatial manors, in their best instances, aren’t just a big house. They often have centuries of history and/or architectural importance. It’s not just inconvenience they fear, it’s the loss of the family history and standing which is bound up with those properties – at least with the property of most importance to the family, not the other houses acquired by marriage and so on over the generations.
      And they aren’t just important to the family, but to the nation as a whole. A part of the country’s history and environment, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep those properties in the hands of people that care about preserving them.

  • Elizabeth Silverstein

    Like sands through the hourglass…..two main characters dying on the same day that their child is born in one season – soapy.

    At least Edith’s clothes are fabulous – that red number was to die for – apparently Matthew took that literally. 

  • mskgb

    The only interesting aspect of last night’s episode was the view of a disintegrated estate and marriage beneath the beauty of house and landscape. Pure hell, with Shrimpy occasionally escaping to the House of Lords and Susan venting frustration in cruelty to daughter and maid. (And providing fodder for the Dowager Countess’s quip on “slut”: “One doesn’t often hear that term in the Highlands.”)

  • CeeQ

    Predictions for season 4:

    - Mrs Hughes finally reveals she’s a lesbian and her & Mrs Patmore set up a Bed & Breakfast together, with Daisy and Ivy still slaving away in the kitchen

    - Ethel says fuck this shit about not seeing her son, kidnaps Charlie and sets off to America to build a new life for herself

    - Red headed dude reveals he’s gay and pining for Thomas only to find out so is Jimmy. The three of them set off to America and bring their 3 man production of “Hamlet” to Broadway. Jimmy brings down the house as Ophelia

    - Mary stages a coup, sets her son on the throne and rules Winterfell with an iron fist. Edith conquers the lands to the North and plans her attack once the snow melt

    - Robert & Cora leave it all behind to start an antique business with Branson and Sybi in Ireland. On the weekends, Robert pulls out the bagpipes to entertain the local crowd with his show “Earl in a Kilt”, while Cora serves tea just like the old days

    - Carson returns to vaudeville, makes it big, goes to America, is reunited with the Gay Trio and becomes their manager as they systematically become the toast of New York society

    - Matthew’s ghost haunts Downton Abbey, which has become a part of Yorkshire’s “Great Homes of Old” tour and amuses himself by flashing the tourists

    - The Dowager Countess becomes a consultant to the Royal Family and writes the book on “How to Deal with Commoners Marrying Into Your Respectable Family”

    THE END

    • anotherEloise

      I SO wish you were the writer for the next season.  Must-see TV, indeed!

    • BayTampaBay

      What about Branson making it big America with a chain of Ford Motor Company Auto dealerships with capital supplied by Harold Levinson because he tired of the yacht business……you forgot that one.

    • Lilliana

      I SO wish you were writing the fourth series. Do you think we could somehow sneak you in to “edit” the scripts?

  • CozyCat

    Another potential plot twist:  there is still the deformed canadian cousin out there.  They could bring him back for uncertainty about whether baby Crawley is really the heir.
    The Scottish scenes really showed how the show needs to open up beyond Downton.  Nearly all the tensions at DA have been resolved.  But the new dysfunctional family, living in one of the most beautiful settings ever seen on television, were really interesting.  ON the other hand, when the DA family was basking in their good fortune (as Mathew died) it almost felt like a series finale. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FBVC5LBEOWEHBYYCH3A2IZGZHI yahoo-FBVC5LBEOWEHBYYCH3A2IZGZHI

    I took the deer killing as a parallel for the sudden death of Matthew.  The hunters try to be mercifully brief and accurate so the deer won’t suffer, and Fellows the mastermind made Matthew’s death mercifully sudden so Matthew didn’t suffer and died happy.  I am grateful not to have seen some big drawn out death scene.  There was an upside to the treatment of Matthew.  

    Am kind of mad at Dan Stevens for jumping ship, because his character is the heart and soul of “Downton Abbey.”  Yes, the character had lost his verve in season 2 and this season had approached middle age like many of us do, fitting in and becoming bland.  But with some imagination on both Dan Stevens’ and Fellows’ part, that transition from young adulthood to the full responsibilities of a family life could have continued to interest us.  Too bad a partnership broke down and everyone got dreck.

  • Sweetpea176

    Mary and Branson bond over being widowed and single parents of infants, and Branson ignites a fire in Mary that BADLY needs igniting, forcing Mary to grapple with her classist snobbery.

    • Lisa_Cop

      Read that DA has put out a casting call for Mary’s suitor so don’t think she’ll be getting together with Brandon.

      • Sweetpea176

        If they’re still casting, it might not be too late for Fellowes to change him mind!

  • PaulaBerman

    It occurs to me that Edith is the Meg Griffin of Downton Abbey.

  • Scoobydrew

    I don’t watch the show at all, but my Mom is a huge fan … so huge that when my dog and I go over for Sunday dinner we get kicked out of the house at 630p, because the show starts at 7pm, and she will not have me in the house mocking her show.  So today, when I read your entry, I called her to see how she handled his death … SHOCKED! SHE WAS SHOCKED!!! She relived the whole thing for me and told me to buckle up if I go out today. 

    TLO  brings families together.

  • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

    The first time I watched the scene with Matthew, Mary and the baby, I got all teary because I knew what was coming and Matthew was so happy.  The emotion of the scene and what was coming were all that I really paid attention to.  Last night, I actually paid closer attention to the dialog and was just like “Eh!” about it.  With Sybil, I bawled both times.

    Most people have been “Oh, Mary had a son!  The inheritance is saved!” but I thought “Well, what about the disfigured cousin?”  It would be just like Fellowes to bring him back next season.

    • formerlyAnon

       YES. I am STILL WAITING for the other shoe to drop re: the possibly real, possibly imposter cousin.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QK3MTAHUVJCMI7DANY6WFCAIUM n a

    this whole season was dreg– there was just so much pandering to 21st century thinking… which is disappointing b/c we likely would have had better things to talk about if the characters could have reacted as they would have done in their time period… 

    as in Thomas would have been sacked and homeless (sorry, but it’s true) 

    Edith would have been married off to that old dude with a title in a HEARTBEAT (he’s a catch!) 

    Sybil would not have been welcomed back with her pleb/Irish/Catholic husband, and had she come back and had the baby & died, the family would have absconded the child.  There would be no, hey, why don’t you work the farm and raise the baby here as a Catholic… guh.  

    See, while this is all terribly un-PC, it would have been so much more interesting to see the actors take on these difficult directions- because they would feel so foreign to what we know today.  But the idea the the Granthams be soooo modern and permissive versus political and powerful and yea, snobs, is just silly.  

    • formerlyAnon

      My only quibble is that it would have been hard to deny Branson a father’s rights under the law, unless they were willing to report him as a dangerous revolutionary – kind of a big thing to hush up for baby Sybil’s later respectability. But influence and the application of money and pressure would have made it very, very difficult for him.

    • anotherEloise

      This!  It’s the pandering to conventional 21st-century thinking that dismays me most about the show.  Even worse than the soap-operatic plot twists and total subordination of character to plot.

  • susu11

    I knew about Sybil and Matthew’s deaths prior to it airing to PBS because I accidentally stumbled into spoiler territory on an internet search. While Sybil’s death still had an emotional impact on me, Matthew left me cold as ice. It was such a hacky, soap opera-ish way to end his character arc. Even worse was the build up to the accident with everybody going on about how wonderful everything was…I mean who couldn’t see what was going to happen a mile away? I know sublety is not Fellowes strong point, but Jesus Christ! All character development, context, and any kind of realistic character motivations seem to just go out the window with each episode. 

    I think it is a shame because Matthew began as such an interesting character – this middle-class lawyer with modern notions getting thrust into an increasingly antiquated world, but working to ensure it’s survival nonetheless. That is the stuff of great high drama, but the stakes never feel really there with this show. It’s so damn frustrating! 

    I know I will still tune in to watch because I love Branson, Mrs. Hughes’ and of course the Dowager Countess, but I can’t even express how disappointing it’s been watching so much potential for great storylines and social commentary being wasted over and over again.

  • Polka_Dotty

    The series was meant to last three seasons; Dan Stevens fulfilled his contract. He certainly wasn’t obligated to play Matthew for the rest of his career. As has been mentoned, he just finished starring on Broadway, has several other projects lined up, and even was a judge for a literary prize, The Booker Award, which meant he had a slew of novels to read while he was filming this season. 

    One question about his death – I watched the last five minutes several times to figure out why he was speeding. He was racing to tell the family…what?  They have a telephone, they knew a baby boy had been born, so he rushed back to  the estate to tell them that visiting hours wrre soon to commence? 

    • Lilithcat

       It didn’t make any kind of sense.

      Like much of this series.

    • twocee

       I didn’t think he was racing to tell anyone anything.  I thought he was just having a joyride in the car — driving fast and enjoying the sunshine because he was happy.  TOO happy…dun, dun, dun.

      • Polka_Dotty

        He was definitely on his way to DA. Mary and Matthew were discussing the family’s upcoming visit, and she said, “You’d better go and tell them.” The next we see, he’s in the car.

    • decormaven

      He was racing toward his destiny. To leave DA, find that fame is fleeting, and end up as a trick question on a quiz show. [Off to the Bitterness Fiesta...]

    • Sweetbetty

       I don’t think speeding was the cause of his demise; it was more because he was gazing around at the beautiful scenery, thinking about how great life was for him, and he didn’t see the other guy coming on that narrow road.

  • AshleighV

    Given the Crawley sister’s track record when it comes to giving birth, maybe it’s best if Edith doesn’t have a child. The whole family would probably get wiped out. 

  • formerlyAnon

    misplaced comment

  • Lattis

    Well, I was just hoping that Anna and Bates would find a way to repeatedly work “her ladyship’s soap” into conversation around O’Brien. 

    Thomas: We’re going in to the shops this afternoon.
    Bates: Don’t forget to pick up HER LADYSHIP”S SOAP. 
    O’Brien: winces and pales
    Anna giggles.

    Mrs. Patmore: The storeroom is open now. Dear, dear, I have liver pate all over me self.
    Anna: Oooo, too bad you can’t clean up with HER LADYSHIP”S SOAP. It’s ever so fragrant.
    O’Brien: winces and pales
    Bates snorts.

    etc.  

    • Judy_J

      What a great brand name! I’d buy “Her Ladyship’s Soap”.

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         So would Lady Crabby!

  • kmiller1k

    I wonder if Dan Stevens has thought about the fallout from leaving the show? He may actually hurt his career by pissing off so many DA lovers with his refusal to sign on for future seasons.

    In fact, if he were smart he would reconcile with the show’s producers and come back. After all dr clarkson can heal most any near fatal event

    • http://twitter.com/NJedwina Edwina

      Dan Stevens is entitled to move on from this shipwreck of a show, may he live long and prosper in whatever projects he chooses.

    • formerlyAnon

       Way earlier in the thread I posted a link to an interview with Stevens. It sounded like he made his decision with his eyes open.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

    Wouldn’t it be funny for the socialist Branson to be running the estate and making money for one and all?

    Lord Fellowes- watch the 21st century expressions – Learning Curve! I heard it again last night! And I was coming down with a cold and still had the sense to know that it didn’t belong there.

    • Lilithcat

      “Learning curve” is not a 21st-century expression.  A quick bit of research on Google shows that it was in use as early as 1919.

  • formerlyAnon

     My only quibble is that it would have been hard to deny Branson a father’s rights going solely by the law, unless they were willing to report him as a dangerous revolutionary – kind of a big thing to hush up for baby Sybil’s later respectability. But influence and the application of money and pressure would have made it very, very difficult for him.

  • Zippypie

    I was more annoyed at the hackneyed 1-min choppy scenes than anything in this episode.  All plot, hardly any character development.  Some of the most interesting scenes were with new or lesser characters in the story, just because they had somewhere to go – Shrimpy, Susan, the highland ladies maid.  Exceptions to that were the scenes with Branson and Mrs. Hughes, Carson with the baby and with Mrs. Hughes and the baby, and Dr. Clarkson and Isobel.  The rest was filler for plot devices that frankly smelled.  Storylines were dropped or not resolved in any convincing manner.  And the sappy bs with Matthew and Mary – ugh.  I knew Matthew was dead meat and absolutely agree that Fellowes flipped Dan Stevens a huge bird with this script, but in doing so, he also flipped his AUDIENCE off.  Not wise.

    I would also prefer if they skipped ahead 15 years or so, at least to the Nazis coming into power, put that’s not going to happen.  We’ll have to deal with Mary the Bitchy Widow and Edith the Poor Scandalous Mistress and Cousin Oliver and Simpering Cora and Thickhead Robert.  Hopefully there will be a lot more Shirtless Branson.  I’d rather focus on the downstairs characters at this point.  Upstairs is burned out.

    As far as Dan Stevens leaving, his contract was up.  It was poor planning on Fellowes’ part not to take that into consideration with his storyline prior to the middle of season 3 but it was also a dis to the fans on Stevens’ part for him not to at least give Fellowes one episode in Season 4 to wrap his character up in a more satisfying way.  Sounds like they both behaved a bit bratty about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.c.shea Angela Cotsones Shea

    I warned my husband that someone was going to kick the bucket in this episode, then spent the rest of it predicting heart attacks, hunting accidents, alcohol poisoning and impalement by Bateszzzz cane trying to do the reel. (But secretly I knew what was coming.  I actually pretended to vomit and flipped off the TV, it was SO stupid! 

  • RedRaven617

    Dan Stevens and Henry Winkler… what do these two men have in common? :::sigh:::

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

      Waaait. Henry Winkler is so much more epic than Dan Stevens. Arrested Development cures all ills. 

      • RedRaven617

        The only thing is that Dan Stevens got to die; Fonzie just had to water ski. 

  • BayTampaBay

    Sammantha Bond will have no trouble stepping into the shoes of Dame Maggie because Sir Julian has written the parts of Violet and Rosemund with this in mind since day one.

  • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

    Also, a friend of mine said it would have been better if a deer had lept out in front of Matthew’s car, since Matthew’s hunting party spent the better part of the last few days in fruitless search of deer.

  • Selena1979

    Given that Fellowes made these comments after the negative backlash to the Chritmas special, I don’t have a lot of stock in that.

  • http://twitter.com/NJedwina Edwina

    Even the actress who plays Mrs. Patmore admitted to NYMag that season 2 of DA kind of sucked, so why wouldn’t Dan Stevens see the hand writing on the wall and say adios?. I also read that their salaries are a pittance compared to the US.

    • Lisa_Cop

      I think that’s the real story. Obviously, the producers have made a ton of money on DA and, given how TV works in the UK, they didn’t feel they had to give any to the actors. I applaud Jessica Brown Findlay and Dan Stevens for walking out on an unfair deal.

  • BayTampaBay

    I really like it too!  Would have gotten rid of Matthew the same way!

    • PinkLemon

       IMO it was the only sensible way to have matthew exit. they couldn’t possibly come up with a logical reason in the amount of time they seemingly had. i love tragedy, i thought it was perfect. (when i heard he was leaving the show, i even thought ‘god i hope they kill him off. DRAMA.’) otherwise – yes, fellowes has written himself into a corner. and i second the notion that they fast forward 20 years – brilliant idea.

  • BayTampaBay

    He may ask her again in Season 4.

  • Judy_J

    I found it rather interesting that in my television viewing last night, I saw 3 death scenes. The first was Elizabeth Taylor as Gloria Wandrous in Butterfield 8 and her death in a car crash. Second was Matthew’s car crash death in Downton Abbey. Third was Omar Sherif as Dr. Zhivago and his death by heart attack in a Moscow street as he is trying to catch up with Lara. Omar’s scene wins hands down, with Elizabeth running a close second for the spectacular airborne car crash. Matthew’s death was anti-climactic in comparison.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZLU6YVO4BRTELTTH3GRAAMWZQ Dot

       Same here with BUtterfield 8 — hokey by modern standards, but it was actually better than Matthew’s car crash scene.

      • BayTampaBay

        One of my all time favorite Elizabeth Taylor movies.

  • Denise

    I could buy the death by car accident but the “be my friend” “okay” not so much.

  • BayTampaBay

    Mark my words….Violet will be there for her!  I can see Violet saying something like…”What leave…OH NO…You are the best sparing partner I have ever had!”

  • BayTampaBay

    See I loved it cornball and all.

  • Gnulife

    Fellowes has written himself into a corner– lavishly decorated, but still a corner. Many of his plot devices in last night’s episode were contrived, for example the conflict between Lord Shrimp-y and Lady Crabb-y. And with that daughter of theirs threatening to become a major character, things are not looking so Rose-y.
    One moment with both pathos and humor– Mollesley dancing Mollesley Style.
    I thought the new baby scene showed the contrast between the two parents. Mary asks Matthew if he is “proud” now that there is an heir and Downton Abbey is saved. Matthew just stares at the baby and all his emoting shows he is in love. I think with Mary, it’s always been about pride. With Matthew, it was about love.

    “Oh please!” moments: 1. Mrs Patmore is “relieved” that she doesn’t have to marry that gross tradesman. And this choice not to marry out of loyalty to the family has been done– Mrs Hughes in season one.
    2. James is about to be mugged and who shows up for the rescue? Why, Thomas of course.
    3. Oh please– make Rose disappear….

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

      1. I don’t think Mrs. Hughes turned down her suitor for the Crawley-Granthams. She turned him down because she liked supporting herself. Which she also seems to encourage Mrs. Patmore to continue to do.
      2. Thomas was following James, he admitted as much.
      3. Let’s trade her for more Shrimpy!

      • BayTampaBay

        Mrs. Patmore did turn down Mr. Fat & Gross for the family either.

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           Well, maybe in order to prevent adding to HIS family. :) The thing about all the great cooking she does for the Granthams: she gets PAID for it. Loved Carson’s upbraiding of the boys when they asked for time off for the fair: “I’m sorry, is something going wrong with your checks?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=662439706 Lisa Sievenpiper Davis

    I think a plot line will be that Bates really did kill Vera and he will tell Anna in Season 4 so there will be some drama there. And perhaps now Mary, being unburdened by her future responsibility of Countess, will become something different, as alluded to in Season 2 when her reputation was besmirched and her marital outlooks dreary. The 1930s were a horrible time in Europe, making World War 2 possible, so maybe there will be starylines about that.
    But it is still so sad that Matthew is gone, although I am sure there is a long line of available and gorgeous actors waiting to fill his shoes as the lead hunky-yet-sensitive guy. I did find it disappointing and abrupt. Couldn’t even really cry.

    • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

      People magazine says that they’re thisclose to casting a hot actor named Tom Ellis to possibly play Lady Mary’s new love interest.  It’s on the People front page now, I just didn’t want my post to get stuck in link moderation.  :)

    • BayTampaBay

      Guys Mary wanted to be at the least Countess of Grantham…She was more that willing to marry Duke of Crowbrough person to become a Duchess.

      I think and will always think that Mary really did love Matthew.  Mary is a bitch because she has nothing else to do but be a bitch.  If she had something productive to do…like  a career that was not an option in the 1920s for someone of her class….she would be or come off as such a bitch.

  • Judy_J

    I haven’t read all the comments, but was wondering if anyone else enjoyed Mosley’s free form Isadora Duncan dance sequence as much as I did.

    • KSuKim

       It was one of the highlights of the show!

      • Sweetbetty

         He dances as well as he plays cricket.

  • Buffy

    It was obvious that Tom was flattered by the cheeky 2nd housemaid’s attentions but not really interested at all.  But lonely nevertheless.  He’s straddling two worlds and doing an admirable job but what happens when he does find someone he’s interested in – can’t be above his station but not too low either, poor man’s got nowhere to go.  Loved the scene with him and Mrs. Hughes and those with Mr. Carson and baby Sibyl (who is adorable!)  Not sure where they’re going with Rose…  Kind of liked the idea of Dr. Clarkson and Mrs. Crawley but liked it even more that she turned him down and so nicely too, I would have expected her usual abrasiveness.  The only thing I can think of is that Jimmy really is conflicted sexually and not willing to admit it yet and is really attracted to Thomas.  Not sure where they can go with that, give the two of them the cottage next to Anna and Bates?  Not bloody likely.  It also seems like they’re setting up Alfred to become the new assistant cook once Daisy leaves to run the farm.  Not sure how Ivy will feel about that since she’d rightly be next in line for that job, but at least Daisy isn’t being mean to her anymore.  You could tell that Mr. Tufton was out for his chance from the moment he walked in the door, he’s probably tried that on any number of cooks through the years.  But it was nice to see Mrs. Patmore get all giddy and have something to do out of the kitchen for once.

    Due to the gleeful spoiling of a family friend – after I pointedly asked him to keep his mouth shut – I knew Matthew was going to die in this episode.  But honestly, Julian, is that the best you could think of?  Definitely an FU exit to Dan Stevens complete with obviously fake dripping blood.  I spent the whole episode looking at the clock, there are only X minutes left, how are they going to kill him off?  It really spoiled my enjoyment of any of it, even the fun bits.  Oh they’re deer stalking, the gun is going to backfire in his face or wait no Mr. Editor will accidently shoot him causing more angst for Edith as well!  Matthew is going to drink that spiked punch meant for O’Brien and find out he has an anaphalactic (however that’s spelled) allergy to whiskey!  (but we got a drunk Mr. Mosley which was rather amusing).  An bad batch of haggis?  Fly fishing accident?  An acute attack of appendicitis?  A sudden train derailment and he never gets to see the baby at all?  Any of those would have been more dramatic then the “oh darling I’m so blissfully happy now I’ll go and die” scenario that we got.  Naturally they didn’t ever discuss baby’s name because it will of course be Matthew Jr. just as we got Sibyl Jr.  And also, that scene in the servant’s hall “they just call me Anna like they’ve always done” was lifted straight out of Gosford Park.  I get that all these stories are feeding off each other, but please.  And of course because of Shrimpy’s need to sell off and escape to India to save face, Robert finally appreciates Matthew’s newfangled ideas just as it’s all too too late.  Next season we’ll be having Mrs. Crazy Editor setting fire to Edith’s love nest. Gah!  

    • Lisa_Cop

      Right at the New Year the NYT wrote an article that not only said that Matthew was dying but how and that Mary would be pregnant and give birth to a son. I had seen season 3 by buying UK DVDS but the Christmas special wasn’t realized until later. Within a few days Dan Stevens exit was all over the Internet. Avoiding spoilers was impossible in my case.

    • BayTampaBay

      “Kind of liked the idea of Dr. Clarkson and Mrs. Crawley but liked it even more that she turned him down and so nicely too, I would have expected her usual abrasiveness.”

      She did not realize he was proposing….this will come out in season 4.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindsay.lyon.94 Lindsay Lyon

    My very, very soapy alternative ending:

    Matthew is gored by a stag or shot or gets a really bad knee-scraping while hunting. He is hurried back to the castle, dying. Mary, shocked, goes into labor. We see them together- trapped by their own bodies!- lying in different beds in a sick ward or however these castles work. Matthew vows that he must live to see his child born, and it seems like he’s just going to make it. The baby pops out. Everyone looks with joy and sorrow to Matthew, only to find that he has died during the excitement. Did he perish before the baby was born? The two families agree to fudge the times a little bit, but that doubt will follow little Matthew Jr. all through the seasons to come. And the doctor knows.

    Anyways, it’s more dramatic than the delirious whatever-that-was Fellowes scribbled out. 

  • Elizabetta1022

     I wonder if he started thinking about leaving when they made him say that he felt something tingling “down there”? That whole plot line was pretty awful. But I still must admit that I am a bit heartbroken today.

  • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

    But Julian Fellowes said they were hoping to get him to make a few appearances in Season 4, even though he had stated he was leaving.   That’s why I think this episode ended so abruptly, the negotiations for season 4 guest appearances fell through.

  • Elizabetta1022

    There were many wonderful moments last night and throughout the season. I continue to be blown away by the talent of the cast. Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Patmore, Carson and the Dowager are so well-played–true masters at the height of their craft. The scenes you mentioned were wonderfully played. (Of the younger cast members, Branson, in particular, showed growth as an actor this year, as did Thomas.) The O’Brien/Wilkins feud was a fabulous plot twist, as well, worthy of members of the Medici Court. I was half-expecting the jealous maid to poison O’Brien. Yes, there were some definite “clunker” moments this year, but as a whole, I thought it was an excellent season.

    • BayTampaBay

      I could not agree with you more.  As bad as season 2 was I watched every minute of the on-air broadcast each time it was broadcast and then marathoned it via DVD twice on two rainy afternoons last year.

  • Larry Bouchard

    Get a grip, T&L and all the rest of you who are frothing at the mouth over last night’s finale. I think, from reading the Times piece today, Julian’s hands were pretty much tied in trying to appease Dan and Jessica’s desire to depart the show. At the end of the day, it’s a soap opera…a well played, costumed, photographed and just delicious to watch one at that. For heaven’s sake…don’t get so worked up if you can at the very least say you were entertained.

    • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

      We were laughing too hard to froth at the mouth. Sorry.

      • Larry Bouchard

         Didn’t think I implied that you were “frothing” at the mouth as those who post that they’ll never watch again for example…just a little bit of a loose grip on how much it does or doesn’t matter perhaps. As TV is filled with the likes of Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians and as Project Runway and its spawns are now only worthy of DVRing and watching the last half-hour (and that’s a stretch at times), Downton, even as it stumbles, is still superior television and quite the breath of fresh air.

  • lizlemonglasses

    Can someone explain the “Christmas Special” thing? They air at Christmas in the UK? Was the U.S. season finale the Christmas Special?

    Every time the curly-haired cousin (Rose?) was on, I yelled “DON’T CARE!” Ugh. We’re to be subjected to more of her? Double for Shrimpie and the Shrew. We get that they don’t get along. We don’t need to see 17 petty fight scenes to get it. I agree, there were still moments I loved. Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore, particularly. Branson’s crying actually made me cry — and that’s the first time I’ve cried watching this show. 

    I STILL CAN’T TALK ABOUT THAT HACKNEYED, DEUX EX MACHINA FINAL SCENE. Ugh.

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      “Shrimpie and the Shrew” – what a great title for a spin-off!

      • http://twitter.com/carelessriver Caterina Maria

        Have now got “Shrimpie and the Shrew” echoing in my head to the tune of “Pinky and the Brain”. Thanks. :)

        • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

          I was thinking more in the tune of “Chico and The Man”.

    • Corsetmaker

      Your previous episode was the final episode of series 3. The longer length Christmas special was shown on Christmas night,

    • Lisa_Cop

      To your questions, yes and yes.

  • lizlemonglasses

    It’s not that he did it, it’s *how* he did it. That final scene was crap.
    (ETA: This was in reply to Larry Bouchard’s comment. Outrage has impaired my technological skills.)

    • Lilithcat

      Outrage has impaired my technological skills.

      Probably not.  It’s probably just Disqus being annoying, as usual.

      • BayTampaBay

        I wish TLo would do a tutorial on how to avoid Disqus wormholes.

  • decormaven

    removed

  • Damien W

    My goodness, Countesses! Who peed in your Apple Charlotte?

    Matthew was an unremarkable middle-class man who spent 10 years coping with having been tossed into the circus of aristoracy and all its potholes and landmines. He lived in a wheelchair after having been through a war. He was never a poet, nor was he particularly brilliant or insightful. He was a pretty simple man who became a lawyer, then decided that corporate law was more interesting. He was the kind of humble everyman who tried to see the good in people, and whose romantic/happy banter is mostly stolen from movies he’d seen.

    He was really no match for Mary, that is, until he got her to bed. That shrew of a woman could never go to bed angry at him. When she asked how he knew she could be a good person deep down, he said, “Because I’ve seen you naked.” He never thought himself deserving of his blessings, but he knew enough to appreciate them in his own way.

    In hindsight, his character made perfect sense to me. And I’ll miss him.

    • BayTampaBay

      “He was the kind of humble everyman who tried to see the good in people, and whose romantic/happy banter is mostly stolen from movies he’d seen.”

      I agree I always liked Matthew.  Mary was not supposed to be attracted “his sort” but she was.  If the love of the marriage was lived out between the sheets then they were way ahead of most couples I know.
      I have always had a problem with Sir Julian’s dialogue. 75% of his dialogue on Downton Abbey is contemporary 2013 word speak.  However, the Matthew character always spoke with words and a cadence that was spot on to me for 1912 through 1920.  To me, the things he said when he entered Mary’s post-postpartum hospital room ran true with the speech and cadence of 1920s.  My great-grandfather talked like that.  

      Then again, Warren Beatty had the same problem with word speak, language and cadence when he collaborated on the screenplay for REDs so Sir Julian is in good company.

  • Martha Anderson

    agree this show has gone far beyond the soap opera

    when they said that the fair was in Thirsk I expected there to be an announcement calling for Mr Whight / Harriot.  Thirsk is where the reall James Harriot had his Vet Practice.

    I feel betrayed by how sappy and manipulative this show has become.

    but I have to say  “Selfridges”  this might be fun!!!  and talk about fashion!

  • desertwind

    I knew there were two deaths this season and, as the finale rolled on, enjoyed anticipatin’ who’d go and how.

    Okay, I admit to being sad it was Increasingly Boring Old Mathew who died but only because I still love Lady Mary and Season One Mathew was pretty great. Hmmmm…was that modern farm machinery that wiped him out?

    Hey! At least this season was better than season 2. Thank god.

  • Corsetmaker

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but a lot of people do expect too much of this Sunday night period soap. And especially of an episode aired to be watched when stuffed with turkey and christmas pud and half-cut. 

    That being said my response to the ending on Christmas day was more ‘aw what! c’mon!’ than anything else. And I watched the episode with a sense of sinking inevitability as flag after flag went up.

    It was lovely to see my family seat ;) A stunning castle in a beautiful location.

    So what now. I think Mary will retreat and shut everyone out, maybe even the baby. I think Edith will take charge more when she’s there. And rather than just the wannabe flapper stories, Rose will be the one that brings some warmth. And yes, I do think they’ll put her with Branson at some point, take her out of her present situation and she has some Sybil-like qualities. Without Mathew’s business mind, there will be more money worries (would their be death duties on the Swires money that went to Mathew even though he invested in the estate?). Maybe a fire or something that really knocks the stuffing out of Robert.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HN3JCVPMHWANQP5MF2VJT7QDK4 Beverly

      Are you a Campbell? That looked like Inveraray Castle.

      • Corsetmaker

        Yes, and it was :)

  • BookishBren

    I found this entire episode eye-roll worthy. The ONLY touching part was the conversation between Branson and Mrs. Hughes where she tells him she is proud of him and he breaks down. I thought that was very sweet. 

    This episode felt like hours…weeks….of scenic Scottish landscapes, endless scenes between and about the unhappy marriage of Shrimpie and Bitchy (ohmilord…..who CARES?!)—just so much FILLER. 

    I have never been a Mary and Matthew fan. I don’t get the appeal of their characters and I am not particularly impressed with the actors playing them, frankly. They are very “one note”. I would actually like to see more of Lady Edith in season 4. I am desperately afraid we will be subjected to a season dominated by pale Mary’s tight-lipped and lock-jawed romance scenes with a series of boring suitors. The only thing giving me hope is the actor supposedly playing Mary’s love interest in S4:

    http://www.digitalspy.com/british-tv/s183/downton-abbey/news/a459423/miranda-star-tom-ellis-for-downton-abbey.html

    We ADORE him on Miranda. He is really good. I was never a fan of Dan Stevens. He was just so darn vanilla and bland. 

    Final thing—I REALLY FREAKING WISH PBS would start airing DA closer to the original UK airing. I do not seek out spoilers, but do read UK news because my partner is British. Both deaths were spoiled for me. PBS could be more like BBCAmerica is with Dr. Who and just air it same night or at least within the same week.  

  • http://twitter.com/jen_canary Jennifer Ford

    Matthew’s death drive looked to me to be a shot-for-shot homage to Meg Ryan’s death ride in “City of Angels.”

  • boweryboy

    Before this season aired, I caught wind of the two upcoming deaths so after the second episode of season 3 I gave up on the Abbey. I didn’t have the patience anymore and I can’t say I regret doing so.

    I’ll go back to rewatching Upstairs Downstairs .

  • http://twitter.com/jen_canary Jennifer Ford

    Well, Doctor Who is a BBC property as is BBC America. DA is ITV and the universal air date thing is probably a lot more difficult to arrange when that family relationship doesn’t exist (if it were BBC, I’m sure it would same-day-air on BBC America, though).

    • BookishBren

      Fair point. But it seems like they could air it sooner. I remember there was a lot of criticism over the delay of Sherlock. It airs in the early fall in the UK and not until May here. PBS just said that is when it fit into their schedule. 

      Well….rearrange your schedule, dadgummit! haha

      • formerlyAnon

        ITV and PBS either care not or cannot. There is the same delay with the Inspector Lewis series. (Whose final series I mourn though I haven’t yet seen it. Being quite fond of eyeing both the elder and younger detectives. Each has his charms.)

        • BookishBren

          I actually order Inspector Lewis from Amazon UK when it comes out (multi-region dvd player is all you need) because I cannot wait for PBS to air it. Same with Sherlock! DIVINE!

      • jeeplibby02

        There’s video somewhere of EP Rebecca Eaton of PBS explaining why DA doesn’t air simultaneously on both sides of The Pond.  It has to do with the there being three distinct types of programming aired under the “Masterpiece” umbrella: Classic, Mystery, and Contemporary.  DA comes under the Classic umbrella, which airs in the winter, because that’s when they have determined that the target audience for that kind of programming will sit down to watch (Comtemporary follows in the spring; and Mystery airs in the summer).  She also said that last year’s “Christmas episode” (i.e., last night’s) was deliberately not set during the holiday season, because it would be too confusing to Americans viewing it in February.  She didn’t say it like that, exactly, but that’s what it boiled down to: we Americans are too dense to wrap our heads around out-of-season storytelling.  I got the impression that PBS is now providing the bulk of the financing (and maybe the viewing numbers, as well) for DA, and is able to dictate this sort of thing. I also got the impression that Miss Eaton is quite a bitch.

        • Corsetmaker

          That annoyed me when I was watching it. When you’re sitting there on Christmas day watching a big special you don’t really want a summer fair! For years we’ve had random Christmas episodes of US sit-coms in the middle of summer, it’s just how it works. Trying to manipulate things like that to compromise just ends up ruining the whole thing.

        • greenwich_matron

          That kind of rigid “this is the way we have always done it” thinking makes me crazy. DA is a huge windfall for PBS and they are blowing it. The biggest fans of the show are the ones who are most likely to trip over spoilers (and realize their significance), so PBS is spoiling it for them in favor of people who aren’t into the show.

        • BookishBren

          Ahhhh, thank you. I just won’t wait for PBS anymore and will get it on dvd from the UK. I just had too many spoilers this time. My partner is British so we read a lot of UK news and it is almost impossible to avoid spoilers when they have them in headlines. Sheesh.

  • Coco Cornejo

    Matthew’s death opens up the possibility for oh so much more drama for the Granthams. Who will see through his plans to modernize? Tom? No, he’s only the estate manager. His lordship, hardly. Mary? She’d being going against all kinds of social norms for women. Matthew’s death is not the end of the series. It is just one more challenge for the family to overcome. Will Lady Mary live up to Matthew’s high praise or revert to her earlier spoiled self? Will Tom find his way in the unlikely role he’s taken on. Will Edith finally be able to use her “invisibility” to her advantage? Will little Sybie and Matty grow up to marry and guarantee succession? 

    Re: Mrs. Crawley If she had married the fine doctor, wouldn’t she have been kicked out of her fine house and squarely back into the middle class? She’d be more the doctor’s wife than the heir-apparent’s mother. Perhaps she’s more status-conscious than she likes to let on.

    Re: Rose staying at Downton Does that mean that the Granthams take on the duty and expense of her coming out? She’s not so bad as characters go. She seems to have settled down a little bit and might give Lady Grantham another chance to prove her mothering skills. 

    I’m not upset with Julian Fellows, but I am upset with PBS who broadcast a half an hour of beg-a-thon after this episode finished. I know that fundraisers are told to ask and ask often. But I think they should also ask respectfully and not turn their stations into little more than The Shopping Network hawking over-priced DVDs. 

    • Lisa_Cop

      Others seasons (though not this one) they trimmed episodes that in the UK ran about 65 minutes to about 50-55 minutes. As a result, I only buy the ITV DVDs.

      • BayTampaBay

        It is my understanding that the DVDs sold om PBS website are the unedited UK version.  If this is not true. please let me know.  There are differences in the PBS broadcast and the DVDs I purchased on the PBS website.

    • not_Bridget

      Subscribe to your local PBS station and let them know what you think.

  • CarolinLA

    It wasn’t Matthew’s death that was so hokey – it was all the dialogue that led up to it.  It telegraphed that something bad was going to happen.  It was DUH-ex-machina at its worst.

  • CarolinLA

    I wish that it had been someone in the house that was driving the other car.  THAT would’ve been a dramatic thread to run through next season. Especially if it was Thomas, someone who they had stuck their neck out for to keep employed.

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    I haven’t read this anywhere, but here’s my theory that Fellowes got the idea for Mary and Edith from Gone With the Wind.  Mary is supposed to be Scarlett O’Hara.  Mary is bitchy because Scarlett is bitchy.  Scarlett is horrible to her younger sister so Mary is too.  BUT, Scarlett did things: rescued Melanie and her baby (O.K. mostly for selfish reasons), saved Tara, kept Tara going and had new ideas that conflicted with the old ways of doing things to get what she wanted.  Mary had to marry the heir and produce the next heir.  That’s about it.  On the other hand, Sue Ellen never got a break so neither does Edith.  But  to me Mary is just bitchy without Scarlett’s drive and Edith is much more active and does more things than Sue Ellen.  

    So…time to give Edith a break, give up on the idea that Mary has to be mean for no reason to Edith, and give Mary more to do.

    • Corsetmaker

      So really not much like it at all then :D

      Now had Mary mooned over Mathew but been forced to marry Carlisle for his money only to discover she was madly in love with him just as he walked out on her then yes. :)

      • formerlyAnon

        I thought and still think that Mary and Carlisle could be a very good and happy pairing, given a common goal towards which they could manipulate, work and plot.

  • pattycap11

    Since I just started watching this season, this death didn’t mean very much to me, but neither did Lady Sybil’s, for that matter, because the whole show is very very brit-porn (accents, high-mindedness, scenery, fey humor, speechifying, nice clothes, valets, the occasional county fair) soapy to me anyway and I’m not expecting anything else. 

  • CarolinLA

    Things I loved about last night:
    *The continued thread of the relationship between Carson and Lady Mary.  Her concern that he would be distressed waiting on her birth news was so lovely.
    *That Jimmy didn’t turn out to be gay.  That a friendship was born when both know that there will always be a tiny amount of conflict was good for the drama of the show.
    *Mrs. Patmore’s laugh – I guffawed at her rat-a-tat laughter.  It was the highlight of the night.
    *That Branson and Edna didn’t become a couple and that Mrs. Hughes had his back.  Their honest talk was fantastic.
    *I loved that Thomas was willing to put his life at risk for Jimmy.  As we saw with his reaction to Lady Sybil’s death, he feels much deeper than we see.
    *Maggie Smith.  I don’t care what she says or does, I worship at her feet.  I need a bracelet that says “WWMSD?” for What Would Maggie Smith Do?

  • neofashionista

    Totally agree with you T LO that for Fellows this pathetic death was REVENGE
    and this was wonderfully evidenced in an article in the Telegraph a british magazine (I cant provide the link for some reason but you can google it) in which Fellows talks about how disappointed he was and how he tried several times to get Matthew to change his mind but Matthew is on to bigger and better things; my thing is with a bit of creativity they didnt even have to kill him

    • BayTampaBay

      If Dan Stevens did not want to remain on the show I say GOOD RIDDANCE!  

  • Mightiadd

    Why see the glass half full when it’s filled to the brim with possibility?  With that pious Matthew gone, the struggle to rule Downton Abbey begins(at least until the actual heir is of age).  Will Lord Grantham and Branson forge a partnership, or will a new character with business acumen enter the picture?  Lady Edith has the affair with her editor, and her column becomes wildly successful.  Richard Carlisle appears again, tries to lure her to his newspaper, and Edith indulges in an affair with him as well.  At last, vengeance against Mary!  Over in India, Shrimpy’s tiresome wife dies of typhoid, or malaria, or something.  Rose is acting up, so Shrimpy returns to Downtown to provide parental guidance.  The grieving and lonely Mary, who has always had a Daddy-complex, begins a torrid affair with Shrimpy.  Much to Mary’s carnal delight,  Shrimpy is just an ironic nickname.  Lady Grantham is appalled,  but Lord Grantham is strangely silent, perhaps fondly recalling his youthful days with Shrimpy at Eton.  The righteous Mrs. Crawley turns to opium after the death of her only child.  To support her wicked ways, Crawley uses the destitute women who seek her help as prostitutes, becoming a legendary madam.  Now for those folks in the basement and attic…

    • MRT144

      Possibility that ends with spilled milk.

  • melissa sarno

    Funny, when I told my husband about your valid point: what storylines are left? he said, ‘Oh god, they’re going to bring back Ethel’.  Which seemed their go-to, got-nothing-else storyline. Perhaps cousin Rose will provide some entertainment…

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.bailes.7 Lisa Bailes

    Thank God. By next season, Matthew would have yet another chin and he and Mary’s love scenes would be so cold as to cause frostbite. I was over Matthew early this season, and once Mary started with her “carpe diem” speech in bed a few episodes back, I knew he was toast. No spoiler required. Bring in some new blood, I say …

  • CatherineRhodes

    I read that the Matthew actor was leaving the show, which only left the plotpoint of how to dispatch him. When they were getting out the guns, I thought for sure Lord Grantham was going to pull a Cheney…

  • Tom Shea

    Make sure all you guys post next year at this time about how you’re TOTES not watching the show.
    Se  you all next series, sez Mr. Fellowes, laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Adriana_Paula

    So what I’ve learned is, housemaids whose names start with the letter E are whores.

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    I don’t know how Series 4 will begin, but Series 5 will begin in Dublin with Lady Sybil saying to Branson, “Pregnancy is causing me to have such odd dreams…”

  • http://twitter.com/ToddieDowns ToddieDowns

    Another potential plot twist that could keep me watching – Lady Edith and Branson. The fallout from that would be epic.

    • SapphoPoet

      How about Branson and Rose?

      • BayTampaBay

        How about Branson and TampaBay????

  • Judy Goldman

    Perfect assessment! What a non-event-filled episode, ending with a horrible WT…?! scene. My first reaction was that I never wanted to watch the show again. Awful! 

  • janierainie

    Exactly! Tra la la la la “I’m speeding down a country road enjoying nature” was so ridiculous I almost turned off the tv. I yelled at my husband “they’re going to kill him!!” I couldn’t believe how obvious it was. Fellowes could have let a stag get him! Or someone could have accidentally shot him, and it could have been a “who shot Matthew” storyline. Oh the opportunities lost! 

  • SapphoPoet

    Well, garumph. That is not the ending I wanted for this season. I had an inkling that someone died, but I thought it would be the Dowager Countess, certainly not Matthew. However, everyone happy on this show is doomed. Anyway, loved the Highland scenery–just gorgeous. And I think I need to hire a bagpiper to pipe us into meals. I LOVE Edith’s clothes this season–the colors are so gorgeous.

    Speaking of period clothes, I’m going to a croquet match in April. My college–St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland–always plays a croquet match against the Naval Academy (which is across the street). It’s a big event and people tend to dress in 1920s-period clothing (or as close as they can get). It’s all very Downton/Great Gatsby. Downton has been a wonderful source of visual inspiration–I keep looking at all the women’s shoes and their accessories to figure out how to pull this outfit together. 

    Just for fun, I pulled out my silver-plate tea set, polished it up, and set it out. Did the same with a silver mirror, brush, and comb my MIL gave me years ago. It’s nice to have little touches of Downtown luxury in one’s life. 

  • BayTampaBay

    Shed is going to marry Dr. Clarkson.  This will tie Isobel to Downton Abbey for the remainder of the life of the show.

    The Dowager will not be able to run her off back to Manchester because she will have a husband in the village.  By marrying Clarkson she can remain at Downton or the village by choice without seeming like she is on the coattails of the family.

    This way Violet & Isobel can continue to pick at each other for all eternity.

    • Glammie

      Well, marrying Clarkson isn’t necessary for that–her only grandchild is at Downton Abbey.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1069083922 Brady Galan

    I do believe I’ll be getting off the Downton train after this ridiculous (and seemingly vindictive) plot twist.  I love T Lo’s last point about jumping ahead to 1938, and think given the fact that no one has really aged on the show (look even at that damn dog), the Dowager could easily still be with them!

  • BayTampaBay

    I agree 100%!

  • BayTampaBay

    Me too!

  • Anniebet

    Bah. I’m enjoying the series, even though I realize there are deficiencies in the plotting. I’m a lifelong sucker for British TV, including Monty Python, Duchess of Duke Street, House of Eliott,  The Grand, Upstairs Downstairs, and on and on. Lots of the early TV had terrible music and actors with atrocious teeth. The Downton clan is at least pretty and well groomed.

  • O H

     Yes, and perhaps also as a  paraplegic Canadian Mountie!

  • BayTampaBay

    I hope fellow finds away to bring back Sir Richard as I loved his chararcter.

    • Glammie

      Yeah, me too.  Good actor–he’s in Game of Thrones though, so there are scheduling issues, I expect.

  • Glammie

    Late to the wake, since I only finished watching the series last night–though some creep in some thread somewhere spoiled the damn ending for me weeks ago–but just wanted to say thank you to TLo for, yet again, totally nailing it in their review.  Matthew, unitl Julian Fellowes destroyed him with godawful writing, was one of my favorite characters.  Nonetheless, I also laughed when he was killed off in the last minute.  I’ve appreciated Fellowes’ effrontery–I also laughed when Pamuk died en flagrante back in Season One.  But this did not work as a plot point.  And I dreamed about that bleeding dead face–ugh.  If I want the corpse thing, I’ll watch the Walking Dead.

    I keep wondering why Dan Stevens was so dead set on leaving–I keep wondering if part of it was how bad the scripts got.  He’s an educated guy who also writes–there’s no way he’d miss that the quality of the writing for his character seriously eroded over three seasons.  (Certainly, Maggie Smith makes out like a bandit when it comes to getting the best lines–not that she doesn’t deserve it.)

  • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie
  • Kristy Evans

    As soon as the episode ended I muttered, “Julian Fellowes, you HACK.” I wasn’t even sad or angry. I just felt…disappointed. Which is the worst thing to feel after a finale. UGH.

  • MRT144

    This entire time I was supposed to be fixated on the sociopath of the estate? All those hours…wasted.

  • funkypeanut

    Yes, Fellowes should have completely pulled a Bewitched. It would have given him a chance to find a Matthew who had more chemistry with Mary.

  • funkypeanut

    Quite honestly, I was expecting a miscarriage. Maybe I missed something, what with the jump forward in time between episodes and the ten minutes I spent dishing out ice cream in the middle of the show, but I didn’t realize that Mary was far into the pregnancy. I wonder why they thought that it was okay for a woman that far along to travel by train, especially alone. (Anna was there, yes, but in second-or-third-class, not with Mary.)

  • Lisa_Cop

    Yes, PBS both edits and recombines the original ITV episodes. If you have an international DVD or blu-ray player, get the ITV DVDs.

  • Lisa_Cop

    Yes PBS both edits and recombines the original ITV episodes.

  • atticus229

    I just finished watching Mrs. Miniver (a great movie) and one of the main story lines in the movie is the village flower show wherein the winner has always been the grande dame of the village…  Sound familiar?   In the movie, the grande dame set aside the vote for her flowers in order to appease the masses and bestow the award upon the village train porter.    Now that I’ve recognized that, it sort of diminishes the appeal of the DA episode by knowing it’s not original.  I suspect many of the readers here already knew this, but I found it disappointing.

  • atticus229

    I just finished watching Mrs. Miniver (a great movie) and one of the main story lines in the movie is the village flower show wherein the winner has always been the grande dame of the village…  Sound familiar?   In the movie, the grande dame set aside the vote for her flowers in order to appease the masses and bestow the award upon the village train porter.    Now that I’ve recognized that, it sort of diminishes the appeal of the DA episode by knowing it’s not original.  I suspect many of the readers here already knew this, but I found it disappointing.