Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dishing on Downton, Final Week.

Spoiler alert. Don't read on if you haven't watched the final episode yet.

For those of you who have--what a roller coaster, wasn't it? So much covered in one episode. And all the time waiting for doom to strike. Since I had read that the actor who plays Matthew was leaving the show I knew that something bad was about to happen to him. So when he went out with a gun, got on a train I was sitting on the edge of my seat. And then when he and Mary and the baby were so happy together I knew he'd never make it home alive.

Now I wonder how successful a new season can be. Wasn't the whole glue that kept us watching the love story between Mary and Matthew? The family is going to get naughty Rose, but she won't make up for the ones we have lost.

I liked the storyline with the servants this week, didn't you? And I like the way they have become people we know and care about. Mrs. Patmore and her suitor, Mrs. Hughes showing such a caring nature, and Thomas and Jimmy sorting things out. All good. And Daisy now seems to be friends with the new kitchen maid.

But sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Bates--too syrupy for words. I want them to be happy... but...enough already.

I wonder if anything will become of Isobel and the doctor? That was a nice little cameo too, wasn't it?

And one thing I loved personally was the whole Scottish environment. The castle, the piper, the stalking and the clouds over the green Scottish hills are exactly like Lady Georgie's home at Castle Rannoch in my Royal Spyness books. And the great hall with all the weapons and stag's heads. And the piper waking them each morning. All so familiar. It was almost as if my books had come to life.

So what did you think? Satisfactory or not? Did you know that Matthew was going to leave and thus had to be written out? Was this season a let-down? Do you think it can still go on successfully?Will you still watch next year? I expect I will.


27 comments:

  1. Rhys, I was thinking much as you were about the servants. I have come to care about them much more as the weeks have passed and find myself more involved in their stories than the people they serve.

    I think that the syrupy business between Mr. and Mrs. Bates is a lead to disaster. They are too happy for Downton. Something wicked that way looms.

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  2. Someone should end up happy. I did like tonight's episode. I thought it was well done. Better than others. I will certainly look forward to next season's events. I think the daughter coming to stay with the family will probably want to marry the widower but then his sister in law needs a husband. Interesting thought and a good lead to a conflict for the next season.

    Pat

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  3. Thanks to something I read about the show from a blog from England, I knew it would be a car accident that took Matthew. Once again, it was the decision of the actor not to re-up their 3 year contract that left us viewers wanting and begging "WHY?". So having seen that tidbit of information several weeks ago, each time I've watched the show there has been a sense of impending doom and frankly it's really ruined much of the show for me because I can't be sucked into happiness and my emotional viewing has become rather flat, unfortunately.

    I was thinking of your Lady Georgie in this episode, for sure, Rhys!

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  4. I don't think this season was a let down at all. Although I am beyond bummed that Matthew died, I think the way they wrote the story and introduced new characters was a nice transition into the next season. Branson seems to have come into his own and it was seeming as if he was being groomed for something bigger. Mary and Branson will have more in common now and the family will have to use the loss of their loved ones a as the "glue" holding them together.
    I do agree that they need to lighten it up a bit and think that because of all of this death and transition, that next season will be a lot different.
    I will still watch regardless because I love this show!

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  5. I was also worried Matthew was going to get shot. I wasn't sure if he was going to be killed off this episode, or early in season 4. For some reason I thought I read he was being killed off in early season 4. But I knew as soon as he was driving home in the car that he wasn't going to make it. Ugh. I won't lie--I called let loose with some very bad language...lol

    Mr and Mrs Bates have been miserable so long, that it is nice to have them happy. But I agree that it probably won't last.

    I really didn't like that maid throwing herself at Branson. I was super happy to see her go. I hope he finds a nice girl like Sybil again.

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  6. Does anyone else think that Edith's new boyfriend/boss looks like a younger version of the old guy she almost married? (Sorry, their names elude me.)

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    1. Yes!!! I thought the same thing! very similar...

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    2. Yes! My dad pointed it out, and I couldn't believe how similar.

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    3. Edith seems to pick wimpy men -- I mean, I'm sorry, but this guy's so weak, deliberately doesn't tell her he's married (and given how easily a husband could get his wife certified insane in those days, we don't even know if she really is insane or just inconvenient!), and he must understand how socially disastrous this could be for Edith, because she's the unmarried daughter of an earl. Alas, if her almost-bridegroom had stayed around long enough to die AFTER the wedding, at least Edith would be a widow and would have license to conduct discreet affairs. As it is, she doesn't, and this guy just seems weak, glib, and selfish to me. Notice that he folded up pretty easily when confronted by brother-in-law Matthew. He's probably glad Matthew died!

      I'm happy for Bates and Anna, though. And one story-line that's delighting me is Daisy's development, from downtrodden kitchen maid to self-respecting daughter-in-law of prosperous local farmer. There's a lovely bit of camerawork early on in the season, where we see farm-workers talking, then one of them touches a finger to his forehead, a customary greeting to a social superior back then. THEN (if I remember it right) we see Daisy approaching the house and realize that it was Daisy being greeted that way. She's come up in the world, and if Mr. Mason has his way, she won't spend her life in service, as she'd always supposed. I'm very interested to see how they'll continue her storyline in the next season. She's really grown.

      And I already miss Matthew. I didn't know anything about the actor's planned departure, and the ending put me off the show completely for a while -- first Sybil, now Matthew; were they going to use tragic deaths as a standard way to develop new storylines? I was actually relieved to learn that it wasn't the producers who wanted Matthew to die. And I wish the actor the best: it's natural for a young man to want to take advantage of new opportunities! ... but I'll miss Matthew!

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  7. KW56 I agree they do look alike!
    I wonder about the potential of Branson and Rose?
    Will O'Brien leave and end up in India? How much will the two households cross over and will Shrimpy and Susan be a big part going forward?
    I think the Bates and Anna storyline can go a lot of different ways. Not all of them a disaster.
    Will Daisy inherit the farm? Will Alfred become a chef?
    Mary is now extremely eligible as the mother to the heir of Downton and past scandals are not really an issue.
    I think I will buy the 3 seasons on DVD and re watch all of them before next year. I can't wait for season 4. At least I can read some Rhys Bowen to get through...

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  8. Well, I knew about Matthew and the accident due to some English blogs and have been so careful not to say anything to ruin it for my hubby or others. Then just before the show started here in the West he was reading a comment from a friend on the East coast and found out and tried to keep if from me so not to spoil it for me. Sort of an O Henry situation, the Gift of the Matthew? Anyway, tragic as it was, it made me think. I lost my first husband in a similiar car wreck. I'd like to think his last thoughts were joy filled and golden, as Matthews obviously were.

    I have really enjoyed the whole season and the deepening of the characters. I am glad Anna and Bates are having a honeymoon, but I thought it somewhat odd she brought them beer on their picnic. Wasn't it a thread earlier that Bates ha had a drinking problem in the past and was a rather mean drunk? And because of that he had not had a drop of alcohol since he came to Downton? Beware the slippery slope, Anna! And I am enjoying Thomas much more with his layers and his being outed.

    I don't know what is coming in season 4 but I can't wait to be drawn in!

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  9. As much of an unfortunate surprise killing off Matthew (and even Sybil)was, I think Julian Fellowes is telling the story of Downton Abbey quite literally. It's never been about just one person, or even group of people, it's the house as a whole; people come and go, they marry, they die, but the house remains. If this series didn't have the sudden misfortunes that reflect real life, I don't think it would have the following it does. Come on Season 4!

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  10. How about Daisy inherits the farm and she and Branson then become an item?

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  11. I knew earlier that Matthew was going to leave. When he and Mary were in their snippy phase, I thought it was going to be via divorce. Then, when they looked so happy, I knew: Matthew had to die. But I don't think that's going to make the series uninteresting in the future, although I agree with your assessment of Anna and Bates. I guess it's hard to make happiness interesting in a story. No conflict, right? It's too bad they don't start having some problems to spice it up. but in the ongoing saga of Downton Abbey there's is so much that can go wrong, and I really like so much seeing so many characters developing within the parameters of that era. I'm guessing Edith is going to finally do something truly shocking to the family and simply go live with her editor.

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  12. To me, last night fully entered soaps territory. And I want Downton to be more than that. It's like for every big event of the 20th century (Titanic, WWI, Spanish flu, cars), someone has to die. I saw spoilers early on and knew what would happen, but I was disappointed that there was no real resolution. And knowing DA, they'll just skip ahead a year, and there's won't be anything additional.

    I LOVE this show, but I guess it feels predictable. The Thomas/Jimmy line was inevitable. The fight this week was so easy to figure out, as was Thomas's intervention. I don't like that. I want a little mystery/surprise.

    And I think Anna/Bates were owed that time, but I kept expecting something to come of it. She seemed to be hinting at some surprise that never came about. Why would he care about the dancing? Just to watch her? I don't know. It was a bit odd.

    I'm hoping Season 4 is a little less on the death (not that you can't have it, but come on) and a little more focused on this family enduring it. It was nice, for example, to see Lady Grantham and later Branson tear up about Sybil.

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    1. Anna found out that Bates was part(?) Scottish and knew the dances. He couldn't do them now because of his injuries. I think she just wanted to surprise him with the fact that she heard what he said and that he would appreciate the effort she made to learn the special dances just for him.

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  13. I think Branson is a real wild card here. What he does now will determine the fate of Downton, unless the Duke has really awakened to the fact that he is now a real farmer and needs to be a business man. Can Branson leave his passion for Irish freedom behind?

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  14. I thought about Lady Georgie during all the Scottish bits, Rhys! Like you, servants' stories this week.

    I had heard rumors that Matthew wanted to leave the show so I spent last week and this week on the edge of my seat. So many storylines had been wrapped up, it was time for something really awful to happen. Poor Matthew and Mary. At least Mary and Tom can grieve together and raise their children at Downton, and Downton itself will survive thanks to Matthew.

    I hope season 4 starts right after Matthew's funeral. I can't bear the thought of seeing the whole family in anguish again. I've had enough loss in my own life that I find such sad realities hard to bear, even in fiction.

    Cathy AJ

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  15. I am hoping that the next season returns to the sparkling writing of seasons 1/2. I'm a little tired of the too-pat solutions and abandoned interesting angles. Not to mention the cribbed-from-Jane-Eyre romance for Edith. Bring back the dead bodies that come back to haunt you 10 years later!!! I was happy to see Thomas and Jimmy strike up a friendship though, even if I am still bewildered as to why Thomas was ever rehired in the first place, let alone promoted!!!

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  16. Lady Mary is to have a new man in her life in Season 4 and Julian Fellowes was looking for possibilities. May I suggest an American cowboy? A red-blooded American male might take some of the starchiness out of her attitude.

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  17. Sherry in Carrollton, TX.February 18, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    I'm sorry the actor playing Matthew wanted to move on - hope it's not a mistake for him! I was so looking forward to a little happiness for Mary and Matthew. Quite a tear jerker. Glad to see the housemaid was let go - didn't like her and her pursuit of Branson. Mrs. Hughes was very good to help him and I agree with her! How much longer to Season 4?

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  18. I don't think that Dan Stevens (Matthew) made a mistake. The word is that he has been cast to play Darcy in "Death Comes to Pemberley) by PD James. What about if Mary's new beau is a gold-digger and woos her because he wants to the estate and a title.
    I enjoyed the scenes in Scotland. I kept visualizing the Georgie and her family coming and going. I was disappointed that we didn't see large bathrooms with plaid walls and wide-open windows.

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  19. I just hope the writer doesn't have Tom and Mary become a couple, drawn together due to their similar losses. I cannot imagine chemistry between the two of them. I think Rose will almost certainly cause a scandal at Downton; my guess is that she will have an affair with a servant, probably Jimmy. I would love to see King George V and Mary visit Downton next season ! And of course they would bring along Georgie, LOL !

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  20. Yes, Matthew was the glue that held them all together. He was so accepting of everyone. I hope Mary can be like that now. Your Royal Spyness series should go to TV! I would love it!

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  21. I think they're setting up Mrs. Crawley to have a real breakdown. She's been so "jolly hockey sticks" all the time, so it would be interesting to have her fall apart in light of Matthew's death. It would also give the good doctor ample reason to rush to the rescue! I also suspect that they have a plot line involving a nanny coming up because it seemed very odd that Mr. Carson was minding little Sybil because nanny was "around here somewhere." I think it's because they wanted to take special care in casting the nanny and hadn't done it yet. I don't see Branson with Mary at all. I'd like Rose and Branson to get together. I also keep wondering if James "doth protest too much" because he really IS gay and just can't accept it. Maybe they'll give the Bateses a disabled child. Lots of bittersweet opportunities in that one. These stories can never let anyone be blissful for too long can they? So fun to speculate!

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  22. I, too, was dismayed at the ending (even though I knew Matthew would not be around for the next season)...it seems that the writer just kills folks off...I was hoping Matthew would take an extended trip somewhere for 8 episodes...but, no...I cannot see Tom and Mary getting together...she was never enamoured of Sybil's attraction for him, let alone marriage! I can see Tom now being the main man in charge of the estate, but who will he have to confide in (he and Matthew were seemingly good friends)? I cannot see his brother, Kieran, re-appearing...that alone would set Lady Mary crazy! There are some story lines that might come up...Daisy...perhaps she would hook up with Tom..or Rose...who knows? And, there is 'poor' Edith...nothing ever works out for that gal...will she be the one who takes over the running of Downton? Or will Mary continue to impede everything she does? And, let us not forget Isabelle...she, also, will be heartbroken at the loss of her only child...we will just have to wait...I saw somewhere that it will resume in September...

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  23. http://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/celebrity/celebrity-news/2013/02/20/julian-fellowes-to-stop-writing-downton-abbey


    Fellows probably out as writer for DA.

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