Monday, February 18, 2013

Downton Abbey: Death & Drama! - Series 3 Recap

Update: I recently noticed that with the 4th series airing soon in the U.S., the traffic to this particular post is on the uptick!  If you're reading this, the content that follows is my recap/reaction to Series 3, which aired in the U.S. in 2013...  I have already watched Series 4, and it is even better than the previous season.  So get ready to fall in love with Downton all over again!  12/31/2013


FINALLY the Downton Abbey Christmas Special has aired in the U.S., ending Series 3 for us Americans.  Since I eagerly devoured the season before its U.S. airing, I've been on pins and needles wanting to discuss with folks.  I have a couple of friends (we call ourselves The BBC Book Club) who discuss the episodes as they air, but we're a small group wanting to get more input!

Here are my thoughts on the tumultuous season. SPOILER ALERT!

I love the downstairs.  Fascinating and drama-filled!  I was okay with the whole Ethel storyline; it had something to it.  But I still never liked her.  I was also so moved by Mrs. Hughes' cancer storyline.  She and Mrs. Patmore are a wonderful pair of friends.  Mr. Carson ebbed and flowed for me this season; he is endearing to me in his love for the Crawleys, but his penchant for being so strictly by the book drives me nuts.

The Thomas storyline was tough for me, but I like how it was semi-resolved.  I really thought I hated him, but I think his inner conflicts have made me more open to him.  The Bates storyline underwhelmed.  After the jail scenes and all, I love that he and Anna are finally together, but he isn't the compelling, mysterious, gentle character I fell in love with in the first series.

Lord & Lady Grantham:  I still haven't forgiven Lord Grantham's behavior over the whole Sybil/hospital thing.  Lord Grantham is FINALLY seeing the light in that Matthew and Branson were right about how to run the estate.  Hello.  And Lady Grantham continues to be a steady semi-favorite for me.  I felt her grief so much this season.

Lady Mary:  I am not a big fan of Mary.  But there's just something about her.  Ha!  Happy she was able to have a child, happy she continues to be brutally honest all the time.  Annoyed by her consistent obsession with Downton Abbey as a house.  If the place burned down, she'd be tossed into a looney bin.  Also, gotta feel bad for a girl when every guys she sleeps with ends up DEAD.  Maybe I'll start calling her the Black Widow.

Matthew:  DAN STEVENS, YOU ARE AN IDIOT.  Seriously.  Nobody knows who you are outside of Matthew Crawley.  You should have just stuck with the series and done movies on the side to make your name.  You will end up like those girls from Destiny's Child who left the group that no one remembers.  Rant over.

Dowager Countess:  THANK HEAVENS for Maggie Smith.  I actually find her meddling and interventions to be endearing, and her sass and wit are awesome.  Definitely a favorite.  Julian Fellows, if you kill off the Dowager during the series, I may actually consider boycotting.  There wouldn't be a dry eye in the house.

Lady Edith:  Oh, Edith.  Can't the girl get a break?  She's as cursed as Mary.  And if her editor wants to deserve our girl, he needs to divorce his crazy wife.  Jane Eyre was so 17th century.  Maybe send her to America to find a man under the watch of Shirley MacLaine?  (BTW, Shirley MacLaine's appearances just felt overacted and underwhelming.  A blip on the radar this season, despite the hype.)

Branson:  Oh, poor Branson!  Sybil was a doll.  Sad face.  I really couldn't stand him at first, but he has really grown up this season.  He is a hot widower.  Just saying.  And a loving father; I think he's done a fantastic job.

Isobel and Dr. Clarkson:  This clearly needs to happen.  Isobel is obnoxious, but I love Clarkson.  And Sir Dr.-What-His-Face who was such a putz during the Sybil debacle can leave forever.

Cousin Rose:  She's going to get on my every last nerve.  Worst 'replacement' for Sybil ever.

Also, here's a great article on why Julian Fellowes (and I agree!) had to kill off Matthew.  Actors, bleh.

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