I have run out of pithy intros and just in time, too. You know the drill, if you haven’t seen the episode, don’t read on, but seriously, people? WHY are you not caught up by now? PBS online has all the episodes! It is not THAT bad to watch TV on your laptop, get over it! There is no excuse! Get caught up, people!
I knew it was coming and was still shocked. It was the only spoiler that I knew was coming this season. Dan Stevens (Matthew) decided not to renew his contract, so something dramatic was going to happen. As soon as they showed him all dopey-eyed in the car, I knew it was over for him. Add in the prophetic "other car" and sentimental "meanwhile at the Abbey" speech and its a recipe for tv disaster.
I feel as though that episode was shot with a different ending in hopes that Dan would change his mind and this ending was slapped together at the last second. It must be cheaper to do a quick and dirty off screen car crash than it is to get your writers back together and write a classier, more clever ending. One that leaves the option open for Dan to come back if his career careens into a ditch like Matthew's car. Mary deserved better. Matthew deserved better. Heck, we deserved better.
Another reviewer brought up the solid point that this is the perfect time for a re-birth of Mary. The last three episodes Matthew had been encouraging his stoic wife to show the world the kind and loving woman he knows is in there ("because I've seen you naked"...um...). In fact, next season is a chance to really give overhauls to three characters who desperately need it: Mary, Tom and Edith.
Since Sibby's birth we have seen a softer side to Mary. Marriage and Matthew's influence (or maybe a sex life that doesn't end in diplomatic situations) in addition to a sweet baby have softened her heart more than the love of Robert or Carter (the only other two people on earth who really understand her)
ever could. I suspect that a new baby to love, her spunky mother-in-law, and her sister will help her overcome her grief and become a better person on the other side of it.
Yes, I said "her sister". Edith has had a lifetime of loss and disappointment, she is familiar with how to deal. She may not do it gracefully, but she knows how to get out of bed the morning after heartbreak and start a new day. I hope that in Mary's moment of need Edith will step up and help her sister heal. If the ice surrounding the part of her heart reserved for Edith finally melts, Mary can help her sister bloom into the smart, confident, sassy woman buried deep, deeeeeeep inside. The hard dealings of life can bond these two sisters. Through the course of the show, Edith is the only sister who hasn't grown or matured at all. She may have endured much, but with each agonizing look she gives Mary, we know that deep down, she is still the "ugly sister".
Next season, I hope we find ourselves looking into the face of Tom the aspiring politician. He's smart, lost his youthful arrogance, and learned much about "the other side" through the Crawleys. Tom understands where both sides are coming from. He is in a perfect position to be the man of change that he desperately wants to be. I hope he gets that chance.
Sigh. Excuse me while I adjust my mourning band.
On to the funny stuff:
- The unintelligible grocer who loved Mrs. Patmore for her sauces had me scratching my head in more ways than one. From the first moment he opened his mouth to the last I did not understand a word that man said. Not. One. Word. Lord, I hope he's not a recurring character, if he is I'm turning on the closed captioning on my tv. And I am fairly certian if I look up "creeper" in the dictionary, it will have his picture and "Unintelligible Guy from Downton Abbey" underneath.
- Daisy and Ivy appear to be friends. I like it. It was getting unreasonably nasty up in that kitchen, and it had nothing to do with duck livers.
- Mrs. Hughes saved the day for everyone: she convinced Carter to stop being a hard-arse and let the kids go to the fair, chose not to ream (too badly) Jimmy and Alfred for sitting on the job - literally, saved the day when Mrs Patmore's paramour turned out to be more of a Casanova that a Romeo, and encouraged Tom to respect and embrace his new life to truly honor the memory of Sybil. And I cried.
- Good riddance, Edna. That is all I have to say about that insanity.
- Bates and Anna cannot possibly be any cuter.
- Oh, Moseley. In another life Edith and Moseley would be a perfectly pathetic paring.
- O'Brien met her match in Susan's maid, but O'Brien proves the better player.
- Thomas and Jimmy patch things up after Thomas takes a beating meant for Jimmy.
- Edith has another inappropriate suitor. Even she knows this won't end well and goes along anyway, eyes wide open. At least she's consistent.
So what about you? What do you think is in store for us next season?