Good Monday Morning my friends ...
I did in fact stay up last night to watch Downton Abbey's third season finale ... and I do have lots to say ... but I will register my thoughts in the comments below, rather than here, because I really don't want to spoil anything for anyone who has not yet caught up. So for right now - moments after waking, and before I've had coffee - I'll just say this:
OH MY WORD.
That was a doozy of a finale and there's MUCH to discuss!
So please feel free to share your thoughts below and I'll join you just as soon as I've had my coffee, woken up a bit and gathered my own thoughts ...
NOTE - SPOILERS AHEAD!
My friends, for some reason I cannot get my LONG comment to post in the comment box (the one with all my thoughts on the show) so I will be posting it here, directly below. I hope anyone who has not seen last night's show knows not to read on!
(And sorry for the odd formatting - Typepad's really messing with me today!)
Ok, so here's what I knew before last night's episode, because, try as I might, it was impossible to avoid ALL spoilers before the new season aired …
I knew Dan Stevens was not renewing his contract …
I figured they would kill off his character because a split did not seem probable - or even believable - and there's no way they would replace him with another actor.
I then stumbled upon some article somewhere that referenced Matthew's "death."
So I knew a bit of what we were in for last night and that made it a smidgen easier to deal with. "Steeling" myself for the tragedy. Of course, they totally amped up Matthew's sweetness and likability in this episode. Made it even harder to think he's gone.
I was glad he got to see his son and died (most likely, instantaneously) knowing such happiness.
I was also relieved they cut the scene (and the season) at that point - I really didn't want to experience the family grief and fallout. Too tragic and so soon after Sybil's death. I'm hoping next season has a bit of a time jump so we don't have to live through all that.
(I could have done without the close up of Matthew's bloody face, however. That was not an image we needed to take with us.)
I am feeling, perhaps unreasonably, quite upset with Dan Stevens for leaving the show, I must admit!! I avoided all the stories about his departure when they broke last fall but I got the feeling people felt he was getting a bit too big for his britches. Which is probably unfair to say, but it still feels like a slap that he'd up and leave because Downton was "monopolizing" his career.
I wonder how/if Mary will change/cope with this development? She was really sliding into the "Mary of Old" in this last episode, with her snobbishness and meanness returning. Chalk it up to pregnancy hormones perhaps? But there was foreshadowing with her admitting she hoped to always be "Matthew's Mary" in the future which makes me think she'll either be her old self once he's gone OR she'll honor his memory by trying to be the woman he loved so deeply.
So glad the baby was born safely, and how nice for them all it was a boy! (Does this mean even if someday that mysterious cousin Patrick returned - and was validated - Downton would still be safe because Mary's son would come before Patrick in the lineage?)
I shudder to think how Isobel will react to Matthew's death. I almost wanted her to entertain Dr. Clarkson's attempted proposal because A. I think they'd be nice for each other and B. she can use the support now that her son is gone.
Other storylines ...
I felt so badly for Branson ... and I was so annoyed with that maid!
I said to Bill, not that I'd begrudge Tom finding someone to share his life someday as I'm sure Sybil would have wished, but that maid was so pushy and annoying! I was glad he didn't return the attention (though I agree with Mrs. Hughes he did nothing to discourage it) and it broke my heart when he broke down and admitted how deeply he misses his wife. I think he's been in limbo not really knowing who he is in life without Sybil. I am looking forward to seeing where his character goes next season. (You don't think he and Mary might eventually gravitate towards each other?)
Glad Mrs. Patmore's feelings were not hurt by that piggish shopkeeper. I remember that actor from a pbs miniseries that aired last year (can't think of the name right now) but he played a similar - and even slimier - character in that and it really turned my stomach watching him "flirt" with all those women. Ugh.
Mrs. Hughes is still just so wonderful. She's really become the voice of reason in this series. And I love how she "mothers" her flock. Love how she handles Carson, especially.
Happy that the tension between Thomas and James has been resolved. I still think their "friendship" will be difficult since Thomas is obviously still crushing on Jimmy. I find it very interesting how they are slowly (perhaps) redeeming Thomas in subtle ways.
Daisy and Ivy are friends - hurray! I was very happy to see that. :)
Over at the Duneagle - just how delicious was all that Scottish scenery?! I absolutely loved the whole visit. I'm glad they showed us a little more about Rose and why she's acting out as she does. I had a feeling she'd be a new character and now that she's coming to live at Downton I wonder what role she will play.
Shrimpie and Susan - how awkward! She was just terrible and I wondered if this was a new development (hormonal issues?) or if she'd always been so difficult. I was glad that Shrimpie enlightened Robert to the real facts - had he modernized (as Matthew is/was pressing for Downton) his estate and fortune would still be his. What a timely wake up call for Robert.
O'Brien is still wicked of course, but I was glad she outfoxed that Wilkins maid. What an amateur, lol!
Anna - so sweet that she learned the Scottish reel for her Scottish husband. :)
Edith - oh .... Edith. What are we to do with you? I have to say I was surprised and intrigued that she decided to give in to Gregson's affections. THIS will be a huge scandal. They can never marry - not until his infirm wife has passed away. So what - will she live with him in sin? See him socially? Sleep with him? It's going to be messy and immoral, I think. But in keeping with her becoming more of a "modern" woman I guess. Really pulling away from what is expected and tolerated at that time.
Ok, these are my initial thoughts ... scattered though they are! I will be very eager to hear what you all think and will jump in again as I can through the day.
Final quick note - the preview of that new series, Mr. Selfridge, looks quite intriguing!! I had not heard of it before but will definitely be checking it out. Something to carry us over till Call the Midwife returns on Easter Sunday.
(ETA - I just checked into it, and it seems both shows begin airing on 3/31 - a double treat!)
Have a great Monday, my friends! Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!