Christmas at Downton Abbey


I hope Julian Fellowes and ITV have enjoyed the money they’ve made off me over the last three years… because it’s about to end. Downton Abbey, you have sold me your last television series. The series now ends for me on episode eight of season three, on that lovely scene of the three “Crawley” men (okay, one is Branson) laughing together on the cricket field. You should have stopped there. Your Christmas special should have been the end of the series, and concluded with a happy trio in the hospital welcoming the new heir into the world.

But no, because no one ever knows when to quit while they’re ahead, we have to set out to ruin what started as an excellent show with utter stupidity. When your actors are leaving left and right, forcing you to write them out in ways that devastate the fans, you’ve lost your touch and descended into pure rubbish. Many fans have sworn they’re not coming back… and I may very well be one of them, because I don’t like where you seem to be going with ANY of the plots now. My time is worth something, and I expect my entertainment to have sensitive planning and thought behind it. I want character development. I want characters to care about. And I want those characters not to have bad ends.

What you did to Matthew, whether or not the actor wanted to leave, was utter tripe. Matthew is the ENTIRE SERIES. It’s always been about Mary and Matthew! It was about the entailment, about Matthew becoming the future Lord Grantham. To kill him off in a road accident five minutes after kissing his wife and baby boy on the head is disrespectful bunk, particularly coming at the end of such a terrible episode. Matthew was the only redeeming character in the entire show, the one person who always did the right thing. Now that he’s gone, there’s no one to root for anymore, and no leading man in the series worth a damn.

Now, let’s talk about Edith, shall we? Do you have some burning hatred for this woman, that her life is supposed to be miserable from the offset? Why did you devastate her with a break-up with Lord Anthony, whom all the fans really liked and who would have been a brilliant husband for her, only to throw her into the arms of some passing MARRIED editor, who we don’t know from Adam and have no emotional attachment to? Are we miraculously supposed to root for Edith to become this man’s mistress even though we’ve seen him for all of ten minutes in three episodes? This isn’t good writing. This is convenient, clichéd, sloppy writing.

Did you forget that this Christmas special plot with Branson and the maid is the exact same plot you tried on us last year when Lord Grantham locked lips with that twit downstairs? Why would you use the same plot device twice, did you assume we wouldn’t remember the first time? (For that matter, why did you also use the baby-and-death plot device twice in one season? Everyone better double up on the birth control pills at Downton… you get pregnant, a parent of the baby dies.)

I realize you’re trying to replace Sybil with Rose, but it won’t work, because no one gives a fig about Rose. No one likes Rose. No one even remembers Rose’s name from one episode to the next.

I’m buying this season just to have a finished Anna / Bates storyline, stupid as his arrest and imprisonment may have been. But other than that, I’m done. I may or may not watch next season, but I won’t be financially supporting it. I like to be able to respect my television shows, and I expect them to respect me back. Instead, what you did is basically flip me off… on Christmas. So thank you for a lovely three years of missed opportunities, predictable plot twists, and soapiness wrapped up in pretty costumes. You could have been so much better than you were, and that’s the real tragedy.

14 thoughts on “Christmas at Downton Abbey

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  1. it’s a soap opera….you can do whatever you want in a soap opera. for my part, i am glad it is ushering people into quality british television. it is acting as a gateway for those uninitiated to period dramas and if this soapy sentimentalism with convoluted and chaotic plot runnings can steer people to better BBC and ITV productions then HURRAH! at the core, for me, its always been costume porn. i wish, wish, wish i could like the characters. i kinda laughed when i read some of the spoilers. in the same way i laughed when mrs. bates was conveniently murdered and the spanish influenza killed off matthew’s fiancee. ahhhh convenient plotting, you do amuse me.

  2. What does anyone think about starting a petition to “save Matthew Crawley,” in whatever manner that may be? Does anyone know how we might be able to start one? I’m sick of the UK utterly destroying my shows; anyone remember Robin Hood?

    1. I’m afraid that wouldn’t work — Dan Stevens hasn’t signed another contract and has no intention of doing so — from what I understand, he’s moved to New York with his wife and daughter.

      But yes, ITV/the BBC’s record of crappy endings to shows sticks out in my mind VERY well — Robin Hood, Downton Abbey, and even Merlin. Do they have something against happy endings? =P

  3. Honestly if Dan Stevens was determined to leave the show, I’d rather Matthew die than just…well, LEAVE Mary and their kid. That would be worse IMO.

    1. I think possibly all the UK networks conspired together to make Christmas miserable for the fans this year. One beloved character died on “Downton Abbey.” Someone died on “Doctor Who.” And apparently, “Merlin” killed off TWO characters in its finale. Someone really ought to tell them that Christmas is supposed to be HAPPY, not a pit of misery and depression! =P

  4. I’ve just gotten into Downton, and I was really afraid this was going to happen! Great. *sigh*. I’ll be watching it, like you said, to finish out the Bates/Anna storyline, as they were my favorite couple – the most sensible of the lot, I think. :-S

  5. Well, even though I haven’t been entirely avoiding spoilers for season 3, I’m not gonna lie I was a bit bummed to see this come through my Google Reader — even though I have been expecting Dan Stevens to exit the show sooner rather than later. Craziness! I just have to say though that my mom and I can’t stand Lord Anthony. 😛 Too wishy-washy. Other than that I’ll save my thoughts/speculation for the show as it airs…

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