[Review] Downton Abbey: Series 3


The war is over but the drama continues for the Crawley family.  We pick up right where we left off previous season; Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew’s (Dan Stevens) pending nuptials.  Bates (Brendan Coyle) is still trying to prove his innocence from behind bars with the help of his ever loyal wife, Anna (Joanne Froggatt).  Unfortunately the Earl of Grantham’s (Hugh Bonneville) bad financial decisions might mean the family will have to leave Downton Abbey.

Now that the season has started to air in the US, I am relieved that I will now be able to talk about the season with more people because it has been killing me!!  So much happens this season.  There is so much change.  When the series started, there was always that worry about where the next generation of Crawleys would be and take over the family fortune once Robert is gone and so this season answers that question.  It just comes at a cost.

But rest assured, Mary and Matthew have their day in front of the minister.  The great thing about this couple is that although they have their disagreements and drag out, knockdown fights, but it is clear that they both know how madly they love each other.  While they have different ideas about Downton Abbey’s future, they now know that they won’t live without each other.

Getting Robert to agree to changing ways about how he’s been managing the property is another story.  Matthew is open-minded enough to consult with Tom Branson (Allen Leech) as he has experience dealing with farmlands but Robert isn’t willing to hear of it.  Tom spends much of this season trying to find his place within the Crawley family.  He’s adamant about staying true to himself but his stubbornness makes him more narrow-minded than the aristocrats at times and I couldn’t help feeling disappointed with him more than once.

That included leaving Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) behind in a dangerous situation and in a very precarious state.  I can’t say I blame Robert for not trusting Tom after that incident.  However, I’m not angry with Tom for long as figuring out his place is clearly a tough struggle for him considering the challenges he faces this season.

However, most of my tears are reserved for the women of Downton Abbey this season.  Mary, Edith (Laura Carmichael), Sybil and Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) have their share of danger, fear, pain and tons of heartache.  For those who has not seen it yet, I’ll leave it at that.  I predicted some of it but I wasn’t prepared for the frequency of them.  Just be forewarned that there has been a lot of discussion on various UK sites following the episodes and I expect the same on the American forums.  Despite what your feelings are about each of these women, I think it’s safe to say that your hearts go out to them regardless.

On the flip side, I am always conflicted when it comes to Thomas (Rob James-Collier), now Lord Grantham’s valet.  He can be quite nasty but not everything bounces off his thick skin especially when he and Miss O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran) play foul tricks on each other because they are on the outs.

Miss O’Brien is aware of Thomas’ secret life as a gay man and while the series touched upon the subject last year, he’s given a full blown storyline this year when a new footman shows up at the mansion.  It’s quite interesting to see how it all turns out because Thomas’ supporter comes from the most unlikely person.  I’m not sure if it is because he’s been shown mercy but Thomas then turns around and shows mercy in return.  Therefore I can’t completely hate him.

A lot happens this season and while I’m not able to touch on everything nor am I willing to spoil the season completely, all I can say is to be prepared for a lot of change in our favorite post-Edwardian family’s future.  Some of which can probably be predicted because of all the casting news that surrounded this season but others will most likely not be expected.  I do hope that this will give an opportunity for unlikely heroes to step up to the plate and take the reins for the sake of the Crawley’s future next season.



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