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WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS in this post.

Apparently I’m one of the last ones to find out what happens at the end of Season 3. Only a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon this video of the Downton Cast meet the Press after their SAG awards. Mrs. Hughes spilled the beans about Dan Stevens not coming back for S4 and what a bombshell for me.

I Googled it right away and found, lo and behold, it was already a known fact since last December. Of course, that’s when Britain had their first round of the Season 3 experience. So now the ripples have finally reached North American shore. What do you call it? Delayed shock? And we’ve just witnessed it. People, face the fact, Matthew Crawley is no more. Now, we have one whole year to process it, let it sink in, accept the fact, and move on to the next Season.

Just a brief recap of these last two episodes.

Episode 6

Mr. Bates is finally released from prison. All your Free Bates posters can now come down. While Thomas is the last one to join the welcome home party, ironically he is the one receiving the good graces of Bates and others. O’Brien has no place in any plot against anyone, for she has her soapy track record. She should have known better.

The clubbing fling of young cousin Rose with a married man old enough to be her father takes us away from Downton a while. The Gatsby-like 20’s atmosphere reminds us what the rest of the world is like if one is not a Downtonite.

And way to go for Edith, finding something to do before she is permanently settled into her destined role at home, at least this is what Granny Violet would have wanted for her Grand-daughter.

The Cricket Match

The cricket match is a visually beautiful scene. I love the colour scheme. The character that starts to come alive? Molesley. Wait till E7 where he will show what he’s truly made of.

Episode 7

By now we all know the ending. We have a whole year to forgive and forget. But of course, we’ll treasure the memories… The Scottish vacation takes us away from Downton for a short while to let us see how the usual characters behave in different situations. And that’s when we find O’Brien meeting her equal, Anna’s hidden talents, and Molesley’s true colours. Never underestimate a couple gulps of whiskey can do… total emancipation. Never thought Molesley can be so alive.

It’s the country fair again. Last year, Mrs. Hughes turned down an old crush there. This year, it’s Mrs. Patmore’s turn of stopping just in time of being fooled. Jimmy and Thomas come to an understanding that despite differences, they can still be friends. And Dr. Clarkson and Isobel Crawley? What will happen to them now? And oh, what will Mary name the young heir of Downton? Baby Matthew?

Downton Abbey Christmas Special

If you find Sybil’s death the saddest episode, I don’t know what to call this one. Matthew Crawley, the madly-in-love young husband and day-old new father, terminating his contract with a senseless car crash. After three Seasons, his demise covers less than a minute of screen time. What a difference between the endings of S2 and S3.

All these just show the cruel reality of media contracts and the inevitable plot treatment faced by TV script writers… killing off a character when his/her contract is up. Do you feel betrayed? Short-changed? Are you looking forward to Season 4? Will it begin with a funeral? Can you imagine how everyone will react… I think of Isobel first, then Mary, and Tom who has just found a friend in his new place in Downton. What about Robert, can he wait for another twenty years for the baby heir to grow up?

But most tricky of all… what will happen if another character or characters decide not to renew their contract? Wait, WWII is coming up soon, now that’s easy enough.

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CLICK on the following links to:

Season 3: Episodes 4 & 5

Episodes 2 & 3 

Episode 1

Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey (S1 & S2)

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