Thursday, February 21, 2013

What I’m Watching: Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey: Season 3, Episodes 6, 7, and 8 (B+/B+/B)

I’m tackling nearly four hours of this show that have aired over the past two weeks. Starting with the aftermath of Sybil’s passing, this show had a distinctly melancholy tone that was extremely different from the more joyous note on which the season ended in the middle of a cricket match. It was interesting to see Thomas’ sexuality take center stage in such a negative way, as his decision to make a move on Jimmy revealed what everyone at Downton apparently already suspected. It’s great to see Bates go to bat – cricket pun not intended – for Thomas and use the information Thomas gave him to get O’Brien to back down, and he fits right in back now that he’s finally been freed. The presence of Cousin Rose added some light-hearted dramatics to the finale, which were helpful mostly in paralleling Edith’s situation, which, as always, is somewhat romantic but tinged by something less than acceptable in society. Matthew’s efforts to make Downton a viable institution going forward have worked to alienate Robert in a major way, and when Tom has to be the one to step in and make the case for Matthew, things have clearly come very far. It was entertaining to hear Robert mention Charles Ponzi as a reputable moneyman, and it was fun too to see Tom’s even more extreme brother. Violet’s aggressive attempts to get Ethel a new job to avoid scandal actually worked out well in the end, which is a relief considering how upset it got Isobel. This season, away from the focus of the war, wasn’t quite as strong as the second season, but it was still a competent and entertaining series of installments. I realized in my watching of this show that my recordings were somehow off and so I'll be reviewing the finale special if it were airing this coming Sunday night.

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