Thursday, February 28, 2013

What I’m Watching: Downton Abbey (Season Finale)

Downton Abbey: Season 2, Episode 9 (B+)

Now this is a more fitting finale. I had gotten confused watching the episodes and so I’m tackling this one a bit late, but now I am officially caught up. A trip to the Scottish countryside was an appropriate way to send this show off the air until the start of its fourth season. While seeing more of Rose and watching Anna surprise Bates with her dancing talents was fun, it was actually much more compelling, as it tends to be, to follow the goings-on back at Downton with most of the staff away. Edna proved to be completely unconcerned with societal codes and expressly interested in romancing Tom, something which Mrs. Hewes actually agreed was completely unacceptable. Tom deciding to dine with the staff prompted expected disapproval, but there’s something to be said about someone who can exist in both worlds simultaneously. I love the relationship between Mrs. Hewes and Carson, and it was fun to see a softer side of Carson in this extended episode as he opted not to come to the fair because no one would be able to enjoy themselves with him around. Mrs. Patmore’s romantic moment was all too brief but quite entertaining, and I heartily enjoyed her reaction to the news that she had a solid out from that relationship. Thomas getting beaten up to save Jimmy was noble, and it’s good that they’ve achieved the best possible solution for 1920s England. In Scotland, it was difficult to see another of Edith’s suitors discounted for some unfortunate reason, and hopefully he’ll be able to make it work despite Matthew’s objections. Mary’s deteriorating health was a false scare, but there’s nothing quite as horrifying as the sight of Mary happily joking about Matthew with no idea that he has been killed while gleefully driving to see her. That’s going to make things incredibly somber in season four, and, like many others, I’m eager to see what comes next in the Downton saga. Without all the war enhancements of season two, this year wasn’t quite as fascinating, but it was still thoroughly engaging and immensely watchable.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Maggie Smith as Violet

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