Thursday, January 7, 2016

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

Downton Abbey: Season 6, Episode 1 (B+)

This show is officially over in the United Kingdom as of Christmas 2015, but its final season is just getting started here in the United States, and it’s nice to have it back. In a way, things are the same as they always were, but it’s also clear that the plot is moving forward, with some storylines being forever closed, others quickly reopened and then closed again, and still others just getting started. An instance of the first type of plotline that I’m very happy to be rid of is the eternal plight of Mr. and Mrs. Bates, who, after a few meetings during this extended hour, have now been officially cleared of any crime, allowing them to move on to whether they can have a family and where they will live. Mrs. Hughes sending Mrs. Patmore to talk about whether Mr. Carson expected sex from her was extremely awkward and entertaining, and what a sweet response it elicited from the charming Carson. It was nice to see Violet finally take down Denker a bit after she spilled the beans about a secret the Dowager Countess told her, though of course her job isn’t really in jeopardy. It’s about time Edith decided to move on with her life and leave her family behind, and the timing couldn’t be better as the entire extended Crawley family has to start thinking seriously about how long their lifestyle will continue to exist. The hero of the hour was Robert, who didn’t give in to ambitious blackmail demands but instead defended Mary’s honor and made sure that her secret would never get out. And kudos to Mary for refusing to ride sidesaddle, even if it didn’t prove to be the safer way.

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