I know that Downton Abbey is not technically related to books, and I also know that it ended several weeks ago (sad). However, I think it is a show that appeals to bookish people, and because I waited to watch the season finale until I was with my mom, I just watched it this week and need to gush and analyze. In fact, this post isn't really going to have a formal format at all -- I just wanted an outlet for my thoughts about that show and to open up a discussion to any readers with some input. Be aware that there are SPOILERS for the first and second season in this post -- I am discussing what happened, not introducing the show, so if you haven't seen it and plan to watch later, you might want to steer clear.
First off, Lord Crawley, Cora, and the maid, Jane. Why do you think that whole little interval occurred? Cora seemed to be a little off in the second season, preoccupied with the war. And she has always been pretty snobby, especially concerning Bates and Matthew, even in the first season. She wasn't especially likable, so I can sort of see why Lord Crawley strayed. However, they did seem pretty in love in the first season especially, and after Cora nearly died, I am wondering if Lord Crawley is appreciating what he almost lost. I think he is going to be honorable at all costs and stay with Lady Crawley, but it seemed as if he was still missing Jane, the maid he kissed a few times and with whom he had some heart-felt musings upon the war. Does anyone think she will reappear, or that Lord Crawley will be tempted to stray again?
Secondly, Lady Mary and Matthew. I think everyone was waiting for that to finally come together, and I was happy that Matthew's declaration that their courtship was cursed was cast aside. Honestly, Lavinia gave the clearest possible blessing to both of them, and while I am sure she was crushed by the knowledge that Matthew still had feelings for Mary, she seemed very at peace with the fact. I must admit I am not overly sympathetic toward Lavinia because I was just never fully convinced that Matthew really loved her, but it was very gracious of her to give her blessing to the couple before dying suddenly of the Spanish flu (if a little too convenient). And I was exceptionally grateful to be rid of Carlyle, who grew more and more irritating with each episode.
One of the characters I am most interested in for the next season is Lady Edith. She is a conflicting character, in general very sweet and giving with enough spunk to keep her from being boring, but the perpetrator of the most problem-causing event in the whole series (well, Mary caused the problem, but Edith spilled the beans). Another thing I find interesting is that while Edith is clearly considered to be the plain sister, she has had quite an array of beaux, from the sweet farm boy to the elderly car-driving Lord something-or-other to the (real or pretended?) Patrick G. Lord Something-or-other clearly has potential, as she told him she would not listen to his demands that she stay away, but I am curious to know what role Patrick G. will play. She loved him before he supposedly drowned in the sinking of the Titanic, and I wonder if her love for him would be renewed, and if there will come any possible way of determining whether he is the real heir to Downton Abbey. There is also the fact that Edith is now the only unattached Crawley sister, meaning her life is open for more drama than anyone else's.
I just want to love on Sybil for a moment, because she is my favorite. First of all, she becomes a nurse, and we all know nursing is the noblest and best profession. ;-) Second of all, she doesn't buy in to the class tensions present at Downton Abbey. She goes into the kitchens and learns to cook. In the first season, she helps the maid Gwen find an opportunity to start a better life. Oh yeah, and she runs off with the chauffeur, Branson, who was a little pushy and annoying at first, but who won me over at last when he stood up to Lord Crawley. While it gives her a moment's consideration to give up the life she has lived, in the end she prioritizes love and happiness over comfort and money. That is an attitude I can respect.
Now on to the downstairs. One question I would like to pose is why Bates cannot bring himself to stand up for himself. I know he wants to protect the Crawley family, be honorable, etc. etc., but it is almost as if he wants to be jailed. Every trouble he has come across could have been at least partially averted by a little more self-assertion. I hope everything works out for he and Anna in the end. I am pretty sure it will, because at this point their romance has been going on the longest without any hint of resolution. Also, I am wondering why he married the first Mrs. Bates. Was this ever mentioned in the show?
The last people I want to discuss are Thomas and O'Brien. I keep thinking at the very least we are rid of Thomas, but he had to steal and re-find Isis, Lord Crawley's best four-legged friend, and now he seems to have fully ingratiated himself with Downton's ruler. And then there is O'Brien, who in the eyes of Cora can do no wrong, despite the fact that her trick with that bar of soap resulted in a miscarriage for Cora. While O'Brien seems to be changing her tune a bit, becoming less patient with Thomas's deviousness and feeling some guiltiness weighing on her conscience, she still seems to be at least partially still in Thomas's power, and I am curious to see the havoc they wreak in the next season -- as well as hopeful that they will finally be caught. I guess we will see.
Anyone else have any rants, raves, or basic thoughts? Leave them in the comments!