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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Until I finished the episode, I didn't realize it was the season
finale. At the same time we wrapped up so many stories, and placed the
seedlings for new ones, perhaps it was just my ignorance. Still, it is
strange for a show to not feel like it has a finale type stamp on it,
but then again there is the Christmas special.
Going into the episode though, I felt there was a lot of focus on possible romances for many of the characters. Mary for example now has two men fighting for her affections. Mr. Blake who has that Matthew appeal since he can be a challenge to her, and then Mr. Gillingham who perhaps would lay on the road and die for the woman if she asked. But, being that Mary has still a feign attachment to Matthew, she can't give either man what they wish for, though they both seem to have no will to give up. However, due to circumstances, it seems Mr. Jack Ross has given up on Rose. It seems the idea of a interracial love affair isn't something he wishes for Rose. For, though he cares for her, there seems to be a fear she is doing this to prove a point and while love is surely there, Ross' life will be threatened at every turn and he doesn't wish to leave her with his blood stains, and the stain of her being with a colored man.
That sad story aside, quite a few others seem to be handling their situations well. Daisy and Alfred make peace, and as for the sort of Mother and Son duo of Ms. Crawley and Tom, seemingly they have real suitors. In this episode, Mary's godfather Lord Merton comes to visit, and they hit it off well, to the point I would even say the Dowager may have had the most subtle hint of jealousy perhaps. As for Tom, the woman he met as the political rally, Sarah, he sees again and like with Mary, you can see a bit of his former spouse in his suitor, but while Ms. Crawley is being pursued outright, as of now perhaps Tom and Sarah may just be friends. Still, I must admit I hope for more.
Lastly, it seems Mr. Moseley and Ms. Baxter may have a growing thing. You see, Mr. Moseley, in the most awkward of ways, has been pursuing Ms. Baxter and through him we learn she is a woman who hasn't had much luck in life. No details are vivid, but she says just enough to make Moseley feel lucky about his homely life growing up in a village, well-loved and well-known. At first though, it seemed he was just trying to save her from being ostracized like Thomas, but as things went on you can see something between the two. Whether it will evolve though we will have to wait and see.
But, as there is quite a bit a love, and loss of love, there are also of course secrets. Edith's secret, naturally, comes out since between Roseland and Edith being unable to keep her mouth shut, the Dowager finds out. What made this an odd storyline though is how terrible it was handled. Admittedly, I find Edith to be so sad, most of the time, I barely pay her mind, but in this episode she, and Roseland by extension, seemed to be so oddly written as if they had to be so obvious that something was going down in order for the Dowager to be suspicious. Either way, like with the Jack Ross incident, we witness what the times are. Edith wants to use the farmer that was saved by Lord Grantham, Mr. Drew, as a possible father, but this is striked against by all. Now, I can't say I'm sure if she means father of the child, or to raise him, but either way I was quite lost.
Perhaps the biggest thing though is Mr. Green is dead. How: he was hit by a car; Why: well there lies the issue. Naturally we suspect Mr. Bates, especially since he was out on his own, but there isn't any proof, plus Bates would have had many witnesses so he would have long been arrested. Still though, a man lies dead without judge or jury. Either way though, I certainly won't miss him.
Quality, sort of, end to a good season. It reminds you that less is certainly more and that leaving us wanting is better than throwing us more and more episodes to the point where when we hit 24 it feels like a relief. Plus, though it maybe a year before the next season, there still is the Christmas special. Let's just hope no one dies this time.
I have to admit that this is the very first episode of DOWNTON ABBEY that I have ever seen. This is mostly due to the fact that I live most of my time in a country where it has not yet been broadcast. On first viewing, I have to admit a terrible feeling of déja vu. Having grown up on UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS in the Seventies, I feel that DOWNTON ABBEY largely steals most of its ideas from that earlier series - especially its focus on the contrasting lives of masters and their servants. DOWNTON ABBEY has its plus points: a clutch of good performances led by Maggie Smith as the old dowager, Hugh Bonneville as the Earl of Grantham and Jim Carter as Carson the butler. The story-lines are the stuff of soap opera, where history matters less than personal issues; this is what renders the series so compelling. There are some irritating aspects: the script contains some unfortunate anachronisms (no one in the mid-twentieth century would have referred to their nearest and dearest as "loved ones"), and there are the obligatory heritage film shots of the family home with cars pulling up and driving away, and the rolling Yorkshire landscapes (this type of shot was clichéd even in the Eighties). But the characters are memorable, and the script contains sufficient hooks for viewers to keep watching week after week to see what happens. This is really what separates a good from an average historical drama series.
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