The shark they jumped last season at Downton Abbey? This season it ate Matthew Crawley.
With the broadcast stateside on PBS of the final episode of Downton Abbey, season three, it’s time to ask the logical question: Who would you rather they have bumped off besides Matthew Crawley? Yeah, yeah. I know. “WHAT THE HELL?!!! MATTHEW CRAWLEY’S DEAD? WHY DID YOU JUST TELL ME THAT?!!”
Well, get over it. Everyone in Europe has known for weeks.
And, on top of it all, the producers of the show had no choice. Dan Stevens, the charming Cambridge-educated actor who plays Crawley, decided at the end of season two to leave the show. Its not unreasonable to assume the uneven pace of season two had something to do with that. Jumped the shark comes to mind. Ridiculous melodrama might be another. If you want to read about Stevens’ view on all this, the interview is here. He was really quite diplomatic and circumspect. But I think it was the shark jumping, ad nauseam.
But let’s not get bogged down in the facts of Steven’s exit. We know Matthew Crawley is dead because Lady Mary Crawley had a BABY!!! The audacity of the woman! Hasn’t she noticed that anybody getting knocked up in this show are bringing down the wrath of god on themselves or someone within a few feet of them? I mean, here’s what pregnancy gets you on Downton Abbey.
1) A horrible death by eclampsia
2) Your husband mulched in an antique roadster
3) You get assaulted by a bar of soap and miscarry.
Oh, and lest I forget, there’s always
4) That old chestnut, ending up in a life of prostitution and being forced to give away your child. (She’s just lucky she didn’t get run over by a train. Twice.)
It’s a wonder the English have any kids to go to those snobby boys’ schools of theirs. If Downton Abbey is any indication, you think they would know better than to get married and have kids. There must be pianos falling on people all over the bloody island.
But seriously? What is up here? Is Downton Abby like an NBA team at the salary cap? For every character that comes in they have to bump one off? Maybe Julian Fellows, the series creator and screenwriter had a bad interaction with a baby carriage early in his developmental years? What is it with PREGNANCY, Julian?
But, back to the real question here. Whom we would rather see “bumped off”. (Pardon the pun.) Well, here’s my vote.
How about Mrs. O’Brien, eh? She’s as nasty a piece of work as you could want. The lady’s maid to clueless Lady Crawley, Mrs. O’Brien is a character many of us have been hoping FOR YEARS to see torn apart by wolves. Yet, she continues on, destroying lives, immune to the epidemic of bad fortune that seems to befall any one on Downton Abbey who isn’t totally nasty.
Well, I have just the plan for getting rid of the old war horse. Now stay with me, Julian. Picture this. I’m thinking we take another run at Robert, Earl of Grantham’s odd taste in house maids. What do you say, Julian? How about a torrid night of passion between Robert and Mrs. O’Brien? I’m seeing lots of clumsy fumbling in the coat closet. Then, nine months later, it’s bombs away with the Steinway Grand.
What do you think of the plot developments at Downton Abbey? Or better yet, maybe you’ve got some character you’d like to see out of the picture. Who should have been bumped off instead? Seriously. We want to know.
By the way, if you want to see some truly amazing ensemble writing over on the BBC, check out The Hour. It’s on Apple iTunes, BBC America and other places as well. Its just completed season two. The reviews are universally glowing. You won’t be sorry.
To read more of Mark Greene’s thoughtful and balanced critique of Downton Abby, see his article entitled, “Why I Hate $%$&#@! Downton Abbey Following Season Three”
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