Downton Abbey Review: I Don't

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Episode 302 of Downton Abbey greeted us with worries about Mrs. Hughes and her health... a war between the domestic help... wedding preparations... and the plan to sell the manor, even though Matthew might be sitting on a huge inheritance.

In a variance of the true soap opera form, most of these issues were wrapped up by the end of hour.

Mary and the Dowager Countess

Many have wondered why the wedding of Mary and Matthew was such a blip in the opening of Downton Abbey Season 3, and that may be because of the impending wedding of Lady Edith to Sir Anthony. At some point, the misbegotten sister needed her due and we shared in the preparation of her big day with dinners and talks of dresses and the entire family speaking disparagingly behind her back.

Seriously, there was less meddling in Sybil’s affairs with Tom than there was with Edith’s choice in marrying Sir Anthony. She fell in love with an older man and you’d think the word was coming to an end. Even women years his senior found it an odd match and were hoping against it. In the end, Lord Grantham went too far in his persuasion by asking Sir Anthony repeatedly call it off - because it worked.

If ever there was a scene I didn’t want to see, it was of Edith’s one day of happiness being crushed, especially coming at the hands of her own family. Edith was left to listen to her mother tell her she was being tested and it only makes you stronger. That would be much easier to hear if the tests weren't coming from the people who were supposed to love you the most. I cried when she told Anna the thing she could get her was another life, only to rebound with the comment that spinsters get up for their breakfast.

Edith was always a little bit difficult to understand and rally around, but she has my full support now.

Elsewhere around Downton, Thomas went a bit overboard with Mrs. O’Brien by telling Molesley that she was leaving Downton. He started an all-out war. Sadly, the two most annoying characters are cracking each other’s heads and it’s really difficult to care. If only they would have a dual at sunrise and both shoot to kill.

Word of Mrs. Hughes’ illness got around and Cora offered that if she were sick, she would be cared for and need never worry. It was, as Mrs. Hughes said, quite touching, especially given that the family is in dire financial straights. Well, as dire as they can manage while still living out their lives at a grand mansion with “only” seven or eight servants. 

Once again, the shining ray of light shone down upon Matthew, and in turn, Mary. Lavinia told her father that Matthew was giving up his happiness to be with her and it was with his full knowledge that he named Matthew an heir.

Matthew rode in on his white steed and saved the day, saved Downton and saved the family from retiring to the wretched country home where they would have to live a cramped existence. 

The upside to his playing savior again was the staff we all love so well remain; they are truly the heart and soul of Downton Abbey. It would have been difficult to have had to choose only seven or eight to take along, and even though I knew it would never come to that, I’m glad they didn't even come close to the decision-making process.

I did discover that I don't understand much about the ownership of Downton at the moment, because I thought Matthew and Isobel were there because he had inherited it and was to be the new Lord Grantham. Or something. Wasn't that how he came into their lives in the first place? So why did he have to buy a part of it to become partners with Robert? Well, he is now, so Mary should be delighted.

Finally, in the love department, we had Anna and Bates. Anna was still scouring the city trying to find clues to Bates' innocence in his previous wife's death and Bates was making enemies in prison. As much as I adored their love story as it first played out, there is nothing even remotely romantic about any of what's left. They're going to have to give us more to keep their tale alive and kicking.


Editor Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (36 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Why didn't they just replace Matthew? This is a disappointment.


I will not spoil the 2012 Christmas special but I have to say I am completely devastated by the ending!! Please....time to say quits if this is going to happen to all the actors!!! Don't know as I will continue to watch and believe me I am completely hooked on DA!! So disappointing!!!!


I think the co owners is a way of protecting Mary. If a new heir comes, then it still gives Matthew, and then Mary, stake in Downton Abbey regardless. There have been close calls to that "heir" standing a few times now.


What are the feelings about Edith's "spinster" state? Ironically, I think it's because she's from the aristocracy that she was left at the altar. Sir Anthony knew that she would be OK financially if he didn't go through with the marriage. If Edith had been from one of the village families or from that smaller "middle class" where distant relatives reside (like Matthew & Violet), he wouldn't have been able to back out because she would have had no real financial support after the wedding. It's too bad. Their personalities really meshed.


If you haven't seen The Secrets of Highclere Castle on PBS, find it and watch it. I believe it is streaming on their site. Anyway, it's all about the estate where they film Downton, and it's just full of interesting bits, interviews with the current owners (he is the great grandson of Lord Carnavon, who discovered the tomb of Tut),etc.


I was so sad for Edith. I can really relate to this character and it was heartwrenching seeing her getting so close to happiness and not getting it. I really hate how she is treated by her family. I don't think they really care and she is so often ignored by them.


I liked this episode, and don't understand how people can watch DA and disparage it for its "soap opera" tendencies. How long have you been watching? It's ALWAYS been a soap opera. Do you not recall that in season 1, by the 2nd or 3rd hour of the show, Lady Mary had lost her virginity to a bisexual visitor from India, and he DIED in her bed! Then her mom and ladies' maid had to carry the body back to his room. Goodness - if that's not soap opera territory, I don't know what is. Season 1 was WILD! There was more servant backstabbing, gay backrubs, and sisterly blackmail combined than there's been in the succeeding two seasons. And, I love all of it! Good stuff. J.R. Ewing would definitely approve.


This is just getting too soap-opery for me. Season 1 went right up to the line between serious drama and soap, but stayed JUST on the right side of it. In season 2, DA tipped over into soap and it just gets increasingly absurd. I don't think I can watch this anymore. In any given situation, you can pretty much predict the outcome by asking yourself two question: 1) What would happen that would create the most drama? 2) What would be the silliest thing that could happen? How I am going to miss JR Ewing -- he was a character who could wink at the audience and make all the silliness fun.


I love the war between Thomas and O'Brien, my money is on O'Brien! Thomas was right to look worried when O'Brein said he would get his she did not know how but he would get his. Love Anna and Bates but don't like their storyline this season. Lady Mary drives me crazy. All she cares about is keeping herself as the queenbee but other people's money is keeping her as the queen. Matthew is too good for her. I loved it when Ms. H told the butler she doesn't worship the Crawleys the way he does. I also loved it when the footman told the other servants that it was great that Edith did not marry that old man. She is young, nice looking and could do better and she can. I am tired of the poor Edith mess. Mary is not that great looking and she is a rude B! Sybil use to be really nice looking but she looks awful this season. Being marred to a "poor" man is bring her down. I don't get the poor Edith mess. I am glad Sir. Anothy left. I think he really loved Edith and wanted her to have more. Nothing wrong with him just too old for Edith. Loved it when Ms. H said Sir Anothy deserved what the footman said and more! Poor Crawleys would have to get by with 8-9 servants!


And REALLY Mrs. H--you really have NO idea that it was Mrs. P who (inadvertently) told Carson that you MIGHT be sick? Have you MET Mrs. P?

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Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 2 Quotes

She'll be a nurse, Cora, and by the time she's 50 she'll be wheeling around a one-armed old man.


Something happening in this house is actually about me.