Anyone who has watched this series – which I believe is basically… everyone, knows its sorrows, joys and triumphs. It’s an award-winning ITV series penned by Julian Fellowes that has evolved a great deal in the last three years. Praised for its first season but earning lackluster reviews in its second (which I attribute to the time frame), the series returns for a stronger, but emotionally driven third season. One that wouldn’t be the Downton Abbey we know and love without some fun and soapy drama – and there’s plenty of it!
Downton Abbey, Series Three (2012) ITV TV Review
It has been many months since the house of Downton Abbey has seen such life and happiness as that of the impending wedding of Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew (Dan Stevens). Butler and stickler of the rules, Carson (Jim Carter) couldn’t be more proud if Mary were his own daughter. Always his favorite, Carson would do anything to see to it that Mary and his employer Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonnville) receive only the best care and are never subject to scandal. Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) couldn’t be more delighted that Mary and Matthew are finally marrying after a tumultuous relationship and for once, Cora and her mother-in-law, Countess Grantham (Maggie Smith) agree on something.
The big day arrives along with Cora’s opinionated – and bossy – American mother (Shirley McClain)… and Cora’s youngest daughter, Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay) who creates waves of conflict after marrying the chauffer, Tom (Allen Leech). Accepting a tradesman for a son-in-law soon becomes second to the dreams of Edith (Laura Carmichael) becoming a journalist; the arrival of new downstairs staff; Thomas’ shenanigans; scary possibilities for Mrs. Hughes (Phyillis Logan); and financial woes for Downton Abbey.‘DOWNTON ABBEY,’ SERIES THREE (2012) #FWarchives Click To Tweet
What makes this series such a success is its characters. The foundation would simply crumble without them. It’s the things that we laugh, cry and bite our nails over that makes Downton so distinctively what it is. Three years in, that is still the key to why this is so darn successful and I am pleased to say that even entering an age of renowned promiscuity – the “roaring 20’s,” Fellowes still retains the charm and (mostly) wholesome ideal. Marvels galore – from new characters and old favorites… to inventive new costuming! – will delight devoted fans of this popular British-originated and now “imported” American series.
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Leaving off from the second season, certain character’s fates are in tatters and in jeopardy; and others lives were finally getting on the track of happily-ever-after after much angst. I’ll confess to reading spoilers and gossiping about this in anticipation with a couple of friends so there’s nothing I didn’t prepare for in the stately halls of my favorite British mansion. There is plenty of soapy drama mixing in with tears… and lest you despair, never fear, there are events that make our hearts inexplicably happy. Edith’s happiness takes a turn, ripping a page straight from a Bronte novel. Thomas and O’Brien continue to scheme. Also returning is Daisy, Anna and Bates, as does Isobel and even the re-appearance of maid Ethel. New faces also become a fixture at Downton between a besotted new kitchen maid and a vain footman. That alone creates loads of tension.
Some of the highlights consist of meeting Cora’s mother (she and Violet are a riot together) as well as the characters who evolve into something more mature. Being something of a romantic, I wish Matthew and Mary share more intimate moments and stolen kisses but being the proper British couple they are, they don’t; but seriously, as my mother says, “even when they’re fighting, they are cute!” She’s so right! Their interaction is darling and all too rare.
From the motor cars to the scenery, the grandeur of a London club to the costuming, everything is gorgeous. I love the production for that reason alone if nothing else though there are many other reasons. With rumors that some of the main cast (nooo! Please say it isn’t so!) is leaving and no report that there will be a fourth series (yet!), I can accept this ending but am wishing that we will be granted another series beyond just the upcoming Christmas special.
So many moments are precious (including the acceptance of Tom, I love Robert’s shifting attitude), and memories are made that we cherish. All of this the all of which the phenomenal cast carries along with the emotional, witty script. Perhaps it’s not as “brilliant” as when it first debuted though far be it from me to judge, but Fellowes is on the right track and for me, Downton Abbey won my heart over anew.
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So, those who watch it, let’s talk. What do you think of these installments? Do you have any strategies for what could come in a possible fourth season – what scandal will befall the house of Crawley in the next chapter? Let’s pile up the comments with some jolly good gossip, friends!
Content: Implications revolve around homosexuality [it was against the law] and one man makes unwanted advances towards an unwilling participant, including one kiss [episode seven]. Minor flirtations are present between a married couple as well as references to prostitution and an extra-marital affair. There are a couple of “tense” prison scenes.