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The Downton Abbey Dish Season 3 Episode 7

British television maven and blogger Deborah Gilbert keeps you in the know with entertaining recaps of each Downton Abbey Season 3 episode. Count down the most memorable scenes from each episode, including the Dowager Countess' best zingers. New episodes of Downton Abbey Season 3 air Sundays at 9pm through February 17.
THE DOWNTON ABBEY DISH – Downton Abbey Season 3 Recap: Episode 7 (aired 2/17/13)

This week reminds us that, no matter how bad things get, they can always get worse. Lord Grantham had a craving for ‘Shrimpy Cocktail,’ so the Crawleys took a trip to Scotland on the cutest little train you ever did see. It looked like it should have been circling a Christmas tree. But while Duneagle Castle is beautiful on the outside, on the inside, everyone who lives there is rather Les Miserables.

This holiday to Scotland was a lot of shoulda, woulda, couldas, teaching the family both upstairs and down to count their blessings.  There are a lot of things that divide us in this life: Red states and blue; rich and poor; Yankees fans and Mets fans—but can we all come together and agree on just one thing?: Bagpipes should be a violation of the Geneva Convention! Please? Can someone make that happen? Bagpipes are the musical equivalent of rice cakes: I cannot tell if bag pipes are out of tune in the same way I cannot tell if rice cakes are stale. It’s rather disconcerting and life is stressful enough. Anyway, until this episode Shrimpy was merely the phantom character who arranged for William to be brought home to die, and was responsible for sending Cousin Oliver Rose in off the bench. While sadly, William had to make a quick exit, it seems like Cousin Oliver will be around for at least part of Season 4…

Take These Broken Wings, Please: You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
It’s now been a year since Prince Thomas, no doubt inspired by Snow White, crept into JimmyJames’ room and not-so-charmingly tried to kiss him awake. I’m not sure what their relationship is a year on, but these uncomfortable silences sure do make them look like an old married couple. At the very least Thomas is Jimmy’s guardian angel. No one could ever accuse Thomas of being noble; During the war he took a bullet to save himself, but during the Fair he took a beating to save Jimmy. Even though there’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be, why would Thomas do it if it wasn’t love (even if only unrequited)? Beyond that, why would those toughs lay in wait for drunken Jimmy over what was left of the £10 he won? In today’s money, that would have been about £350. For whatever reason he was following Jimmy, when he saw him threatened he stepped right into the fray and down goes Frazier! When Jimmy later goes to visit Thomas in his sick room, and says to him, ‘I can never give you what you want’, I still hope that will change in the future. Maybe I’m just a cockeyed optimist. But for now, at least there is détente. Even Alfred helped him after he was beaten up. Louie, this might be the start of a beautiful friendship. 

Our Doppelgang Comedies: Double Your… Pleasure?
O’Brien meets her doppelganger, Alfalfa Wilkins. While Wilkins has been most everywhere, from Zanzibar to Barclay Square; O’Brien’s only seen the sights a girl can see from Downton Heights. What a crazy pair. Sadly, their young friendship, forged quickly as they darned their socks in the night when there was nobody there, hit a snag when Alfalfa’s Battleship Ladyship preferred Vidal O’Brien’s coiffeur handiwork. This causes Wilkins to make a rookie mistake: She tries to out-O’Brien O’Brien. But unfortunately for her, someone (likely that dull and sour Carson-wannabe) chopped off her curly bangs when she wasn’t looking and thus, zapped her of her powers, leaving her with nothing but the old spiked punch bit. Amateur. And who suffered because of it? Molesley. Molesley—the downstairs Edith. This episode also left with a couple of big O’Brien-based questions unanswered: Because the episode took place off the reservation, we don’t know what the Thomas-O’Brien relationship is in the aftermath of the way she set him up. We also don’t know if she had anymore conversations with Bates about the soap. I suppose those are more secrets waiting to be mined in Season 4.

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Unchain My Heart: Baby You Can Drive My Car
Houston, we have another maid Jane situation. And she’s a pushy broad too, that Edna. In the unwanted advance of the week department, Edna Jane walks into shirtless Branson’s bed chamber (doesn’t anybody knock around here?) and as he clutches his pearls, she plants one on him before scuttling back from whence she came. This is why slutty maid costumes are a perennial favorite. But Edna’s antics don’t entice him – all they do here is cause Edna to get fired, and cause Tom to go into the ugly cry, revealing to Mrs. Hughes how much he still misses Sybil. And by the way, the fact that Branson wasn’t invited on this family holiday made me dislike Shrimpy before I met him. Or maybe it was his equally miserable wife, Her Battleship, who didn’t invite him. And speaking of pushy, Mrs. Patmore has a fancy man, though I’d call him more crude than fancy, (goo goo g’joob). It’s Sam the Butcher, and something in the way she cooks attracts him like no other lover. He stuck his fingers in the vichyssoise and plucked at her heartstrings in one fell swoop. Suddenly she’s all atwitter, shopping at Frederick’s of Ripon and planning her day trip to the fair before Mrs. Hughes has to whip her neck around and say, ‘oh no you don’t girlfriend!’ That trip to the Pablo Fanques Fair is being planned by everyone except house sitter Carson. A splendid time was guaranteed for all, though it doesn’t quite turn out that way. It was more like a drunken parallel universe. It was lucky for Daisy who won a Gold Sovereign – and I hope she hung onto it too because there were several different Gold Sovereigns minted in 1921, and depending on which one it was, it could sell at auction today for as much as £100K! Others at the Fair were not so lucky: Out of nowhere, drunken illogical marriage proposals came flying from every direction like meteors. It was like everyone had lost their minds or gone to Vegas. Isobel almost got hit, but she dove out of the way. Mrs. Hughes saved Mrs. Patmore from the clutches of Sam, who we came to find out sold goose as well as flannel. Another thing we learned at the Fair is why we never see children around the village: Sadly, all the children have to work as servants, delivering eggs on spoons. All the children except baby Sybil that is. While everyone else was at that crazy Fair watching newspaper taxis appear on the shore, Carson was at home walking the floor with Sybbie, helping us to finally understand why, several episodes back, Lady Mary said that Carson had raised her. And Carson with the baby was just too, too cute for words!

Another One Bites The Dust: Take a Sad Song and Make It Better
The little Edith that could: You can just hear the voices in her head repeating it, ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…’ She is looking fabulous in her new modern girl wardrobe and Rhoda Morgenstern headscarves, but after a year of writing for The Sketch, Edith is still referring to Michael Gregson as ‘my editor’. Clearly he wants more, pulling an Isobel and pushing in on the Crawley family’s Scottish holiday with his, ‘I just happen to be in the neighborhood on a sketching holiday with my tailcoat myself so might I drop by?’ And he makes his presence known right from the jump. When Lord Eye Roller, in a typical move, puts Edith down as an ‘amateur’ (um, what kind of professional is Robert?) the chivalrous Editor Gregson quite deftly stands up for her. Check. The look on Edith’s face is priceless. Well played Editor Gregson. Well played. But why does she hesitate here, with the semi-available Gregson, when she made a play for the farmer while his perfectly healthy wife was just feet away? Come on Edith! You have found him, now go and get him! If there is anyone more in need of an Oprah-intervention I don’t know who it could be. Even though at the end, after Matthew’s Robert-like interference (we forget he is in training to be the next Lord Grantham), Edith wearily says, “Oh yes, I know what happens next,” I’d bet a gold sovereign this isn’t the end of this bad romance. I’d bet the Crawley sister who started out as the most prudish will travel the farthest and be the one who causes the biggest scandal. The only question is, will she be like Anna and still refer to Gregson as ‘my editor’ after they’ve…you know. At the end of sixth grade, one of my school mates wrote this poem in my autograph book (I think it was by Yeats), ‘When you’re married and live in a hut, send me a picture of your little nut.’ Wise words. I don’t know if Edith will ever get to send anyone a picture of her little nut, but whenever I see Bates & Anna now I think of that little ditty. These two are just too damn happy. It’s not that being happy is a bad thing. It’s that we all know The Laws of Soap: No one is allowed to be that happy for too long. The giggling, the glances, the romantic walks; It all makes me fear for them. Have they used up their lifetime supply of bad karma already, or does all this giddiness foreshadow more heartache for Season 4? Sigh. Oh dear, there I go borrowing trouble again. For right now everything is rosy, and as an added bonus, Cousin Oliver teaches Anna to do the Electric Slide and she wows them all at the ball, (and the way she looked was way beyond compare). Checkmate.

From Here to Maternity: Let It Be
He’s not dead. He’s just resting. Like many of you, I heard about the ending of this episode before tonight. It aired in the UK on Christmas Day and was such a huge controversy that Lord Fellowes had to address it publicly. People were screaming blue murder about their Christmas being ruined (those Brits take their Christmas Day telly viewing beyond seriously). Lord Fellowes was called to the Tower to account for himself, and it was all over the media in big headlines, and so there was no way to not hear about it. I don’t know about you Downtonians, but rather than spoil things, knowing what was coming made everything that preceded it much more poignant. Don’t you agree? It made the joy Matthew expressed at meeting his baby son so much more sweet and lovely and profound. Though at the end, as the minutes ticked by, I felt like Dorothy looking at the witch’s hourglass, knowing how much longer he had to be alive. Then again, he sure looked dead after he was hit during the war. Might this be another wild goose chase? An elaborate ruse from Lord Fellowes? Might we see him come limping and bandaged into the dining room singing ‘If You Were The Only Girl In The World’? Do I sound like a delusional Pollyanna? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. But back in 1921, at Duneagle, as Shrimpy confessed that everything was going to the pawn shop in the morning, Robert sees the ghost of Christmas past, and realizes what a fool he’s been. As always, he’s the last to know. Matthew saved Downton, but sadly this newfound appreciation for him comes too late. Poor Matthew won’t get to hear it because… he’s too damn happy, and not watching the road! He blew his mind out in a car – This is what comes from being too damn happy! Mary looked radiant this entire episode – as they say pregnant women are supposed to look. I don’t know how an actress ‘plays’ radiant, but somehow she did. And after all the newlywed bickering earlier in the season, it was heartbreaking that just as they truly appreciated each other it was all, unbeknownst to them, coming to an end – as other things began anew. They’ve done their duty (like salmon swimming upstream) and Downton is safe. And now, it all belongs to that little baby – talk about pressure! Matthew brought out the soft side of the haughty Lady Mary, and it was lovely to see those scenes where we get to see the side of her she doesn’t let anyone else see. Will we ever see that again? Will she now have to toughen back up to fight for her son’s interests? All these lives that seemed so ordered when we first met them have spun out in so many directions. So whether Matthew has ceased to be, or his total lack of movement was due to just being shagged out following a prolonged squawk, there will be some big changes at Downton, some forever, not for better, but I suppose we’ll love them all (or most). And we have to wait 10 LONG MONTHS to find out what happens next!!! ARGH!!!

Dowager Countessdown

5. ‘Well, I know he’s housebroken, more or less, but I don’t want freedom to go to his head.’

4. ‘Oh dear, you flatter me, which is just as it should be.’

3. ‘Edith, stop fascinating that young man!’

2. ‘That is the thing about nature: There is so much of it.’

1. ‘In my day I wore the crinoline, the bustle and the leg of mutton sleeve. I’m in no strong position to criticize.’

Bonus: The other day I was reminded of the words of Sir Yogi Berra who said, ‘Downton ain’t over til the Dowager zings’, and so it was fitting that whatever the plot twist, the season should end with Violet’s, ’But then, we don’t always get our just desserts.’ Chilling in retrospect.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, Downtonians! Even though we have to wait ‘til next January to find out what happens next to all of our friends at Downton, just like last year during the off-season, I’ll be filing reports here about once or twice a month called Dispatch From the Downton Abbey Diaspora. There is, of course, A LOT more British programming on THIRTEEN – starting with the great buzz about Masterpiece Classic‘s upcoming ‘Mr. Selfridge’ (and don’t forget EastEnders on WLIW21!) Forty nine years after Ed Sullivan brought the British invasion to our shores, PBS keeps it going! And we’ll also have time to ponder all the questions this season left us hanging with: Will Anna and Bates start a family? Will Thomas find love (and will it be with Jimmy)? Will Cousin Oliver stay around long? Whatever happened to Mr. Mason? Against all odds, did Matthew survive? Yeah, OK, I know, but to quote Thomas, ‘it’s not against the law to hope.’ Anyway, that’s just for starters. Are there any questions you’re left with? Chat about them here. Until pitchers and catchers report in December, there will be lots to discuss, and both Downton Abbey reruns and new British programs to watch here. Keep checking back. It’s been fun, Downtonians!

Downton Dish is written by Deborah Gilbert, a British television maven and editor of the E20 Chronicles, a free, weekly Eastenders e-newsletter, and an Eastenders column in the Union Jack Newspaper.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/gerry.keefe.7 Gerry Keefe

    Poor Dan Stevens has let his success go to his head. He’s 30. And Hollywood is, well awfully the last decade, and for bad teenage movies. And unless he plays someones father, well . . . . I don’t see the point of leaving such a resounding success, in the hopes of catching that same lightning somewhere else. Most unlikely. When will actors ever learn ? Hope that wasn’t poor ‘ol Dan’s career lying beside the road under that car. No one told him about the seatbelt in a roadster I guess, huh ?

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Yes, in Hollywood they go by dog years so 30 is rather old. Not to mention, there doesn’t seem to be much of a place for talent in Hollywood. They are more interested in cheap, talent-free ‘reality’ stuff, so I hope he made the right choice. But I think he’ll fall on his feet. My question is, who would you have rather seen tossed out of the car into a ditch instead of Matthew? My vote goes for Cousin Oliver. Any other suggestions?

      • Kaycee

        My list may grow the longer I mull over the finale but for now I have two suggestions. First Editor Gregson. While I feel for him in his unhappy situation and I could understand him wooing Edith into an ililcit relationship all kept discreetly under the radar he was an absolute dolt to think the family would welcome him and his plan with open arms. A shop girl’s family maybe, but really, the Lord and Lady and their clan. He was a fool. Next, although we probably wouldn’t see much of her off in Bombay, Her Battleship Ladyship was just too cranky to deal with. If she had only been miserable to her daughter I could see it as a manifestation of a complex mother/daughter/miserable marriage situation. But she beat the daylights out of her poor unfortunate maid too and I would guess everyone else who had no power to prevent it.

      • CatKinNY

        Jimmy! I’d come to detest the vain little bugger and was only partly mollified by the closing scene, though Thomas’s life will be a lot easier if the brat is not encouraging others to snub him.

      • http://www.facebook.com/louismunozjr Louis Muñoz

        …Although, frankly, I thought their rapproachment a bit too easy, a bit less than completely believable.

      • CatKinNY

        I’m conflicted. On one hand, if someone takes a beating for you, it would be rather churlish not to feel, and express, gratitude. On the other, Thomas admits why he was following him, rather than saying something like “You were quite drunk, carrying a lot of money, and I noticed the fellows you won it from following you, so I came along in case they meant to rob you and throw you in the river”, an explanation that would set a straight man at ease. I’m hoping Jimmy doth protest too much, and there’s happiness in Thomas’s future. Does that seem plausible to you? I don’t like Jimmy, but I didn’t like Thomas either, initially, and am now very fond of him. I think it would be a great deal of fun to see a less cynical, bitter Thomas.

      • http://www.facebook.com/louismunozjr Louis Muñoz

        I love, love, love the “Cousin Oliver” references, because Cousin Oliver IS who she immediately reminded me of, and her role as the new younger thing was SOOOOO obvious during that whole last episode!

    • thatgirlinnewyork

      You might consider looking at the whole of Dan Stevens’ “career,” and realize that it’s not all comprised of acting. He’s extremely busy and successful as a writer. Well-trained actors usually don’t wish to do television alone, and those with an education and interests as comprehensive as Dan’s would be wasted by the medium. To wit: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/content/dan-stevens

  • Colint

    Feel cheated, manipulated conned, just like being married!

    • Linda F.

      That line was worthy of the Dowager herself!

  • Granny Eileen

    In all my 70 plus years I have never been as angry over the season finale of a series as I am this evening over Downton Abbey!!!! If Dan Stevens appears in a movie in the future i’m not sure I will be able to watch it since I am so upset over him leaving DA. One minor thing that bothered me was the scenes of Mary in the hospital room holding the baby, awaiting visitors. My babies were all born between 1964 and 1975 and rooming-in was not an option at the hospital where they were born. I seriously doubt that it was available at all in the 1920′s or that Mary would have the baby with her when visitors arrived.

    • A.O.W.M.

      Very good question about verisimilitude, here! Seems from what I could tell that this was a regional hospital in which the birth took place, so it may not have been too ‘cutting edge’ as far as maternity accommodations. Trouble is, Julian Fellowes’ and the DA production staff’s sense of detail appears so dead on most of the time, it’s had not to give them the benefit of the doubt. Somebody please nod in on this!

      • Kaycee

        I don’t know the historical reality here but I wonder if this was really a case of “rooming in” as we think of it. Remember, Mary has Anna there with her in hospital, tending to her every extra medical need. So, maybe the titled, if they ever, heaven forbid, found themselves hospitalized, didn’t bend to the rules that governed the rest of society. Perhaps Mary wouldn’t want her heir left in the company of the village babies. I really am sounding Irish here. Sorry

    • CatKinNY

      You’re quite correct – rooming in did not exist until the 50′s, and was relatively rare until the late 70′s. Hospital births became the norm in the 20′s, and while the baby would have been brought to the mothers room for visits, only the father would have been allowed in the room while baby was there. We’ll have to see whether the family is allowed to pass the baby around in Mary’s hospital room before we judge for inaccuracy. I’ll be surprised if they make that mistake. In the 20′s, they understood germ theory perfectly well, but could do nothing about it, so isolating babies was the smart thing to do.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      I’d be happy to see Dan Stevens in anything he does. It’s his life and career and if he wants to strike while the iron is hot, or just cut back on work and step off the carousel, I think he has every right.

    • Alice in Edison

      The writers have been loose with some of the facts of the time period. All the “understanding” of the wealthy women. Matthew was ok with Mary’s Turkish friend. And English Lord who can’t get that Irish man out of his daughters life. I just don’t buy that. Some of the clothes seem too revealing for the time period would allow. Maybe they’re close but the colors are too modern. Still I love the story.

  • CatKinNY

    Damn it all, I knew Dan Stevens’ contract was up, but I kept myself from finding out any more, hoping that he’d realize that there’s a delicate balance to be maintained when deciding what to do as a major player in an unexpected runaway hit when one’s contract ends. Admittedly, hang on too long, and you run the risk of being stereotyped and missing some great opportunities, though the season for this show is actually quite short, so any movie shoot should have no difficulty working around your television schedule. Jump too soon, spoiling everyone else’s fun, and the industry, and the fans, get angry, and your career may well end up at the bottom of a dark, Scottish loch – believe it or not, young viewers, Suzanne Sommers once had a very hot career. Get it right, impressing industry, and fans, with your loyalty, unselfishness and work ethic, and you’re George Clooney.
    It certainly looks as though Matthew has left the Abbey. On the other hand, happily ever after is rather boring, which is why movies usually end at the wedding. Still, if Matthew is gone, that does not bode well for Downton, because it was only his common sense and understanding of business (and his authority as the comaster and fortune provider) that was giving it a fighting chance. Lord knows the Great Depression was horrific on families like the Crawleys, and it’s a mere eight years away. Tom may understand Matthew’s master plan, but will Robert listen to the chauffeur cum Estate Agent?
    What a shame that Shrimpy is losing Duneagle. Scotland in September is heaven on earth, with both the midges and the tour buses gone, and I would so have enjoyed a return visit. Lady Shrimpy was Sebastian’s youngest sister in ‘Brideshead’, and Dr Rider, who treated both Matthew and Mary for infertility, is quite possibly Charles’s father – wasn’t he a consultant? Did anyone else notice these coincidences, or am I chasing my tail?

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      I think it is tougher for younger actors to navigate all the mishegas that comes with a big hit – all those phony, self-interested people whispering in your ear. I’m sad to see him go but I wish Dan the best. I hope we see him in other things, and he doesn’t become the British MacLean Stevenson. It seems he has all sorts of other interests outside of acting (he’s the editor of a literary magazine), so maybe he really wants a smaller profile career with longer legs.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UTCTBQ3UJTPQMJ5KY7V6QKOTHQ Joanne T

        Yes, wish him the best. Anyone who can judge the Man Booker deserves high praise! Although he was disappointing in “The Heiress” ( though there was plenty of blame to go around in this show) I hope to see him on stage in the West End or again on Broadway. However I fear he will never get past his “Matthew” portrayal, so identifiable.

        Such a badly kept secret i.e. a major character’s demise… no one’s fault, the nature of the beast … it was anti-climatic.
        Season Four is ripe for “the chauffer!” Beware Violet, you cannot manipulate everyone as you would like…wonder is Shirley i.e. Mrs. Levenson will return to spice things up again?

      • CatKinNY

        You’re right, Deborah. He does seem a very bright young man, and I wish him well. I’ve recovered from my shock last night – I really did isolate myself because I didn’t want to know (if that’s not a testament to Julian Fellows, I don’t know what is!). You spell mishegas with an ‘e’, while I have always spelled it with a ‘u’; I’ll defer to your superior knowledge and switch.
        I have a bone to pick with you about bagpipes, however. I love the bloody things and adored being woken to stirring sounds of the war pipes (which is what the big ones we saw last night are called) while spending a September week in a 16th century tower house in the Grampian Highlands, one of those fairy tale castles that are the most beautiful fortified residences the world has ever seen. The Laird was an old friend of my mother’s, and the week was very much like the one we saw last night, with plumbing and heating to match.
        Before you got sick of it, didn’t you like Celine Dion’s ‘Titanic’ theme song? The instrument accompanying her is a bagpipe, the smaller, indoor version called an uillean pipe, so there!

      • http://www.facebook.com/louismunozjr Louis Muñoz
      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        Thanks for posting that Louis!

    • familyhistorianNY

      Lady Shrimpy did play Sebastian Flytes’ younger sister, Cordelia, in Brideshead Revisited. I didn’t get a good look at Dr. Rider, but I believe Sir John Gielgud played Charles Ryders’ father in Brideshead, and he has been deceased for a number of years. I heard that Dan Stevens was only offered a three-year contract from the beginning. Perhaps he was not invited to come back. This could have been Julian Fellowes plan from the start. Did anyone remember that Julian Fellowes had a continuing role in the miniseries ‘Monarch of the Glen’? I believe he also wrote the screenplay for ‘Gosford Park’. Talented man with a great knowledge of historical detail.

      • CatKinNY

        I didn’t mean the actor playing Charles father (Gielgud was unforgettable, and, as usual, had me laughing so hard I nearly cried). I meant the character, who I vaguely remember as a Harley St consultant. Contracts are two way things, so no one is offered anything longer than a three year contract with a new television series, because you have no way of knowing if you’ll make it through a full season. A producer doesn’t get to put an actor under contract for free, so if the show is cancelled, you still have to pay them for as long as the contract is in effect. Julian Fellowes (who won an Oscar for ‘Gosford Park’) wanted Dan Stevens to stay, but Mr Stevens declined, refusing even to do the first few episodes of season four. I don’t remember Fellowes from ‘Monarch of the Glenn’, a series I only got to see sporadically because BBC America ran it in the afternoons where I lived at the time. I quite enjoyed it when I did get a chance to watch it. I’ve been to parties in a few of those Victorian Highland castles and have wonderful memories of people and dancing, and amusing memories of original plumbing and heating.

  • purple angel

    I think that Julian Fellowes should have just ended Downton Abby on a good note if Dan STevens had to leave. And yes, he is dead as his eyes were wide open this time with the blood flowing down his temple. Wlhy make a fourth year of downton. This has left a bad taste in my mouth and I am not sure if I want to watch season four. It was the relationship of Matthew with the rest of the family that kept me going. Time to dim the lights. Dan Stevens has every right to leave when he wants and pursue a career in theater , if he wants. Julian Fellowes should hsve left enough alone. I am glad the Brits put him over the hot coals, he deserved it.
    .

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see. I agree that Matthew was a big lynchpin for he show but truly, in my opinion, the only character who cannot be replaced is the Dowager. It is actually a testament to the talent of Julian Fellowes and everyone else involved that these characters they created cast such a spell that when they “die” so many people are so upset.

    • Diane

      I agree with you that I, too, enjoyed watching Matthew’s relationships with the family and how it has evolved. I am so disappointed that they had to end the season – and Dan Stevens’ Downton time – on this sad note.

    • thatgirlinnewyork

      Should any story, whether literary or broadcast, live or die by one character alone? Downton is an ensemble of many characters and stories. The belief that they can/should all live forever, unfettered by the realities that visit ordinary life, is unrealistic, and often proves uninteresting. Why should his death make all the other story lines irrelevant? In what well-written book would everything be as intact/same in the end as the beginning?

      Not all “Brits” protested Matthew’s death, btw. But it’s easy to read a story in the Express or Daily Mail and think that.

  • Kaycee

    Right now my heart is breaking for Isobel. Not Mary. She will be seen as the one suffering the greatest loss but I’ll have trouble buying it. I never saw the wonder and warmth of Mary that Matthew did through his rose colored lenses. What she offers to him in the privacy of their relationship, and what is supposed to be affection and warmth and love, seems always to be carefully measured and never fully genuine. Could be because I never developed a liking of this character. She always seems to take any opportunity to be cold and especially mean to Edith, who is not really likeable either. No one will be as crushed by Matthew’s death as his mother, who also happens to be, aside from some of the downstairs people and possibly Cora, the warmest and most loving of all the characters. She is also smart and sensitive and will suffer this loss with deep and great pain and grace. The new little prince will only miss his father in an abstract way, never having known him. But I will spend a long 10 months worrying about what Isobel is going through. Perhaps she and Cora will develop a closer relationship, sharing as they do, what must be the greatest pain a mother can suffer. Geez, what a season ending!

    • Ginzinger

      I felt the same way – poor Isobel lost her son. Mary has proved tough as nails in the past, and will no doubt get past her grief and move on. Stiff upper lip and all that. Wonder if Isobel will seek out the good doctor’s attentions after all, for comfort at the very least.
      I hadn’t heard about Matthew’s demise before seeing the show. It was disturbing to me that once again a baby was born to Downton Abbey and immediately lost a parent.

    • PBSfan

      I was saying the same thing to my husband last night. Isobel is the one who will suffer the most from Matthew’s death but Mary will get all the attention. So many times last night Mary reminded us that she hasn’t changed even with Matthew’s love. She was spitting our poison darts (as I like to call them) at Edith and there was Matthew with his rose colored glasses on saying that his Mary is the true Mary!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        Well, to be fair, Mary does have good reason to hold a grudge against Edith; it was Edith who sent that letter to the Turkish Ambassador.

      • Kaycee

        I agree but in the end it all worked out for Mary. It would be grand if she could just let it go. Also, Mary was less than sensitive when Matthew was having so much trouble with his guilt about the inheritance from Lavinia’s father. She wanted the money and Downton meant more to her, it seemed, than the sensibilities of the man she pledged to love until death did them part.

      • PBSfan

        I am with Kaycee on this one. I know Edith and Mary have their sibling rivalry which we saw from Season 1 but enough already. Remember when Sybil died and Edith asked Mary if she thought they would get along a little better in the future and she said she doubted it. No one can convince that Mary is as wonderful as her parents, Carson and Matthew thinks she is.

        I think they should have ended this season with the train crashing and not letting us know who survived or just ending the series all together. Downton has an heir and money to keep it going. This whole thing started because there was no heir.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        Yes, she was all about the money then. But like she said, she is her father’s daughter and it seems that Downton comes before anything else.

    • Kaycee

      Also, reflecting on the scene at the railroad station when the family set off for Scotland, the way Matthew and Isobel were locked in eye contact for a moment and then as the train pulled away the shot of her alone on the platform made me cry all over again.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        Yes, again, knowing what was to come made that a poignant scene.

  • Mary

    Deborah Gilbert I don’t know how you do it Your Beatles references and rice cake comparisons made my day. Since the ending had been spoiled for me by some idiot on facebook, I didn’t feel much seeing Matthew lying in the expanding puddle of blood. Mary was so cranky when things were going well, it will be interesting to see how she handles this. Or will they skip past it to 2 years in the future? I’d like to see more of Carson bonding with baby Sybil and Anna dancing the reel. Those were lovely scenes.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Thanks! It will be interesting to see how they handle this at the beginning of next season. I hope they don’t jump ahead because I’d like to see the immediate aftermath – I’d like to see Mary and Isobel finding out and everything that goes with it. It is interesting to note that Dan’s stint on Broadway ended before the filming of season 4 started. Just sayin’..

  • Dfreecity

    We will never see that handsome face again, not on Downton Abby, anyway. Unless….. It will make for an interesting time for both Mary and Thomas as single parents, a great bonding if ever there was one. Will the little babies grow up to be the next Mary and Matthew? Hope Downton Abby is around long enough to let us know.

    • Kaycee

      Mary and an ex chauffeur? Really?

  • Kim

    I’m not sure why people get so intensely upset over characters dying. Life is full of both joy and sorrow, the show reflects that. It’s an adult drama, not a children’s program where we don’t want anyone to die and traumatize the little kiddies. I’m upset in the sense that I actually feel sorrow for the other characters, and I’m interested to find out how everyone is going to deal with the loss of Matthew. But I’m certainly not going to throw a tantrum over it and curse Julian Fellowes and threaten not to watch the show again.

    Oh, and Matthew is definitely dead. A car landed on top of him and he had the death stare. Done. As far as Dan Stevens deciding to leave, he understands the truth that a lot of people refuse to acknowledge – this show has an expiration date.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      I know he’s dead. I was quoting Monty Python’s dead parrot sketch.

      • Kim

        I wasn’t directing it to you :) there is a lot of chatter in a lot of places from people who seriously think his character might actually not be dead.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        No offense taken (and there are some people who still think Elvis is alive).

      • Gerrie Rue

        We have not forgotten Bobby from Dallas.

  • TC

    I watched and rewatched this last episode and can’t seem to find this cousin Oliver. Who is he? In which scenes did he appear?

    • Gaby

      I’m glad I am not the only one who missed cousin Oliver.

    • CatKinNY

      Oliver Rose is the young flapper, daughter of Shrimpy and Susan, and probably the pivotal charachter for next season, since she’ll be living at Downton while her parents are serving in some backwater in the Raj.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Cousin Oliver is my nickname for Cousin Rose (started when she appeared last week), a reference to Cousin Oliver i the Brady Bunch – a character who was brought in when the kids got too old and they needed a younger someone in the cast. In my cheeky recaps I do often nickname character (for example, Sir Richard was dubbed Sir Rupert.)

  • A.O.W.M.

    OK, how many ’60s sitcoms and oldies lyrics were quoted in this post? I lost count. Very amusing, though, Ms. Gilbert. And yes, the Carson character walking around with little Sybil was indeed too cute for words. No small feat, considering how the Carson character much more resembles the preposessing, easy-to annoy Badger from THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. Good alchemy.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      I didn’t count. I suppose I should have so we could have help a contest (like guessing how many jellybeans in a jar) to win something. Maybe next time!

  • Diane

    Love your Downton Ms. Gilbert!! I was sooo upset about Sybil and how am even more upset about Matthew!!!! I heard that Matthew is on to “other things” and is not interested in coninuing on in Downton. How for the fans!!

    • Diane

      Sorry for the errors in my note! I love your Downton Dish, Ms. Gilbert! And, I meant to write that I am ‘sad’ for the fans after the loss of Matthew to the show!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        Thank you!

  • ouiseau

    This was a very uncreative ending and a rather cruel one for viewers. Might not an
    explanation of his death sometime in the future, during the first episode in season 4,
    have been enough? Also, too much is getting out regarding series 4. Of course, although it has been a great show up until now, I will get over it all but I have lost
    a trust in the writer.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      I don’t know, given the way the mind of a soap fan works, I think if they really wanted him dead, they had to show the body. Otherwise too many (including me) wouldn’t have believed that he was actually dead. To me it did feel rushed at the end, but that might be only because I knew it was going to happen. It is possible that if we had watched it in the UK and didn’t know it was coming, it wouldn’t have felt rushed, but rather just felt like a surprise twist.

    • http://www.facebook.com/louismunozjr Louis Muñoz

      Hi, ouiseau, please see my post above, an interview with Julian Fellowes that addresses your question.

  • Linda F.

    Until I see Jimmy go after a female with real gusto, I hold out hope that he secretly “bats for the same team” as Thomas. Who knew Thomas was capable of such selfless love?

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      I second that emotion!

      • http://www.facebook.com/louismunozjr Louis Muñoz

        I THIRD it!!

      • Archlea

        Jimmy seems to have a depth of understanding/appreciation of Daisy, and that opens other avenues to his character.

    • thatgirlinnewyork

      Would that there were only two options. Jimmy could bat for both teams, and it would be quite realistic.

  • Joann

    I look forward to your dish as much as the episode itself. Too funny. Just a small quibble – wasn’t the young cousin named Rose, not Olive?

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Thank you! And yes, her name is Rose, but I nicknamed her Cousin Oliver (a Brady Bunch reference because I think the function of both characters is the same).

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.crutchfield Robin Crutchfield

    This is utterly brilliant!

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Thanks!

  • lotus7

    There might be an emerging storyline here — we now have two single parents at Downton — do you think there is a match waiting to be made?

    • Kaycee

      As I remember it Mary had trouble with the idea of Matthew, being of the middle class, inheriting Downton. Such a step down!It would be a real stretch if she could see herself with a former chauffeur. She has grown and has always been kind to Tom, I think for Sybil’s sake. But a romance? It will be interesting to see if that develops.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        I think it would be more likely that Cousin Oliver makes a play for him.

      • Kaycee

        Wow, great idea! I’m with you on that one. Let’s hope he has more substance than to be won over. Would be fun to watch it play out.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        Yeah, I do NOT want to see them wind up as a couple!

      • Kaycee

        With you again. Sybil had depth and heart. Those qualities appealed to Tom, as they would to anyone. Rose is young and maybe 2 mills deep, self involved and flighty. Tom needs someone with more to offer. Let’s hope someone wonderful comes his lonely way. That story line holds great interest for me. Mary will find her chilly way into something new too AND WE STILL HAVE A LONG TIME TO WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS! Darn.

      • http://www.facebook.com/louismunozjr Louis Muñoz

        (Potential) Spoiler alert: If one Googles “Mary Crawley Season 4,” you can see the possible upcoming romantic direction for her. (There are some specific articles I’ve read, but I don’t want to potentially spoil it for anybody, if those rumors turn out to be true.)

      • Kaycee

        (Another possibIe Spoiler Alert) just read that the UK’s The Mirror reported that a British actor by the name of Tom Ellis auditioned for the part of Mary’s new love interest. No word on whether he was offered the part or anything about the new character. So much for Mary and Mr. Branson.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        He’s denying it. He actually got a part on an American pilot. It would have been interesting for him to join the show. He spent a couple of years on EastEnders as the Square’s doctor, and I believe he’s also been on Miranda.

  • Flo

    What do you think of “Doc Martin?”

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      I’ve only watched it a few times but it looks very interesting.

  • wrekehavoc

    Another One Bites The Dust Dept.: As a long-time EastEnders fan, I have always joked about how people in Albert Square should do a better job crossing streets considering how many of them have met their untimely demises in them, either hit by cars, in car crashes, and of course, that fiery car explosion that took away Steve Owen back in the day, Deus Ex Auto. And once again, a car crash takes a beloved character (Matthew) out of a beloved soap (Downton.)

    Man, people in the UK should just stay off roads.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Or maybe the Peace Corp should send them driving instructors.

    • http://www.facebook.com/louismunozjr Louis Muñoz

      SPOT ON! I have to say, when he was off looking skyward and with that dumb grin on his face, and then, next thing, runs off the run, I could only hear my mother saying (in Spanish): “COJE!” (Lit, “take that!,” but means more like, “that’s what you get [for not keeping your eyes on the road]!!”)

      • bloomie

        Or maybe “Gotcha!” ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-C-Nash/637486378 George C. Nash

    Good one, Deborah. Esp the bagpipe comment. Very funny stuff. P.S. I recall Thomas shooting himself in the hand to get out of the military.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/louismunozjr Louis Muñoz

    Another great recap, Debbie! Not only will I miss the show (January 2014, could you come just a bit earlier, please?!?!), but I will also greatly miss the Dish!

    So, a lot of chatter, here and elsewhere, about offing Matthew (and Sybil). Here’s a snippet from an interview with the Grim Reaper himself, a/k/a Julian Fellowes, on how and why he made those decisions (and I must say, I agree with his decisions):

    “Q. Did you try to persuade these actors [Jessica Findlay Brown/Dan Stevens] to stay on?

    A. We wanted them to stay and said, “Would you just do two or three episodes? And then you’re living in America or in Dublin.” But they both felt they wanted to make a clean break. When an actor playing a servant wants to leave, there isn’t really a problem – [that character gets] another job. With members of the family, once they’re not prepared to come back for any episodes at all, then it means death. Because how believable would it be that Matthew never wanted to see the baby, never wanted to see his wife? And was never seen again at the estate that he was the heir to? So we didn’t have any option, really. I was as sorry as everyone else.

    Q. Once you’d made your peace with their departures, how did you decide to handle them narratively?

    A. With Jessica, it seemed right to give her a whole episode that was about her death. With Dan, I had hoped that we would have one episode of this fourth season that I’m writing now, so we could have ended the Christmas episode on a happy note – the baby, everything lovely. And then kill him in the first episode of the next series. But he didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want his death to dominate the Christmas special, so that’s why we killed him at the very, very end. In a way I think it works quite well because we begin Series 4 six months later. We don’t have to do funerals and all that stuff. That’s all in the past by then.”

    For the complete article:
    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/julian-fellowes-discusses-a-season-of-comings-and-goings-at-downton-abbey/.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Hmmm… I kind-of wish it didn’t start up again 6 months later. I’d like to see the immediate aftermath. But his reasoning for the rest IS right on – at least I think so.

  • robarsan

    I agree with “Gerry” regarding Dan’s leaving Downton Abbey at the pinacle of its success and his overwhelming popularity with the audience, as well as the family. Downton will no doubt continue for a very long time and Dan could have gained much in his theatrical career from staying in the role as Matthew. Certainly with the hiatus of the months ahead, he still could have persued his Broadway commitment as well as the former.
    We will miss him dearly. My husband was so upset by the sudden demise, he left the room and swore he would not watch Downton episodes in the future. Of course, I was in tears after that loving, affectionate scene with the new born and Mary. We had no idea of this dreadful outcome and so close to the loss of Sybil. It’s a shame, but we are hooked and certainly look forward to the new season. The Oscars last night did not hold a candle to the ambiance and splendor of Downton Abbey and its marvelous, colorful ensemble of actors. Bravo, Justin et al!

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      There was an article where I read his schedule for the last year and it was insane. It helped me understand why he left to strike while the iron is hot (as they say). Even though there is a hiatus, Downton films for 7 months out of the year.

  • Alice in Edison

    I hope Edith and Lord Grantham sister in London get their own show. They are always interesting.

  • Delaney McGowan

    Your synopsis was wonerful!! Loved the references to Patty Duke show, etc. And I still want to know about Ethel….and Mr. Lang (battle fatigue)….& Gwen…..

  • robarsan

    Gotham, I appreciate your response…true, we each must make decisions about life and the journey that may not be easy, but nevertheless priorities are most important. Dan also has a family to consider as well as his writing and editing profession. However, he will be sorely missed. All best to him!

  • lowtherp

    We sat here in shocked silence at the end of Downton Abbey . We had no idea season 4 would end that way. My first thought was Mathew can’t be dead, he’ll be paralyzed but my husband said no, he is “dead as a doornail”. Too bad. Mary and Mathew were made for each other. Poor Isobel. Mary will be flooded with sympathy but what about Isobel?

    So many interesting characters in this show. I’m rooting for Branson. I like the way he developed and am interested to see how he will evolve without Mathew. Can he stand up to Robert? Can he manage the estate successfully? Another favorite of mine is “little daisy”. Will she go live with her father-in-law? I can see her being a wealthy woman someday and all the Crawley’s having lost all their money in the great depression.

    We live for the Dowager’s comments…..

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