Sunday, January 29, 2012

Downton Abbey - 2.4

Wow. Just when you think things can't get more intense at Downton...

Huge spoiler alerts ahead. Beware!

When the date displayed at the beginning of the episode, I thought "Oh, 1918! The war is almost over! Matthew and William will get out safe now, right?"


On the one hand, I fully expected them to make it through considering what a scare we had last week. On the other hand, it would be downright crazy if Downton Abbey didn't suffer one loss from the war.

In a masterstroke, Jullian Fellowes gives us two tragedies, milking them for maximum character growth. That's what makes this show great. It shocks you, but it never does something purely for shock value. It follows up on the drama and allows it to have realistic impact on the lives of far more people than you'd expect.

For example, take Lady Mary's unfortunate "Turkish Adventure." Here we are a full season later and it is still having grave, lifechanging effects for both Mary and (unfortunately) Anna and Bates. Can I take a moment to say how much I utterly detest Vera? She needs to go live her own lie and stop spending all her time figuring out how to torture her husband.

So... about those two tragedies...

First let's talk about Matthew. Of all the wounds they could have inflicted him with, this one was of course the most devastating for Downton Abbey (next to death or a comatose state). Matthew will live a long and full life if he chooses to make the best of it. However, he will never have children. His honor will keep him (or so he thinks now) from ever allowing a woman to marry him. And though he will someday inherit Downton, he will never be able to pass it on to a son.

Now would really be a good time to try and break that entail again.

Then there is William. Poor William. I never guessed that he would die, but in retrospect I should have anticipated it. I was not surprised that he wanted to marry Daisy before he went, but was ever so conflicted by Daisy's lie. On the one hand, I totally understand her desire for honesty. On the other? You really can't break a man's heart on his deathbed. Wow. That wedding was beautiful and tragic and was the best possible way William could have spent his last day. Now we'll see how Daisy deals with it.

While all the characters are growing and facing changes and choices, no one faces a more uncertain future than Lady Mary. Her honor is now tied to marrying Richard Carlisle. Her heart is obviously irrevocably tied to Matthew. What will happen? For those of you who haven't already gone and watched the British bootlegs... we'll find out next week!


Liz B said...

This was definitely one of the best episodes! I was in tears at the end...although I do often cry in sad movies, not usually in TV shows. I cannot wait for next week! But I'm so sad William is no longer in the show. :(

Valia said...

I'm not sure if I shall ever forgive the show for killing off William---he was probably my favourite character! I also kept expecting to have something horrible happen to him in the last episode (I was really expecting him to die then), so to have him make it through that and then die now was horrible.
On the upside, though, I really liked how it gave Edith and the Dowager Countess an opportunity to work together and show a softer side: Edith with caring for William so he could be at Downton and the Dowager Countess going to bat and then crying at the wedding. :)
Also, yes, it will be interesting to see how it affects Daisy. Despite all her protestations, she really did care for him a lot. I felt bad for her, with her indecision and deception, but am glad she did marry William (who was so sweet with wanting to be sure she'd always be cared for). And Daisy also smiling at the wedding because William looked so happy (such a touching scene). And then the end when Mrs. Pattermore tried to come and spell her and Daisy said, "I won't leave him now, not while he needs me". *tears up*

Poor Matthew as well! Though, I don't feel near as bad for him as I do for William because he's still alive and can live a good life if he doesn't mope over much. *feels a bit guilty*
I appreciated Lavinia trying to stick with Matthew even when he sending her away. I'm a bit afraid that she'll just be gone, though, and we won't see her again---she deserves a proper send-off at least.
I also liked seeing Mary's growth. And Cousin Isabel finally made it back! :)

I'm afraid I'm getting a little tired of the Anna/Bates subplot---I wish they'd stop coming together, running into challenges, solving them and coming back together every week. Maybe Mrs. Bates can fall off a cliff or into a hole of her own making or something and be done with it?

Sorry for the long comment! My family are the only ones I've had a chance to talk to about it, and we haven't really been able to make it past, "Poor William! *sob*" ;) Besides that huge detail, it was quite a good episode. :D