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Downton

It’s time to talk about Downton Abbey.  I didn’t watch the show from the beginning, but when the first three series were on Amazon and I was working out for an hour a day and needed something to entertain me while I ran.  I immediately liked it and reminisce fondly about when the story was new to me.  It’s actually the only show for which I feel nostalgic and that’s the magic of it, I suppose.  I don’t feel wistful about my other favourite shows, shows I like even more than Downton, so it’s special in a unique way.  Shows like Orphan Black and The Americans are just great shows with seemingly endless possibilities, whereas Downton simply had to end somewhere.  I mean, how many upstairs / downstairs dramas can you create in one house?  And they wouldn’t want to jump the shark and go down as a mocking shadow of its former self.  So I do understand the show having to end.

But there are a couple things I didn’t appreciate.  Like the situation with Mary and her new beau.  Granted, I will never forgive Dan Stevens for leaving the show and killing Matthew, but I felt Matthew Goode as Henry was a sufficient replacement for Mary.  Except the obvious jab they took at Mary in the final episode.  A used car salesman?  Really?!  After all these years of making Mary the pseudo-villain who runs hot and cold evoking feelings of love and hate in equal measure, you reward her by making her actually-boring-but-made-to-seem-exciting-race-car-driver husband a used car salesman?  And Tom, too?  That’s okay with you, really?  I didn’t dig the race car driver business to begin with, so extending that into car sales was the lame following the lame, in my opinion.  Why couldn’t Henry, the man who wouldn’t have a title unless twenty strong men died, at least be a banker or a doctor?  Being “lowly” doesn’t make him more likeable, just more limited.  It’s as if the writers asked themselves, “Gee, we have him liking cars, so I guess we just run with that and make him just a dude who likes cars.”  See what I mean about actually-boring-but-made-to-seem-exciting?  They may as well have left Mary alone to die a spinster.

As I said about Henry, I also think about Tom.  They never developed Tom beyond the heartbroken widower who just tries to blend in and is constantly reminded that he doesn’t fit.  His one potential romance after Sybil turned out to be one of those so open-minded she’s actually as narrow-minded as it gets types.  Then they introduce the female editor at Edith’s paper as a possible romantic connection, but leave it unfinished in favour of dwelling on dramas inside dramas for other characters.

Like everything with Thomas during the last series, for instance.  I always liked Thomas, even at the beginning when he was just a pain in the ass, but knew he would never find personal satisfaction.  It’s the 1910s and 20s: what could a gay man get in that age?  He would have eventually agreed to a loving partnership with a female coworker who’s willing to have a “warm friendship” in exchange for partnership and banter.  But viewers could have done without all the back and forth, attempted suicide, poor damn Thomas BS this series.  I would have given Tom a little more lovin’ in lieu of all the Thomas crap.  Just let the guy do his job and when Carson started losing his shit, give him the butler job.  How hard is it to just let him hang back and wait for his chance.  And he’d gotten so pleasant!  Does he deserve to be miserable most of the series?  I say, resoundingly, NO!

My final real complaint is a little more superficial…Daisy’s hair in the last episode.  With incredulity I stared at the terrible ‘do she’d gotten after butchering her hair trying to recapture Andy’s eye.  And from Anna of all people!  She looked stupid.  Sophie McShera (Daisy) has a v. round face, so face-framing hairstyles don’t work on her.  And bangs on her tiny forehead also don’t fit.  They should have just given her a mess of hair from the blow dryer and let Anna fix it into a long, smooth plate or something.  Not that hairdo she ended up sporting.  Even in 1926.  It’s a bad knockoff of Mary’s hair that simply doesn’t fit Daisy.

So, those are my complaints about how the show wrapped up.  I love almost everything else about the show, so I’ll let go of my disappointments.  I’m actually compelled to write fan-fiction and that’s never happened before.  But I’ll spare you.  You’re Welcome.

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