TV Time: Downton Abbey Season Four Premiere

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(This post contains spoliers)

She Said:



I along, with much of America have been anxiously awaiting the return of Downton Abbey.  I couldn’t wait to see how Lady Mary would rise from the ashes and in general just return to characters who have always succeeded previously in being captivating and endearing.  But, I was extremely disappointed in the Downton Abbey season four premiere.



I knew it would be sad to return to life at Downton without Matthew. But, I had hoped to be encouraged and grow to love Mary even more. While I was ultimately pleased with her standing up to Lord Grantham and proving that she could have a head for business, I couldn’t shake her almost disturbing dour appearance from early in the episode.  Her exchange with Carson was so infuriating that I actually retreated into Pinterest for a moment.  I don’t like that the characters seem to all reverted to their old ways. Thomas is back to scheming and with Cora’s lady’s maid nonetheless. Ugh! The love quadrilateral between Daisy, Ivy, James and Alfred, which I hoped was over, continues. Ugh! Not to mention the Dowager has lost her rapier sharp wit, Robert has turned into a huge chauvinist and poor Edith, is really still poor Edith. I hate it when character regress.



Why are so many crazy people coming out of the woodwork? Edna is back! Why! I didn’t like her before and now she’s even crazier. I’m not surprised that a woman as manipulative and diabolical has she would team up with Thomas. But, I had hoped that the writers could have created a different characterization for Cora’s maid. 



Why did Carson’s old show biz friend Charlie Grigg show up? Does anyone know why he wrote Carson? Does anyone understand the supposed love triangle between the two Charlies and Alice?  That whole story line made no sense, unless they are setting up Carson for a return to life in the musical theater.  I guess Moseley could end up butler at Downton Abbey after all if that happened.



The costumes, well made and historically accurate though they may be were just not terribly attractive. I miss the beautiful costumes so much. I know we’re no longer in the same era that the show began in, but there were beautiful clothes in 1922, but we’re not seeing gorgeous clothes yet.



I intend to give it another try. Maybe it was just a rough start or maybe this show as really lost its magic. Only time will tell. I’ll watch again, for now.



Kari Liked: Seeing the little cuties playing baby Sybil and George. The music at the dance hall.



Kari Didn’t Like: Pretty much everything.

He Said:



The premiere of season four of Downton Abbey has been hotly anticipated in America for almost a year.  I wanted to like it, I really did, but something seems off this year. 



Matthew’s death has warped reality in Downton.  Characters are reverted back to an earlier stage of growth and everyone is now a shadow of their former selves.  Some of this could be explained by the death itself, but there’s more going on here. 



Mary is the person most obviously effected by Matthew’s death.  After six months, she’s still walking around Downton Abbey looking like a ghost.  She says at one point that all of the goodness he saw in her has gone now that he’s dead, but all of the sass and wit that the viewers have seen in her for 3 years has gone away too.  Even when she’s declared Matthew’s full heiress by the end of the episode, and thus half owner of Downton, she still hasn’t gotten back her spunk.  Isobel seems a shell as well.  Not while she’s still visibly mourning, but once she gets back to trying to help others.  Instead of infirmed soldiers, or down on their luck former housekeepers, now she’s helping a sleazy showman.  And one who last time we saw him only showed up to shake Carson down for money way back in season 1.  Even the Dowager Countess doesn’t seem to be herself.She isn’t nearly biting as the character we’ve come to know.  It’s great that she’s showing growth and trying to help people, but it’s not nearly as fun to watch.



What’s going here?  Well, I think what we’re seeing is a reverse version of the “Star Trek Movie Rule” which states that the even numbered Star Trek movies are all better than the odd numbered ones. Downton Abbey has it in reverse.  Think about it for a second.  Season 1 brought us into the world and brought us countless memes.Season 2 brought us the drudgery of The Great War, and in general much not as much to be interested in.  Season 3 was a revival of sorts, and even though two key characters died in it, it was overall much more enjoyable.



I’m hoping I’m wrong, but this whole season may stink.  Let’s just hope I prove right and it rebounds for season five.



RJ Liked: The one sweet moment that Bates and Anna shared on Valentine’s Day


RJ Didn’t Like: Thomas returning to mischief for no good reason, the return of Edna Braithwaite and Charlie Grigg

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