The highly anticipated U.S. premiere of Downton Abbey Season 4 seemed a bit long and lethargic, yet it still delivered the same charming performances and curiosity-inducing drama that those of us DA fans have come to expect. What it lacked in the department of tragic deaths of family members or Turkish royalty, it made up for with riveting performances, and the introduction (and some re-introductions) of new characters that are sure to provide good, juicy plotlines in the episodes to come.
I was particularly impressed with how they dealt with a very real subject of grief. All of us viewers at home were devastated at the end of Season 3 with the sudden and unforeseen death of Matthew Crawley. I wondered how they were going to handle it (part of me was still hoping he would somehow survive that horrific wreck), and overall I think they handled it very well. It was the right mix of emotional reflection along with the necessary healing and moving on that needed to happen.
Mr. Carson at one point said to the widow, Lady Mary, “You can choose life or you can choose death,” and for a grieving family member, that is a difficult question, but eventually, we need to choose life for ourselves in order to move on. Kudos to the writers and the actors for capturing that painful life situation so well; not belaboring it, yet not glossing over it either.
The other developing story lines, like what is to become of the estate, and what is to become of that poor middle sister, carried right along with:
- The same sweet lovely romance between Mr. Banks and Anna.
- The same underhanded, scoundrel-ness of Thomas Barrow (P.S. I missed O’Brien, what happened to her?).
- And of course, the same superb wit and delivery from Maggie Smith, the queen bee of royal snark.
Predictions for this season:
- Thomas is up to the same no-good antics, which will certainly result in people getting canned (oh wait, that already happened last night . . . and how about that psycho nanny?!?!).
- Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes are going to shag.
- The lovely tart, Lady Rose, is going to have a hard time keeping her skirt on, which will inevitably lead to some humiliation for the Downton estate.
What are your thoughts on the season 4 premiere? Any love interests that you see brewing?