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Downton Abbey Review: A Time for All Things

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The season two finale of Downton Abbey concluded with just about everything we could have wished for. I don't know if at the time they expected it to be the series finale, but we will indeed be blessed with a third.

While a lot happened, there wasn't much to analyze here. Everything was just there to soak in and enjoy.

It was so unfair that just as it was time for Richard to make a fool of himself at charades, they decided to cut, for the first time, to Bates in prison. Just when I wanted to see Sir Richard make an ass of out himself at something fun instead of everyday life. He has become ingratiating. The one thing that remains clear is that Mary marrying Richard would be the biggest mistake of her life.

Downton Abbey Season Two Finale Pic

Although they were not acting romantically interested, Matthew stepped in while he could to try to help Mary steer clear of Sir Richard. She even admitted he was getting on her nerves. With him holding on to her with a threat, what could he possibly expect?

I half expected him to shoot Matthew in the back just to get rid of him. Matthew let Mary know she need not marry Richard, as he would allow her to live at Downton Abbey as long as he was alive. She came very close to telling him why the match must continue.

Instead, Cora told Robert when he showed great concern about Mary's future with Richard Carlisle. Robert took it very well, and quietly asked Mary if she was staying with Richard because he is holding it over her head. I adored his reaction.

After a war and a murder trial, he said to take her chances, break with Richard and go to America to find a cowboy to shake things up. The house was going to be a house of scandal regardless, and he'd rather have a happy daughter than worry about adding to the craziness. It was beautiful and a relief.

Just when I thought maybe Thomas was forgivable, he kidnapped Isis and locked him up in the woods in an attempt to "save" him and put himself into Lord Grantham's good graces. I don't know if Thomas and I shall never make it past that moment in time. To use a helpless, loving pet to get his own way. I do have boundaries!

A search party was formed and they came right up to the shack in which she was locked, but she made no sound. Luckily Isis had been rescued, no thanks to Thomas. The real kick of it was that Robert was fooled into thinking Thomas a good man, in the running to take over for Bates should the worst occur.

Nothing went well for Bates in his trial. My heart was breaking as he and Anna said goodbye. Bates asked her to forgive everyone who testified against him. When you're faced with the end of your life, your priorities change. She went a step farther, and offered up her resignation to keep the house from scandal.

Lord Grantham received a telegram that Bates death sentence was commuted, and he would do everything he could to work with Anna and Bates to ensure his conviction was overturned. What did Bates want from Anna? For her to make friends and live a joyful life, even while he is in prison. He loves her so much the thought of her down was impossible. True love, indeed.

At long last, after years of games, close calls and other loves, Matthew asked Mary to be his wife and she accepted. And so ended Season 2 of Downton Abbey.

I've tried to imagine when the show might pick up next. The first season was the sinking of the Titanic, and this was World War I. Might they move nine years further along toward the beginning of the great depression?

Other items of note:

  • Daisy continued to struggle with her marriage to William and the deceit she felt she pulled. She visited his father and he told her that he needed someone to pray for and hold in his heart. They were both so in need of each other and I'm so glad Mrs. Padmore played the Ouija board trick on Daisy to get her out of her funk
  • News of Sybil and Branson arrived. She is with child! Although Lord Grantham gave them his blessing, he didn't attend the wedding, but Lady Grantham said there was nothing that would keep her from her first grandchild. He was just going to have to get over his misgivings. You go girl!
  • If seeing Matthew and Richard fighting in the parlor not the best moment of the season, I don't know what else matched it.
  • How awesome was the household ball? The upstairs and downstairs, dancing together. It fit well with the entire holiday theme and was a lovely way to end the season.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (188 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Does anyone know howcome the mailservants and the gents (Lord Grantom, Matthew, and so on) wear exactly the same outfit at dinner? I mean... is that normal? You could easily mistake Carson for the master of the house. Been lookin all over google to find an answer tot that ^^

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I think series 2 is salipirng out of control. I would joke that someone's long lost unknown twin is going to show up, but I wouldn't put it past them at this point!My dream couple is Lord Grantham and Mr. Bates. Or, a cracked door and any other character.Twitter Name:

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After two years of Matthew and Mary's relationship being in turmoil I am ready for them to have a good year. Let the rest of the cast stress out. Petal

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I am a former Marine and I cried when Matthew asked Mary to marry him. So......yeah.

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So does anyone see any potential complication coming with Patrick surviving and actually showing up to claim his title, and Lady Mary becoming upset with her situation-being engaged to a common solicitor? And will a romance be kindled between Patrick and Lady Edith who would "have taken him like a shot?"
Just a thought.

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Sir Richard's blackmail was not the reason why Mary agreed to marry him, though it was the cause which deterred her from breaking off the engagement. There was, after all, the calculated move to marry someone with fortune and power - after Matthew left her. (Thought I would put this out there. We chuckled over "Your lot buys them. Our lot inherits them." The fact remained, it was not all down-side for her - even if he had had no knowledge of the scandal.) On a different note, the dialogue between Mr. Mason and Daisy was good. The "fortune hunter" and Rosamund vignette, however, was more suited for daytime soap opera. In the New York Times interview, Julian Fellowes praised the energy of American TV series. It appears he needs good writers to fortify upcoming series. His limitations of developing characters and plot lines in an ensemble production were evident in season 2.

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I heard that this next season was to take place during the Roaring Twenties, and I'm not sure how that played out in Britain. And speaking of great Maggie Smith lines, was it Isabel who mentioned that something would be done on the Weekend and Dowager says "What's a week-end?"

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One other titbit. Apparently the whole cast like watching the series as much as we do. Think about it. Shooting is all over the place and the story lines physically separate actors. So they don't really know what it looks like as a finished product. They only see parts of their own story line. When they watch, they get as entranced by the series as we do. One actor said they all loved going to a special showing of the Christmas special together.

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Oh, BTW. Since the third series is only 18 months and everything of note (more or less) is centered at Downton, it might be fun to speculate what plot lines JF has. Cast apparently very pleased with the new scripts. So I suspect the birth of child by Sybil and Branson (Do we ever get to call him by his first name and what will LG call him: Branson?) Wonder if they will follow up "the proposal" with "the wedding?" I suspect Edith gets a beau (as they say at DA) and Bates will get sprung. I'm betting the Bates saga has some "shocking" thing to reveal. (Maybe he did it; maybe Sir Richard did it; maybe it was an accident; maybe she tried to only make herself sick and claim he poisoned her.) Endless possibilities.

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The third series takes place over 18 months. JF said they needed to slow down because the actors were not aging in the real world. (Remember although we have two actual years of series, we had 8 years in time.)