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.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (188 Votes)

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


Love the episode but so sad bates is in jail ... Not fair the b....h got her wish to see bates unhappy... Can't wait for season 3


I thought that Violet's dismissal of Richard ("Do you promise? [I won't see you again]) was better than Matthew's crack to the jaw. She really does get the best lines.


Kudos to all involved with Masterpiece well deserved awards!! I've been a convert to Masterpiece Theatre/Mystery for decades..
I did get to watch all of season 1 Downtown Abbey and only bits and pieces of Season 2 ,, however I did get to see the making of Downtown Abbey and it filled in some loose ends I missed ( the first parts of season 2 for me)
I understand season 3 will feature Miss Shirley McClaine... a jolly holiday awaits all us fans...


OK...I really have 3 nitpicks w/Fellowes. The second is, when did Cora become aware that Richard was blackmailing Mary into marriage? I would have liked to see that conversation between mother and daughter. Finally, what happened to Edith and her gentleman? We saw her in one lovely scene at tea, smoothing things over with her former suitor, and then...nothing after that. It was too abrupt of a way to end her situation. She should have made a comment to her grandmother at the Servants' Ball (btw, that was a fantastic event!) about him being very suitable for her in spite of his physical handicap. That was a great quote from her though..."Don't think for a minute that I'm going to give up a man who thinks I'm pretty."


Greatly enjoyed the final installment of Season 2. BUT...I have one MAJOR nitpick w/Julian Fellowes. WHY...WHY...WHY...are the most exciting conversations between characters happening OFFSCREEN? One of the best scenes in Season 1 was when Cora reveals to Lady Grantham that Pamouk did die in Mary's bedroom. No cutting away at the crucial moment. But, in this episode, it happens twice that the audience is left to imagine how first Robert, then Matthew, initially react to the entire sordid situation. If we can watch Lord Grantham react to Sybil announcing her engagement to the chauffeur, then why couldn't we watch Cora finesse the entire Pamouk affair to her husband? IMHO, Fellowes missed another great scene between Cora and Robert. She really rises to these occasions when she's fighting for her girls in her gentle, yet determined way.


Absolutely love them all. Great cast.


I stumbled onto series during this season & was immediately taken in by the characters. I was very pleased that Matthew has finally come to his senses & proposed to Mary. Very thankful Richard is out of the picture (besides the actor has a recurring role on "Games of Thrones" on HBO. Not happy about the verdict for Bates but the circumstantial evidence against him was pretty overwhelming so it was no big surprise. Loved the fight scene between Matthew & Richard &laughed out loud when he said they would be seeing the last of him & Roberts mother asks him if he promised. She's so absolutely wonderful in this role as the patriarch of the family with her "old school" ideas about being from upper class & her meddling behind the scenes. The woman weals some serious power. She certainly knows how to put her own spin on family situations. I have to go back & rent season one & re-watch season two. It's a series I will be adding to my DVD collection.


Oh...and the award for corniest use of a Ouija board to bring two LIVING people together goes to.....


Well good riddance to Sir Richard Carlisle--and BRAVO to Lord Grantham for approving of it. However, I don't understand why Mary TOLD Richard she was going to America to "ride out the scandal." Surely a man of Richard's influence would have connections in America and could get the story published in papers there.

Uss biddle dlg 34

The Brit invasion so renders the lame dimwit Network tv dramas .....pathetic junk for the attention span challenged ......
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Downton Abbey Season 2 Episode 7 Quotes

Richard: Why do we have to help ourselves at luncheon?
Robert: It's Downton tradition. They have our feast at luncheon and we have ours in the evening.
Richard: Well why can't they have their lunch early and they serve us, like they normally do.
Mary: Because it's Christmas day.
Richard: It's not how we'll do it at Haxsby.
Violet: Which I can easily believe.

Mrs. Hughes: I wish I could tell you not to worry.
Anna: My husband's on trial for his life, Mrs. Hughes, of course I worry.
Mrs. Hughes: Well, I'm I'd fashioned enough to believe that they can't prove him guilty, when he's not.