Downton Abbey, We Need to Have a Talk About Season Three

Last Sunday night, I settled in my bedroom for the evening with a glass of wine, my peach satin PJ’s on, and the TV turned on to PBS to catch the Christmas special for Downton Abbey, which had just wrapped up season three. Yes, I could have watched this special sooner through various means of online TV episode procurement, but I didn’t. I wanted to enjoy the episode as it came despite the various murmurings from the internet that probably, maybe, most likely, something would happen to a certain character that I wouldn’t like. In my head, I liked to imagine that this probably, maybe, most likely, something that would happen would hold off until season four or wait until the very end of the series or just, you know, get left on the cutting room floor as the writers realized that getting rid of great characters was really stupid and everyone should just live happily ever after or move away to the countryside, never to be seen again but presumably be okay in the end.

I watched the entire episode and at the very end was left in a state of shock. Not even the wine could make me forget what had just happened. Or a good night’s sleep which I was sure to get absolutely none of that night because… (go away now if you don’t want any spoilers!) (I mean it!) you… you killed off Matthew Crawley. Beautiful, perfectly coiffed, glassy blue eyed, intelligent, cheeky with 1900s sexual innuendos, husband to Lady Mary, Downton estate gamechanger and newly made father to a healthy baby boy, Matthew Crawley.

What. Just. Happened.

Downton Abbey, we need to have a talk about season three and its Christmas special.

All of the troubles in season one and two from Matthew’s involvement in the war and being wheelchair bound to Cora slipping on the soap that O’Brien left next to her bathtub and suffering a miscarriage, seem to pale so much in comparison to season three that those seasons actually seem like happier times.

In season three with the accompanying Christmas special, there are so many bleak moments coupled with lighthearted ones that try as they might to shine bright would still get canceled out by upset. Edith gets left behind at the altar, Sybil gives birth and dies shortly afterward from eclampsia in a violently awful turn of events, and then Mary finally gives birth to the heir of Downton with Matthew driving home to tell the rest of the family only to get his car hit and die instantly on a dirt road. Then there were assorted other odds and ends that bothered me like that maid trying to make the move on single dad, Branson (get outta here), O’Brien conspiring so badly against Thomas to the point where he was nearly out on the street unemployable, and even Mrs. Patmore being gypped out of a romantic storyline. And when Mrs. Patmore cannot find true love, that’s when it just gets morbidly depressing up in here.

Worst of all, is the question of the home as a whole. What will happen to Downton now? Matthew was going to be one of the biggest aids to getting the estate back on the right financial track. Now that he’s gone, what will happen to the home? We obviously can’t expect Robert to take care of things – he thought the American chap “Ponzi” of the infamous Ponzi scheme could have helped out!

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  • Sandra Henningsson

    Hell yeah, girl! I’m right behind you giving you encouraging words when you’ll have that talk.
    I can’t believe they killed of poor, little, sweet Matthew. I only watched the show for Lady Mary and Matthew. I hated the show before and I always sat with my head in the computer when my family watched it. But when they got Mary and Matthew together at the end of season 2 I started to like it. Hell, I loved it.

    This isn’t funny. It’s ridiculous how sad I am over this. We can be sad together?

  • Colleen Sweeney

    This is what happens when actors want off of shows. Dan Stevens didn’t want to return for a fourth season, so he was killed of. I assume that is what happened with Jessica Brown-Findlay as well. I was sad about Matthew’s death, but I am looking forward to what Season 4 has to offer. I felt bad for Mrs. Patmore, but she seemed relieved at not having to be with that man.

    • Kaitlyn Meloche

      The saddest part was that Jessica Brown-Findlay DIDN’T want off. Killing Sybil was a sweeps week ploy, in order to keep up with Downton’s main competitor, a show I can’t currently remember the name of.

      • Colleen Sweeney

        Ugh…horrible. To think Tom could still be happily married. I am gutted.

  • Катерина Миновска

    I completely agree. After all the trouble Matthew went through, there had to be a silver lining and they completely blew it. And if Dan didn’t want to be in the show, which I cannot understand, I mean I know that a person doesn’t feel like an appreciated actor while he’s doing a tv show, but this show is brilliant… either way, they could’ve just replaced him with someone else. Yeah, sure, the fans would be pissed for a while, but it’s lot better than killing him!

  • Alyssa Phillips

    I loved this show so much, and I really don’t watch TV very much. I was so sad this season. I just got over Sybil and then Matthew. Thats too much, not that the writers or anyone but Dan had control over the situation, I don’t see how it can be as good now. Matthew was the voice of reason and common sense in that house and Sybil was the heart. I really hope the show didn’t just die with this season, but I have a feeling it might have.

  • Jenny Louise King

    I just thought it seemed like a cheap soap opera trick, killing off 2 main characters in one season. I understand that actors might get fed up and want to leave, but surely there are more inventive ways to write a character out rather than killing them all! The tragedy and death count for this show is getting ridiculously high.

  • Kristina Swallow

    I’ve watched every single episode of Downton in 8 days and I am devastated that they killed him off. I loved him and Mary together and now I need to live life knowing he’s not coming back?! It’s unthinkable! I think I need to find another TV show in the meantime because I did get addicted to Downton…

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