Downton Abbey season 3 finale: will you ever watch another episode?

**********SPOILERS for the finale of Downton Abbey throughout this post.

Last night was the PBS/Masterpiece finale of Downton Abbey here in America, so I think everybody knows at this point who died and who is not coming back next season and the issues which will be in the mix next season. The finale was super-melodramatic and they had to deal with the fact that Dan Stevens wanted to leave the show. So they just flat-out killed him off in a weird car accident just a few hours after his first and only child was born. It definitely felt like Season 3 was a bloodbath, right? First Lady Sybil and then Matthew? Yikes. Season 4 might be a mess. Prepare yourselves. Anyway, go ahead and talk about the finale below!

Also – here is the full video of Maggie’s 60 Minutes interview which aired last night (we previewed it on Friday). It was really enjoyable! Maggie rarely gives interviews, and she’s just so funny and interesting. I didn’t know anything about her private life before this interview, so I was fascinated by the fact that she’s been married twice (divorced once and widowed once), she has two kids and a bunch of grandchildren. She also says she has no interest in retiring (she’s 78 years old) and Downton Abbey’s creator Julian Fellowes says that he will never, ever kill off the Dowager Countess. If you have a spare 15 minutes today, you should totally watch this. Also: she has no Botox. She hasn’t had a facelift. Her face is gloriously lined and wrinkled and wonderful. I love her.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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123 Responses to “Downton Abbey season 3 finale: will you ever watch another episode?”

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  1. Post-It's says:

    After this season, I can’t say that I’m really sad that Matthew was killed off…

  2. Gine says:

    I have a feeling Dan Stevens is really going to regret leaving the show. If he’s just ready to move on to some different British TV projects, fine. But if he’s expecting to break out in movies or something…yeah. I liked him as Matthew but I really can’t see that happening.

    I love Maggie Smith so much.

    • Jane says:

      Yes, he may be the British version of David Caruso. On a great show–NYPD Blue–great part, then decide you are bigger than the show, leave, then flop badly. Maybe he will be luckier than Caurso, not have multiple film bombs and not have to wait years to get another good acting job.

      • embertine says:


        Coming soon to ITV3….. CSI: Newbury!


      • Cam S says:

        I concur. I also think the ending was a wash and felt like an afterthought. It did not gel with the series. I guess the writers had to deal with him leaving somehow. But why couldn’t they have written his character to take a job in London or something and just have him appear in guest spots? Many actors do series and movies at the same time.

      • P.J. says:

        Julian Fellowes said he had to kill off Matthew because it would have been unbelievable for him to leave Downton, the baby and Mary for a job elsewhere. Also, Dan Stevens was asked to do a few shows in Season 4 for the sake of transition, but Dan refused to work past the end of Season 3. Big mistake in my opinion.

      • Liza Jane says:

        I don’t think that was his motivation at all ..he is so much more than a TV actor, he is very big on the British stage, he is an editor and book critic, he writes blogs, he is a judge on things like the Booker prize, married to another actor with 2 kids..he said that after 3 seasons of a series they did not think would pass one, he was quite burnt out and needed to pull back! Now it may be that he would like to conquer film as well but he is quite realistic about it! He is definately not a fame whore and frankly British actors do not have the same mind set as American ones! You cannot in anyway compare him to David Caruso who is is far out of that league!

    • RocketMerry says:

      Agree with everything. I hope for his sake that he was just tired of the series and ready for new challenges.
      He does not strike me as a film lead, unlike the actress who played Sybill who could go ahead and really be a film star in a few years, if she threads carefully and works hard.

      Maggie Smith is too adorable for words. I can’t wait for Quartet!

      • Liza Jane says:

        Quartet is magnificent zen saw it this weekend and the movie theatre exploded with applause after it’s a gem!

    • s says:

      I totally agree with this. He thinks he is better than the show but what is awesome about the show is the writing and many of the other actors, not him. I actually really hope he flops in his post-DA career. Humph.

      • bellatrix517 says:

        Dan Stevens made a huge mistake. While British fans may be all forgiving, American fans are not and if Mr. Dan Stevens, like he has said in past interviews, wants that diamond jeweled A list Hollywood career, he just ended it before it got started. I will continue to watch because the other actors deserve it, he does not.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I agree. I can’t imagine leaving a steady, very popular show after only a few years- especially one that only films a handful of episodes a year.

  3. Nur says:

    I have mixed feelings for season 3. Somehow it lost momentum after Sybill left for Ireland but the final episode before christmas special was a perfect way to set up for season 4. I was optimistic. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be, with Dan leaving and the whole thing was very anti climatic. I really don’t know what to expect from 4.
    Im glad Maggie is a lock though, she’s a diamond.

  4. Murphy says:

    If it wasn’t for the Baby boy I have to say the show would be done. At least Julian gave us (and himself) that much to cling to.

  5. Daz says:

    I don’t watch the show, but after seeing the last episode my friend said she cried, it was that bad.

  6. Bored suburbanhousewife says:

    I didn’t like the way they killed him abruptly with the tired trope of a sudden fatal car crash, but with Matthew and Mary happily ever after, what was left? It will be interesting to see how Mary picks up the pieces. WHY is she still being such a huge bitch to poor Edith??

    I will miss the way Matthew and Tom were a great bromance and no one can “handle ” Lord Grantham as well as Matthew. I think Tom has emerged as an interesting character & I love how Allen Leech has played him this season.

    But who can Tom marry? He’s too high for a girl of his birth class and too low for a girl from the Grantham orbit. How about Tom and Rose once she has sown her wild oats?

    Loved Shrimpy and Susan. Peter Egan a long time fave since he played the Divine Oscar in the mini series Lillie.

    No one doesn’t adore Maggie! She was married to her co star in Prime of Miss Jean Brodie –a sexy player in his day. Their son is Toby Stevens.
    My only criticism is naming your son Toby.

    • Poink517 says:

      Love the idea of Tom and Rose! I have a feeling her character will be a big part of next season – she’ll spice things up a lot!

      • Bubbles says:

        Tom was the biggest disappointment for me. He was a working class revolutionary I loved, and now he’s settled. On a lords estate. God no. Yes, I know he has a daughter, but still.
        And I really hope he doesn’t get together with Rose. She’s too much of a spoiled brat.

    • Seagulls says:

      Is a car crash really a trope? I mean, if someone had poisoned him, or he’d disappeared under mysterious circumstances, sure, but fatal car accidents are just a sadly common occurrence.

      • Amy says:

        I have noticed on soap operas that they rarely show a person driving a car by himself or herself unless an accident is about to occur. Ditto pregnant women on staircases.

    • Abby says:

      I totally think he’ll end up with Rose. She reminds me of a less kind and good Sybill because of her youth. I think that Tom fell in love with Sybill because of her willingness to stand for the downtrodden’s rights though… I don’t see Rose doing that at all.

    • ol cranky says:

      For some reason, I kind of expected him to be killed in a car crash but I still think it was terribly sloppy to have him killed returning home right after seeing his newborn considering Sybil was killed off from complications due to labor & delivery of her child. It seems trite to kill a parent off within 24 hour of birth of a first chid twice in the same season. I’m sure there was some other way to have had Mary had the baby earlier in the season and then kill him off at the very end of the last episode.

  7. Jen34 says:

    First of all, I thought the episode was boring. I was watching the clock, which never, ever happens.

    Secondly, boo to Dan Stevens. I adore him, but what a stupid move.

    Thirdly, I am still angry over Sybil’s death. They should have recast the role. There was no reason to make her die.

    Lastly, I have come to realize that this show is really a soap opera with fine sets, clothing and the great Maggie Smith.

    I am not sure I will watch next year.

    • lulu1 says:

      I think it’s funny that people are saying that it’s a soap opera now.
      It always was a soap opera!

    • Boxy Lady says:

      Allen Leech said in an interview that the cast found out about Lady Sybil when they did their first cast reading for the season and he said everyone was really upset. I don’t think the actress left on her own accord.

      • ol cranky says:

        the actress did leave and state she wasn’t able to come back for a guest appearance or two in season 4

    • bellatrix517 says:

      Please don’t stop watching, there are other actors who deserve our support, Dan Stevens does not.

  8. PoliteTeaSipper says:

    There are better ways to have an exit than a last minute car accident. If Stevens has to leave then they could have at least written him a better exit.

    I’ll still tune in from time to time, but I’m pretty much done and not nearly as invested in the characters as I was. I don’t understand why in heavens name Fellowes didn’t just send him off to India with an escape clause in case Stevens’ movie dreams flop and/or he just changed his mind. There’s no going back from a big old clot of fake blood running down your ear, squashed beneath your own motorcar.

    • Poink517 says:

      Bingo! Just had the same thought before reading your comment – they SHOULD have left the door open for him to return, just in case. He may regret his decision! I definitely regret it for him!!

      • Seagulls says:

        I think Fellowes was punishing him, in a way. “You want to go? Fine. But you aren’t coming back ever. Good luck Shelley Long! I mean David Caruso! I mean…”

      • CC says:

        This happened, lol:

        “When a character is permanently written out of a show, especially killed off, in a way that is unexpectedly anti-climactic or mundane, they Dropped a Bridge on Him. ”

        And writers still think they’re oh-so-clever when they kill off like this /shrug

      • Jane says:

        The local PBS station where I live has a live talk show after each episode to discuss what was just shown. One of the participants said Jullian Fellowes has said he didn’t want any chance of Matthew coming back, so he chose to kill him off in no uncertain terms.

        I don’t know if that was because he was pissed that Dan Stevens decided to leave and killing the character would eliminate any possibility Stevens could return if his career takes a dive, or if Fellowes was OK with the decision and just wanted to close the chapter on that character and move on.

      • ol cranky says:

        I saw and read interviews with Fellows in which he said he asked both Dan Stevens and Jessica Brown Findlay if they’d be willing to make an appearance in season 4 and they both said no. He said that, with servants or others, he could easily have them take another job or move but, with family members he had to kill them off – especially Stevens since there’s not another war to send him to to explain his long-term absence from home and complete lack of involvement with his child. With the Sybil character, they could always have sent her and Branson back to Ireland or even Liverpool with an estrangement from the family to leave the door open. Of course then the guy playing Branson would have lost his job as well.

    • Diane says:

      Matthew wasn’t officially pronounced dead. So I guess they could have him survive in Season 4. But I believe they are already shooting Season 4. Never mind. BTW…I really enjoyed this season,

      • Abby says:

        Eyes open, blood dripping down his face. To me, he’s dead. And like Sybill, not coming back. Unless it’s in a dream and those are LAME. :-(

    • la chica says:

      They offered him several better options but he declined. So they dismissed him in a brief cliff-hanger. What ppl don’t understand is the contractual differences between Britain and the US. He completed his three year contract and moved on. He is hot and sexy. I wish him all the best.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      He didn’t want to come back, it’s that simple. The character is the whole reason that the series exits, you can’t just send him off to hunt big game in Africa and show up like some wacky neighbour to say ‘wazzup’. Even before the show became a hit it was meant to run for longer than three series so maybe secure the leads for a longer stint in their contracts next time.

      As far as ‘punishing’ goes, this makes no sense to me. Stevens’ career will rise and fall of its own accord, 60 seconds of wordless footage won’t decide it for anyone, so this notion of ‘punishment’ makes no sense to me. How would having him on as ‘recurring’ help anyone? If he’s not *there* he’s of no use and keeping him tethered to the production in an appeasement role would feel false. They just have to get on with the proceedings and audiences have to get on with the fact that with all of that prior notice, THIS was how they decided to handle the exit. Anyway, they’ve got their heir, so I guess it’s time to bring back the mummy from Series 2 and have Mary and Edith battle it out over Patrick. Because that’ what this show needs, more Mary treating Edith like something she pulled off of her shoe, I guess she’ll be all black widow imperious battle squad now. Could be interesting, but I can’t say I feel anything for her pain or the hundred thousand new cast members being given front burner status in an already over-bloated cast. What the heck ever happened to the ascendance of Daisy? How OLD is she and why isn’t she doing the farm wife thing at this very moment?

  9. Anna says:

    Of course I’ll still watch it. It’s completely unfair to Julian Fellowes and the cast and crew of Downton to give up on it just because one selfish arse decided to give up on the show who made him. I’m SO mad at Stevens that I honestly couldn’t care less about Matthew. Good riddance. Mary is better off without him. Same thing about Sybil – Jessica Brown-Findlay thinks she’s so much better than the show who made her into anyone? Fine, I refuse to miss Sybil too.

    • Kate says:

      I’m not sure why Dan Stevens is the subject of such ridicule here. The guy signed a 3 year contract. He fulfilled his obligation. He didn’t want to sign an extension. So what? Get a grip people. It is a tv show. He did nothing wrong.

      • Seagulls says:

        We’ve got a grip. It’s disappointing when an actor chooses to leave a successful show that has a very specific and rare flavor, especially when everyone else (inclusing Dame Maggie Smith!) is staying on.

    • jilly says:

      How is he being selfish? He should thwart his own career just to please whom? Of course he should strike while the iron is hot and right now it is very very hot. I wish him all the best. He was straight up about his desire to complete the three years of his contract and then leave. And when you’re such a central figure in the show, as was the middle sister, the only way to leave is by being killed off. He’s not one of the maids you can send to work near her baby in the country. He is a big star. He had to die. At least they didn’t drag it out the way they dragged out Sibyl’s death. That was a tear-jerker. This was more like, bam! It’s done. Moving on.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Right. The only ones punishing Stevens are the fantasies of jilted viewers. Yeah, it really throws a spoke into the wheels but these things happen. That’s pretty drastic to want his whole career to suffer because he’s not on a show that’s on for seven weeks out of 52. At any rate, the show, while being compulsively watchable has always kind of been distressingly stupid at the same time, so one doesn’t really become ‘too good’ for it.

  10. I’m still so sad thay killed him off. I have no interest in watching the next season, but I probably still will.

    (But if you want to make me excited for next season, Mr Fellowes, a new love interest for Mary played by Richard Armitage would be epic. Thank you.)

    • ol cranky says:

      rumor has it that they have cast someone to play a love interest for Mary. Let’s hope whatever character they hook her up with will actually be some sort of challenge to her and give mary a good swift kick in the arse.

  11. GoodCapon says:

    Fellowes better not kill Maggie Smith off. I do think she’s the star of the show.

    It’s not the best show on TV right now, but I’ll still tune in for later seasons I suppose. The Dowager Countess, Thomas and Miss O’Brein keep me coming back for more.

  12. Merritt says:

    I hated how they chose to kill him off. A hunting accident would have been better, and would have fit the episode.

    I think Dan Stevens has been doing some stage work.

    I don’t like how the show just kills characters, when the actors want to leave. Without Sybil, there really isn’t much for Tom to do. The way they tried to force in a place for him is just awkward.

    This season was not as good as the other two seasons. I found the handling of Thomas Barrow’s situation unbelievable. While it is believable that an estate would have the scandal hushed up, I found it unbelievable that they kept him on staff. It is not as though Barrow is liked by either the upstairs or downstairs of the household.

    • jinni says:

      I was actually expecting Matthew to die during the hunting trip, but I guess it makes it more tragic that he’d die on the way to tell the good news to the family.

      I really wanted Thomas to get the boot. Everyone disliked him so why not give him a great reference and fire him? I guess because he was a war veteran, but still. I did like that if he had to stick around that at least Jimmy and he became friends.

      • Abby says:

        I totally thought he’d get shot hunting. Ironic because he survived the war, but I was somehow looking for it with those scenes.

    • Amy says:

      I had a feeling he was going to die, so I was looking for it to happen while hunting, or maybe on the train coming back to Downton. I am glad he got to see his son.
      Matthew was my favorite character. I fell in love with him along with Mary– the way he smiled, the way he stood, the way he tilted his head. I’m nearly 40 years old, and I had the urge to tear his picture out of a magazine and tape it up in my high school locker!
      However, Matthew was not the only reason I watched the show. And I don’t have a hate-on for Dan, either; although I wish he hadn’t chosen to leave, I wish him the best of luck in his career. And you know, if he’d stayed, they would have had to keep throwing problems at him and Mary. Happy couples are difficult to dramatize.
      I also thought Tom and Rose might be a possibility. I actually like Tom much better now, post-Sybil. They’ve given him a chance to deepen his character. And I never would have thought I’d have the sympathy for Thomas that I do now.

      • Amy says:

        (Or… imagine if Tom and Mary comforted each other in their grief? Not that I would necessarily like that, but it would shake things up a bit). And I wonder when Thomas will get a real love interest?

  13. andrea says:

    Dan Stevens wanting to leave the show was well-publicized so his death wasn’t all that traumatizing, although it could have been written better. But what happened with Sybil was, at least for me, really quite upsetting.

    I feel that Sybil’s character helped balance the show. Sure, it was interesting to have all the complex, conflicted characters, but Sybil was the one to whom more people could relate, or at least want to relate.

    • lady mary. says:

      could’nt agree more,i really liked lady sybill,i guess the actress has better movie roles comin up, though i love Dan stevens voice ,i really enjoy some of his audio books ,but he was all fat and pasty lookin and his character had become boring ,actually it makes me wanna look forward ,who wil be in lady mary’s life next,and i hate “rose”

      • Joy says:

        I’m afraid Dan is about to find out he’s only attractive enough to be a leading man in British period dramas.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        I don’t like her, either. Never a more rote ‘misunderstood live wire with a tragic backstory and hidden depths’ trope have I seen in recent memory.

        I think it’s odd that Matthew was the only one allowed to age over ten years. Weight gain is totally normal, but I wonder why his hair got lighter? That’s more of a distraction to me.

      • cubfan34 says:

        He’s going to be making a movie with Liam Neeson, a Walk Among the Tombstones.

    • GoodCapon says:

      Sybil’s death made me more upset than Matthew’s did. I’m going to miss J B-F’s raspy voice.

  14. booboocita says:

    There’s an interview with Julian Fellowes in the NYTimes in which he says that he wanted Dan Stevens to come back for at least the first episode of Season 4 so that they could show time passing before they kill him off, or alternatively, come back from time to time for short cameos. But he wanted to leave and not come back, and as Fellowes couldn’t figure out how Matthew Crawley would live without wanting to see his wife and child constantly, he had to die. Same thing with Sybil/Jessica Brown-Findlay.

    Fellowes says Season 4 is going to be all about Mary — how she copes, how she adjusts to the changing times, etc. Fine, but I insist on some happiness and hot lovin’ for Lady Edith/Laura Carmichael, for whom I’ve developed a real girl crush. Make her HBIC of something, and get her a fabulous babe!

    • Amy says:

      Yes, Edith needs more story! (And it seemed like Mary was being extra-snotty to her last night. They seemed to be getting along better. I guess in real life, a tragedy like losing your sister might bring people closer, but then they skip ahead a year, and they’ve fallen into their old routines).

      • Seagulls says:

        She was also pregnant in last night’s episode. Not everyone has this experience, but I remember that my inner bitchery was appallingly close to the surface for people whom I already disliked when I was pregnant. Especially at the end my patience was just gone.

      • Amy says:

        Good point, Seagulls!

    • lady mary. says:

      oh i say bring in “jonathan rhys meyer ,as an evil something

    • Emma says:

      yes! Poor Edith can’t catch a break. I want her to find happiness with someone or become an amazing journalist who travels and has a successful *gasp* career. I’m sad to see Matthew leave and I hope they don’t turn Mary into a full time bitch.

      • ohiogirl says:

        YESSS!!!! I so want her to stop thinking about men, just move on with her life, not give a damn, and then maybe meet someone who is worthy of her.

  15. Mia 4S says:

    I stopped watching awhile ago but I guess if he fulfilled his original contract then what’s done is done. However if this is a bid for movie stardom or Hollywood roles…well far better than him have not succeeded. It’s a hell of a risk when you could have maybe compromised for a lighter schedule. He’s got a supporting part in that Wikileaks movie but he’s not even the second star and that one is a Cumberbatch showcase anyway.

    It just seems that for British stars wanting to tranition it’s better to have Hollywood looking for you than to go looking for them. Good luck ex-Matthew, I think you’re going to need it!

  16. Sachi says:

    Season 3 was rubbish. Downton Abbey has gone downhill. It’s like Glee at this point: still tolerable, but getting more ridiculous. Season 3 ruined a lot of characters and made them vile. Not flawed and redeemable, but vile. Mary has become insufferable and poor Edith is Fellowes’s “punching bag” for every bad story arc.

    I don’t think I’ll be watching again.

    And for those ragging on Dan Stevens for leaving the show, do you really know the whole of the story? Or did you just think that he’s leaving because he has become arrogant and thinks he’s now bigger than the show?

    Dan signed on for 3 Seasons ONLY. He never wanted to do a 4th season. It wasn’t just because he wanted to venture out to do movies, but his interest in Downton was always gonna be limited to 3 years/3 seasons. He gave Fellowes enough time to write his character out. Fellowes could have done more than kill the Matthew character off. He didn’t. And now Dan is getting blamed for leaving the show when he never committed to a 4th season in the first place and he was within his rights to refuse to do another season and not renew his contract.

    He has never said that he wants to branch out in Hollywood and be an A-lister. He only said that he wanted to try new things, ie. not be typecast, and go back to his stage/theatre roots.

    Good for him for abandoning a sinking ship. There’s a reason why most British shows (bar Dr Who, and even that gets revamped with new Dr Whos every 2-3 seasons) only last for 2 seasons. They start to lose the plot the more they drag it out, which is what is happening to Downton Abbey now.

  17. Anguishedcorn says:

    It was a such an abrupt way to kill of Matthew– seriously, like at the last minute they threw in that scene. It would have been a lot more effective and I think, would have sat better, if they’d drawn out the story around the death or spent more time on it. As it was, I was just left not even feeling bad because there he was in his perfect face not even a little trickle of blood down his forehead or anything. I don’t know– I just wasn’t feeling any sadness about it.

    • Bored suburbanhousewife says:

      Agree. Sybil’s death was more organically developed into the plot line plus was an all too common occurrence of the time, just as young men dying in WWI and young adults dying of the Spanish flu reflected the times. It was hard to figure way to kill off Matthew with no wars or famous ship disasters happening round that time. As someone upthread suggested, a shooting accident would have seemed more natural. When I saw him tootling along in the car in a moment of complete happiness I immediately thought of Rachel in Cold Feet and Quinn in Gllee and multiple others. The other soap standard is the dreaded “SBD”–serious brain disease.

      The key point for the plot is that Matthew’s broken penis was restored to service in the nick of time to save Downton.

    • Ally8 says:

      I don’t know… if you rewatch the earlier episodes, you’ll see some foreshadowing.

      The very first episode ends with the housekeeper turning off the light downstairs after saying that everyone in the house will die one day…

      Mary and Matthew bring the roadster back with them from their honeymoon…

  18. Miss Jupitero says:

    The script fell apart for me in Season 2. I long for the excellent writing Fellowes showed in Gosford Park, and show ain’t delivering.

    That said, I adore Smith, and I am glad to hear she will never be killed off. I have a sentimental attachment to the Dowager! Smith has been ill, and I did worry about this.

    • delia says:

      I think that the greatness that was Gosford Park had much, much more to do with Altman’s direction, phenomenal cast, and possibly even Bob Balaban as producer, than with Fellowes’ writing. I guess one could validly argue that comparing a movie to a 3+ season series is apples and oranges, but imo even in the first season the quality of the writing in DA was nowhere near that of Gosford Park.

      Maggie Smith, though, shone with equal brilliance in both. I was lucky enough to see her on stage once. She is/was/will always be beyond great.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Half the problem is that the first series has been augmented in its quality through nostalgia. There were interesting parts–Bates’s disability, Isobel’s nursing, Sybil and the maid who wanted to become a secretary, but there was plenty of crap–Pamuk, Death By Detergent, the shocked and scared reaction the whole cast had to the outbreak of WWI, but it felt more restrained because it didn’t seem like everyone was shouting their names in song. The events were front stage, not the characters, but everything was more shrill because the war made things more ‘significant’. Then they wasted everyone’s time with crap like Lavinia and paralysis which were just thrown in to eat up time.

  19. jinni says:

    I wish that the Dr. had succeeded in his courtship of Cousin Violet.

    My favorite relationship is Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, I know it isn’t romantic but I love to see them interact with each other, especially when Mrs. Hughes gently checks Carson’s snootiness. I also loved seeing Carson with Little Sybil and his relief over Mary’s safe labor; you could see that he really loves her.

    I’m not too fond of Rose, hopefully she’ll grow on me.

  20. Uzi says:

    How could Matthew go off to India without Lady Mary, especially after they’d just had a baby? Michelle Dockery didn’t want to leave DA, so JF didn’t have many options. I read somewhere that JF and the producers tried to persuade DS to appear in a couple of episodes (so he’d have time to pursue the big Hollywood career he thinks he’ll have), but he flat out refused. I actually like the way JF set things up for season 4, and how ironic that “Mr. Modernity” was done in by technology, his fancy car! Matthew has done his duty, saved DA with his inheritance and business smarts and produced an heir. It will be interesting to watch Lord Grantham and Tom work as a team. Michelle will get to flaunt her acting talents, just as Allen Leech has after the death of Lady Sybil (last night’s scene between Tom and Mrs. Hughes was beautiful…and heartbreaking).

    I can’t wait for season 4!

    And Maggie Smith is a treasure! I hope Dan Stevens and Jessica Brown Findlay learned a few things while they had the honor of working with her.

    • Bored suburbanhousewife says:

      Noticed Allen also got to show off his shirtless ness to the impertinent little minx Edna.

      Dan’s chinless ness & fat neck are a turnoff. Can an actor really make it big as a hot leading man without a good jawline?

  21. Hillbillyinthecorner says:

    I watched part of last season and I just couldn’t get engaged to any of the charactors on the show….Mary was the type of woman I have always had a instant dislike for know the one in the room you walk in and see and you get the instant hair raising feeling and the backup feeling…..Maggie Smith was the only one half interesting…Feels like a cheaper modern version of UPstairs/Downstairs and will never matchup to it…..
    In they show they let the story play out longer unlike this one….
    Sorry quess I will just Hope they make more of the “Call the Widwifes” series now that is a good series…Love that one……

    • jinni says:

      I love “Call the Midwife”.

      • Uzi says:

        Season 2 of “Call the Midwife” begins airing in March on most PBS stations. I love it too, especially Chummy!

      • jinni says:

        @Uzi: I love Chummy, too. At first, I thought that she’d quit her training because she got married (since woman tended to be stay-at-home wives back then) and was so relieved when that didn’t happen.

      • Liza Jane says:

        If you like Call the Midwife because of Chummy, then catch the Miranda Hart Show..she s just so delightful!

  22. epiphany says:

    I don’t know what possesses actors to quit a paying gig on a successful show. Dan Stevens is a good actor, but so are thousands of other guys. He isn’t good looking or charismatic enough to stand out in a crowd. Next year, he’ll be lucky to co-star in a BBC TV version of an Agatha Christie novel.

    • P.J. says:

      Agreed. An acting job like Downton Abbey comes along once in a lifetime. Stevens made a really stupid choice in my opinion. No one will be interested in him once he’s not in Downton anymore.

  23. princesslizabeth says:

    I thought it was a great season, and I will be back for the next one. There were parts that were less-than-stellar (Bates in jail, for one) but overall, I found it captivating as usual.

    Of course, others may see things differently, but I just love Downton.

  24. s says:

    oh I know ! BRING IN COLIN FIRTH AS MARY’S NEW LOVE INTEREST. Ta-da. DA is interesting again.

    • Andie B says:

      Oh yes! Colin Firth would be great. Or Kenneth Branagh as an older yet sexy gentleman who is interested in Mary.

  25. TG says:

    I love Downton Abbey and will definitely be tuning in to Season 4. Since so many rude people put out spoilers (not on here) and all the interviews that Dan was leaving I knew it was coming. Matthew Crawley did everything he needed to do before dying. He put Downton Abbey on a financial path to success and he produced an heir. If you noticed he didn’t have much to do this season other than smoke cigarrettes and drink brandy and stare gloomily into the distance. I also think that Dan Stevens is not one of those people too big for his britches. I could be wrong but in his interviews I got the idea that he is incredibly intelligent and creative and this show probably wasn’t doing it for him for the reasons I mentioned above. I also read that Britsh actors don’t make the kind of mad money they that actors on American series TV do. So in America if you are on a hit series you can keep demanding more and more money and make a million dollars and episode. I don’t think that is possible in Great Britain, at least according to the interview by one of the executive producrs.

    I love O’Brien though. She is such a schemer. I agree with a comment I saw on Slate this morning that they need to bring in a real man to handle Lady Mary. Someone like Rett Butler.

    • Diane says:

      A Rhett Butler type to handle Mary’s Scarlett is a great idea. I never really felt Mary truly loved Matthew. She is much more her father’s daughter and did what she had to do to save Downton. I’m glad that Lord Grantham finally acknowledged Matthew’s contribution to saving the estate. Mary needs to meet her match. I hate how Mary teaches Edith. I want Edith to be happy and successful…great revenge on big sis.

    • jamie says:

      Great idea, a Rhett Butler type would be perfect to shake things up. Someone above suggested Richard Armitage, the possibilities for a Matthew replacement are endless!

      TBH was glad to see Matthew go. I liked the character enough but there was really no where to go with Mary and Matthew. They became boring and at times made me cringe.

      So yes, I will continue to watch the show. I’m actually more interested now that Matthew is gone.

      • TG says:

        I agree. I loved the buildup and the longing both Matthew and Mary felt towards one another, her giving him that dog to carry to war was so sweet, but the moment after they got engaged (beginning of Season 3) they were boring and very cringe inducing. I find it very gross that Lady Mary and Tom would get together. Marrying your sister’s widow is even creepier than marrying your cousin IMO. I guess I am obsessesed with British historical novels, so have come to terms with the cousin thing, at least the fantasy part of my brain, not the reality part.

  26. Dawn says:

    Of course I will watch it! Life and death go hand in hand. I liked the character of Matthew but such is life. This must mean that Branson will get a bigger part next season.

  27. Reece says:

    Yes I’m still sad about Matthew and Sybil etc. Honestly, Fellowes didn’t have a lot of options. Although I could have done without the blood running down his face shot. That’s not what I want to talk about.
    Did know one get that little Miss “Write a Letter about the Turkish Guy Dying in my Sister’s Bed” all but agreed to be that guys mistress?! That’s how I interpreted it.
    I wanted to smack the maid Edna! I did love scenes between Ms. Hughes and Branson. Curious to see how Rose will fit in at Downton. Seeing Carson with baby Sybil and worrying about Mary was the best in show. I’m happy enough with this season.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Part of me wished that his Mary obsession would have been slightly tempered by the fact that time and time again she displayed (season 2) that she really doesn’t give a fig about him. That’s more like real life would have been. But I think he cared more about Sybil dying than did she. I mean, I know she’s not the most demonstrative person, but it was a bit off-putting.

  28. Amanda says:

    Does this show just have a really slow build? I have tried watching the first episode twice and it is such a bore fest, I can’t get through it.

    • jamie says:

      Have you watched past the first episode? Get through episode three before you decide if it’s for you or not. But yeah, not everybody’s cup of tea! My best friend is obsessed with history, romantic period movies,those trashy mini-series from the 80s and even she doesn’t like Downton.

  29. JC says:

    I think Tom and Mary could be a hot couple — and it would be sweet if Mary could be a stand-in mother for her niece. Tom has grown on me a lot. There’s much that could be done with his character.

    Please quit trying to make Rose happen. She is horribly boring and nothing to look at, either. If they try pushing her together with Tom, I’ll be really disappointed.

    And Barrow, for as horrible as he is, is quite yummy …and he does have a kind side. He needs a love interest. It’s 2013. It’s time they can show two men being interested in each other on TV!

    • fabgrrl says:

      I think Mary is waaaay too much of a snob for that. I could see them falling into bed a few times, but a couple? never.

      • Amy says:

        Yeah, also I think one Crawley daughter running off with the chauffeur would probably be enough, two might finish Robert off!

  30. Pandora says:

    HELL NO!!!

    Ten seconds before the car crash my hubby says ” he’s gonna die in a car crash” LOL

    We so loved season one, and it was just downhill from there on, so sad :(

    It must be the little spoken of Crawley Curse

    Oh!! And the blood running out/ eyes open was just gruesome and out of place, eeww

  31. Hmmm says:

    I knew this death was happening, and I’m glad Matthew is dead. Dan Stevens didn’t have a lot to challenge him this season.

    I think he’s smart to get out. Obviously, it wasn’t challenging enough for him and that’s a good enough reason. I don’t get the sense he wants to be a big star.

    That last hour leading up to his death was so cliched. The foreshadowing of death. Mary and Matthew being sickeningly sweet to each other. The scene of the perfect holy family in the hospital. Grantham coming to his senses about Matthew’s ideas. The darkening, lowering clouds before Matthew drove back to get hit by a truck (ha!) It was like one long good-bye, telegraphing his death and elevating him to god status. Ridiculous. I completely understand why he left.

    I will keep watching for the clothes, the manners, the period and the castle. But I’m no longer invested in it emotionally. I did love Alan Leech as Branson- he finally got to act and he was so moving. As was the fellow that played Thomas. Lovely revelations, both, and worth the price of admission.

  32. Nina says:

    I’m calling it now: due to their mutual — and very similar — grief, Mary and Tom are going to find comfort in each other. They are the only ones who can understand what the other is going through. They’re going to end up hooking up and Mary, being the snob that she is, will immediately regret it. They will angst about it for a few episodes with Tom trying to corner Mary to talk about it and Mary rebuffing his attempts. Seeing how uncomfortable he is making her, he is going to try to leave with Baby Sybil and then there will be angst over getting him to stay.

    And of course, there will be some riveting letter writing in there somewhere.

    BAM. Season Four. There you go.

  33. Jay says:

    Did Stevens actually say he wanted to try “bigger things”, or is this arrogance just a common presumption by people annoyed that he left? If I were an actor I have to say I’d want to move on from the role too. He had no challenge. He would just come in, give advice and… scene change. Not much better than being a narrator. People don’t become actors because the pay is great. They want to explore their craft. Get inside challenging characters and grow. Would you want to squander your best professional years punching the clock?

    • bellatrix517 says:

      He was quoted as saying he wanted Hollywood, well, a successful Hollywood career hangs on the fans, piss them off and you have nothing, and he will have nothing. In six months we will see how far his career has come. I agree with people here who say DS does not stand out in a crowd, they are right, he’s not all that charismatic. He will fail, and that is very sad.

  34. cc says:

    I’m done with this show.

  35. Therese says:

    I can’t help it. I am transfixed by Downton Abbey. Of course I will watch it again. I get such a kick from it. If only to be thrilled by Maggie Smith. I love it. Now I will have to wait another year. Rats. I think Fellows can write himself out of this corner. I certainly hope so.

  36. Amy says:

    You know, it’s a fairly common occurrence in American serials that a role is recast. Is that something that is ever done in Britain (aside from the Doctor regenerating)? I’m not saying it should have been done here, just wondering if that was an option.

  37. Aqua says:

    I’m not to sure if I’m going to be tuning back in or not.The show is just a little too slow for me.

  38. P.J. says:

    I heard they are auditioning several different actors as potential suitors for Mary. That will be fun to watch.

    The role of Matthew was deliberately cut back this season because they knew he was leaving. I think the death scene was tacked onto the end because they hoped he would change his mind. That way If he did decide to stay, all they would have to do is delete the 1-minute crash scene.

  39. MousieBrown says:

    I had no idea this would happen, but I’ll keep watching. I wish this would be a reason for Isobel to move away – she irritates me.

    Does anyone else think O’Brien wants to go to India with Susan and Shrimpy?

  40. jane16 says:

    The death scene was ridiculous. There are a million blonde haired blue eyed actors in Britain, they should have just recast the role. Its been done before with success.

  41. Miss M says:

    I have not recovered from Lady Sybil’s death. When I thought I would keep watching DA…cousin Matthew is killed. Really Felowes?

    I don’t blame Dan for wanting to leave. His character ran its course, nothing interesting was happening.Good luck, Dan!
    I can’t stand Lady Mary. I hope Felowes writes something good about Lady Edith, why not Armitage for her? Become an incredible/successful writer, something good for the Love of God…

    ps: Love me some Alan Leech! I do love Irish men, don’t I? :)

  42. Ally8 says:

    I really liked Season 3. It was plot-driven like early Season 1, which I prefer, with lots happening, including people getting bumped off. All the characters are a bit too precious for me to care about them deeply. I would probably miss Thomas, Mary or Edith the most if they went, as they are the least whiny and predictable.

    I think many of these actors are following advice based on what happened to the actors of Upstairs Downstairs. Those who waited until the series ended missed their window to move into film, whereas Lesley Anne Down left early on and had a booming Hollywood career for a while (including snogging young Harrison Ford).

    Btw, last night’s plotline with Mrs. Patmore’s rube of a beau was lifted wholesale from Upstairs Downstairs.

  43. Caroline-Vivienne says:

    Totally bitter that Dan Stevens was such a prick about leaving so suddenly. Couldn’t even BOTHER to stay for 2 or 3 episodes to make a clean transition? I wish him failure. Sorry, but I do.

    He should respect the show and people who gave his career such a boost.

    • Sachi says:

      He didn’t leave suddenly. He didn’t want to renew his contract and he was within his rights to do so.

      He didn’t pull a Mandy Patinkin on Criminal Minds who just didn’t show up one day for the 3rd season read-through and made the writers re-write the whole of Season 3 without him.

      Dan gave Fellowes enough time to write his character out. He didn’t abandon the show out of nowhere. He only signed on for 3 seasons and that’s what he did. If he felt that his character’s role was going nowhere and had no development, why should he stay? He’d be a sell-out if he stayed with a TV show only because it’s popular and so he wouldn’t upset the fans. He has never badmouthed the show, its creators, or his fellow actors.

      Seriously, it’s just a TV show and a soapy, campy, cheesy one at that. Wishing doom on someone’s career is not only an attack against the TV character, but to the person and his livelihood. This show shouldn’t affect you so that you wish failure on another person.

  44. homey says:

    I love the history and the costumes, but some of it got kind of mastercheese-theatre-ish. The death thing was redundant, the footman whats his name, sybil who didn’t become a suffragette, lavinia who was an interference, and matthew, who just wasn’t a sex bomb and certainly no Captain Kirk like Lord Grantham. It became kind of campy. I also didn’t believe how everyone forgive Dr Evil (Thomas). I doubt gay tolerance happened in yorkshire england in that era. seriously doubtful. I’d like to believe it, but that part was pure fantasy.

  45. homey says:

    oh and ps, who would you “do” on the show?

    me Lord Grantham. Probably a ferocious good lay. 2nd, Thomas. Last of all Mary. If I held her naked, I’d fall asleep…

  46. leslilly says:

    My head is pounding, so I can’t check to see if this item has been posted yet. I checked on Dan Stevens’ projects and he is going to be in the upcoming movie w/Benedict Cumberbatch (Julian Assange flick titled The Fifth Estate). Then he is also in pre-production for a movie w/Liam Neeson called A Walk Among the Tombstones.

  47. cat douglas says:

    Totally didn’t see this coming. I don’t keep up ;with what’s going on outside the show. It was a total shock. Now Mary will be as nasty as season 1. It’s difficult in our PC times to have a villian like she was in season 1. Going to be interesting to see how they go with it. Rose and Branson?