Countdown to Emmy's: Downton Abbey

BY: JULIE CHUNG

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Was I the only one disappointed by season three of "Downton Abbey?" I am an avid watcher of the show and loved the first two seasons, but I can’t help feel like the story lines were cut short and not thought out very well.

All the men go off to war, but are back in a couple episodes. Edith falls in love, then is left at the alter. Matthew returns from the war in a wheelchair, then, of course, can walk again. Bates is unfairly stuck in prison, but is released pretty quickly. And how can we forget poor Lavinia? Matthew decides to marry her, but we can’t have that for Mary’s sake, now can we? So, auf wiedersehen, Lavinia! See you never.

If you haven’t watched the finale of season three, here is the spoiler alert.

Both Jessica Brown Findlay and Dan Stevens, who play Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley, wanted off the show. And because they were major characters essential to the Crawley family, it wasn’t enough to write them off by simply sending them on a long trip. The only way to give them a clean break was to have their characters killed.

The way Lady Sybil left the show was heartbreaking, but it made sense. It was understandable and very well executed. When Matthew died, however, my initial reaction was to throw my computer out the window. But I digress.

Now here comes the spoiler. At the end of season three, Matthew is killed in a car accident. He is happy with his wife Mary and is on his way to share the news of his newborn son, when he is hit by a truck.

Come on, “Downton Abbey” writers, was that really the best death you could think of? Might as well have the poor guy abducted by aliens. Then at least the finale would’ve actually been interesting.

So here’s the arrival of yet another sad Crawley child, born into a family with one parent. Keep in mind that only the audience knows of Matthew’s death at the end of season three.

Come season four, we will see the Crawleys wallowing in Matthew’s death, Branson will most likely bond with Mary over their similar circumstances, and Mary will probably become annoying and bitter again.

And I was just beginning to like her too…

The only character who’s been consistently interesting is Granny. Maggie Smith is hilarious and I always find her scenes appropriate and necessary, unlike Susan and Shrimpy’s unhappy marriage.

One thing I did appreciate about season three was the character development. With the season filled with unsteady storylines, connecting with the characters was crucial and the whole cast did a fantastic job.

It looks like the Emmy’s appreciated it too. “Downton Abbey” has been nominated for 12 Primetime Emmy Awards this year. The show moved from the miniseries to the drama category, which was probably smarter seeing that the series is anything but mini.

With two very popular characters now gone from the Crawley family, I admit I’m a bit worried for season four. It will be very difficult to find good character replacements for the two, and much harder for them to connect with the audience at the same level as Sybil and Matthew.

How will they keep the series remotely interesting especially after Matthew’s death dies down, to hold the audience’s attention? We’ll just have to wait and see.