Dear Mr Julian Fellowes,
Sunday night, the Oscars were on television, so we didn’t miss Downton Abbey as much as we might (even though Seth MacFarlane made it painful to regret.)
After somber meditation on the subject, I’m thinking perhaps it’s time to say goodnight to Carson, Mrs Hughes, Lord and Lady Grantham and the entourage. If I want to watch soap operas, I’ve got access to the best… in Spanish, no less.
For me, your ending was too contrived, Mr Fellowes. I can’t forget the sunlit backdrop in the hospital room after an early, yet otherwise uneventful delivery of the Crawley heir, Mummy and Daddy bursting with love and pride, followed shortly by the view of the one lane country road (always a good setting in English drama). Did you insist on the ghoulish scene of Matthew tossed into the leaves, blood pouring from his ear? Or was that someone from the writing team’s idea? Because that we could have easily done without. If you had to kill in him in a crash, a more subtle approach could have called for the scene to be left with the smiling image of the new father and savior of Downton Abbey, hair blowing in the breeze, happy as can be, rushing back to share news of the precious arrival. The unsuspecting milk truck barreling from the opposite direction would have left little to the imagination.
I truthfully thought Matthew would meet his demise in the Highlands, mistaken for an elk, this time the bullet doing the job it hadn’t been able to accomplish in Season 2. That would have been ironic; I'm afraid what you gave us was pulp. I’ll admit, the first time I saw that shiny new convertible, I didn’t like it. I knew it was more than a prop. It was a leading story line that was going to spell the demise of someone but I’d hoped you’d spare Matthew and find another exit, since we all knew Dan Stevens had demanded to be let out of his contract.
Now we can look forward to Mary Crawley growing bitterer day by day and eating poor sister Edith alive at the breakfast table. Edith, who will be living a life in sin with her editor, with no regrets, seeing what happens to people in the household who marry in proper fashion.
It’s all too predictable. I’d like to perhaps let those loveable characters live on in my literal mind as I last saw them: the family having their aristocratic summering in The Highlands with their servants deservedly frolicking at the fair. It may have been their last chance...as Carson ages, he’ll get crustier and downstairs will end up on lockdown.
Bates and Anna seem content; let’s allow them some happiness. O’Brien’s mischief is getting old (I roll my eyes and brace myself each time I see her lighting up in the yard); if you were going to kill anyone, it should have been her. Branson must remain in England, and overlording sheep will get quickly boring. The chance of an affair with one of the maids has been ruled out. There isn’t even any tension left in the homosexual advances of Thomas towards darling Jimmy.
Could it be that Violet is simply having a dream; will she wake up in the 21st Century with a remote slipping from her hand, admitting that, indeed, Downton Abbey is a watchable show?
Or will the writers who’ve replaced you while you’re seek lasting fame in Hollywood bring back the badly burned Patrick? He can fall in love with Mary… or maybe Tom? Now there’s a twist. We know he’s lurking in the wings somewhere. His departure was not final; he seemed to go away much too quietly. As I said, Bates and Anna seem content...who knows what other things are hidden in the evil past?
As much as I moan, you know I’ll be back for Season 4. I’d be a liar to pretend I wouldn't.
I wish you luck in Hollywood and don't let them lead you down any one-lane paths...