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January 7, 2013 - April Diodato
After a year-long wait, the season three premiere of “Downtown Abbey” had everything a fan could have possibly asked for: family turmoil, scheming servants, tense banter at the dinner table, a “poisoning” scandal, romance and arrogance, all in decadent splendor. Times are a-changin' at the Abbey as the 1920s begin, and I can't wait to see how the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) reacts to the rising hemlines and progressive attitudes of the decade after watching her quickly dismiss a new cocktail for being “too exciting for so early in the evening.” The only thing more delightful than the countess's snide remarks was the arrival of Cora's mother Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine), who descended on Downtown like a hurricane bent on destruction of every ego in the manor. They couldn't have made a better casting choice than MacLaine. Each haughty tete-a-tete between her and the countess was a highlight. Does she have to go back to America?
I'm going to be discussing some key details that will affect this upcoming season, so read no further if you're not caught up on “Downton.”
Lord Grantham has gotten into quite a pickle after unwisely investing essentially ALL of their fortune on a Canadian railway that failed. (I love how each of the ladies asked the same question when they heard the news: why didn't he diversify? Perhaps he should have consulted them instead of assuming that the “fairer sex” couldn't possibly have an opinion worth considering on finance). The friction over Matthew's refusal to help save Downton Abbey with his inheritance from Lavinia's father has sparked a debate in my home over what he should do.
Frankly, I think Matthew should stop being such a diva and do his best to help his new wife's family – if he can help, he should help. Lady Mary and her family aren't likely to get over their resentment, and that's not going to help their marriage. And what about the staff? Why should all of Downton's employees have to lose their jobs because of Matthew's guilty conscience? How would the loss of a major employer like the Abbey affect the surrounding community? Obviously, this is Lord Grantham's fault and he should suffer some consequences for his actions, so I don't think Matthew should fork over the cash with no strings attached. However, he should get over his own issues and entertain a discussion with his new wife and in-laws about a way to work this out.
What do you think?
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