Downton’s Downer Finale

A friend sent this cartoon to me.  And as funny as it was, I was in no mood to laugh about it when it showed up in my inbox.

I was still upset over the death of Matthew and had just snapped at Jason with an “it cannot be!” remark (likely muttered in a shamefully bad English accent). Why did he have to DIE?!  And not just die, but die with a whole lot of blood, leaving no question about his fate.  And after just holding his newborn son and heir!  And when all seemed perfectly right with he and Mary and the world?  I mean really?  Seriously?  Matthew for heaven’s sake?!  Sigh.

I loved Matthew’s character.  Not only was he quite dashing, but he brought a dose of reality, wit, and chivalry.  He handled all the ladies in his life expertly without losing his own sense of self.  Mary is quite the spoiled, self-centered woman but he somehow saw through all that and loved her for who she is.  He was just and honest.  I wanted to stand up and cheer him on every time he stood up for those in the family who might need a little extra support and someone on their side.  And need I mention that he saved the entire family with his inherited fortune and modern vision for bringing the estate into the next century?!  He was a pillar of the estate and family and now he is dead.  What just happened?!

But as a friend pointed out while we were scrambling to make sense of it all, the only thing the writers could have done with the departure of Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew, was to kill him off.  Matthew was entirely too responsible and devoted man (to Mary, the family, AND the estate) to leave for a new love interest or go wandering off on a selfish adventure to meet a foolish demise.  And there is no way any other actor could replace him.  There could be no other Matthew.  The only thing they could have done was to have him die, just like the lovely Lady Sybil.  But seriously!  Enough death already!

I suppose there were some sweet and happy moments in the finale (lest they be over looked over by twisted metal, blood, and death). Cousin Isobel and Dr. Clarkson make a comfortable couple and we are left to wonder if she played dumb to avoid hurting his feelings or if she really was unaware of his impending proposal and feelings for her.  The souvenir Robert and Cora take from the family’s time in Scotland was a unknowing gift given by Shrimpy – a peek into an unhappy marriage and estate in a downward spiral that makes them grateful for what they have. They seem themselves with each other again.  And how about when Carson tends so lovingly to the fussy baby Sybil.  Did that not melt your heart?  Especially as Mrs. Hughes joins him in the nursery.  Makes me wonder might be in store for those two.  Or how about when she sits with sad Tom and tells him how proud Sybil would be of him, how important he is to the family and what a good job he is doing?  I wanted to put my arms around both of them and pass tissues right then and there.  And what about Edith – as happy as I was to see her as the recipient of love and affection, I certainly hope she finds strength to want more for herself than a role as her editor’s mistress.  And the spirited Rose will be coming to Downton and we can only imagine the shenanigans that will ensue given her antics on her last visit to Downton.  But back then she had Matthew to save her.

This was a sad season, no doubt.  It was the shortest season of a series EVER (it’s only February! How can it be OVER?!)  and it was flanked by the deaths of two of my favorite characters.  This finale was a total downer. It was Downton Downer.

Luckily we have until January 2014 to ponder how we Mary will manage without our her beloved Matthew and what will become of new plot lines. Sigh.

Eleven months will be a long time to wait.


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