Thursday, February 22, 2024

Downton Abbey Is Back! O’Brien is Gone, Edna Returns, Lord Grantham Perturbed

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Hello East Coast.
Isn’t it nice to see almost everyone back from “Downton Abbey”? MINOR SPOILERS As you know Matthew is dead. (Dan Stevens watched the show from Brooklyn, with all the blonde washed out of his hair.) Everyone’s a little cross and depressed for the two hour opening episode. But PBS will be opening Champagne bottles tomorrow when the numbers come in. Just wait for news that “Downton Abbey” has broken some kind of record.

So what happens? IF YOU’RE NOT ON THE EAST COAST, CLOSE YOUR EYES. Mary is back to being bitchy and wearing widow’s weeds. Edith is thinking about going to Germany with her lover so he can get a divorce. (Germany is one country where you can get a divorce on the grounds of “lunacy.”) Lord Grantham isn’t excited about running the Downton estate with Mary; it’s not for women. Lady Cora is easily swayed by Thomas, who gets the nanny fired as retribution. Thomas also causes trouble for Anna.

Anna and Mr. Bates are incredibly annoying because they are happy. Let’s hope that doesn’t last too long.

Let’s get to the Dowager Countess. Maggie Smith is in fine form. She’s wise but wicked. She tries to help Moseley get a job, she gives Mary good advice, and she pushes Mary and Branson together. She also reverts to calling Branson by his last name instead of “Tom” because now he’s the estate agent. With Sybil gone, Tom’s been demoted.

“You and I are quite different,” Matthew’s mother Isobel tells the Countess. “Indeed we arrrrrr,” Violet replies.

O’Brien is gone because the actress decided three years of success was enough and now she wants to appear on drafty West End stages. So Julian Fellowes has sent her to work for Rose’s parents in India. She is replaced in the role of sinister troublemaker by Edna, the returning ladies’ maid who tried to seduce the newly widowed Branson last season.

The two episodes-in-one wrap up old business and move us ahead. Next week, Mary starts to meet potential suitors and Rose– playing the Georgina role from “Upstairs Downstairs”–probably starts getting involved with that local named Sam. Tsk, tsk.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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