Saturday, April 20, 2024

Downton Abbey Returns: Isis Escapes Peril (This Time), Violet Admits to Reading Jane Austen


The return of “Downton Abbey” to American television is a wondrous thing. I won’t give too much away because it hasn’t aired all over the country, and it may take a few days for everyone to catch up.

Suffice to say that Isis the dog escapes peril, at least for now, after rumors of his end have been all over the internet. The golden lab is safe with Lord Grantham. The biggest non spoiler revelation is that Violet, the Dowager Countess, is a fan of “Pride and Prejudice.” She makes reference to “Mrs. Bennett” at one one point in this season premiere. Mary also makes reference to Lady Cunard, who was just as she describes her– American and too modern.

There are a couple of guest stars in this episode: The great Harriet Walter returns as Lady Shackleton. And Anna Chancellor appears as frisky Lady Anstruther, who may imperil Jimmy’s job as footman.

“Downton Abbey” is the best written television show, without a doubt. I do hope Julian Fellowes wins a Golden Globe next week. It’s not just that Daisy refers to herself asĀ  having a head “full of kippers.” It’s also that that the story fits together in all its little pieces like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. Without giving anything away, follow Edith’s entire story through the episode, from something she’s told at the start to the way the whole thing ends. Fellowes is on fire.

By the way, Maggie Smith fires off many bon mots tonight, but it’s Carson who has the most important line: “Not everyone needs to know everything,” he tells Mrs. Hughes.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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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