Monday, September 12, 2011

Downton Abby, Revisited

Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)
I mentioned in a previous blogpost that I absolutely loved a series called Downton Abbey. The second season is coming out in England next week. Very excited, I have been reading some spoilers. I will put the most extensive of them here and there are also a couple of fun interviews. Being an incredible fan of the show, I've been thinking about it a lot. This is rather silly of me, but there is one thing that bothers me about the second series as it seems like it will play out (spoiler alter, beware):

The main story in the first season concerns the impending inheritance of Downton Abby by a solicitor named Matthew Crawley and many attempts to find a husband for the eldest of the Earl's daughters, Lady Mary. They, of course, after hating one another fall in love and Matthew proposes. Due to various complicating circumstances, Mary never gives him an answer and Matthew leaves. The ending is rather elegant, actually. Matthew leaves Mary at the Garden party and she seems to realize what she is losing, but it is ambiguous. I think the final episode eloquently combines the unpredictable element with a hopefully possibility in a realistic manner.

I appreciated the ending of the first season. If the season had stood alone, I would have been happy. Now I am nervous. I know from the spoilers that Matthew has a new fiancee in this coming season and Mary is courted by another gentleman. In principle this makes sense; Matthew is an eligible bachelor and Mary is rather spiteful. I worry, however, that the show will try to convince us each of them-- or at least one of them-- might end up happily with someone else in order to challenge audience expectations. I am, of course, not a fan of shows being predictable and Downton Abbey has done a magnificent job of creating brilliant unpredictability (especially Episode three which I just re-watched with Servia). However, I think that after an entire season building up to the perfection of the match, it would seem disingenuous to try to convince the viewers otherwise. Furthermore, the type of attempt which breaks up two so well suited characters rarely works (e.g. Sense and Sensibility, the second half of Little Women, the late match-up of Eowin and Faramir in Lord of the Rings, etc). The one exception, of course, is Emma, but Jane Austen works many threads well from the beginning.

I just don't think I'll be able to buy it if the writers try to move them apart as though they have moved on. Characters like Lady Edith are happy at the prospect of a comfortable life with someone kind, but Lady Mary is passionate and obstinate and Matthew simply seems to find this irresistible. Although I could imagine both of them trying to make some other relationship work, and even doing reasonably well at it, ultimately, upon seeing each other again, they would find themselves drawn to each other.

I know this is all very silly and as a writer's daughter I should be examining the story more and being less of a fan. However, I have faith in the writers because they have woven a brilliant story so far. Maybe they will settle it in a way that is both delightful and unusual.

No comments:

Post a Comment