My love for Downton Abbey has turned to ashes. It wasn’t even the rape of Anna, although as the astute J. Kathleen Cheney pointed out, to use the sublime Kiri Te Kanawa to sing the most beautiful aria in the world, O mio babbino caro, while crosscutting to the rape did a severe disservice to the music and the star.

No, it was the following episode, when it was clear the writers were simply placing words in the characters’ mouths that made no sense. Thus when Mrs. Hughes tells Edna that she will have men hold her down and a doctor examine her to prove she’s telling lies about her pregnancy, she could have simply been shouting at her, “Breakfast! Snoozebar! Gloves! Envelopes! Raygun! And then we’ll snozzle your sl;kdjg and danger! Falling apart now!” Because at that point Mrs. Hughes was clearly an android and her programming had failed.

The producers have hidden behind the old excuse, “well, that’s how people thought and acted back then” to cover for the most melodramatic plot points, but then they cheerfully make characters act in a completely anachronistic fashion when it suits their purpose. A housekeeper of Mrs. Hughes’s age in that era would have died before saying any of the words she said. For that matter, the very fact that Branson (I’m with the Dowager on this one) would have confessed that he slept with the maid and now she’s extorting him is so unlikely that it would have made better sense if he had just given the “Breakfast! Snoozebar!” speech above.

If that made no sense to you, welcome to my world.

The classism also finally really got to me. Edna is of such low moral character that she has a book about contraceptives. Gasp! Horrors! The card sharp bounder who cheats all the upstanding men at poker — who is he really? How did he gain access to the club? All those low-class sort of folk, we better watch out for, because they’ll knife you right in the back.

The show jumped the shark pretty much in the second season. There was so little rhyme or reason to most anything that has happened since the first season. It’s too bad — it was a wonderful start.

When I deleted the episode from my Tivo, my only thought was, well, that frees up some time.

Good-bye, Downton Abbey. I don’t think I’m going to miss you.



J. Kathleen Cheney · January 25, 2014 at 8:39 am

That was the reason I reacted so strongly to the rape. It was…dumb.

It was as if they said…We need some more plot tension. Hey, let’s rape a popular female character!

It just didn’t make sense to me.

So yes, I’m so done with this series.

Patrice Sarath · January 25, 2014 at 8:53 am

Hear, hear. Yeah, they are making story decisions for all the wrong reasons.

Yes, there needs to be tension and conflict. But it has to make sense. It can’t just be about going for the shock value.

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