The blare of the Bagpipes augered ultimate tragedy as the season finale of "Downton Abbey" took us from exhiliration of a new heir, to complete shock as Matthew dies in a head on collision, giddy with happiness as he was en route to the family to share the news."Downton Abbey" has endured a truly high/low third season filled with heartbreak and loyalties tested, with the downstairs crew making peace with love, alternative sexual desires and ultimately the pride of service, eroding away as the times demand them to. Change is inevitable and hard for some.
The auld ways are going, going, gone, and last night's bitter marriage woes between "Shrimpie" and his wife in Scotland were a perfect example of how the times are downsizing, simplifying and allowing people to follow their hearts, free from tradition's shackles.
Look at our Edith (Laura Carmichael)! And our Tom (Allen Leech), an Irishman, is now a fixture of the Downton Abbey "upstairs" lot. The last person to turn the lights off on the rigid life of service is our Carson (Jim Carter), who senses his own irrelevance.
Duneagle Castle is a bright moment for Robert (Hugh Bonneville) to hunt and rest. Mary (Michelle Dockery) also heads to the Highlands with the clan to visit Shrimpie (Peter Egan) and his unhappy wife Susan (Phoebe Nicholls) and daughter Rose (Lily James), who war with each other. Mary suddenly feels unwell and heads back to Downton and delivers a healthy baby boy. But the happiness is short lived.
Matthew (Dan Stevens), reunites with his wife and son, only to be killed in a head on car accident. The Crawleys now are beginning to resemble the Kennedys for relentless tragic moments.
The visitor to Duneagle Castle was the married editor, Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards), sweet on Edith to the dismay of Mary, as he tries to explain that his wife is in an asylum. That's a hard one to swallow.
Also happening is the downstairs lot out for a break themselves, as Thomas (Rob James-Collier) gets pummeled saving his coworker Jimmy (Ed Speelers), the object of his desire, unrequited. Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) is practically scooped up by an East-ender type who could sell ice to the Eskimos. "No man has wanted to squire me since the Golden Jubilee and even then he expected me to buy the drinks," says Mrs. Patmore. Her street smarts keep her clear of a real con artist who was as gluttonous as he was duplicitous.
Great news for fans of Isobel (Penelope Wilton), as Dr. Clarkson (David Robb) has developed a fondness for her. She never wishes to remarry, so we will see where he love life goes next season.
Tom was left at Downton and shortly becomes the target for a scheming housemaid. Edna (MyAnna Buring) tries her level best to turn Tom's head, but he is not ready after Lady Sybil's death.
What we can expect is that both Tom and Mary will grieve, and live and rebuild their loves and find new love. The dead are dead, and life is for the living. They will remarry most certainly enjoy the splendor that is their Abbey.