Moving with the times, the third series of Downton Abbey reflects the uncertain period after the war with its focus on money troubles, and Carson’s unstoppable grumbling about the new world he has been left in. During the war disruption was expected, but it’s a slight shock to lose rooms crowded with nonchalant servants, billowing dresses, and rigid social order. We do, however, see a return to plots that are more removed from historical events, like Bates’ false imprisonment (Hollyoaks, anyone?).
The transition through the war doesn’t mean the eradication of previous storylines. The love triangle roars up every now and then, just to make sure that we’re still bored of it, moving from Pamuk-Mary-Matthew, to Lavinia-Matthew-Mary, and most recently Garrigan-Mary-Matthew’s ghost.
Even characters seem to be making repeat entrances. Rose has begun to take on Sybil’s role as the naive, modern thinker, with less emphasis on the political ideas and more on her love for freedom and life. And of course there’s Edna, whose return was bizarre, and as of yet seems to have served no purpose but to stir up trouble.
On the whole this series feels like the return of the smooth(er) historical background of the first series, with the less period based storylines of the next two. I’m not sure if Downton has lost a little of its charm, or if the romanticism of the early period has left the show.
Either way, historically the show has been forced to move forward, perhaps with a little look back at the good ol’ days when we could look forward to a new world to explore, and a social order more removed from our own to create interesting deviances and political commentary.
None the less, the spirit of the show remains, relishing the dashing style of the ‘20s whilst strutting its more soap-opera ideas around in front of the backdrop of a rich and fascinating era. Here’s to Season Four!
PHOTOS:// E Online, CBS News