Review Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 1

After a wait of forever and World War 1, our favorite show is finally back: Downton Abbey.  I admit that I got a little weary towards the end of Season 2 and I figured the show would decline in Season 3.  This isn't the first time I have been wrong.  The Season 3 premiere was better than ever.  This is a show that is performing at the top of its game with no chance of slowing down.  I have never seen a drama that knows more how to move an audience than the creator of this show.  Within moments of our arrival they throw us for quite a loop.  Robert has blown his (actually his wife's) fortune and the entire estate is in jeopardy.  The writer's know who is the true star of this show, the home itself.  Making the house the antagonist was a brilliant idea. Since we have had to wait for so long between seasons, just about everyone should have known that Shirley MacLaine was going to join the show as well. They also make us wait for this.  She doesn't show herself until the final act.  I feel like I am in the hands of television masters when I watch this show.  They know how to give us something and take something away at the same time.  Just as we see Matthew decide to throw an inheritance away, we learn that the Crawley's need the money to save Downton.  This simple storyline carries us through 66 glorious minutes.

From a directing standpoint, the scene when Mary comes down the stairs to Carson and her father looking adoringly at her is a staging masterpiece.  The show has always let these two men straddle the line of who really is the father figure.  There are no words spoken by these men that let us know that in those few steps in the foyer, both of these men just relived Mary's entire life.  This show uses all the tools to perfection: Writing, Directing, Acting.  Hands down Downton Abbey is the best show of this decade and I say that confidently in only 2013.

Ok, what you really want to know is about Maggie Smith.  She is back and biting as ever.  I believe her, Mrs. Crawley, and Shirley will have a great storyline this season, even though they really set up nothing.  We just know it.   The writer's know what we know and what we don't.  They cut away from action all the time.  No reason to rehash anything that another character has already said.    The pacing in this show is unbelievable and I love it.  The wedding itself takes place off camera.  That is what makes this a soap opera that men and women can enjoy.  I can think of no other soap that would ever allow the main love couple to marry off camera.  But as Mary says as they cut to black: "I would hate to be predictable."  Mission accomplished.

Read my Review of Episode 3.2

Read my Review of Episode 3.3

Read My Review of Episode 3.4

You can also listen to a podcast about Season 3.  This does not include Journey to the Highlands To hear more. Listen to our podcast about this season. A recap and discussion about Downton Abbey Season 3. This podcast does NOT include Journey to the Highland.

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