Whats Down at “Downton Abbey”

by Lauren

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Recently, all the rage has been about the British TV series, Downton AbbeyDownton Abbey takes you back to the 1900’s where you follow the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family. The show first aired in the UK in 2010, but soon came to be the international hit it is today. 

Caution: spoilers ahead! 

This fictional series is filmed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England but is called Downton Abbey, where the Crowley family lives.  The first season opens up with the shocking news of the Titanic sinking in the Atlantic Ocean.  During this time,Lady Cora Grantham, mother of the house, had three daughters and no male son to inherit the estate and family fortune. A binding contract on the house states that a male heir must inherit the house. This creates a big dilemma for the Crowley family because their daughter, Lady Mary Crowley, lost her fiancée, the hier to the estate,  in the Titanic. Now, the fortune must go to the next male family member in line.   

This is when we meet Matthew Crawley, an unsophisticated man, who becomes the next heir. Matthew and his mother, Isobel Crawley, move to Downton Abbey and try to become respectable aristocrats.  During this process, Lady Mary tries to find a respectable husband to marry.  That task becomes very hard after a rumor was spread that she had slept with a man, unmarried, and he had been found dead the next day. Without knowing the rumor was true, Mary and Matthew fell in love and became engaged.  This engagement, however, was broken off right as World War I started, and Matthew went to war.

Season 2 aired in the U.S. on January, 2012, and in the U.K. a year before that. This begins a new journey of finding Mary a husband, and meeting Matthew’s new fiancée, Lavinia.  Mary and Matthew, who are still clearly in love with each other, attempt to become friends, and support each other’s romances. Mary becomes engaged to Sir  Richard, the owner of a popular newspaper in New York, who helps her conceal the rumor of having a relationship with a man while unwed.  Then, while in battle, Matthew is injured in the spine and told he will never walk or have children. This created unease in the Crawley family because they must find another heir. Later in the season, Matthew begins to feel his legs, and can eventually walk again.

Just as you think everything is calm, and wedding preparations are finalized for Matthew and Lavinia, the 1918 flu pandemic comes to Downton.  Many of the household staff and family members are stricken ill. In the end, Lavinia dies. Along with this stunning news, Lady Cora’s third daughter, Sybil, shocks the family with the news she is in love with the chuffer, Tom Branson, and they are getting married. Her father is angryat first, but gives his limited blessing to the couple in the end.  Mary then realizes she is unhappy with Sir Richard and breaks off their engagement, ready to face the old, nasty rumor, which continues to spread.  Mary, who prepared to go to America to escape the papers, is asked by Matthew to marry him once again. The season ends with her agreement to marry him.

Season 3  greets you to the marriage of Matthew and Mary. Now the family no longer needs to worry about an heir, and the estate and fortune stay in the family.  As usual, peace is long to stay, as Sybil and Tom write to the family from their home in Ireland that they are expecting their first child. This shakes the family as they want to reconnect their relationship with Sybil and the new baby. Lady Edith finally gets engaged to an older aristocrat, Sir Anthony, who later leaves her at the altar.   Soon after the wedding, due to complications, Sybil dies during child birth. Tom, names the child after her, and remains at Downton. Mary and William struggle with fertility, but after Mary undergoes a minor surgery, the couple becomes pregnant.  Lady Edith, wanting to be independent while still unmarried, starts writing for a newspaper.  Here she becomes close with the newspaper’s editor, who is married.

Season 3 is continuing to air in the U.S.  A fourth season has been confirmed, and one thing is for sure. It will be nothing short of the jaw-dropping drama that began 3 season ago.   If you have never watched the series, I highly suggest you catch up, and watch away. Downton Abbey has captured many hearts and is well worth the collective seven Primetime Emmy Awards.

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