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Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 Recap and Review of Downton Abbey – Series 3 Episode 9 – A Journey to the HighlandsWell that was kind of anticlimactic, wasn’t it? Of course, it usually feels as though each finale of Downton Abbey is utilized as a denouement before we veer headlong into whatever fantastic business the Christmas Special has in store.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 With this in mind, the finale becomes less disappointing. But it doesn’t make the finale an out-and-out triumph, by any means. I suppose the lackadaisical pacing and exposition is a means by which to set up the fourth series of the show.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 But there are an awful lot of turns in this episode alone, to where it feels less like a series carefully laying the foundation for its next season than it does an exercise in killing time. For as good (and as soapy, let’s be real) a show as Downton Abbey frequently is, a finale like this is always going to fall short of expectations.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 But I came to realize that, ignoring the relative lack of substantive plot movement, there really wasn’t much going on in here at a thematic level. It’s not a bad episode. Not at all. It’s just dreadfully boring. And Downton should never be as dry as all this.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 It looks like, after last week’s bombshell business with Thomas (Rob James-Collier), that Mr. Barrow will be cast off from Downton. Carson (Jim Carter) intends to at least see Thomas off with a reference, but the scheming of O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran) means that Jimmy Kent (Ed Speelers) isn’t going to be so quick to let the stolen kiss go.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 The storyline is probably the most engaging of the episode, even in spite of the fact that it asks us to invest in whether Thomas Barrow, of all people, stays at Downton Abbey. For a character who’d ostensibly been one of the show’s chief antagonists in its early goings, that’s a tall order. That said, much like last week,
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 it works here, owing to Rob James-Collier, whose performance strips Thomas of his customary smug self-assurance, playing him instead as a defeated man, opting to just take his lumps and go, as opposed to making a big scene and fighting back against O’Brien. Nearly as awkward as seeing Thomas so dejected is the fact that it’s Bates (Brendan Coyle) who takes up his cause. Given their previous animosity towards one another, it would be only natural for Bates to relish in Thomas’ downfall.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 But prison has changed our Bates. He knows what it’s like to feel powerless against the forces that would seek to make ruin of your life, and so he implores Thomas to give him some kind of information by which he can blackmail O’Brien. If the past eight episodes have accomplished nothing else with Bates, it’s shown us that he at least has the capacity for a certain darkness of character, when it came be used to help the downtrodden, lest we forget how easily he held a blade to the throat of his crooked cellmate.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 The information Thomas gives Bates is little more than a phrase, but one that holds great import with both O’Brien and the viewer: “Her ladyship’s soap.” Bates doesn’t understand it, nor does Anna (Joanne Froggatt) when he tells her, but the ploy works.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 O’Brien folds quicker than the XFL, and goes out of her way to convince Jimmy to let the matter with Thomas go, insisting that he speak with Carson and recant his objection to Thomas receiving a reference. It’s hard to believe that O’Brien will ever truly get over having spitefully placed a bar of soap just below Cora’s (Elizabeth McGovern) bath tub.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 causing her to slip and fall, resulting in the miscarriage of a boy whose birth could have settled the succession of Downton Abbey, once and for all. In her desperation to get Jimmy to change his mind, we can see how heavily the guilt weighs upon O’Brien, and it’s to Siobhan Finneran’s credit that we almost feel something akin to sympathy for her, in spite of all that she’s done.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 Of course, in an unexpected domino effect, Jimmy removing opposition to Thomas receiving a reference leads to Robert (Hugh Bonneville) deciding to keep Thomas on, under the assumption that it can’t be that big of a deal if Jimmy is relenting.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 The lack of a position for Thomas to fill leads to Robert promoting him to under-butler, a position that would ironically place him above Bates. Meanwhile, in return for not making a big stink about the misunderstanding, Robert promotes Jimmy to first footman.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 Things would appear to be set to rights, except that Alfred (Matt Milne) decides that now would be the time to adopt a sense of scruples, and calls the cops on Thomas. Robert sufficiently defuses the situation, chalking the matter up to Alfred being drunk, and although the Inspector is supremely annoyed at having his time wasted (and perhaps more than a little suspicious at how quickly the tables turned on Alfred’s story), it seems that the matter is settled.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 Except for one confusing revelation. In one of the weirdest discoveries of the episode, it turns out that most of the people at Downton Abbey know about Thomas’ sexuality, and have known for a very long time. Stranger still, they all seem to share a progressive, 21st century mindset about Thomas’ right to be with whom he chooses, or, at the very least, his right to privacy, in that matter.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 I suppose it’s not that outrageous for one or two people in the household to be understanding of Thomas’ plight, but it strains credulity a bit that it would be so widely accepted. As terrible a thing as intolerance and hate can be, their absence borders on anachronism.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 It’s not that the denizens of Downton Abbey can’t be progressive in this respect, but it’s very unlikely given how conservative they are about other matters, from Robert’s repugnance at Edith marrying the elderly and infirm Sir Anthony Strallan, to his obstinacy concerning a more modern approach to running Downton.
Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 9 In particular, he seems opposed to how Tom (Allen Leech) and Matthew (Dan Stevens) seem intent on giving the farmers the option of selling. Robert is very much invested in tradition, and also in respect towards the people who’ve helped to maintain Downton throughout the years. Tom recognizes this talent in Robert, and, calling upon his own talents as an orator, finally convinces Robert to get over himself and join up with he and Matthew in contributing their considerable skills to the maintenance of the estate.