I Need To Discuss Downton

By Kate Riley February 25, 2013

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since the finale here in the States and I know most of us are caught up on the drama, but as an Official Downton Abbey Addict I must share some thoughts on Season Three.

Matt and I watched the first two seasons together but this time we watched it separately, me at first all by myself kept company by a bag of popcorn and with each episode awaiting every character’s lines and plot turns.

With him, I watched Season 3 the second time yes, the second time  while he was the one carefully listening for the brilliant lines and plot turns, I was eyeing the fashion and interiors and the subtleties uttering out loud things like “oooh, that writing desk” and “oh the beading on that dress” much to his annoyance.

So I have to get these thoughts off my 21st century chest since I love this show so much and I’ve been saving these snapshots for weeks and weeks, but first:


Do not read this post if you’re not caught up on the entire season!!!

May I begin? First of all the hats! The hats this season were so amazing, my compliments to the milliners, I especially loved the plumes on Shirley’s head.

hats downton abbey

plumes on downton

downton abbey hats

edith and cora hats

downton abbey hats on ladies


Did you notice the differences in the way they dressed Mary and Edith this season? The hair and clothing always more subdued and traditional on Mary and modern on Edith even in their wedding gowns – who do you think wore the dress and heirloom diamond headband best? They were both pretty but I liked Edith’s look a bit more, I was always rooting for her, despite the dramatic jilting.

diamond headband downton abbey

best wedding veil


Here’s Edith with Aunt Rosamund, I think redheads look beautiful in apricot and all shades of green, well done on the wardrobe for both.

edith and aunt rosamond

edith in green and apricot downton abbey


And speaking of Aunt Rosamund, I want to see much more of her house in London in Season Four after this quick peek with those dramatic black walls.

aunt rosamunds house in london


My favorite fashion moment was at the christening, with all the ladies of Downton dressed in hats and dresses in shades of lavender. I think we’ll see much more of these shades in fashion and interiors this year, don’t you?

shades of lavender on crawley women

downton abbey christening

Here are a few shots of some of the main living spaces I captured through the season:

Entry Hall:

entry hall downton abbey

entry downton abbey

entry rug

The morning breakfast room – I read that the middle painting of King Charles I alone is worth many millions . . .

morning breakfast room

breakfast room downton abbey

The Library with its two red velvet sofas, writing desks, and one scene where Lord Grantham is dense and in denial about the way Downton is run:

library red sofas downton abbey

library at downton

matthew and robert in library

library downton abbey


Isobel’s Drawing Room is my favorite, painted in a pale blue and trimmed with yellow brocade curtains and gold framed art.

isobels drawing room

isobels drawing room downton

isobels drawing room on estate

isabels drawing room downton abbey

Sybil’s wallpapered nursery:

sybils nursery downton

sybill nursery and crib

Matthew and Mary’s traditional bedroom with deep forest green walls:

matthew and marys bedroom downton

mary and matthews room downton

The drawing room at Downton:

drawing room

 downton drawing room

The Scottish Highlands Estate in the final episode:

entry scotish estate

scotland estate downton abbey

guest room scotland estate downton


And because I couldn’t resist, my most favorite lines of Season Three:

“He didn’t tell me Mrs. Patmore, you did” says Carson the butler when she inadvertently lets it slip that Mrs. Hughes has been tested for cancer.

you did mrs pattmore


Lady Grantham telling Mrs. Hughes who is worried who will care for her because she thinks she might have cancer: “The answer is here and we will.”

the answer is here and we will


When Thomas learns that Sybill has died, he breaks down and says “In life not many have been kind to me, she was one of the few.”  A rare display of Thomas’ good side.

she was one of the few


“Nothing succeeds like excess” says the Dowager to Mary as they conspire to show off so that Cora’s wealthy American mother will save Downton with her fortune.

nothing succeeds like excess


“My mother-in-law has been kind enough to invite you to dine, and I’ll not let you snub her” says Tom to his rough-around-the-edges brother who is visiting Downton.

branson mil comment downton


“Seems a pity to miss a good pudding.” says the Dowager when Lord Grantham demands they leave Isobel’s luncheon upon learning Ethel was a former prostitute.

seems a pity to miss a good pudding


“You cannot want your only granddaughter to grow up in some gahrage with a drunken gorilla” followed up by “That is an easy caveat to accept because I am never wrong.”

drunken gorilla comment dowager downton


The Dowager’s response to Edith’s offer for a position as a journalist: “I do think a woman’s place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.”

dowager have fun comment downton abbey


Speaking in that maternal way, Mrs. Hughes comforts Tom, “You’ve done well and Lady Sybil would be so proud…but you must be your own master.”

mrs hughes and branson downton


My vote for four best moments:

The agony + wordless emotion by Maggie Smith – she is brilliant.

dowager in mourning

Happiest moment tie: in-law happiness at the cricket match …

downton cricket match

. . . and The Birth

birth of crawley baby downton

Most charming moment award!  Carson comforting baby Sybil

carson and sybill


Okay, I’ve finally got it all out and feel much better. Now you. What were your favorite characters, plot twists, and lines from Season Three?

And what do you think will happen in Season Four? Do you think Edith will transform into a modern city girl while wealthy widow Mary clings to tradition at Downton?  Will Alfred become an assistant cook to Mrs. Patmore? Will Tom or Mary ever find love again? Will the “slippery soap” incident be revealed and O’Brien get the boot? Dish!



  1. Oh man, this was such a tough season to watch! I can’t wait for season four… but I will miss my two favorite characters. Great wrap up.

    And yes on the lavender!

  2. i was upset by two deaths of main characters in a row. then i read that the actor playing Matthew was set to leave the show, o they killed him off. why couldn’t they just replace him with a double like they used to do in the soaps…or on bewitched. remember the two darrens?! ;)

  3. The back of Edith’s wedding gown was breathtaking. She’ll become extremely successful,imo.
    The castle where the interiors were filmed is exquisite.
    I love Julian Fellowes ( first saw him in Lord of the Manor)!
    Isn’t the acting totally top drawer?

  4. Love everything about Downton! Such exquisite gowns and scenery and the acting is not equaled. I especially love the scene between the Dowager and Carson at Sybil’s wake. Maggie Smith deserves a Grammy for that scene alone. I feel all out of sorts now that the season is over and we have to wait for Season 4. This is TV at it’s finest and makes me feel that society will survive, in spite of the “reality” television that is most of the norm.

  5. I just started watching and can’t wait to go back & watch the first two seasons. Isobel’s Drawing Room is my favorite, too!

  6. Favorite line (from the Dowager): “you are a woman with a brain and reasonable ability; stop whining and find something to do!”

  7. Whenever they show a sweeping view of Downton I marvel at what it would be like to live there or even visit. It is just absolutely stunning.

    I really disliked Thomas but now that he’s shown a softer side I dislike him a little less. Oh, and I’m with you on Maggie Smith! When she walks in, dressed in black after Lady Sybil has died was great acting. With no words she conveyed her sorrow. Will Tom now run Downton? Can he without Matthew? I cannot wait for Season 4. I’m loving the Roaring 20’s clothing so I hope they don’t jump too far ahead but I have a feeling they’re going to start with the Depression.

  8. I was SO upset by Sybil’s death, her and Tom were my favorite storyline and I don’t know with her gone if I still have the same excitement to watch, I know I will next season but it just won’t be the same.

  9. Wow what a summary of Downton at it’s best! Thank you for this Downton feast! I do agree with the hats, how I wish it will come back again in fashion, I so love them and I wish to acquire my own piece of hat art once I can afford a ZORLU HAT!

    As for the rooms, can you imagine waking up and living in museum-like environement? must be wonderful. I find Mrs. Crawleys drawing room more of to my taste too.

    My favorite scenes are the most heart-breaking ones – Sybils death and Mathews. I was so shocked with Mathews accident I couldn’t help but bawl and my kids thought something bad happened to me!!! LOL!

    I think Edith will become more modern and fight for love and Mary will succumb first into depression, before finding some love near the end of 4th season. Don’t know about the witch O’Brien, I think she’ll pay for her cruelty in some other way.

  10. I LOVED Edith’s wardrobe this season! She always looked so nice and modern and seemed to have on something different every time we saw her, where Mary just looked so blah most of the time. I agree that the hats were fabulous!!!

    I’m not so much a fan of the Edith and her married editor story line, I don’t know why Edith’s love life always has to be so tragic, going after the wrong OLDER men. Can’t she just be happy for once?

    Was all the purple at the christening half mourning? I feel like I remember reading something about Victorian customs and half mourning involving purple and blues. I could totally be making that up, and I know the show is way past Victorian era now, but I was wondering that as I was watching. It just seemed so rare, (but lovely!!), to see all the women dressed in the same color.

    Love Downton, cannot wait for season 4!!!

  11. I love how Edith and Mary have evolved over the three seasons. Can we call is a complete roll reversal? Mary seems to stuffy and traditional now.

    Also, at some point, I saw a matte black fireplace in Isobel’s house. LOVED it.

  12. The ladies wore lavender at the christening were dressed for half mourning. Black would have been inappropriate for such a joyous occasion as a christening, but it was not appropriate to discard the black so soon after Sybil’s death. Hence, the half mourning lavender. So lovely!

  13. Wonderful summary, Kate! Wouldn’t you just love to visit Highclere Castle?

    My husband Jack and I have watched the show together from the very first episode of Season 1. Actually, he’s responsible for learning about it first. A few years ago he decided to switch from reading the WSJ in favor of reading The Financial Times, so he’s always up to date on what’s going on in the UK. For two lovers of British history such as we, the show is an absolute delight!

    I particularly love the unspoken social commentary that the show provides. A period drama can do this well or very badly–Downton Abbey does it brilliantly, I think. And the way the theme of grace unfolds in the development of the various characters is just excellent. I’ve read recently that some Christians have found the show disturbing or offensive, and honestly I just can’t understand that point of view. I’ve found the show to be deeply meaningful in a spiritual sense, and I am grateful for it. Add to that superb acting, a gorgeous locale, and excellent writing, and you’ve got a show that’s a real winner in my book!

    Question: You think redheads look good in apricot. What would you think about an auburn-haired woman in a lighter peach color? I can’t decide if it’s wonderful or dreadful on me!

  14. Ohhhh the agony and the ecstasy of Downton Abbey!

    I absolutely blubbered when Sybil died. How shockingly horrible!
    And I’m holding out hope that Matthew has some kind of surprising recovery and is not really dead, because I just won’t be able to bear it.

  15. I LOVE this show & am so sad that we have to wait intil Jan 2014 for season 4!! I love Maggie Smith & the lines they give her to say, she does them so well.

  16. Another Downton devoted blog stated that many of the period costumes, hats gowns etc are rented. Eagle eyed British viewers have posted about the gowns showing up in other British shows/movies/plays.

  17. I have spent the past few weeks watching back to back episodes from Season 1 through the finale of Season 3, and have fallen in love with all things Downton! I love your recap, and many of your favorite moments have been mine as well.

    I do remember one quote from Maggie Smith, as my favorite. On feminism –

    Lady Mary Crawley: ‘Sybil is entitled to her opinions.’
    Dowager Countess: ‘No. She isn’t until she is married, then her husband will tell her what her opinions are.’

    Now what am I supposed to do until January 2014???

  18. To the person that asked about lavender and half mourning – yes it is. Lavender and dove gray were acceptable colors after a certain period of mourning was observed, not long enough by the christening but they probably felt black was inappropriate at such an event. Notice that Lady Grantham goes back to black after the christening.

    • Thank you Julianne and Suesan for the information on the lavender clothing while they were still in mourning, I didn’t know that!

  19. I have been dying to chat Downton with someone! I LOVED the Highlands Estate and that “wreath” of guns made me swoon even though I’m not a gun person. It made me wonder if I could get away with recreating it over the fireplace… but then I remembered I don’t have guns in the house…

    I love Isobel’s drawing room, it is so lovely and tasteful. It is such a fantastic show…. and I love the hats!

  20. So glad I finished watching this weekend! I loved this season though I have to say I was so mad when I saw the intent to kill you know who! I literally yelled at the PC and asked WHY?! Edith is totally becoming a bad girl/black sheep of the family! I think the new girl – Rose from Scotland – is going to bring a rejuvenation, I have to say I see her and Tom hitting it off :) Maybe?

    As for the lavender? Been there, done that :)

  21. Back in the day when people were in mourning, they wore black for six months for siblings. Towards the end of the mourning period, they would begin to wear shades of grey as well as lavendar. I think their wearing lavendar at the christening was a good choice. I loved this season but hated seeing people killed off. I hope Edith has some happiness ahead for her.

  22. I wish the last scene of Matthew after the car accident was just someone’s dream…remember Bobby on “Dallas?”

    • I know Carol, I was thinking “it’s another Bobby!” too until…. I read the actor Dan Stevens moved on and his contract was not renewed. Ugh! I’ll miss his blue eyes. :)

  23. Hiya, so this isn’t a Downton question as I don’t watch it (I know, I must be just about the only person on the planet who doesn’t, but I just don’t like it! – please don’t hate!) so anyway random question – how did you capture the stills from the programme?

    • Hi Mags! If you watch on an iPad which we did (downloaded from iTunes) you can do screen shots :)

  24. PS – some of you have mentioned you loved the Scottish estate – it is actually Inverary Castle and its in a beautifull part of Scotland – we visit often as its just beside my favourite seafood restaurant! 3 hour drive just for their seafood – we must be mad! Plus the scenery in the area’s not too shabby either!

  25. I just finished watching the entire 9 seasons of One Tree hill last week and I ahve been trying to decide what to watch next. I think I have my next show now!!!


  26. I do feel heartbroken for Mary…BUT does it make me heartless to be relieved that there will be a whole lot less schmoopiness in season four?. Even with unexpected death and tragedy this season, one thing remains constant. Poor Edith may never be happy or have anything go right in her life.

  27. My favorite line: Carson comforts baby Sybil by lifting her from her crib and saying “let’s have a little chat about it.”

    For more information about Highclere Castle, “Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey” is written by the current Countess of Carnarvon. It’s a fascinating read.

  28. Prediction? As Tom becomes overseer of the manor and estate, he and Mary fall in love…..

  29. Oh, what a wonderful post about our beloved Downton Abbey! Your post was spot on and I agree with everything you wrote. Thank you for the quotes and photographs of interior decoration and costumes. This is one of my very favorite blog entries on Downton and I, too, cannot wait until they reair Season 3 prior to starting Season 4.

  30. Loved seeing the pictures. It’s easy to miss the beautiful details when you’re caught up in the story.

  31. I’m surprised you didn’t print the biggest spoiler! Assuming we all know what it is and not wanting to ruin it for anyone else….don’t read this unless you’ve seen the last episode.

    We are SO disappointed that Matthew got killed off. I hear he wouldn’t renew his contract. Major bummer! It is so extreme that my hubs insists he is never watching Downton again. I’m ticked too, but not to that extreme! I think Edith will become the most modern lady in the house. As for the rest, I’m not so sure. Downton writers are too good at surprising me!

  32. Favorite line: Dowager Countess to Lord Grantham “Oh do you think I might have a drink? Oh I am so sorry, I thought you were a waiter.”

    My favorite scene is a tie between pure happiness ~ the scene of Matthew and Mary with their son and pure sadness ~ the Dowager leaning heavily on her cane and almost not being able to walk as she was so heavy with grief from Sybil’s death.

    I loved learning about the lavender mourning clothes.

    • Oh that was a fantastic line Laura when he was wearing black tie to dinner, it made me laugh so hard – and did you find it odd that Lord Grantham didn’t put up more of an effort to find his shirts that someone obviously took I mean he is LORD GRANTHAM after all, you’d think he’d insist they appear or else someone gets sacked!

  33. Lovely re-cap! I am still reeling from the two deaths. Since they are so busy killing people off, maybe they will kill Edith’s love interest’s institutionalized wife. I would so love to see her happy. However, I think that would add to Lady Mary’s misery. I am anxious to see what becomes of the widow and widower. It is ridiculous that we have to wait a whole year for another season. I did hear a rumor that they may air it here and in the UK at the same time for this next season. That would be better!

  34. I only started watching the show this season and am now watching dvd’s of season 1 and 2. I am loving every second of it!! I almost fell off my seat when I watched the part about the Turkish guy in Mary’s room. And just last night finally got the meaning behind “her ladyship’s soap” uttered by Bates at the end of Season 3. It is actually quite fun watching the first 2 seasons now and having everything click into place after being confused for much of season 3.
    Thanks for the fun post today! :)

  35. By the way, am I the only one that thought Mary might be faking her pregnancy? She didn’t want anyone to know she was heading home early and “just happened” to give birth while everyone was away? I thought maybe she was paying the doctor to help her and adopted a baby that maybe a villager wasn’t able to raise?

  36. This was a great recap – thank you! It makes me want to spend this cold rainy afternoon re-watching the series – at least begin with episode one.

    I was a late comer and bought all three seasons at once – hubby and I enjoyed every one. He keeps pointing out the Downton looks great without and landscaping – he’s trying to get the go ahead to rip out all bushes around our house. How many times will I need to remind him – we don’t live in a castle?

    My first thought when I saw Matthew – was think soap opera – replace him, we’d get over it.

    Popcorn and Downton, here I come!

  37. The current season can be watched for free at pbs.org. Past seasons at hulu.com and all seasons at amazon.com Instant Streaming for a nomial fee compared to itunes.

    Ugh, it’s going to be a long year until the show returns in 2014!

  38. I love that enormous rug in the main hall, especially as it’s seen in the long shot of Mr. Bates’s return to Downton Abbey.

    I can’t believe they killed off Sybil AND Matthew this season. Even though the actor wanted to be free to work other projects, couldn’t they have found another way to get write him off the show? Death is so permanent.

    Maggie Smith is such a treasure! She can deliver one-line zingers, wilt anyone with a glance, and still portray agonizing, unspoken grief like no other. I love how she had that moment walking across the room, staggered in her emotion, briefly gathered herself, and walked on, head held high.

  39. I’m so glad you wrote this post! After the last episode, I was left feeling like, “What? That’s it? Just like that and now we have to wait how long for the 4th season?” One of my favorite scenes is in the opening where they show a petal falling off of a flower in the vase, with the Downton theme music playing. I want to capture that and frame it and hang it in my house somewhere. I”m sure Edith will have an affair with her boss. I’m going to have to rewatch the whole thing from season one.

  40. Just started this season – it’s great. I loved between 2 servants, the one with the wack a doo bangs from Downton and 1 in Scotland – “back in the knife drawer, Miss Sharp”

  41. When Matthew died, my first thought was, “Can’t everyone be happy for just 5 minutes?!?!” I am hoping that when the next season starts, it will be many months after Matthew’s death. There has been so much grieving in season 3, maybe they can skip the initial trauma of the accident and move on with the story.

  42. OK. I just HAD to say that the hats are AmAZeBaLLS! Shirly is a fool for those plumes. like really. who has tHAT. DAMN. MANY! uuhh..SHE does! lub it! P.S.Edith is about to get her GROOVE on! Just sayin’…
    Deuces & Smooches!

  43. oooh you nailed it with the best moments from season 3! particularly the lines…lady dowager has the best lines out of any character. love her! i am interested to see how edith’s turn at mistress plays out and whether or not mary gets nicer or nastier without matthew!

  44. Best Lines:
    Violet: to lord Grantham: “So sorry, I thought you were a butler” and to Sybil “Vulgarity is no substitute for wit”
    Isobel to Violet: “Have you changed your pills?”
    Edythe’s fiance to her : “Have you done something Jolly with your hair”?
    Favorite Characters (still living!): Violet, Edythe, and Isobel
    Favorite Couple: Bates and Anna
    Favorite Dress: Edythe’s wedding gown, and the blue and lace dress Mary wore to Edythe’s ill fated wedding

  45. Excellent post! I’m worried that Mary will get even bitchier without Matthew. The last thirty seconds of the season….absolutely devastating.

  46. The women are wearing lavender because they are still in mourning for Sybil. First black, then deep purple and then lavender as the year of mourning passes.

  47. If I hadn’t gotten the flu last month I wouldn’t have a clue about Downton Abbey. But I needed something to occupy me so I watched all seasons on my iPad. Now I am disappointed the third season is over. I have NO idea where they are going to go with the next season, I just hope for no more deaths! I loved this article by Jan Showers, The Colors of Downton. http://www.janshowers.com/Blog/

  48. Perhaps the mysterious disfigured cousin, who supposedly died on the Titanic, (his face was bandaged due to war injuries in Season 2), will reemerge as the man who inherits Downton!

  49. I loved when Bates and Mary were watching Anna dance at the Scottish castle, and MAry says, “Isnt she marvelous?”…and Bates answers, with such love in his eyes and voice, “She IS marvelous.”

  50. Oh my goodness…..I’m glad I’m not alone in my Downton Abbey obsession!! So glad you carved out and reminisced on the happier moments of the season….there was so much heartbreak this year. I’m obsessed with Maggie Smiths character! That comment about the pudding made me choke on my wine!

  51. It’s beyond fun. Writing is top notch, and the acting matches it!

    What’s great is it is so real-while being so out-of-our-league. ( I mean,who really lives in a castle?!)

    Sadly, bad things do happen to people in real life. I’ve lost a child, a parent and a spouse :(
    So cut those writers some slack-it’s not as unrealistic as it seems.

    The best I’ve heard so far is that the BBC will be showing DA AT THE SAME TIME here in the US as they will in the UK! Yeah! So we only have to wait until October to see what happens next…

  52. It is my favorite British clothing and scenery porn to date (Brideshead Revisited was pretty awesome also). I am very interested in the idea of Daisy taking over her father-in-law’s farm and wonder who she will end up with. It would allow Alfred to get into the kitchen and do some cooking!

  53. I just wrote a post about my dad’s weekly email recaps about Downton to my sister and I! Love the show! Don’t worry we will see you know who in Hollywood :0)

  54. Right, well if you are getting it all off of your chest I feel I can do the same.

    I loved Downton from the very beginning. Like you, I’m enthralled by the costumes and scenery and amazing houses (or should I say Mansions/castle/stately homes!).I couldn’t wait for each and every episode. But after watching the last episode (on Christmas day here in the UK I might add) I was really disappointed with the end. How much bad luck can one family have? I was devastated and really sad that the writers took this direction. I don’t think it’s as true to life as it has been all the way through and I felt it was the first time that they over sensationalised it. It felt all wrong to me. I have really been put off it now and don’t think I can watch it any more. Julian Fellows has a lot to answer for!

    Sorry. Rant over.

    Great post by the way. I love it how American’s have fallen in love with Downton. x

  55. I have to agree with EmmaMT!! I am so dissappointed with the ending . Im not even excited about the next year…..im sure I will watch but I really think they made a mistake qith this ending. It seemed forced and wrong….

  56. I loved reading your review on Downton…the fashion, the decor, the characters. It just makes me want to move in to Downton with the cast.

    It is such a tragedy to have two main characters of the house have to leave the show. In the last few episodes we saw Rose enter the family – and I think she will take on a heavier role and possibly even spend some time with Branson. Rose and Sybil seem very much the same personality and I’m looking forward to see if a relationship develops. Unfortunately, I also see Lady Mary becoming mean after the loss of Matthew – she even said that Matthew was the only one who saw the kindness in her.

  57. Am I the only person on the planet who DOESN’T like Dowton Abbey?? I have watched and love all the other Masterpiece Classics and every British period drama there ever was, but this one leaves me cold.

  58. Oh how I love Downton. I did not ever watch it until two months ago and I started with season one and could not stop watching, I watched all three seasons within a week, this show is one of the best ever. I am extremely disappointed about Matthew. I am not sure what will happen next season, but I just feel its going to really lack something without Matthew as he has been a main character and he and Mary were so sweet together. I would love to have lived back in that time period. Life was easier in many ways, this day and age is a different world, a much scarier world. I hope they never stop this series, it let’s us all live vicariously through these characters.

  59. I was devastated when I found out that the actors who portrayed Sybil and Matthew quit. That is why they had to kill them off. The writers didn’t want to have to do that, according to the article I read.

    I love everything about the show. The costumes, the houses, the landscape. The writing is so witty! I will most definitely continue to watch.

    My questions:

    Will Tom stick around Downton? Is he settling down his rebellious ways? (He seems so much more likable now — not quite so angry all the time)

    Will Edith ever find a suitable match? Why is she only interested in married/older men?

    Mary — she is so snobby and such a hag. Matthew brought out the best in her. But will she be able to be happy without him?

    Will Carson and Mrs. Hughes ever get together?

    Is Thomas actually turning nice on us? I am not ok with that whole “hmmm, I’m going to sneak into that dude’s room and plant a kiss on him” — hello, assault. But, it did seem he is getting nicer. Unlike O’Brien who is always up to her scheming ways.

    I hope some of these are answered in the next season :)

  60. My favorite moment was definitely seeing Carson interact with baby Sybil. It had me in tears (bittersweet ones)! I do believe he is becoming my favorite character (along with Mrs. Hughes). Excellent summation of the season and its highlights! Bring on Season Four!

  61. Do you know how long we have to wait for Season 4 to air? I just watched Seasons 1-3 in the past 2 weeks and I loved every moment!

  62. Love, love, love this show but hate, hate, hate that the years are moving too quickly. We have advanced this famiy’s adventure too quickly chronologically. We need to savor each era. What costuming! What beautiful sets and styling.

  63. The ending was~ devastating.
    I guess this makes Mary’s love life about as tragic as Edith’s now. Maybe they will “get along” better now. NoT.
    I predict Mary will become mORe overbearing, even on her father, now she is the RUler of Downton.

  64. I think it was a terrible mistake to have Matthew be killed. Maybe he could have been disfigured a little and come back played by a different but similar actor? I know, I dream.
    I think it would compound the unpleasantness if it just takes Mary back to where she was before him. Been there, done that.
    If they keep lkilling people off they will have to end the show.
    I am not sure about adding Rose. It seems fake and just an unreal way to inject another character.

    I do love Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern. They should focus more stores around them and not just have them on the edges.

    Oh, Matthew. We will miss you.

  65. I loved those lavendar dresses and hats! I so wanted one! I too looked at all the clothing and home decor! Loved the quotes. I cried and cried at the end of season 3! I watched it with a friend and then had to keep quiet while I watched it with my husband and then cried and cried all through the last 10 minutes with the birth and their touching family moment. The actors and the costumes are so wonderful!!! I heard there are going to be different writers for season 4, so we may see a lot of changes.

  66. Does anyone have thoughts about Bate’s violent nature, which was shown while he was in prison? I really wonder about that, and if it may pop up in the future. Not with Anna though!

  67. I’m so addicted to Downton Abbey and can’t wait for Season 4! (which won’t be here until January 2014 -yikes!) I’m also disappointed with how Season 3 ended, I was hoping Mary and Matthew would finally have some happiness. I love re-watching the episodes to re-discover the witty comments from the Dowager Countess, she’s one of my favorites.

  68. Love this post! You really take the opulence of the house for granted. It is so beautiful. I thought season 3 was a little heavy handed on the personal tragedies. I’m ready for a less traumatic season 4! I am sad that Matthew and Sybil (the actors) decided not to come back. They were my favorites. I found that Tom and Thomas both grew on me by the last episode. I just wish that there wasn’t such a delay with it showing in Britain months before we get to see it–Matthew’s death was spoiled for me on Pinterest a month or two before I got to see that episode.

  69. I enjoy the costumes especially. I didn’t like the way Mathew was increasingly portrayed as saintly and perfect near the end of the season. I think Mary will be a bitter wench for a long time. I hope Tom settles into estate manager, but that we get to see some story down that line. I think Rose is much wilder than Sybil was, and I don’t welcome her addition, but I think it’s a perfectly plausible event–young people were often placed with relatives in those days. I love the dowager and Isobel. I was rooting for her and the doc to get together! I’d like to see the family develop some respect for Edith. I don’t love Thomas, but I despise O’Brien. There has to be tension and drama somewhere, but O’Brien is just so hateful. Daisy running the farm is a great idea! But only if it becomes part of the show–no writing her out. The timeline is nearing the Depression… that could be interesting and/or heartbreaking. Long live Downton Abbey!

    • Yay Kimberly! I agree, they need an antagonist and O’Brien is a good one, but so is Thomas – always great at stirring up trouble!
      I hope we see more roaring twenties attire next season, such a great period in fashion!

  70. The thing that I love the most about Downton Abbey, is how they do consider the help to be part of the family, even mean old OBrien and Thomas. I do hope that they focus on Daisy, that started that story and kind of left us hanging. I agree about Alfred, it would be interesting to watch him in the kitchen with Mrs P. Nobody has said anything about her little dabble with a love interest. I think she steals that scenes when nobody is paying attention.

    Edyth, holy cow, what a year for her. I can’t wait to see what they let her do next. Poor Lord Grantham, he seems to always be playing catch up. Look out Rose is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

    Also, what about Matt’s mother and the Dr, again….

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I love this show.

    • I agree Tina, Mrs. P steals the show, she’s got some great one liners too, “Did you swallow a dictionary?”
      I loved the little sparks of love between the Dr. and Isobel, will they continue?
      Also Mrs. Hughes and Carson? Rose does look like she will be trouble, I think the Dowager seems to have a way of keeping her in control while at Downton…
      it will be interesting to watch!

  71. Kate,
    Someone may have mentioned this, but I read that back in the day when someone passed away, the ladies all wore black for a period of time…forgotten how long now. Once the period had passed and they were no longer expected to be dressed in black, they next moved to wearing a deep lavender/purple color. It was like a step up from black but still showed they were in mourning. I think that may be why they were all dressed in purple at the Christening.
    Thanks for sharing all the beautiful fashions and Highclere Castle. The table setting was just amazing! Not sure I’ve ever seen a napkin fold like that! :)

  72. Has anyone else wondered about Isis the dog outliving so many [human] characters? Note to Julian Fellowes: have the decency to at least let the poor dog die of nothing other than old age!
    Love the botanical names in the series: Daisy, Ivy, Violet and Rose. Swoon!
    My favorite line was when Mary’s jilted newspaperman/fiancee tells the Dowager he’s afraid she won’t be seeing him in the future, and Maggie Smith’s character comes back with, “Is that a promise?” !
    Did you see that Theo James, the actor who played Kemal Pamuk in Season 1, is set to star in CBS’s new series Golden Boy?

  73. Our Matthew is still alive. He was only in shock. Remember when he was dead after that terrible battle in the war and all of a sudden he blinked..not dead.

  74. Granny is my favorite, and when I watch with my daughters we typically laugh at anything she says. However, one scene in particular – and I am not sure if it was in Season 2 or 3 – when she is trying to use the new phone, she says “is this an instrument of communication, or an instrument of torture?” Oh, I had to rewind and hit replay! And lo and behold, someone made a t-shirt out of it:


    Great post!! You are always so detailed…where do you find the time?!?

  75. Thank you for this wonderful post. I am so engaged with the dialogue and clothing that I don’t take the time to notice the decor and you’re “spot lighting” it makes me miss the show so much more. I too loved all the women in lavender, what I wouldn’t give to have one of those dresses and hats!!

  76. ahh!! i cant wait for season for! the ending of season 3 was such a shock and I’m dying to see how the family handles it! Love your recap of all the clothing and interiors!

  77. I think you missed one awesome line… It goes something like this:
    Tom is explaining to Mary about the arrival of his brother and Mary invites him to stay at Downton.
    Tom says: my brother is a rough diamond
    Mary: that is Ok, I like diamonds.

    It is perhaps not exactly how they said it, but you get the point. Loved it!!

  78. Just so we are all on the same page. I was devastated to see Mathew die in the last few seconds on the final episode of Season 3. I literally screamed aloud (to myself I might add) “No, not Mathew!” I was sooo very angry with Julian Fellows, but by Googling Season 4 I found out that the actor who played Mathew refused to sign another contract to do any more seasons. He doesn’t want to be type cast and is coming to America to do Broadway! Julian Fellows was as shocked as we all are and thought thatno replacement for Mathew would be accepted by the audience. Season 4 begins 6 months later…so no funeral etc.

  79. Now that Matthew is gone, I think it will be the perfect opportunity for Lady Mary and for the plot lines. It seems that he brought out the best in her and with him gone, I think we will be seeing her get a bit more nasty to poor Edith and the others. I kind of liked her better when she was nasty. Who knows, maybe she will slowly morph into a character much like her grandmother. It also leaves room for more adventures and maybe another passionate romance for her. I agree that Edith is one of the more intriguing characters and she is a vehicle for introducing more of the “modern, roaring twenties” vibe. Maybe having her lead a double life in London with an affair on the side with her newspaper man? I also think season four should focus more on the younger characters, Tom will probably stay on and will be essential to the running of DA since Matthew is gone, and since he is such a cutie, I’m sure he’ll have a female interest or two! Can’t wait!

  80. We will be in London this summer. I just made arrangements for us to visit Highclere Castle and the village of Bampton where the village scenes are filmed. We are both really excited about this!


  81. For those who are unhappy about Matthew’s death, do not blame the writers/producers of the show. The only one to blame is Dan Stevens (actor who played Matthew), who decided not to renew his contract for a fourth season to go work on bigger projects in the London stage and in Hollywood. Julian Fellowes explained in a couple of interviews that the original plan for Season 3 never included killing him off. But since towards the end of filming Season 3, when the network renewed Downton for a fourth season, D. Stevens approached Fellowes to let him know he would not be joining the cast for a forth season, they had to scramble to rewrite the ending of the Christmas episode to let Matthew go.
    Even though I was shocked and saddened by the ending of the season (although not very surprised, since I knew Dan Stevens had not renewed his contract by the time the episode aired on Christmas day), I’m actually glad to see him go. His character had become annoying for a while (since he met Lavinia), and now that the future of Dowton is secured (both financially and by the existence of a male heir that is direct descendant of the current Lord Grantham and much more closely related to him than a distant cousin), the show can do very well without Matthew. Can’t wait to see Mary as a young, attractive and wealthy widow. I do hope the new season will start towards the end of Mary’s mourning period, as I agree that there was far too much death and sadness in season 3.

  82. What a great idea, watching all the episodes a second time to absorb more of the details. I have to admit that most of the time I’m probably multi-tasking on my computer or playing games on my phone while I watch, so maybe if I just paid full attention the first time around that would be good too!

    As far as great lines, Violet and Isobel have so many, especially between each other. I love Isobel’s strong-willed approach to being an upstanding citizen, both in helping the less fortunate and reminding the wealthiest that they take themselves too seriously.

    This season of Downton was way too short. I don’t have any predictions for next year. In my own life I usually want to know what’s coming next, but with my favorite TV shows, I usually just go with the flow!

  83. I LOVE Downton and I love this recap and all the comments. Two things I’ve read about next season is that Mrs. O’Brien will not be back, and there will be a love interest for Lady Mary. It will be interesting how it all plays out. I certainly hope there is some happiness for Lady Edith, at last. Thanks for the post, Kate!

  84. I’m still in shock with how it ended – I’m not sure I can watch the next season – I’m so sad. :( But I’ll probably cave – how could I truly resist?

  85. I’m wondering if Daisy will move to the farm. I hope Patrick/Peter comes come and stops Edith from getting involved with the married editor. She need to check out the story about the wife. Mary will find love again I’m sure.

    Glad Bates is out of jail. I wonder if Anna and Bates will figure out O’Brain’s secret. It’s in the back of their minds now. Maybe the butler and housekeeper get together. I can’t believe that supplier was using Mrs. P for her cooking. I wish they would also bring back the maid who worked for the telephone company now. She and Tom have something in common.

    Hope Isobel can stay strong after Matthew’s death and the Dowager will still have some of the best lines. It will be interesting to see how Lord and Lady G. deal with more and more of the changing world. It’s seems that the guys in the downstairs are putting things behind them.

  86. I realize killing Matthew off was necessary because of the actor not renewing his contract, but honestly. Killing off two main characters is just a bit much in one season! It feels like the whole dynamic of the show will change and I hate when it is such a drastic shift.

    I love the integrity of Ms. Hughes, Mr. Carson and Isobel. They are so honest and genuine and caring and it just makes me feel like modern day life has lost something!

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