Downton Abbey is Back!

I’m a happy camper after last night’s Downton Abbey season four premiere.  I’m hoping that this season won’t be quite the sustained downer last season was.  I know they have to keep the drama up and they had to work around characters leaving, but really, the gloom and grief last year was pretty thick.

Anyway, my five favorite moments from last night’s two-hour season opener:

– Lady Mary going to Carson to apologize and admit that she’d reacted badly because she didn’t want to hear what he was saying. Michelle Dockery did a great job of selling the whole change, from the frozen, grief-stricken zombie we see at the beginning of the show to the woman acknowledging and feeling the grief but recognizing that she needs to move on.

– Lord Grantham reminding Branson that Mary has suffered a great tragedy and Branson in turn reminding his father-in-law that he has suffered the same tragedy.

– Cora’s reaction on hearing the nanny’s verbal abuse of baby Sybil.  Of course, that whole episode had the bad effect of leading her to place more trust in Barrow, which is definitely a bad thing.

– Lady Mary entering the room where the tenant’s lunch is going on, in her fabulous purple dress, and proceeding to act like she belonged there.

– And of course, Carson, predictably but still satisfyingly, showing up at the train station for a last conversation with an old friend/enemy.

Worry: The Bates’ are just too nice and too happy.  Something has got to happen.  Since Bates spent most of last season in prison, I figure it’s Anna’s turn and I hate that!

Questions:

– Anna has worked for them for ages.  How on earth does Cora believe she would be giving the new lady’s maid a hard time?  Or that Anna would ruin a favorite piece of clothing and not admit to it?

– How much of Lord Grantham’s sheltering of Mary is genuine concern for her and how much of it is unwillingness to give up control?

– The new lady’s maid completely snows Cora?  How dense is she?

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