It’s January so it must mean a return to Downton Abbey! For the fourth January in a row, we’ll be treated to the beautiful and complex world at Downton. While last season was slightly uneven (didn’t love the Bates-in-jail storyline), season four is strong with interesting new characters and obstacles for our beloved cast.
After season 2’s gorgeous proposal in the snow, season 3 ended in the opposite direction with the death of Matthew Crawley. Yeah, bummer. This season picks up 6 months later and things are still grey and depressing as Downton tries to rally on. Lady Mary is having a tough time dealing with life without Matthew. In due time, the eligible males of the kingdom realize she’s single again and we get treated to some charming new suitors.
Meanwhile, unlucky Lady Edith needs to sort out her relationship with her publisher, Michael Gregson — her married publisher. Poor Edith! After starting off as rather petty in the first season, she’s matured, but never seems to find an appropriate guy. She’ll be tested further this season with another surprise or two.
The newest member of the Crawley household, Cousin Rose, is thankfully not as abrasively annoying as she was in last year’s Christmas special. She is still a bit bratty, but she isn’t the horrible Cousin Oliver I thought she was going to be.
It’s hard to believe that 10 years have elapsed in the world of Downton, but Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess remains sharp as a tack. Yes, she still gets some of the best lines, but Maggie Smith can also take toss away lines and spin them into gold.
Meanwhile, things are shifting downstairs now that O’Brien has moved on. The family must find a new lady’s maid for the countess and let’s say it’s not an easy task. Also, what’s Thomas to do without his frenemy? Why, find new ways to cause mischief, of course!
Also poor Daisy (Sophie McShera) continues to struggle with her unrequited crush on Alfred who longs for Ivy who pines for Jimmy. Love is never simple, right? Thank God Mrs. Patmore is around to help guide Daisy.
So many characters and so much happens! Anna and Bates don’t get their Happily Ever After and we get more on Carson and his life as one of the Cheerful Charlies.
For those who worried where Downton would go after the death of Matthew, there’s plenty of story to tell!
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Downton Abbey season 4 debuts on PBS starting Sunday, January 5th.