‘Downton Abbey’ season 5 character debate: Brendan Coyle and John Bates

We are still smack in the middle right now of our “Downton Abbey” character debate series, where every day we feature one of the characters that is a part of the hit ITV series. So who is the focus on this time around? We’re looking at a man in John Bates who clearly has had some highs on the series, but also his fair share of lows … and plenty of them.

So where does a man like this go forward? It’s hard to imagine him hitting a lower low, so instead, we would like to see the character deal with something else unexpected … but in a completely different way. (Obviously, there are spoilers ahead for Americans.)

When we last saw him – Bates seemed to do the most violent thing that he has done over the course of the entire series, as all of the evidence points to him murdering Mr. Green in London after the valet for Lord Gillingham previously raped his wife during an opera performance at the Abbey. It appeared at first that some new evidence was going to cause Mary to turn him in for his crimes, but the good news for him was that his own actions to help protect the family in a different way in the Christmas Special bailed him out.

What we could see – The obvious route for the show to go would be to somehow introduce another shred of evidence that could tie Bates to his past misgivings, and have him go back to prison. Or, he could commit some sort of new crime. There is also the discussion of children that will likely continue to persevere, when you consider that these two characters have been together now for a little while.

What we would like to see – What would happen if someone in Bates’ family came to visit, or he ran into some of his old prison contacts outside of the Big House? We want to see the rape story buried (since it never felt tonally right for this show anyway), and for the focus to be placed instead on a different sort of conflict that is a little bit more relatable, and could challenge his relationship with Anna that does not make him look like he is on the cusp of another arrest.

What do you want to see from Bates moving forward on “Downton Abbey”? Be sure to share some of your thoughts below.

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