‘Downton Abbey’ season 4, episode 1 review (PBS): Michelle Dockery’s big move

The latest -Before we start off this “Downton Abbey” review, we’ll say that we are going to use a slightly different delineation for episodes in the United States than in Britain. Why is that? The simple reason is that PBS airs them a little bit differently, and there was technically more than one episode that aired on the network tonight.

But even with that, the biggest events that happened took place in the first hour. Since we have already reviewed the British versions of all these episodes, what we are going to do here the rest of this season is raise a key question and discussion. So what we are going to discuss this week is something that you probably wondered while watching this: Was the Mary story both realistic, and good television?

When it comes to the first, we feel like the answer was a resounding yes in that Michelle Dockery played this beautifully. You have to remember that this is a woman who has been privileged her entire life, and had almost everything go her way in the sense of being taken care of. So to suddenly see her entire world taken from her would cause her to be completely desolate. Of course she is going to act like the most miserable person alive, act like she doesn’t want to live, and claim that her child is an orphan.

As for the good television standpoint, it’s pretty awful to watch since it is so horribly depressing to see someone go through this. Seeing Robert give her bad advice repeatedly did not help, and the only argument that we can make for keeping it in the episode is that it was a necessarily evil. If Mary was suddenly pursuing other men, we would be revolting and saying that she was moving on much too quickly. At least this way there is a little bit of distance from one stage of her life to the next. She is starting to move on at the end of the episode, and we could certainly celebrate that her story is moving forward … though we know it is not over yet.

Since we were not doing grades at the start of this season, we will go ahead and give one retroactively. Grade: B+. As sad as the story was, it was still effective and very well-acted.

If you want some more “Downton Abbey” news, click here. We’ll have some more details there as to what to expect moving forward. Also, visit the link here for some more handy scoop on all of your favorite shows every week, and it’s all courtesy of our TV newsletter.

Photo: ITV

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