“Downton Abbey” is back, and based on what we saw from the season premiere airing Sunday night (at least in the United Kingdom), it is better than ever. There was plenty of intrigue here, drama, some more great one-liners from Maggie Smith, and the arrival of a new character in Martha (Shirley MacLaine) who may be the best rival to the Dorager Countess that we have seen yet. It was thoroughly entertaining, and already has us hooked on what is going to be coming up for the rest of the year.
As much hype as MacLaine received for her casting, though, this episode primarily revolved around one major subject: the wedding for Matthew and Mary, and the people who descended upon the Abbey in order to attend the grand ceremony. All sorts of mayhem ensued when Tom was looked upon like the worst human being imaginable, and there was even suspicion that he was drugged at one point to start acting like a raving madman over how he was being treated and how Ireland is looking to assert itself as an independent national separate from Britain.
Tom’s antics even created a rift at one point in our soon-to-be-wedded couple, which they were thankfully able to resolve before the end of the episode. Unfortunately, the news was not so good for Lord Grantham, who learned during the episode that his massive fortune had fallen out from under him thanks to some investments in the Canadian railway system that did not pan out in the way in which he was told it would happen. He then had to try and explain it to everyone, and this was far from an easy task.
The show closed with the wonderful shot of Mary as the bride, and the buildup of the past two years to this one moment was fantastic. The wedding started off … and then it was over. The suspense! Next week we will see more of the results of this ceremony, along with a key crises that unfolds among Downton’s staff.
What did you think about the show’s return Sunday? If you want to know some more about what Shirley MacLaine has to say about the new season, be sure to head on over to the link here.