‘Downton Abbey’ season 3 finale review: Cricket, secrets, and surprises

“Downton Abbey” season 3 arrived with enormous expectations, and yet it somehow managed to top them and then some. The show’s finale on Sunday provided closure to a good many of the series’ plots, some brilliant moments featuring characters across the board, and also a few moments that we did not see coming at all.

Let us begin with a story that really featured the Abbey itself as a character: Matthew and Tom Branson were starting to come up with a plan to revitalize the Abbey and actually plan for the future, something that Robert has not done effectively over the past few years. At first, Grantham was of course reluctant to sign on to any sort of plans to take away some control from him, but he eventually submitted under one condition: Tom must participate in the Abbey’s cricket game against some of the locals.

The hilarity within this episode came in many ways via just how much this simple game meant to some of the characters, as it also strangely played a role in whether or not Thomas would retain his position after the kissing incident with Jimmy last week. After first, it appeared as though his goose was cooked, but then Thomas received help from the most unlikely source ever: Bates. In a move that was simply brilliant storytelling here, Brendan Coyle’s character realized what it felt like to be accused of something that was not entirely true, and he did everything he could to make sure a man he doesn’t even like had the justice he deserved. Luckily, Bates found the person really responsible for this drama in O’Brien, and Thomas eventually ended up keeping his post. The twist? Both he and Jimmy received a promotion to satisfy everyone.

But was this really the end of this story? Not entirely, as Alfred chose to contact the police over the incident, and he took plenty of convincing of his own to stay silent.

As for the rest of the stories, there were many that played out this week in between Violet’s attempts to land Ethel a new job, Mary revealing to Matthew that she has been receiving treatment for a medical condition that she has now recovered from, Tom’s decision to stay with daughter Sybil at the Abbey for now, and all sorts of drama revolving Violet’s wild relative Rose, who was in from out of town. All of the stories received their proper due, and included all sorts of humor, grace, and heart. It was ultimately a rather pleasant ending to the season, and our excitement level is high already for the Christmas special.

What did you think about the “Downton Abbey” season 3 finale as a whole, and do you feel as though the stories were all handled with the utmost of respect?

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