‘Downton Abbey’ season 3 premiere review (PBS): Let’s talk Matthew and Mary

Downton Abbey CastThere are very subtle differences between watching “Downton Abbey” in Britain and in America, but the subtle one that actually makes us enjoy the show on PBS even more so than the ITV launch of it is rather simple: fewer distractions. There are no commercials now to sit through, and this is really not a show that needs commercials. The action is just too intense and specific to a period of time, and the commercials take you out of that and into a time where manor houses are impossible and class warfare is far nastier.

Rather than just regurgitate every line that we wrote in our original review of this excellent episode back in September, we’re going to be doing something different with each episode stateside and focus our thoughts on a singular question. This time, we’re asking it of Julian Fellowes: why would you decided to not make Matthew and Mary’s wedding on camera? When you look at the couple’s journey since the beginning of the series, this may be the moment that had more people excited than any other. In not actually showing us the vows or the kiss, you thus take away that element of magic.

There are really just a pair of reasons that we can think of for why Fellowes made this choice, and some of the themes discussed here will carry through for the rest of the season:

1. Fellowes does not necessarily see love as something that needs to be signified by some grand ceremony; he believes that it is best in its purest form, which is seen in small moments between two characters. We don’t need the wedding to know that Matthew and Mary love each other, so why include it?

2. The other explanation is simple: “Downton Abbey” has a specific run time, and he did not want to waste it on a scene that you can see in countless romantic comedies. You knew that neither Dan Stevens nor Michelle Dockery’s characters were going to object to anything, so rather than focus on a predictable ceremony, Fellowes instead gave us a chance to see some other great moments, such as Branson’s struggles to fit in or Robert’s money crisis.

What’s your take on the wedding? If you want to read some more “Downton Abbey” news pertaining to Dan Stevens, you can do so over at the link here.

Photo: ITV

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