‘Downton Abbey’ season 3, episode 3 review (PBS): Shed a tear for Mr. Bates

Joanne FroggattThere were some interesting storylines that took place on “Downton Abbey” season 3 Sunday night, and if you are looking for a blow-by-blow account of every single event that happened (including some interesting developments for Ethel and Matthew), be sure to read our recap from the UK version of the show here. As with all of our reviews for the PBS airings in America, we like to focus our reviews a little bit differently by focusing on a key question.

This time around, it is rather simple: are Bates and Anna the most emotional couple on TV at the moment? This episode was at times joyous, but at other moments completely devastating. There is a reason to be hopeful about Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt’s characters moving forward, but it sure didn’t seem like it at times this week. Isn’t it bad enough that Bates is locked away, and you really don’t need to also keep his only method of communication away from him? The moment when the two realized that the love between them was not lost was deserving of a hankie more than any other this week.

What makes these two characters so interesting as a couple specifically is that they are as far from being Romeo and Juliet as humanly possible. Bates is a man accused of killing his estranged wife, and while we believe that he is not guilty, it is also not necessarily confirmed. Meanwhile, Anna is in love with someone who is technically married; and while he and this woman hardly even knew each other anymore, there would still be many who had a problem with it were our lovers not so likable.

Yes, there are some other couples on “Downton Abbey” that have their fan followings (Matthew and Mary, Sybil and Tom), but there is not really anyone that possesses the same level of universal appeal.

Was the Bates and Anna storyline your favorite this week, or were you more interested in seeing Edith try to move on from Sir Anthony or Matthew hoping to fix the Abbey? If you want to see some scoop moving forward beyond season 3 of the show, be sure to head on over to the link here.

Photo: PBS

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