‘Downton Abbey’ season 3, episode 5 review (PBS): Let’s talk Mr. Bates

Mr. BatesWant to read our full review for Sunday night’s “Downton Abbey” season 3 episode? We don’t want to regurgitate here what was said back when the show aired in Britain this past fall, so instead we are going to spend our time here talking about a specific subject here rather than just talking about Robert trying to be increasingly awful to Ethel while at the same time trying to keep Tom Branson from christening his daughter Sybil (named of course after her mother) Catholic.  Sadly for him, neither one of these plans worked out.

What we want to talk about primary here is Mr. Bates. Brendan Coyle has really knocked this performance out of the part all season long as the man has suffered behind bars, but there have also been a few moments that make you wonder whether or not he was really was guilty, after all. We still don’t think he was, though, and there was nothing on this end other than joy to see him finally be released by the end of the episode.

However, what was surprising was seeing the way in which this happened. Bates used some rather dastardly means to make sure that his tricky plan worked out to get the testimony that he needed, and some of the physical behavior he exhibited was far from the Bates that we once knew. Was this a direct result of him going into survival mode? Possibly, but we wonder whether or not some of these actions are going to come back to haunt him after the fact.

Over the nest two episodes plus the Christmas special, expect to see Bates try to settle back in to ordinary life again at Downton, though we have a feeling that this is not going to be a particularly easy thing for him to do.

Were you surprised by the way in which this Bates story progressed? Be sure to share your thoughts below, and you can find out some more information on the upcoming Q&A session with Joanne Froggatt over at the link here.

Photo: ITV / PBS

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