Monday, January 5, 2015

Downton Abbey 2014 Christmas Special ~ Series Review

by: Uel Ceballos

Downton Abbey is certainly my favourite drama series next to Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. But over the time period I’m coming to the point where I’m already wishing for it to end; not because I don’t enjoy it anymore but because I want to save its eminence as among the quality and no doubt, well thought series that were ever produced. Extending it for longer time would have the tendency to compromise the storyline and make everything in the story predictable, thus spoiling the excitement that it used to stir from its viewers.

In the Christmas Special of the Season 5, we were given an overall idea to where the Season 6 of the series would be going. Thank goodness that this one was a beautiful and feel good one. I was really flabbergasted and devastated with the last Christmas Special finale two seasons ago, in the Season 3 where Matthew Crawley was tragically killed in an accident. I can’t believe my eyes then, wanting to double check if it’s George RR. Martin’s work that I was watching (you know with all the unexpected killing of the characters). That’s also my point why they should already give Downton Abbey a good finale season. People always come and go and the writers would have no choice but to find a good exit for the characters (which often lead to killing them). They had nailed it with Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlayn) and Matthew Crawley (Dan Steven), giving their characters heartbreaking and unexpected death. But they couldn’t do that with all the other casts who have decided to leave the show for good. Just observe how Siobhan Finneran (O’Brien) and Charles Edwards (Michael Gregson) left the series, they were like bubbles pricked in the air and were gone instantly. I understand how hard it is to adjust a script or story therefore I’m appealing to the Downton Abbey to finally give it a beautiful ending. Personally I would be sad to see Downton Abbey on its finale season but that’s how the way it should be. Extend it longer and it wouldn’t be as beautiful and substantial anymore as it used to.

The Season 5 Christmas Special was a light-hearted, feel good holiday episode. Despite of some inevitable flaws as far as perfectly good series is concerned; Downton Abbey still never fails to make life feel so good in spite of the complexities of its characters. Also, it always succeeds in instilling to the viewers, both emotionally and intellectually speaking, about the important concept of a “family”. Though many things had happened from the past; many had gone and many had changed, the life upstairs and downstairs still goes on. And that’s how it should be in the real life; some good lessons that the viewers should never miss out learning from the show.

It was heart-warming to see how Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and Tom Branson had matured in their characters as they became a parent. I would like to acknowledge as well those moments that they were reliving the memories of Lady Sybil – it was always as heartfelt and tear-jerking as it had been way back in the episode that they loss her. I really, really, love the character of Tom Branson, the way he fought his way into Lady Sybil’s heart, then into her family, and into the life of Downton that was quite different from his own. Thus, I’m silently protesting on why they would have to let him leave the Downton Abbey. I would love to see Sybie grows up together with her cousins, George and Marigold. I’m just wishing that some changes could be made before the Season 6 and that they would find a way to make Tom stay until the end of the series.

As for Lady Mary, I find her new love interest (it hasn’t started out yet, just a foreshadowing from the Christmas finale) charming enough to match her own beauty and strong character. I’m not saying that Lord Gillingham and Charles Blake weren’t good enough, only that their chemistry to Lady Mary weren’t as perfect as it was with Matthew Crawley. Oh they looked so good together, really good. I miss those Matthew and Mary moments way back in the early episodes of Downton Abbey. But let’s move on now. Let’s see in the next season if this new guy is the new right guy for our Lady.

Now let’s go to the life downstairs with the Downton Abbey’s servants. I used to be fond of the Bates couple but then when they started overdoing this in-and-out of the jail scenarios, I kind of irritated with the writers, not with the characters though (they were just the poor victims of the writers’ manipulative scheme here). It did create an impact when Bates was framed up for the suspected murder of his ex-wife. The moment was indeed heartbreaking, seeing Anna loose all the hopes of having a happy family with Bates. When the case was resolved and Bates was released it was a great relief not only to the Downton Abbey family and staff but to the viewers as well because we all love Mr. Bates. However, using the same twist now with Ana’s case is kind of irritating; with Ana now being in prison and facing the possibility of getting hanged. Yes it did work out with Bates, but were the writers expecting it to work with Ana too? Sad to say it failed to earn the same sympathy that Bates got from the early season. It only appeared (though it isn’t true at all) that the writers had nothing else new and fresher ideas to do with the plot that they just recycled some and modified it to fit into the new episode.

However, despite those flaws on Bates couple’s story, the Christmas Season Finale was beautifully capped off with Carson’s proposal to Mrs. Hughes.

Mrs. Hughes: Who knows what the future may hold or how much longer we'll live in here? Suppose you want to move away and change your life entirely. You don't want to be stuck with me. 
Mr. Carson: But that's the point. I do want to be stuck with you. 

This couple of seconds from the finale episode had nailed it. Really nailed it strongly and deeply. It was like the whole surroundings were painted in rainbows and there were flying butterflies everywhere. I just couldn’t contain it. I’m so happy for both of them. 

Now I’m looking forward to the next episode and expecting it to be more exciting and heart-warming. Bring it on Downton Abbey!!!