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Downton Abbey: Week 4

SONIA BRAND-FISHER When scandal strikes on “Downton Abbey,” we are intrigued and enthralled to be caught up in the frivolous exhilaration. Even when something as wild as Branson’s attempted vandalism happens at the dinner table or when Thomas sobs at the suicide of a blind soldier, we watch from afar, curious yet hopelessly invested. Episode 4, however, brought us closer into the tragedies of the household that were articulated with so much intimacy and humanity that at times it was very difficult to be a part of. This episode took us out of our cozy roles as observers and into the depths of Downton, all the way to the end of the South Gallery, behind white curtains, and into the hearts of the inhabitants.

ZOË RICE: And so this week the camera doesn’t cut away when Matthew and William face their gravest peril yet. Instead we see them lying seemingly lifeless on the battlefield. With that, this season’s most gripping episode of Downton yet is underway.

MICHAEL CUMMINGS: I swear for a minute there I almost thought Julian Fellowes was trying out material for the tragically as-yet-unplanned Star Wars Episode VII post-quel. First, Lady Mary and Daisy started feeling disturbances in the Force when their men took shrapnel at the front. Then, the radical chauffeur reminded the cute daughter to be more mindful of her feelings. Later, Captain Crawley and William (requiescat in peace, by the way) threw down in an epic Darth Vader egg-off. At that point I was honestly expecting to see a 1138 Easter Egg pop up somewhere.

HOWARD MEGDAL: So much to love about this week’s episode. My fellow reviewers have touched on the larger points, and I largely agree. It is almost impossible to imagine that Matthew, whose entrances have provided so much of the show’s lifeblood, will now be a forlorn figure in a wheelchair. Perhaps they can split the difference and give him an FDR persona, but betting on a misdiagnosis seems wise. Continue reading

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