Monday, February 20, 2012

The Future of Downton Abbey

Spoiler Alert: Having predicted much of what transpired during the recent Super Bowl (, I thought I’d take a shot at forecasting the plot lines to next season’s Downton Abbey, the last segment of the current run having been shown Sunday night on PBS. For those unfamiliar with the British soap opera of upper class and servant class mores and lives from before and after the first world war, you might want to skip this item. But for the rest of you who are smitten by the lusciousness and the lasciviousness of affairs upstairs and downstairs, here’s my ouija board outlook for season three:

The action will begin five years later, in 1925. Mary and Matthew will have had a child, a daughter.

Sybil and Branson’s child is a son, making him the sole male heir to the estate. Unless Mary and Matthew have a son, he will inherit the claim to Downton Abbey, a turn of events that visibly disturbs both the Earl of Grantham and Branson. The Earl cannot countenance the thought that a revolutionary, a working class chauffeur by trade, an interloper into his household, would sire the son who would succeed to his title. He is constantly urging Mary and Matthew to get on with it and have another child. They comply, but it’s a girl once more.

For his part, Branson is having difficulty adapting his thinking about class and place in society. He imagines all the good he could do splitting up Downton Abbey into parcels of land distributed to the country folk who live on the land. Sybil is torn between her love for Branson’s ideals and her family’s history.

The Countess of Grantham’s mother (a part already given to Shirley MacLaine) will be on hand to further the debate about regular people being part of the wealthy. She will have lively debates with the Dowager Countess of Grantham played by Maggie Smith.

Bates will be in prison for about five years. My best guess as to how he gets out is that the Countess’ maid, Sarah O’Brien, confesses she felt bad about telling Bates’ wife he had returned to Downton, that she secretly went off to London and killed her by lacing her tea with arsenic. Her confession releases Bates into the loving arms of Anna.

Season three ends as the stock market crashes.

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