Downton Abbey SPOILERS MAJOR SPOILERS
Okay, unless you’ve watched ALL of Downton Abbey including the season 3 Christmas Special… meaning the ENTIRE series up to this point, please don’t read this post. Leave now. Because it’s all spoilers and I don’t want anybody to get all pissed off about being spoiled. You’ve been warned.
Why are you still reading?
Okay… masochists and those who are all caught up…
So Matthew dies at the end of the season three Christmas special… right after Mary has had the baby. My mother is NOT going to be happy about this. She’ll be upset enough about Sybil but Matthew… oh man. I do not look forward to that. Eeek. Someone on IMDB actually said something like… we can’t be 100% sure he’s dead… even though the actor, Dan Stevens has given interviews about it and wanted out of the show and his contract was up… and they were writing him out of the show… still some IMDB people hold out this bizarre hope that somehow they convinced Dan to stay at the last minute so the character might not really be dead.
Are you freaking kidding me? He’s in a ditch, with his eyes wide open staring out at nothing, and a giant gash bleeding heavily on his head. Even in 2013 with our modern medical capabilities, most likely someone in that situation would be dead. Some injuries really do kill people instantly. It’s still true now, but it was VERY true then.
I’m not sure what is so confusing about the “staring into space with the eyes wide open” thing. That generally indicates death. It’s not just unconsciousness when it’s like that… it’s dead. If they wanted to make us think Matthew had died but he really hadn’t, or if they wanted to create a cliffhanger where we just didn’t know one way or the other, they would have shot the scene where we couldn’t see his face. We’d just see an unmoving body faced away from the camera with people running toward him.
And if somehow they did convince the actor to stay and they wrote him back into the show with some convoluted coma story, I’d stop watching because it would cease being realistic at that point. If they wanted to leave ANY window open for Stevens to return, a straight on staring into space with a bleeding head wound shot, isn’t the scene to leave us with. And any attempt to resurrect him at this point would be beyond contrived.
But honestly… the second I saw him driving in the car all happy and carefree, I knew he was about to die. It wasn’t necessarily because he was so happy. It was just the way it was filmed even before I saw the other car. It was almost a slow-motion kind of scene and it was WAY too cheery to not be leading into something tragic. It’s like the scene back during the war when the soldier says something like “If a bullet is meant for you, you won’t know it and there’s nothing you can do about it.” (Or something to that general effect.) And a couple of seconds later he falls after a bullet goes clean through his head. I saw that coming, too. As soon as he said it I knew he’d get shot in the head.
From a fictional standpoint it’s too good of a moment for any writer to pass up. I didn’t see why any writer would, so when he fell, I wasn’t surprised.
Neither was I surprised when Matthew died so suddenly and tragically. What I am surprised by is those who think he could still come back. Dan Stevens did not renew his contract. He left the show. The writers didn’t want to write them falling out of love or separating or recasting the character. As a Mary/Matthew fan, I agree. I wouldn’t want their love to fall apart just so Mr. Stevens could leave the show. It’s less fair to the fans than a clean character death. I wish he hadn’t left the show, but his contract was for 3 seasons and when the decision was made to renew for a fourth, he had every right to move on to other projects.
The other couple I was rooting for was Mr. Bates and Anna. Hopefully neither of them will fail to renew their contracts.
In all honesty I feel the series could have just ended totally here and it would be fine. Most things have really been resolved, IMO. I guess I’m curious about how Mary handles the aftermath of Matthew. She’s always felt theirs was a doomed love. But I could walk away with this being totally it. It’s kind of a great place to leave it. This totally F’d up tragic ending. But of course… television is a for-profit venture and when a show gets renewed, they keep making it.