(Alert: You are about to be exposed to spoilers from season three of Downton Abbey.)
Bloody hell! How dare they?
Not even the darkest novelists would have written a final episode as heart wrenching as Downton writers. I knew, just knew, bad stuff was coming. When Mary got off the train, ready to give birth, she was wearing clothes the color of blood. Head to toe, her dark red wardrobe screamed, she’s about to become a widow!
But wait! First, Lady Mary delivers a healthy baby boy. A proper heir. Well done!
What? The show’s not over? Ten minutes left? This can’t be good. And it is not. The death march begins. Into the hospital comes Mary’s husband Matthew, the handsome charmer and savior of the estate. He holds his baby and nearly cries with joy and wonder.
Then he says to Mary, something like, I’ve never been so happy. I’ve never loved you more than at this moment. Our life is going to be perfect because I’m filled with joy and light and love and love, love, love, love. The world is glorious! My life bursts with joy. Everything is perfect: family, business, baby, marriage. I could sing! Glory be! My cup runneth over!
Poppycock. In Downton, joy is death’s harbinger. Seconds later, Matthew is driving, looking at the heavens and marveling at his good fortune. A truck rounds the corner and suddenly Matthew, our beloved Matthew, is dead, trapped under his car.
We have two final moments with the show. The dark red blood, the color of Mary’s dress, drips from Matthew’s ear. And then there’s a joyous Mary holding the new baby, waiting for her husband to return.
Crikey. Here come the tears.
Perhaps this would be managable if the writers hadn’t already killed off Sybil during childbirth, William during the war, Lavinia during the influenza pandemic, Cora’s unborn child, Vera Bates (yeah!) and Pamuk (really, who cared?). Then Bates was almost hung, Mrs. Hughes almost had breast cancer, Thomas was nearly beaten to death, and O’Brien should be dead due to her lack of having a heart.
There was no tea for me after the finale. I needed a pint before I could sleep.
So, cheerio, Matthew, Sybil and Downton Abbey. I’m waiting for the new season of a happier show: Breaking Bad.