Downton Abbey Series 4 Episode 3 (ITV) Review

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Just when we were all enjoying ourselves with a top-notch episode of Downton Abbey, the show introduced one of its most heart-wrenching plotlines and another trauma for Anna and Bates to endure. No one can be happy on Downton Abbey, it seems, and that’s been proven time and time again by the series’ treatment of the unlucky couple. Now, their misfortune has once again been inflicted on them by a third party, as new valet Green violently attacked Anna while the rest of the house partied upstairs.

The rest of the hour was a pretty standard, though very entertaining, episode of Downton, as the house prepared for visitors and a performance from famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, played by Kiri Te Kanawa. Lady Mary got a new love interest, Tom gave in to Edna’s advances in a moment of drunken madness, Mosley provided the comic relief with his demotion as a footman and Mrs. Patmore had a funny turn. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, really, as even Tom’s indiscretion can be attributed to a bout of insecurity about his social standing amongst Lord Grantham’s friends.

Disappointingly, and probably fatally, Gillingham made absolutely no lasting impression as an obvious new love interest for Mary, and shows no signs of filling the Matthew-shaped hole in either Mary’s or the audience’s hearts. It seems he could simply have been a clever rouse to distract the audience from the real new character – Green – as Nigel Harman shocked all loyal Eastenders fans by proving the most villainous character the Abbey has ever housed. After the incident, I wanted the servants to rally around, but it seems Anna is intent on keeping things to herself in fear of whatever reprisal Bates would inflict.

And so we must endure the storyline as a series-long one, and Anna and Bates will once again be torn apart by the selfish actions of others. I’ve never understood the relationship, if I’m honest, but I do like both characters individually and it will pain the audience greatly to see this played out. Let us hope that Mrs Hughes can’t keep her mouth shut for long.

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Downton Abbey currently airs on ITV in the UK.