Recently, my mom has single-handedly managed to hook me on Downton Abbey. Tonight we plan to watch the last episode of season one on Netflix; it will undoubtedly deliver more twists, turns, and drama than I had previously thought possible of such programming. Set in 1902 in the English countryside, Downton seems to be one of those rare series that seamlessly integrates the appeals of intellect, fashion, history, scandal, and romance.
While the theatrics of Maggie Smith’s character, the Dowager Countess, provide ample entertainment, my favorite characters are Mr. Bates, Anna, Matthew, and Cybil. Ever-enamored with the unlikely romance, I can only hope that Mr. Bates stays at Downton for Anna’s sake. What a sweet couple they make! I find myself inadvertently feeling for Mary and her heart’s ill-fated timing; there are few things worse than the sting of unrequited infatuation.
As much as I love the show, it is sometimes difficult to watch because of the patriarchal ludicrousness that dictates nearly every interaction amongst the characters. A woman was nothing more than property; as Violet so eloquently explained to her granddaughters: “You’ll have the opinions your husband says you’ll have.” I admire Cybil’s passion for politics and her unexplainable pull towards the unknown. Aside from poor Edith, the daughters of Downton are a testament to the slowly but surely changing tides of the time; I think Mary and Cybil are more alike than they realize. Onward and upward, Downton, onward and upward!