Downton Abbey fever has been sweeping across America for the last two years. It has managed to do what few shows have done: make the leap across the Atlantic Ocean without an American reboot. So far in season three, we have seen a much hoped for wedding between Matthew and Lady Mary, and a lively visit from Lady Cora Grantham's American mother, played by Shirley MacLaine. And in episode two of season three, the drama continues. What is it about this show that captures our imagination and holds our attention? Put simply, Downton Abbey is able to weave the stories of multiple characters, showcase their triumphs, tragedies, and flaws. And though set in the 1920's, we can see ourselves — our own lives filled with inevitable twists and turns.
Not wanting to give away any major plot spoilers, I will only say that episode two is another compelling triumph. With another upcoming marriage, the Downton household is full of anticipation. But at the same time, trouble is brewing, as financial distress has befallen Lord Grantham. Will they get to keep Downton? A beloved servant faces a health crisis, while others struggle with the ups and downs of complicated relationships. Who cannot relate to these predicaments? Watching this show is like watching a projector reel of pictures and life's unaltered, captured moments.
Love, often unrequited love is a resounding theme in Downton Abbey. It has been since the beginning of the series. For at the beginning of season one, it was the lady's maid Anna and Mr. Bates, who eventually marry, and now it is Lady Edith and Lord Strallen. Lady Edith is in love with Lord Strallen, who is resistant to accept her love, largely due to their extreme age difference. She loves him desperately, but he does not want her to be stuck with someone over twice her age.
But in Downton Abbey, love is not easy as fate often intervenes, and at times, tragically. But one thing that makes Downton special is that the character's fall in love when you least expect them to, and with whom you least expect them too. Love is more than the physical, but comes directly from the heart and soul.
Uncertainty and disappointment abound at Downton, as security is never guaranteed. The world is changing. Matthew and Lady Mary look for a chance to save Downton. For Matthew does not believe he is deserving of money that has been left him by his late fiancé's father. What is to become of the estate?
But what transpires is truly amazing, and characteristic of the show. Kindness and grace are extended in extreme circumstances. And perilous situations are faced with dignity and acceptance. In episode one of season three, Lady Cora Grantham tells her husband, "If this is to be our last, let's make it a wonderful last." Thus, this is life in a nutshell: one never knows when a "last" will occur, but that it will come at some unexpected point.