Exhibit A: This ridiculous business of Bates’ vengeful ex-wife Vera, who started out as an interesting complication and now, apparently, has graduated to never-ending plot device. I’m afraid we haven’t seen the last of the one-dimensional Vera. I know she exists only to prolong the yearning looks between Bates and Anna, but really. She’s gotten two major cash payouts and vows to return yet again? This is the stuff of lesser Dallas.
Sorry, but I wasn’t all that moved by the death of William, since you could see it coming twelve kilometres away (British spelling intended) and was far too prettified and convenient to be tragic in any way. We all knew William was done for the first time he mentioned enlisting, and we really didn’t need a sappy deathbed wedding scene to comprehend the vast tragedy of The Great War.
At least the severity and apparent permanence of Matthew’s wounds do some justice to that war, even if that odd makeup does not. Yes, he managed to get home nearly every weekend during it, but now the going gets tough. Impotent!? That’s risky writing for the show’s main sex symbol. Still, it will be interesting to see where this story goes, since at this point it’s the most believable development in the season.
Was anyone else surprised to see the earthy Ethel toting an 8-month-old baby in last night’s episode? Didn’t she just learn of her pregnancy at the conclusion of Episode 3? If it’s that long between episodes, why the hell is the baby’s caddish father still convalescing at Downton a year and a half later? And why is the war still on? Episode 3 was clearly set in 1918. It is this kind of diminishing attention to detail that makes me wonder about the future of the show.