After the tragic events with which Season 3 ended when one of the main characters, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) was killed during the last scene of the finale, viewers were left in mourning and shock.
When the numbness wore off, they were outraged at the manner in which creator Julian Fellowes decided to part with Stevens –who had decided to pursue other opportunities and did not sign on to the new season– and social media was afire with complaints.
Now that tempers have cooled off a bit, the new season of Downton Abbey has run its course in the UK, and the Christmas Special left followers of the show feeling much better than they did in 2012.
Without giving away any spoilers, the new season centers on Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and how she deals with the loss of her husband Matthew as well as being a new mother to a baby, who is now fatherless.
Matthew and Mary’s road to the altar was a rocky one, beginning with her intense dislike of him, and going through his paralysis after a war injury, his marriage to another woman, and finally the path was open for them to find happiness.
Now, on Downton Abbey Season 4, all that is gone, Mary is left in deep sorrow and her family makes things worse by trying to make her snap out of it before she is ready.
Matthew’s departure from Downton Abbey gave the show a new boost, according to Julian Fellowes, who justified the cruel ending of Season 3 saying that happiness in a TV show is boring.
However, Lady Mary’s anguish is not the only interesting development of Season 4.
For one, the story is set during the revolutionary 20s in Great Britain when women have a more prevalent role. It’s a transition season in many ways as the main protagonists learn to function in the new world order, and sometimes, roles seem to be reversed.
Downton Abbey Season 4 begins with Lady Mary still very much in mourning, months after her husband, and father to her young baby was killed in a crash as he went to deliver the good news of his child’s birth.
As old and new characters, upstairs and downstairs, continue with their lives and dramas, we will follow their stories.
Julian Fellowes has a couple of big challenges; to redeem himself from the disastrous ending of Downton Abbey Season 3 and to continue with an engaging plot line.
In the US, viewers are more than ready after a year’s wait to see what happens next in Downton Abbey Season 4, which premieres January 5, 2014 on PBS.