6/10 Well after three pretty amazing seasons I guess it was only a matter of time before “Downton Abbey” hit a snag and had an off season. Shows generally have their ups and downs and after three seasons worth celebrating, season 4, like the estate of Downton last season, took a turn for the worse. It is not to say that this is a bad season by any means. Many aspects from the first three seasons remain very strong. The acting is still phenomenal. The production and costume design are both still Emmy worthy in their perfect recreations of the time period. A couple episodes expand on the score a little bit and the dates at the bottom of the screen make a comeback by the season’s end. The pacing remains strong and a lot of the dialogue is exciting, answering some questions and leaving others to be answered (hopefully) next season. No, the major problem with season 4 and why this is easily the worst of all the seasons so far solely falls upon its plot. Plot points are either repeated (Mary has new suitors, Thomas is dealing in gossip and rumors to be a jerk) or just flat out boring. A team up of Tom and Mary, since both of them lost their respective spouses, seemed a potentially exciting adventure. Instead we are subjected to the most boring moments the show has ever given us as both discuss pig farming, land disputes and estate matters. It is like watching a cop show to only see the paperwork side of the police force. Their respective children also play virtually no role this season and are just constantly thrown to the nanny babysitters. Acknowledging their children or having some plot points center around them might be a wise decision moving forward. Rose’s subplot of falling in love with a black man is also underdeveloped and not exciting. Thomas is the exact same every single season and the writers have run out of things for him to do so they just have him be a jerk for no reason like he always is. Edith has an interesting arc this season but it screeches to a halt when her love interest disappears with no warning. The season finale, which is normally one of the season’s best episodes, takes away from the relatable human drama and emotions and instead focuses on royalty, dinner parties and balls, which are all pretty but hollow events that don’t get us invested. I will say that Violet (Maggie Smith) takes her “sass meter” and jacks the dial to 11, which is very fun to watch. Despite many successful returning elements from the first three seasons, the writers brought down season 4 with an overall story arc that for the first time, didn’t make me want to immediately dive into the next episode once the previous one finished. Let’s hope we can chalk this up to an off season and that season 5 will get back to the high quality we all know and expect from “Downton Abbey”.
#OnBarrowedTime / #MaggiesFarm / #BateRape / #TailoredSuitors / #BringHimDownAPegg / #RossMyHeart