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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 13, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Two breathless hours of “Downton Abbey”

(Don’t read this if you didn’t watch . . . .) Last night’s episode had it all, didn’t it? (Were you expecting it to end after an hour? Then did you wish it would never end?) Matthew and Mary’s romantic interlude, viewed by a feverish Lavinia, who then conveniently succumbed to Spanish flu and, perhaps, a broken heart. Bates and Anna were finally married — just in time for him to be charged with the murder of the evil former Mrs. Bates. Lord Grantham and Jane-the-maid smooched, and immediately were immersed in guilt. Sybil’s romance with Branson kicked into a higher gear, though I still maintain that the role of the chauffeur needs a more charismatic actor to be believable. And Mrs. Hughes called Mary an “uppity minx,” a phrase I’m determined to work into as many movie reviews as possible from now on. (I do think Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary, has a remarkable way of making Mary brittle, self-absorbed, even at times cruel — and yet she still engages our sympathies, letting us see just enough of Mary’s carefully buried heart.)
And yes, it’s all as soapy as the sink after Christmas dinner — but much, much, much more fun. I’m already mourning the loss of this show, which has only one episode left: the one-and-a-half-hour “Christmas special,” which aired in Great Britain recently as a stand-alone episode. (I’ve seen it. Won’t say a word. But it’s perfect. Picture: Downton Abbey in the snow.) After Sunday’s finale, we won’t see the show again until probably next January; it’s set to air on British television in the fall — complete with Shirley MacLaine joining the cast as Cora’s very American mother. I will miss the show terribly, especially everything ever uttered by the Dowager Countess (“Wasn’t there a masked ball in Paris where cholera broke out?”), and the sweet, gentle chemistry between Bates and Anna, so wistfully conveyed by Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt. And what will you miss?

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