Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Feb 18, 2013

Downton Abbey Season 3 Finale

****** SPOILER WARNING *****

Whether it's a good book or a compelling movie or television show, we  invest some of ourselves in the lives and circumstances of the characters. It's Storytelling with all the implications of that - entertainment, yes, but the best storytelling draws us in and causes us to identify with the characters and the situations in which they find themselves. The best storytelling takes us on a journey with other lives and, for our investment, gives us something  with which to return home. Something useful to our real lives. The best storytelling has a healing effect, even if it has taken us on a journey of immense pain and sorrow.

Unfortunately, the last episode of Downton Abbey simply left us in shock, and gave us no blanket, no iota of comfort or first aid. Not even the wrenching witnessing of others getting the terrible news, sharing our shock. No, instead we got to have the awful knowledge, the horrid visual of Matthew lying there crushed and bleeding and see everyone in their last moments of blissful ignorance, knowing what we know.  Knowing they don’t know and feeling just rotten, and not seeing our feelings mirrored, not being allowed the catharsis. The best storytelling is cathartic.

 I think we could have handled Matthew’s death, even following so closely on Sibyl’s sad fate ( even another juxtaposition of sudden, unexpected death with the joy of birth) if they had not decided to make us wait a year for the consolation of seeing lives begin to go on, however bereaved. One more episode, one more 90-minute or 2 hour episode. A funeral. Some ascerbic wisdom from the Dowager Countess Violet.Something to let us grieve a bit with the family.

Yes, it’s all a fiction. But the best of fiction is Storytelling, healing and cathartic. We have been drawn in to be fascinated with and to care about Downton Abbey’s inhabitants. Last night’s season finale was just….mean.

picture found here


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