Sunday night on PBS featured the long awaited return of Masterpiece Classic’s “Downton Abbey.” Chalked full of emotional rollercoasters and witty, passive aggressive remarks, the return of Downton Abbey did not disappoint.
Fulfilling her role as an independent progressive woman, Mary’s first appearance is amongst a group of men on horseback, partaking in the hunt. Lord Grantham makes the endearingly sexist comment as to why Mary choses not to side-saddle, and Mary’s response is blunt and honest: because it’s more comfortable.
Also in the hunt we have our first taste of drama with a mysterious woman who appears to have sinister motives. These motives are explained when she encounters Mary at the Abbey’s entrance. Once again, a sexual act in Mary’s past is coming back to haunt her and put her between rock and a hard place. And Mary appears to be just as torn as the last time this happened with the Mr. Pamuk, the Turkish Embassy attache, back in Season one. She’s unsure to how to go about dealing with the situation; she doesn’t want to be blackmailed, but she also does not want to give her family the scandal.
On the Crawley front, we have our long awaited smart remarks between the Dowager Countess and Cousin Isabel, arguing over the merging of their hospital. A promising debate that ensures all the passive-aggressive conversations we have been waiting for.
In the servant quarters, we return to poor Anna, discovering that she is unable to have children. On a happier note, Anna’s name is finally cleared and the entire Mr. Green scandal is truly at an end, resulting in a celebration in the servant’s quarters with all members of the family and staff.
During that time, Mr. Carson calls Daisy into his office to tell off after she yelled at the new owner of a house that threatens to leave her father-in-law without a livelihood. All playing into that greater revolution of the way servant workers act in regards to their social superiors.
Perhaps the most amusing part of the episode is the ever blooming relationship between Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson. After five seasons of a very dear friendship, the characters and the audience alike are slowly acclimating to the odd development of their relationship. Their kiss at the end of the episode is both endearing as well as unusual.
Overall, the audience is looking at an episode that predicts a season full of drama and heart-warming moments. Many questions are raised as to Mary and Edith’s futures as well as the futures of their children. Lord Grantham is slowly acclimating to the post-war 20th century which may bring great changes to the Downton house, changes that even Mr. Carson can’t prevent as his own life is about to be turned upside down. The first episode promises a season full of drama, at the end of which we’ll all probably be sick of the drama and can’t wait for the series to end. It’s up to you to decide whether or not that’s a good thing.