Four Questions about Downton Abbey, and Four Tentative Answers

In my earlier posting about the upcoming Downton Abbey touring exhibition, I mentioned my mixed feelings about the show, and promised to elaborate on some of my reservations. I’ve dealt with anachronisms, false notes, and “borrowed” plots in earlier write-ups, so in this entry, I’m just going to tackle some loose ends.

Here are four mysteries I wondered about at the beginning of each series of Downton Abbey, and their probable solutions:

Will Lord Grantham’s financial incompetence put the family at risk of losing Downton Abbey yet again?

Yes, but some distant relative will conveniently die and leave them another massive inheritance, just in time. That seems to happen to them a lot, which is fortunate, since the gullible Lord Grantham is a sucker for every grifter and swindler within 100 miles of the Abbey.

Will the most scandal-plagued family in England somehow remain socially acceptable?

Yes, but god knows how, what with all the dead diplomats, resident card sharks, illegitimate babies, felonious servants, wayward daughters, Irish terrorists, and other riff-raff that make Downton Abbey home. And don’t forget resident visitors like that trashy Lady Rose, who should have been sent off to India to cavort with the natives and drink herself to death, but wound up at Downton instead.

The Usual Suspects

Are Mr and Mrs Bates competing with Lady Mary to see which of them can kill the most people without getting caught?

I think so. I’ve always believed that Mr and Mrs Bates, both suspected murderers, were guilty as sin, and that after fleeing the country one step ahead of the police, they settled in California, and opened…the Bates Motel.

As for Lady Mary, aka “The Black Widow”, isn’t it suspicious that every male who gets involved with her winds up dead? There was that aforementioned diplomat, and then her husband, who died immediately after she gave birth to a son and heir, thereby giving her control of Downton for the following 21 years, just in time for WWII to finish the job and give her another 20 years. And remember that dead potential spouse and heir from the first season? I would not be at all surprised if Lady Mary was complicit in the sinking of the Titanic.

And what will happen to the pigs?

The pigs will get very, very fat. Remember, when the series ended, Mr and Mrs Bates and The Black Widow were still in residence. They’ll probably use the pigs the same way that Al Swearengen used them in the magnificent Deadwood: As a very opportune way to dispose of superfluous corpses.


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