If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, I hope for your own sake that you live in the UK, because the show returns there this Sunday, September 22nd. Otherwise, you have to wait to watch it until January 2014, and feel like a real schmuck while doing it. (Or, alternately, you could find somewhere to stream it illegally if you aren’t a law-abiding citizen like I am. By which I mean…cripplingly afraid of computer viruses.)
But just because we don’t get to see season four for another four months or so, that doesn’t mean we’re going to sit around waiting until it gets here. No! We are not upstairs people idly twiddling our thumbs! We are downstairs people, diligent and proactive, and we’re here to give you all the spoilers we know of so far.
Here we go. Also spoilers. OBVIOUSLY.
TIMELINE. The show picks up again six months after the death of Matthew Crawley, played by the traitor Dan Stevens.
CAST DEPARTURES. In addition to the cast members lost to untimely death, we’re also losing the lady’s maid O’Brien, played by Siobhan Finneran.
CAST ADDITIONS. There are a bunch, but here are the highlights: Paul Giamatti as Lady Cora’s brother Harold Levinson in the Christmas special, the real-life character of Virginia Woolf, played by Christina Carty, two new friends/sparring buddies of the Dowager Countess, played spectacularly by Maggie Smith, and the return of the maid Edna, who tried to seduce Tom Branson last season. DRAMA.
NEW SUITORS. There are enough guys who are being brought on the show to potentially court the widow Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, that they deserve their very own category.
First there’s Lord Anthony Gillingham, played by Tom Cullen, who has a fiancée when he first meets Mary. There’s also Jack Ross, played by Gary Carr (the show’s first black character) whom Mary meets at a London jazz club, although he’s predicted to be intended as a love interest for someone else. I’m thinking maybe Mary’s cousin Rose MacClare, played by Lily James?
And finally, we have Charles Blake, played by Julian Ovenden, who was sent for to ‘help Downton run more efficiently’, and who almost immediately butts heads with Mary. (I mean c’mon, it’s definitely been a turn-on for her in the past.)
OTHER THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND. Here are a few more little tidbits to tide you over.
Just a clip about Mary being (understandably) grumpy about her husband being dead and love not being real.
Rob Collier-James, who plays Thomas, has this to say about the woman who will replace O’Brien. “O’Brien’s replacement is quite interesting because Thomas has brought her in without a reference. He, obviously, has some kind of hold on her, but what that is, who knows? He is using her, manipulating her with the secret he has on her to feed back to him the stories and goings on from upstairs so he can use it to his advantage.”
Tom Branson, played by Allen Leech, will reportedly get romantic with Downton’s new nanny, played by Daisy Lewis.
Also, most of the main characters have reportedly renewed their contracts, so this season will theoretically be a little lighter on the Sudden Death Syndrome we kept getting struck with last season.
FINAL EPISODE. All we know is that producer Gareth Neame says season four’s finale will be ‘very different’ from season three. So, thanks for that revealing tidbit, Gareth.
Downton Abbey returns to the UK this Sunday, September 22nd, and will air its first episode in the US on January 5th, 2014.
(Image: Wet Paint)