But I fear that Matthew's death may be a crippling blow to the series. I felt that he was, for the upstairs portion at least, the key point-of-view character for the series. I mean, the show started with his arrival as the new heir. Theoretically, the show could continue without him but I think it would be rather like Northern Exposure
without Joel Fleischman.
Also, without Matthew, I kinda see the family falling apart. He's the only one that even remotely understands where Branson is coming from. He's the only one that's been able to take the edge off of Mary's bitchiness. He's the only one that seems able to stand Isobel. He's the only one that likes & respects Edith. (Interestingly, he was also the only one besides Edith that knew that her new boyfriend is married.) And, I suspect he would be the only one with the right firm-but-fair temperament to be able to handle Rose.
Oh, and as if Matthew's death wasn't enough of a Jump the Shark moment, they've also added a rebellious younger cousin. Isn't adding a new young cousin a standard Jump the Shark cliche (i.e. Cousin Oliver on The Brady Bunch
or Olivia on The Cosby Show
Honestly, this has kind of soured me on the entire series. I deliberately avoided the repeat of the episode last night. And I kind of regret recommending the show to some of my friends now. (Considering how badly one of them reacted to the ambiguous downer endings of Angel
& Veronica Mars,
I expect the fallout from this to be severe.)
I'll still watch Season 4, if only because I still like most of the downstairs people and I'm hoping for a happy ending for Edith. (But why isn't Daisy living on the farm yet? Mr. Mason gave her a very generous offer and she bloody well better take it.) Plus, I have a morbid curiousity for how the show could possibly function without Matthew.
Oh, and early prediction: Lord Grantham is suffering from early stages of arterial sclerosis. That's why he's been more irritable this season and has shown such a colossal lack of business sense. You read it here first!
The only thing worse than this is that the British viewers got this lump of coal dumped in their stockings on Christmas!
Jeez, and I thought Doctor Who
's "Voyage of the Damned" was rough!