Here, I will be analyzing each episode of the fourth season of Downton Abbey from a worldview perspective. There will, of course be SPOILERS for each episode, and I will assume readers know about each previous season and episode’s content as well. It will be assumed that readers are familiar with the characters and circumstances. I will not be summarizing the plot of the episode; I will merely interact with the content from a perspective of worldview. BE COURTEOUS AND DO NOT BRING UP LATER EPISODES THAN THE ONE DISCUSSED HERE IN YOUR COMMENTS.
That Escalated Quickly
Anna Bates. If you’ve seen it, you know already. I don’t really know what to say. From a worldview perspective, which is my intention with these posts, it is clear that this horrific tragedy deserves punishment. Moreover, the show did a good job of showing the horror of the situation without being explicit–a subtlety from which much contemporary media could learn. I knew something terrible would happen to the Bates family, but I didn’t expect this.
One thing which was abundantly clear is that something like this should not be allowed to continue. If there exists a situation in which anyone is afraid to report abuse, that is an inherently unjust situation and Christians must work against it.
I’m honestly still a bit emotionally disturbed by this episode and it is hard to comment further. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
The episode handled the dangers of gambling in an interesting way. Initially, I thought they’d be going full-court press on the real harms of the activity. Lord Grantham, who can hardly afford to lose money as he’s thinking about how to pay taxes on the estate, loses an undisclosed amount. Moreover, he conceals this loss from his wife, who deserved to know. But, in stepped Michael Gregson, the [married] man with whom Edith is in love. He had some “unscrupulous” times in his past and had figured out that the poker table was infested with a cheat. He then turned the tables on the cheat, recovering the money Grantham and others had lost.
Thus, the episode could have done more to show the great dangers of gambling. Instead, it seemed to make light of the situation. Though, for the sake of the plot, the writers may have simply been using this to endear Gregson to Grantham.
I must unfortunately predict the most dire things imaginable. Although I didn’t post it here, one of my predictions–that something horrific would happen to the Bates family because they are too wonderful–already happened. Now, I think that Anna will become pregnant from the travesty and the show might use it to make a case for abortion. I know, that reads like just about the worst direction it could go, but I just think that’s where it will end up. Believe me, if/when it comes to that point I’ll have a lot to say.
I was made distraught by this episode. What are your reactions? Remember to stay spoiler free for later episodes.
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I think your worldview insight and predictions are helpful! I was VERY disturbed by the episode, to the point I’m contemplating the idea of not watching the show anymore. My angst with the episode is partly due to the way the story was developed. First, Anna. For three seasons Anna has been a woman who is always kind to everyone, yet has never been a naïve flirt. And yet in this episode, all of a sudden she’s ‘innocently flirting’ with a strange man and ignoring the concern of her husband. Not only was this out of character for her, but then when the rape happens, it leaves this thought in your mind, “She kind of brought it on herself. If she hadn’t been flirting he would have left her alone.” So now there’s the added horror of putting blame on her, the victim, which happens all too often in real life. Rape is up there in the top fears of most women, I believe. If the writers of Downton want to haphazardly install such a horror into their story, I hope they at least treat it from here on out in a way that offers women who have been victims some measure of comfort/hope, rather than dramatizing it simply for the sake of ratings.
Then there’s Tom. He’s always struggled with living at Downton. But to make his character emotionally collapse because a few rich guests don’t understand him is silly. And don’t get me started on the maid getting him drunk and then going into his room. She’s no better than the man who hurt Anna. And again, it was unnecessary drama, in my opinion.
As far as worldview goes, Matthew, Anna, and Mr. Bates have by and large been the moral standard for the show, the three who you could always count on to do the right thing even when it was painful or hurt them. Now that Matthew is dead and this tragedy with Anna happened, it feels like they’re attacking all that is “good” in the show (I know that the ‘good’ characters aren’t limited to these three, FYI). It’ll be interesting to see how they anchor morality in the show from here on out. When the moral standard dies or is shaken, will chaos break loose?
I agree with you regarding the kind of erratic behavior from some of the characters. So far, it seems, this season has abandoned established character traits for the sake of drama. I’m starting to get genuinely worried about where the rest of the season is headed. I quite enjoyed the first three seasons, where moral difficulties seemed to be treated with at least some care. Now, it appears as though morality is being flaunted not for the sake of thoughtful consideration about the characters actions, but for the sake of drama. I found this to be the case with the gambling scene as well. Hopefully this will change, but we’ll have to see.
Your comments regarding Matthew/Bates couple as moral compass are also telling. I think you’re quite right. It will be interesting to see how the show continues to develop the Bates’ difficulties and see if there is any kind of moral guiding light left among the darkness which is seeming to overcome.