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.
Justice & Aristocracy
The showdown between the Dowager Countess and Mrs. Crawley over the alleged thieving of the gardener was interesting because it illustrated the damage done by injustice. The Dowager was convinced the gardener was a thief, but she didn’t allow for the possibility to clear his name. Interestingly, such injustice would have been prevented by even the ancient laws found in the book of Deuteronomy (19:15) out of the Ancient Near East, in which two witnesses were necessary for conviction.
But the Dowager also showed great courtesy when she was shown to be wrong. She even asked for forgiveness.. from the gardener! What an incredible show of injustice being righted!
I thought the discussions Mary had with the researcher who was anti-aristocracy (I can’t remember his name and I’m afraid to Google spoilers!) were interesting in context of the whole series up to this point. The researcher held Mary and the aristocrats in general in contempt, because they had received what they had rather than earned it and they expected to keep it. But the show has demonstrated how the Grantham family not only provides jobs for the people who work in the home, but also for the farmers who use the land. They have created jobs rather than destroyed them. They are also able to contribute to things like the local hospital and other causes. This is not to say that aristocracy is the greatest thing ever; it is just to note that the show has presented a fairly complex vision of how aristocracy can help or harm the more general population.
One might reflect on this and consider how our own actions may impact others, whatever our place in society.
It was interesting to see how the characters reacted to Jack Ross, a black band leader. I was pleased that Lord Grantham didn’t throw a fit about it. I wish they’d briefly mentioned Wilberforce’s influence in ending the slave trade in Great Britain. It will be interesting to see how the relationship between Mr. Ross and Rose develops.
The discussion Anna had with Bates is worth reflecting upon: she was noting how she should not be viewed as a victim. Bates countered by saying he should have been there to protect her. I think that Anna’s thoughts were perhaps more on target than Bates’. The latter assumed a kind of responsibility for the activity of another; Bates assumed that he should be protecting Anna at all times, and that anything that happened to her was his fault. Such a view, I would argue, is mistaken. Bates’ blame game is misplaced. It is not his fault; nor is it Anna’s fault; it is the rapist’s fault.
I thought the episode brought up a number of interesting points related to race, women, and aristocracy. Justice for the poor was another major theme. I look forward to seeing what comes next. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts on the episode (remember NO SPOILERS FOR LATER EPISODES).
*Okay, I missed a couple. We’re back on now!
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