Current Events, TV

Downton Saturday: Season IV, Episode 6- a Christian worldview perspective

downton abbey wallpaperI 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.

The Decision

The most momentous part of this episode was when Lady Edith was very close to getting an abortion. The scene was extremely emotional: Edith’s sharing of her pregnancy with her Aunt Rosamund and the fact that she had scheduled an abortion. Rosamund insisted on going with and as they were in the waiting room, Edith shared her reasoning: she would be shunned by society, and she wasn’t sure she would be strong enough to deal with that.

Interestingly, the language used about the pregnancy affirmed several points: the baby was “wanted”–the issue was Edith’s own strength; the unborn was considered a baby, as opposed to a part of the mother. I’m hesitant to get as excited as some have gotten regarding possible commentary on “pro-life” or “pro-choice” categories in this episode for a few reasons: although the child was acknowledged as such, the issue was presented as a great danger to Edith. It was, essentially, the myth of the “back alley” abortions tied in with some bones thrown to pro-life people as well. Essentially, the episode offered a kind of please everyone approach to the issue, which, on the one hand, showed the complexity on the issue, but the other made it seem quite contrived.

The issue, of course, is extremely complex, and I did appreciate the emotional turmoil that Edith confronted when it came to the decision one way or the other. However, in light of the language used–killing a baby–one has to wonder, and I emphasize this: at the level of objective truth, what the debate is about.

The Bates Family

The guilt that Anna deals with continues to tear at my heartstrings. She is the victim and the fact that she is dealing with so much guilt–as though she thinks she is somehow to blame or stained because of it–is simply awful. I want to reach through the screen and hug her. Bates’ own take on it is to find whoever did it and destroy them. I get his motivation, but I wonder at his own treatment of Anna as a porcelain doll. He also seems to have shifted his view of her, and that seems to be another way in which the victim is having more wrongs piled atop each other. I do hope they manage to heal as a family.


I predict that Bates has figured out who violated Anna and he’s going to kill him, resulting in Bates’ execution and a reaffirmation that British people must want everyone else on Earth to be as depressed as they are. (Yes, this is a bit tongue-in-cheek.)


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The image is copyright BBC and I do not claim any rights to it. To my knowledge it is freely available for purposes of promotion/critique and I use it under fair use.



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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick is a Lutheran, feminist, Christ-follower. A Science Fiction snob, Bonhoeffer fan, Paleontology fanboy and RPG nerd.


4 thoughts on “Downton Saturday: Season IV, Episode 6- a Christian worldview perspective

  1. I’m hesitant to say that it was invoking the myth of the back-alley abortion here, just because of the time period of the show. ANY kind of invasive surgical procedure would have been a significant risk just because of the state of medical science at the time, and her ability to get help for complications afterward would have been limited because of the law. The trope may have been present for American audiences because of our cultural history surrounding the issue, but it seems to me like it was a relatively realistic portrayal of the risks of having an abortion in post-WWI Britain.

    Posted by Dan Walden | February 15, 2014, 12:20 PM
    • Your comment actually reminds me of the other paragraph I meant to add on here but forgot! That is, I wanted to acknowledge that the historical situation would have been very different from the situation now, but the episode seemed to also try to shoehorn the concerns of the “now” into the events happening “then.” I think your point regarding the danger of surgery back then is correct, and your point regarding it being a “trope” for American audiences is equally correct. It basically seems to me to be another nod to trying to please both sides.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | February 15, 2014, 12:26 PM


  1. Pingback: Downton Saturday: Season IV, Episode 7- A Christian worldview perspective | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - February 22, 2014

  2. Pingback: Downton Abbey: Season 4 Finale (episode 8)- A Christian worldview perspective | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - March 1, 2014

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