Christian review Downton Abbey

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Downton Abbey’s Final Season: Episodes 1-2 – A Christian Perspective

downton abbey wallpaperI will be analyzing each episode of the final season of Downton Abbey from a worldview perspective. I will be doing them two at a time to make space for my series on “The Expanse.” 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.

Episode 1

Lady Mary seemed to take some accountability in this episode. She was confronted by a woman who wanted to blackmail her for her affair, but she didn’t back down or agree to give her any money. She admitted her guilt, but did not want to tap into the family funds in order to pay off the woman. Ultimately, Lord Grantham interceded and got rid of the woman–for now. (As an aside, I’m not convinced we’ve seen the last of her. She seemed so angry! I could see her showing up again.)

However, taking accountability is not the full picture. Mary has shown little remorse for any of the acts she has done, whether it is sniping at her sister or something more serious. Moreover, her attitude of not giving into blackmail also reflected a rather nonchalant attitude towards how the news of her trist would impact others, whether the family of Tony Gillingham or her own. She seems to continue to think that her attitudes will only impact herself, completely unaware of how she impacts many others around her.

Episode 2

Thomas. Barrow. The name will almost certainly conjure up feelings in longtime watchers of Downton. This episode in particular showed how Barrow’s own attitude of bitterness and aggression towards most other people has led to his being ostracized by almost everyone else. Phyllis Baxter remains the only one who shows him any compassion and yet he continues to rebuff her attempts to be friendly towards him. There are many angles to be explored here, whether it is how our actions can bring upon ourselves the consequences thereof (without any need for things like Karma), but the angle I want to take is how Baxter’s action shows a kind of Christlike love towards Thomas.

Although this is never made explicit (or even implicit, really), the parallel is intriguing. It is one thing to love someone who is friendly to you. It is another to take compassion on someone who is hateful towards you. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Baxter’s kindness towards Thomas is a kind of sacrificial love that doesn’t require anything in return. It will be interesting to see how this plays out going forward.

More!

Be sure to let me know what you thought of the episodes, and what worldview-level issues you saw them raise, in the comments below.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Downton Abbey: Season 4 Finale (episode 8)- 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.

A Murder?

It seems to me that the case that Bates definitely killed Mr. Green. The ticket found puts him in London on the same day, and given the looks he was shooting in the man’s direction the last time we saw them together, I’m convinced Bates knew it. I admit I find it hard to fault him though it is clearly a morally wrong action (see my discussion about justice in the last episode). Justice belongs to God, and God has given the sword to the state, not to individual avengers. The reason behind this, I suspect, is because human emotion is too easily swayed. If God did not rather relegate the power of punishment to the authority of the state, then it would be essentially given to anarchy. It is interesting that from the earliest points of the Bible, provisions were made for justice within a whole society (again, see the discussion of the last episode).

Moreover, I wonder about his determined silence about the matter with his wife. I do not think it is healthy to be keeping such secrets from his wife, though it seems to me Anna is smart enough to figure out what happened on her own.

Preserving the Royals

The scene with everyone conspiring to preserve the dignity of the prince was interesting and honestly pretty entertaining. In conjunction with the points above, it led me to wonder how to deal with the state when the state is in forms like a monarchy and being run poorly. I’m not necessarily saying that’s what’s happening here, I’m trying to draw a broader question and perspective related to the issue. I mean at what point are we obligated to defend the dignity of the state? Is there such a thing as an ideal form of government? (I admit my answer to this is: “probably not.”) Is there such an obligation to a defense of government? What are your thoughts?

A Baby?

The story skipped ahead so far that Lady Edith already had her baby (thank goodness! but remember, I really don’t think this was a great pro-life message). It will be interesting to see next season how she deals with the proximity of her child, and what happened to Michael Gregson. I reiterate my thoughts from last episode: “A culture in which the primary reaction to pregnancy is essentially to shutter women away (whether married or not) as if it were an illness, and in the case of unmarried women, to socially scorn them, is not a culture in which a strong pro-life message can succeed.”

What can we do to make the here and now into a better pro-life culture?

High Society

Branson’s relationship with the local schoolteacher is developing, and I have to wonder how the family will take it if he ends up falling entirely for her. How will the society which he continually feels uncomfortable with treat him if it comes to that point?

I also want to briefly touch on the fact that the Grentham family’s estate continues to support a wider community. The jobs provided there would seemingly disappear if it weren’t there, but is that true? It seems to me that there is something to be considered about how we view economics and fairness in the here and now as often changing how we view then. We shouldn’t simply apply economic policies that work now or concepts of fairness which have been developed in our culture arbitrarily to a different (even fictional) time and place. I personally feel great care must be taken when trying to evaluate what societal or economic systems would be “better” for various areas.

Onward and a Prediction

There is much to consider for whatever comes next, but I think the primary areas of interest from a worldview perspective will center around Lady Edith and Bates. Will Bates ultimately be found out, or will his performance with the preservation of the prince be enough to convince Lady Mary he should not be; will Anna find out? Moreover, if found out will they convict him with virtually no evidence?

A prediction: I suspect that the maid that Grantham kissed will turn up again at some point.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

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.

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

 

Downton Saturday: Season IV, Episode 7- 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 Suitors 

I can’t help but think of the opening line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Here, however, we have “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of good fortune must be in want of a husband.” Lady Mary is highly eligible widow, and the men are lining up. It will be interesting to see on what criteria she ultimately chooses, if she chooses any of them. Matthew was a genuinely good man, and it took him quite a while to be convinced/convince Mary.

The Disappearing Bates

Bates disappeared to York for a day. Then, the man who raped Anna turned up dead in an accident. Shocking. It looks like my prediction may come true. From a Christian worldview perspective, one has to ask whether Bates would be justified in killing the man. I would think the answer is fairly obviously no. I recall reading many comments from friends who said they’d kill the man and they really wanted Bates to do so. Although I understand the rage behind such comments, I have to wonder what justification one could get from a Christian worldview for doing so.

On the Christian worldview, such punishment should never be done in a vigilante fashion. Rather, the government has been given the sword (Romans 13:4) in order to carry out justice and punishment as a representative of God on Earth. Interestingly, this is the view of civil government I think we are taught in the Bible: we are to submit to the authorities because they are given as God’s agents on Earth. Does that mean governments always do right or do what God would desire? No, governments are run by sinful people and often for sinful purposes. However, God did not issue “the sword” to the individual; even in the times of ancient Israel, punishment was most often a communal thing: the whole community would present witnesses (at least two in order to convict), and punish through stoning. There is, of course, the notion of the avenger of blood, but even in those cases cities of sanctuary were provided and witnesses were needed.

So, to return to Bates, I do understand his extreme rage, but if he killed the man–as I suspect he did–then his action is not justified. Now, the question may arise as to whether the government would have done right had Bates gone to it. That is a separate issue as well. This episode brought up many things to contemplate regarding justice.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

The Baby

It seems Lady Edith has chosen to keep her baby. Again, as I noted last time, I hardly see a ringing endorsement of a pro-life message here, but it is, nonetheless, a good thing to not have to face that in this series (yet). This episode highlighted another aspect of injustice, however: namely, that in order to not face public ridicule and shame, Lady Edith has to be whisked away to privately have the baby and then give him or her away. Such a society is inherently not a society which fully would support the pro-life message. Women should not be faced with shaming if they choose to have children.

A culture in which the primary reaction to pregnancy is essentially to shutter women away (whether married or not) as if it were an illness, and in the case of unmarried women, to socially scorn them, is not a culture in which a strong pro-life message can succeed.

Prediction

Lady Edith’s pregnancy will be outed.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

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.

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

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.

Prediction

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.)

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

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.

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Downton Saturday: Season 4, Episode V

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.

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.

Race

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.

Women

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.

Conclusion

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!

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

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.

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

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