Downton Abbey Premiere Recap: Love During Wartime

The magic of Downton Abbey's first season — besides the house, and the Edwardian chic, and of course Dame Maggie Smith's acid one-liners — was that unlike most other costume dramas, you watched an episode without any clue about what might happen. With Austen or Merchant Ivory drama, we've usually already read the book, and if not, we assume that duty and love will prevail (and then everyone will dress for dinner.) But on Downton, there were actual surprises — delicious, soapy, "Turkish diplomat dying in someone's bed" surprises. Sometimes a war even pops up to ruin a garden party. If you have "somehow" already seen Downton's second season, which originally aired in the UK last fall, you will be aware that this second season stays very committed to high drama: if you, the responsible television viewer, are starting fresh with PBS, you will perhaps have read that things get a little nuts this season. Vulture will be recapping the show along with the Masterpiece schedule, and so we won't spoil the twists ahead of time, except to say, get ready, because so much crazy stuff is about to go down, you won't even remember that time Lady Edith called Lady Mary a slut in the hallway. Read More...


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