Downton Abbey: Season 3 Finale

The Downton Abbey episode last week left us questioning what we had done with two hours of our life. It seemed to be rolling to a full halt before it was over.

Tonight’s Season 3 finale stirred the pot sufficiently to make it an interesting show again; a phenomenon of sorts. I wondered after it was over if PBS saw this as ingratiating itself with conservatives with money. If it was an outlier meant to generate funding.

From what I’ve read, ideologues don’t approve the show as it could be seen to affirm traditional values and a class system. It humanizes people stuck in a social structure that appears oppressive.

Can’t really argue with that completely. But are corporate employees really not in a forced servitude themselves, if not as outwardly apparent? Economics is a harsh taskmaster.

At any rate, this last two hours of Season 3 was almost transgressive in its rejection of irony, its affirmation of sentimentality. Downton’s romanticism reminds us of another time and its worth. They do a good job of affirming the values of honor, of personal consideration, of social structure and enduring relationships. For a contemporary, their lives would feel stultifying and false. But that would always be true of people looking at another time. It’s an archaeology of another realm; a sociology that is as unavailable to the contemporary imagination as dark matter.

What more harmonizes with Downton Abbey than the prissiness of political correctness and the herd mind of our own so very superior age?