Matthew Crawley survived World War I, but in a shocking development the heir to Downton Abbey is killed in a car accident in the final scene of the final episode of season three of the dramatic British Masterpiece which aired on PBS tonight.
This series has been a roller coaster ride of emotions set against the historical background of World War I, the passing of the estate era in Edwardian England and now the coming of the Roaring Twenties.
The tragic ending of tonight's episode caused sadness among Downton Abbey fans as the leading character leaves behind not only his wife Lady Mary Crawley, but also his newborn baby son who was born only moments before the fatal car wreck.
In fact Matthew is exhilarated with the joy of his newborn heir as he drives home to Downton Abbey on a narrow, winding road through the English countryside as death nears from the opposite direction in the form of a truck.
Only moments before in the last conversation he has in his lifetime, Matthew hears wife Mary say to him in the hospital, "Father must be dancing a jig right now."
As Mary and Matthew clutch their newborn baby, Matthew responds, "I'm dancing a jig."
His wife responds, "I hope I can be your Mary Crawley forever!"
Mary then unknowingly sends her husband away with the last good-bye kiss she will ever give him.
Before receiving the news of Matthew's fate, Lord Grantham tells his wife Cora, "Life is so strange. Everything was so dark. What have we done to deserve this?"
Lord Grantham concedes for the first time that Matthew's modernization of Downton Abbey allowed the family to hold on to the estate while his fellow aristocrats have been losing theirs.
Only a scene earlier his good friend who he calls "Shrimpy" had confided to Grantham he will lose his estate in Scotland because he failed to modernize his estate to adjust to the changing times of post World War I England. The estate system had lasted for centuries in England with estates being passed down through families forever.
The real reason for Matthew's death is that actor Dan Stevens is now starring on Broadway with Jessica Chastain in a major play. He had signed a three-year contract to play Matthew Crawley before the series started. No one knew then the show would be so popular winning a huge following on both Britain and the United States and receiving a plethora of Emmy awards.
Filming for season four is currently taking place for Downton Abbey.
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