'Downton Abbey' Season Finale aired Sunday night, Feb. 23, and it had record ratings, according to a Feb. 25 article on Huffington Post. There were 8.5 million viewers watching, and many were wondering how the ending to this season would compare with last season's tragic death of Mathew Crawley in the last moments of the last episode. What do American viewers of this British soap opera really want from the writer, Julian Fellowes?
Over the past two seasons, viewers have expressed their displeasure with the dark, dismal turn that the storyline has taken, especially the two deaths of principal characters Lady Sybil and Mathew Crawley. Of course, in fairness to Fellowes, when actors leave a series on their own behest, a character’s death is not necessarily the work of the writer. The continuing depressing nature of the show was in the writer’s hands.
The long focus on the grieving widow and widower was tender at first, but it soon turned to painful emotional exhaustion. According to Huffington Post, long bereavements had become frowned upon at this point in British history. Queen Victoria’s long period of grieving for Albert had been labeled as almost unpatriotic, causing harm to the public spirit.
In this final episode of Season 4, it almost seems like the storyline had been hijacked by Disney. Viewers seeking a brighter, more light-hearted “Downton Abbey” certainly got their wish with the episode set at Lady Rose’s presentation to society and the surrounding gala. It did seem to leave many unsatisfied, though, judging from online remarks.
So, what do “Downton Abbey” fans want from the show? Well, one thing is for sure: they want another season just as fast as they can get it. There seems to be a period of Downton withdrawal at the end of each season.