Downton-Abbey-Season-3-finaleGood lord, that was an emotional hurricane. If we think about hurricanes for just a second, you have the buildup beforehand: the reportage, the trumped up predictions, the throwbacks to hurricanes-gone-by. iIt makes its way in; the pressure drops, the eerie quiet, the sky turns yellow. You immediately eat all the snacks you bought way too much of in preparation and stare sickly at the gallon of milk you bought for no reason while you wait. The storm hits, some shit flies. The eye of the hurricane: a breath, calm. And then it’s back in full force before the storm leaves with a trail of wreckage in its wake.

And that is what we’re looking at in Matthew’s cold, dead eyes laying there in that ditch on the side of the road. Like all good hurricanes these days, we knew this was coming. What with UK-based twitter spoilers from six months ago and the open secret that Dan Stevens wouldn’t return for season 4, we all sort of knew. But we made it this long with Matthew intact and we got complacent. And then BAM out of the clear blue sky- dead.

To be frank, that was a pretty lame way to off him. Although, much of what Matthew’s been up to this season has been characterized as such. Fiscal responsibility? Refusing an inheritance for hurting a dead girl’s feelings? Sleepy peen and trouble conceiving? Variations on a theme: lame. Nevertheless, what are the Crawleys to do? Downton is for sure in line for a haunting in season 4.

The ups and downs were evenly spread both upstairs and down. Spread thin, as it were, what with the upstairs shipped off to the Scottish countryside and the downstairs kicking it at the fair. It required quite an effort to keep up with who loved who and who’s bitching about who’s dress and which fairground harlot got it the worst from that sleazy, gaptoothed womanizer.

Let’s all buy cousin Shrimpy a drink or seven, because that wife of his is not making it easy on anyone. Let’s hope India’s good enough to give her an intestinal parasite that wipes her right out at the end of an episode and we can get down to the business of whatever Cousin Rose is going to do with her life. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be sleeping with Hemingway, but that’s just a shot in the dark.

And poor Edith, we had to just get one last jab in, didn’t we? Having her awkward boss show up awkwardly at family vacation looking awkward in tails he definitely bought just for the occasion, only to get dumped because all he has to offer is a lowly mistress position? Edith, fear not. Your memoirs are going to be one hell of a read.

Meanwhile, downstairs is a weirdly chaste sexual maelstrom that all comes to a head at the fair.

First and foremost- Mrs. Patmore, you go girl. You deserve love. But definitely not from this gaptoothed gummy bear soliciting sexual favors and dinners from half the lady carnies in the countryside. Move on. And that blouse looks fierce, so think of it as an investment piece.

I can’t even begin to dissect the love spiderweb going on between and amongst every single maid and footman, other than Edna and her ridiculous pass at Branson. The man’s in mourning with a baby to feed, back off for a hot second! We do have to throw her some props for giving us Shirtless Branson, a beefcake moment that more than makes up for Post-Coital Naked Upper Arm Bates and Anna from all those months ago.

Carson with a baby. Enough said.

Honestly, the most satisfying moment of the night was the resolution of Thomas and Jimmy’s unspoken “thing.” Thomas took a beating for Jimmy, sacrificing his beautiful semi-permanent bitchface for tragically unrequited love. But there’s a quiet moment, when Jimmy visits the convalescing hamburger patty that’s left of Thomas. There’s an understanding that Jimmy can never give Thomas what he wants- two kids, a house in the suburbs, a converted garage for his fledgling furniture design business. But he can do just as well- as a friend. It’s heartwarming.

Props to the Dowager Countess for going out with a couple of zingers and bangs:

-“That’s the thing about nature. There’s so much of it.”

-“It’s bad enough parenting a child when you like each other!”

Props to the cinematographer for some truly breathtaking views of the Scottish countryside. Matthew receiving urgent news in silhouette is probably some of his more gripping work this season.

It’s been quite an adventure. Every journey ends, but we go on. The world turns and we turn with it. Plans disappear. Dreams take over. But wherever I go, there you are — my luck, my fate, my fortune. Brad Pitt for Downton Abbey.