NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

RECAP: 'Poor Little Orphan' -- Everyone Was So, So Sad During The 'Downton Abbey' Season Premiere

PBS/Masterpiece Theatre
One of the better lines from Sunday night's show -- it came from the Dowager Countess. Of course.

Did you catch the Season 4 premiere of “Downton Abbey” last weekend on KERA-13? (What's up with that nanny, by the way?)

Below is a roundup of some recaps -- and some of the better lines from the show. (Spoiler Alert! Stop reading if you don’t want to know what happened during the premiere.)

Some of the top phrases from Season 4’s premiere:

  • Dowager Countess to Lady Mary: “It’s the job of grandmothers to interfere.”
  • Dowager Countess to Lady Mary: “The fact is you have a straight-forward choice before you. You must choose either death or life.”
  • Dowager Countess to Lord Grantham:"When you talk like that, I'm tempted to call nanny, and have you put to bed with no supper."
  • Lord Grantham to Tom: "And the price of great love is great misery when one of you dies."
  • Lady Mary to Lady Edith: "Of course. It's Valentine's Day."
  • Lady Mary to her baby boy: “Poor little orphan.”

Recap Roundup

The Daily Beast: 'Downton Abbey’ Returns: Everyone Is Sad and So Are We

“Season 4 premiered Sunday night and this is no spoiler: Mary was sad. Thomas was awful. Lord Grantham was the worst. What happened to our once fun and exciting little costume drama? … Yes, this is Downton Abbey, where the color—excuse me, colour—of Lady Mary’s gown changing from black to lilac is the biggest thing to happen in a TWO-HOUR episode.”

Vulture: Downton Abbey Season Four Premiere Recap: Get Busy Livin’ or Get Busy Dyin’

“Even though circumstances have shifted in the six months since Matthew’s especially rude demise, a lot of that Downton wailing, crying, etc., looks and sounds awfully familiar. It may be 1922 and times may be a’changin’, but at Downton Abbey, people still read each other’s letters without permission; the Dowager Countess still meddles in other people’s affairs while simultaneously dropping bon mots like a boss; Thomas is still a jerk even though Bates totally saved [him] a mere six months ago, which should have resulted in Thomas ceasing to be a jerk for at least a year; and Lord Grantham still thinks he knows best how to run the estate …”

Vanity Fair: Downton Abbey Season Four—Premiere Recap: Lady Mary Hosts a Horrid Pity Party in Memory of Matthew

“Actually, Lady Mary is in the throes of a pity party so magnificently unsympathetic that even Anna, Mary’s sister from a downstairs mister, looks like she is this close to slapping the grief right out of her. Determined not to let any fresh air or lavender walking accessories kill her mourning buzz, Mary deposits her plump cherub, Master George, with Nanny West. Bidding him a fond farewell—‘Poor little orphan’—she then gets back to her self-pity proceedings. If she can find the strength to do anything more than stare dramatically into the distance, we’re sure that she will work some sweatpants and the consumption of Chunky Monkey in bed into her grueling schedule. Thankfully for us, there is already a scandal afoot downstairs, as O’Brien has up and gone in the night.”

Huffington Post: 'Downton Abbey' Recap, Season 4, Episode 1: Life After Matthew

“O'Brien has run off from the estate, rebellious teen Rose has stayed at the house, an electric mixer has shocked the downstairs kitchen staff and Lady Mary continues to grieve, stubbornly so, as she floats through the house like a ghost and snaps acid remarks like "Of course. It's Valentine's Day" at poor Edith, who goes running up the stairs. In other words, life's a party at Downton. … Someone like Lord Grantham, with his puffy airs and general hostility towards anyone who challenges him, is quickly becoming a dinosaur in his own household, not only inherently misogynist but tone-deaf. He plods around the house with superiority and purpose but frankly ends up being a Debbie Downer to everyone around him.”

By the way, how would Lady Mary look in a cop drama?

Funny Or Die has the answer. In the spoof, Dockery plays detective Connie Tough in a fictitious show called "Tough Justice."

Study up for "Downton"

Need to catch up on previous seasons? We created this handy primer.Also, check out KERA's Tellyspotting blog, which chronicles "Downton" and all sorts of other great British TV shows. Here's a fun recap of Season 3.

But, first, how realistic is the 'Downton Abbey' manor? "Downton Abbey" has given us a peek into life at a stately British manor. But how realistic is the show’s depiction of how these homes function? "Think" host Krys Boyd recently talked with Lucy Lethbridge. Her new book is "Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times." Listen to that conversation here.

Here are some "Downton" videos

Some scenes, previews and the actors talking about the show:

Downton on Storify

PBS created this Storify page that chronicled social media reaction to the Downton premiere:

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.