Downton Abbey season premiere recap: The Walking Dead

Matthew's death affects all of the Downton residents, from upstairs and down, and another loss -- of a certain lady's maid -- brings new trouble to the Abbey
Ep. 01 | Aired Jan 5, 2014

HAIL MARY The eldest Crawley daughter needs something to do to keep her spirits up after her husband's tragic ending.


Even though it's good to be back with our upstairs and downstairs friends, Downton has suddenly morphed into a show with mostly terrible characters doing random things for no reason at all. Thus, I will begin a weekly ranking of the inhabitants from worst to best.

Here's week one:

18. Robert: How unhappy is he that Matthew's will stands and Mary owns half of Downton?

17. Edna: God, why is she back? (Ostensibly to fill the bitch role vacated by O'Brien. With her teaming up with Thomas and scheming against Anna, things do not look good for the Bateses once again.)

16. Alfred: Dude, Ivy does not like you. Get over it.

15. SASYB: Maybe I'll start calling him Michael Gregson. Not yet though. He's going to become a German? After the war? For Edith? Someone needs to look at his life, and look at his choices.

14. Cora: The Countess clearly cannot read people at all.

13. Thomas: He gets points for correctly guessing that Nanny West was a terrible human being and abusing Sibi. I just don't understand how can he do that to Anna after what Bates did for him and her ladyship's soap.

12. Rose: Like I said, she's was okay this episode. But she needs to be a little more developed before she moves up.

11. Edith: Her storyline is getting interesting and she's not as ornery. But, really, a married guy?

10. Mrs. Hughes: For butting in so much -- even if things ended well.

9. Ivy and Daisy: They are sweet, and pretty much on par with each other.

8. Jimmy: Yes, he teases Ivy. However, I think he does really like her.

7. Carson: His stubbornness keeps him from moving higher.

6. Mrs. Patmore: Between sending a Valentine to Daisy and not being able to work the electric mixer, she's absolutely wonderful.

5. Tom: He's pretty badass these days.

4. Mary: Her berating of Carson almost earned her a place near the bottom, but her quick apology, her change to the half-mourning purple, and her willingness to take up her beloved's causes against her father show this will be an interesting year for Mary. And she gets a bit of a pass because Matthew died.

3. Isobel: First, she helps prostitutes she barely knows. Now, she helps homeless men stuck in the workhouse she barely knows? All the while navigating a world where she believes she no longer belongs? Nominate this woman for sainthood!

2. Anna and Bates: Too cute. They send each other anonymous Valentines and Bates deftly uses his prison skills to give money to Molesley that Matthew's former valet cannot refuse.

1. Violet: Duh.

The Dowager Countess' best quotes:

"It's the job of grandmothers to interfere."

"I'm not really interested in whether you behave badly or well."

"There's more than one type of good mother."

"When you talk like that I'm tempted to ring for nanny and have you put to bed with no supper."

What did you think of the fourth season premiere? Do you miss Matthew as much as Mary does?

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