Downton Abbey: A New Era had a significant story drawback, because of the return of Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess: it ruined her good ending.

Warning! Spoilers for Downton Abbey: A New Era forward.

Downton Abbey: A New Era got here with the massive shock that Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley, returned for the sequel — ruining the primary film’s good ending for the character. Unfortunately, the nice revelation of her continued presence at Downton undoes the emotional ending to the primary Downton Abbey film, ruining what was arrange as a passing-of-the-torch second. While Smith’s return is little question a bonus for followers, it comes at a terrific price to the story. Here’s what occurs to Violet on Downton Abbey and the way her story carried over to A New Era.


In the primary Downton Abbey film, Lady Violet tragically revealed that she had been to a medical session in London that had led to a grave prognosis. In different phrases, Downton Abbey‘s ending is considerably overshadowed by the reveal that Smith’s beloved Dowager was dying and had little time left to dwell. Somewhat sometimes, she affirmed her defiant refusal to die quietly, insisting on dwelling the rest of her life as she had all the time lived whereas additionally sharing a touching second to replicate on her legacy with Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). Carrying over from the primary film, Lady Violet does die of her sickness on the very finish of A New Era, however her presence, on the whole, felt like a plot level, cheapening her last farewell.

Related: Downton Abbey Fact Check: What A New Era Gets Wrong About Movie History

The scene within the first Downton Abbey film displaying Mary’s discovery of Lady Violet’s tragic secret gave the eldest Crawley youngster an opportunity to talk for the viewers, telling the Dowager that she would dwell on so long as Downton stood. What adopted was a loaded sequence that appeared to recommend Violet was saying goodbye, with a close-up of her watching her household benefit from the royal dance at Harewood House. Crucially, the Downton Abbey film additionally confirmed that she noticed Lady Mary as her substitute, and felt assured leaving Downton in her fingers. There appeared no room for doubt: this was her farewell and the announcement of a future with out her, however she got here again for Downton Abbey: A New Era, which lastly clarifies what occurs to Violet on Downton Abbey. Disappointingly, her presence was out and in of the movie, and she or he had no main impact on the storyline apart from her possession of the French villa. While she did get a terrific dying scene on the very finish, the passing of the torch was slightly ineffectively rehashed within the film and took the load out of the primary Downton Abbey film’s farewell.

Downton Abbey: A New Era Wasted Lady Violet

Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey

Given Downton Abbey‘s Lady Mary’s struggles with legacy and the daunting future that lay forward for Downton throughout the film’s occasions, having the Dowager anoint her because the Abbey’s de facto protector was a becoming ending, however Downton Abbey: A New Era primarily relays the primary film’s groundwork regardless of lastly answering what occurs to Violet on Downton Abbey. The film finishes Violet’s story in a needlessly drawn-out method that additionally includes some entertaining however in the end insubstantial flirting with a movie director. In the primary Downton Abbey film, Mary gained renewed function, firmed up by the data that Lady Violet would now not be round to take care of Downton Abbey. In A New Era, this involves fruition, however the dramatic beats had already been laid out so effectively that it is an pointless retread of current occasions in Downton Abbey’s timeline.

While it is all the time good to see extra of Maggie Smith’s prickly matriarch and the plot of her sickness was lastly performed out, it comes at the price of what was already a really perfect send-off for her and reduces her to a passenger with no impression on the broader narrative. Her involvement does not have an effect on how Robert Crawley’s A New Era story works in any respect, for instance, as she’s simply certainly one of three components he turns into fearful of shedding alongside his spouse and household identify. This would have offered precisely the identical character motivation if she had been absent. Extending her story past the purpose of claiming goodbye was limiting, and Downton Abbey: A New Era ought to’ve lived as much as its title by shifting past the Age of Violet Crawley to maneuver the narrative ahead in a extra significant method. However, her last phrases, “Stop that noise, I can’t hear myself die,” make her presence effectively definitely worth the admission.

Next: Downton Abbey: A New Era Ending Explained (In Detail)

  • Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022)Release date: May 20, 2022

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