Up and Downton

The beginning of Season 3 brings good fortune to some at Downton Abbey, heartache and anxiety to others.


Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess in "Downton Abbey."

Photo: Nick Briggs, PBS

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The Dowager Countess: up. The arrival of Lady Grantham's flamboyant, nouveau-riche American mother (Shirley MacLaine) gives Dame Violet many opportunities to warble her unparalleled zingers: When Shirley says she enjoys the sun, Violet replies: "So I see."

Lord Grantham: down. He suffers a serious financial setback and gets cross about having to adjust to newfangled notions.

Lady Grantham: up. She uses her indefatigable American wherewithal to be supportive of her husband and adjust to bad news in her usual wryly upbeat fashion.

Lady Mary: down. Since she's (finally) getting married to Matthew, she should be soaring. But once again, there's trouble in paradise. And, no, it doesn't involve another dead Turkish diplomat in her boudoir.

Matthew: up. He receives some news that, if all pans out, will give him considerably more control and authority.

Lady Edith: down. Can this star-crossed sad sack ever catch a romantic break? It's looking doubtful.

Bates and Anna: down. The below-stairs lovebirds' fates are so intertwined, let's just call them "Banna." The noble Bates gets a treacherous new roomie in prison, possibly jeopardizing more than his release.

O'Brien: up. After hinting at turning over a new leaf last season, she's back to her scheming - even against her old ally in evil, Thomas - and getting away with it.

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