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Downton Abbey Season 4 Finale Recap and Reviews, Christmas Special Spoilers, Season 5 Previews: What Will Happen To Anna And Bates?

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Downton Abbey
(Photo : Facebook/Downton Abbey)

“Downton Abbey’s” Season 4 finale aired in the UK last night, with its US air date coming up on January 5. There’s still the Christmas Special to come, and the series has just been renewed for Season 5.

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One of the major plotlines of the season has been beloved housemaid Anna’s violent rape by a visiting valet named Green, a storyline that has drawn criticism from viewers for being out of place in a family-targeted TV show and treating rape as entertainment. The finale episode showed Green’s death in an apparent bus accident, with the show implying that Anna’s husband, John Bates, may have killed him.

Other storylines included Lady Rose planning on eloping with Jack Ross before Ross turned her down, fearing he’d ruin her life; kitchen maid Ivy turning down former footman Alfred’s proposal; and Lady Mary continuing to deny her suitors.
Reviewers mostly praised the show for a tense, absorbing episode.

The Daily Telegraph writes, “Downton has always operated with a large ensemble cast and multiple plot strands which makes it hard to achieve a satisfactory finale. So all praise to Julian Fellowes for writing something that not only wove together the loose ends but also created a piece of sugar-coated, but ultimately enjoyable, TV.”

The Guardian writes, “Among all the madness were moments of quiet brilliance. The scene where Anna told Lady Mary everything was a magnificent scene. I got chills all over. Beautifully acted. But such a waste. It was all of 10 seconds long. Indeed, blink and you missed a marriage or a baby or a newspaper editor still in Germany. As Mrs Patmore said: ‘He puts a lot in a letter, does Alfred.’ And he puts a lot in an episode does Uncle Julian.”

The finale sets up more action for Anna and Bates, with potential future jail time for ex-con Bates, as well as new storylines for Branson, who attended a socialist meeting and flirted with a teacher; Isobel, who connected with a new character, Lord Merton; Edith, who plans to have her baby adopted in Switzerland; and Mary, who continues to be courted.

We know that the upcoming Christmas episode will feature Paul Giamatti as Cora’s brother Harold Levinson and the return of Shirley MacLaine as Cora’s mother.

The Christmas Special could also set up storylines for Season 5, as the show has just been renewed for another season.

"Audiences have enjoyed their regular Sunday evening visits back to Downton once again this autumn, and we are thrilled to produce a new series of the show next year," said executive producer Gareth Neame. "We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy played out by some of the most iconic characters on television. All the actors and makers of the show continue to be humbled by the extraordinary audience response and want to take the show from strength to strength next year."

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Reporter's Photo Nov 11, 2013 12:13 PM EST

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