I must be honest, I was thoroughly disappointed with this Downton Abbey Christmas Special. There was virtually no plot, and when something did happen, I wished it hadn't and wondered why I hadn't switched the channel earlier. It's not that I'm not a Downton fan, I really am, and I was so excited for this episode, especially after last years triumph. In fact, if somebody had told me two days ago that I would write a 3-star review for the Downton Christmas special I would have thought them mad. But this year something was missing, it didn't flow well: Julian Fellowes' writing has been reduced to cringe worthy muck and it had one of the most bleak endings there's ever been in a Downton episode (yes, up there with the Sybil episode - followers of the show will know what I'm talking about). I was left feeling utterly numb and truly wished I hadn't bothered with this episode. Hopefully things will pick up for series 4, but, in all honesty, it's hard to see how it will. Another reviewer mentioned that they think Downton has almost run its course which I would agree with; it's no longer a joyful programme to watch, instead I'm constantly anxious about how the episodes will end - there's a developing theme of plot-less episodes followed up by a dramatic final three minutes, which is rather unsettling. The whole way through this episode my family were saying to each other "something MUST happen in a minute". And it did, but not in a good way.
I would, however, highly recommend the 2011 Christmas special, which is fantastic, and I will continue to watch the fourth series in the hope that things will improve. But this episode will, unfortunately, be a disappointment for even the most loyal of Downton fans.