With Downton Abbey upon us once again, I am pinning my hopes for this season on a couple of simple plot fixes, which I conveyed to the show’s producers last year via rambling, five-page “open letter” (open in that I cc’d most of the world’s email addresses – did you get it?)
1 Reintroduce Lady Sybil. This is a must. I’ve said it before: not having Lady Sybil return in some spirit-in-the-flesh capacity would be a huge ripoff. How much am I paying for this series? Give me at least an hour, interspersed throughout the course of the season, of the lass tormenting the widower Tom, prancing around in the undergarments of 1920s England (or maybe something more recent, hmmm? To hell with historical accuracy!) such that he is kept in her thrall and cannot make the dumb mistake of falling for the irritating Lady Mary, as all men do on the series (for some unknown reason. “Cuz she’s real purty!” Is she? Is she really?)
2 A new character, the chisel-featured six-foot four-inch hunk named Percival H. Rumblecocke, arrives from Germany where he was employed in the British embassy, ostensibly to attend an impromptu ball thrown for the sole purpose of aggravating the servants, but in truth there to tell Edith of the fate of her long lost love (what’s his name again?). Turns out the missing father-of-her-son actually went off to India to throw back a few pints with Shrimpy (good old Shrimpy!), taking with him the leggy Fraulein Winkelmann as his “traveling secretary.” Played by Tom Brady, which shows off the famed quarterback’s incredible versatility while foreshadowing a possible direction he might turn when his football career ends (and, let me add, may he never retire), Percival will divulge to Lady Edith that his own wife had died of eclampsia just like Sybil, “and what say we sneak off with a case of your father’s finest claret and see where it takes us?”
Please understand: the latter of the two subplots is merely a vague hope of mine, offered to thicken the gravy, while the former is necessary if the producers’ hope to resurrect their reputations after having inexplicably killed off the show's most beguiling character.