It's a sad truth that Downton Abbey just wouldn't feel like Downton Abbey if somebody didn't die during the course of the season. We guess Julian Fellowes has just prepared us to be mildly depressed by the time the finale rolls around.
Season 4 proved no different with one of the series's major characters biting the dust during the February 16 episode, but rather than sending us into crying spells, this particular death had us jumping for joy. Whose passing made us so happy?
Mr. Green's! That's right. The vile valet (Nigel Harman) is gone for good. Gone are his smirks and his hollow jokes, his leers and his evil glances at the woman he brutally assaulted. The man who attacked and raped Anna (Joanne Froggatt) has been sent to his place in h-e-double hockey sticks and we couldn't be happier. But how did Mr. Green meet his much-deserved end? That, friends, is very much the question. (And we're taking guesses.)
The primary suspect is, not surprisingly, Anna's husband, Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle). Anna tried keep the truth from her husband as to who exactly attacked her and so keep Mr. Bates out of harm's way, but her husband knows a thing or two about evil. After all, he was wrongfully incarcerated in a turn-of-the-century English prison. And once Green returned to the Abbey in the February 9 episode, it was obvious that Bates knew the oily valet, whom he never liked, was indeed the man who brought so much despair to the woman he loves.
During the very next episode, airing on PBS on February 16, Bates asks for the day off to go to York when Anna's sent to London with Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). Downton doesn't show us Bates in York at all so we have more than a sneaking suspicion he actually went to find Mr. Green (Bates knew where to find Mr. Green thanks to his careful questioning over the dining table and Green's general "can't touch me" attitude). Once found, Bates gave the valet a push — and we do hope it was a hard one — that sent Green sprawling into traffic and out of our lives forever.
Bates isn't letting on that it was him, of course, and as happy as Mr. Green's permanent departure makes us, we can't help but worry if this latest development could end up being bad news for Anna and her husband. After all, Mary knows Green was the attacker and suspects Bates is behind his hasty exit.
To complicate matters even further, just the day before Green's death Mary asked Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen) to dismiss his valet for reasons she didn't explain but made clear were less than aboveboard. As a result Tony now has a sense that there's more to Green dying than an unlikely accident. Will he follow his hunch and look into the death and so accidentally stir up more trouble or, as we hope, just let things be so Anna and Bates can go on with their lives?
Speaking of Anna, what does she make of the news? Bates isn't giving her any explanation for his absence, leaving her to fill in the blanks. Is she relieved that her attacker will never again cast a shadow over her life? Of course. Is she comfortable living with a man she thinks is a murderer? That answer is less clear. Perhaps Julian will do us another solid and shed a little light on the situation during the Christmas special, aka the Season 4 finale in the U.S. set to air February 23.
If you want answers before the finale at the end of the month, we have them but warning, lots of spoilers ahead.
Who do you think killed Mr. Green (in the study with a candlestick...)? Was it Bates or just karma kicking him in the a—? Sound off in the comments below.