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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tweaking of my earlier answer to the Big Question: Who Kill Green in Episode 8 of Downton Abbey?

I just watched Episode 8 of Season 4 of Downton Abbey for the third time, this time being acutely focused on anything, however fleeting, that appears onscreen that bears on my claim that the most likely suspect in the murder of Green is Thomas Barrow, but with Anna Bates as suspect # 2 on my list, and Bates a distant third, along with Gillingham, and far ahead of other theoretical possibilities which I've seen mentioned, like a hypothetical other rape victim of Green, or a true accident, etc.

What i did ascertain this time around, with some degree of certainty, is that Lady Mary was NOT involved if Anna was the killer, not even as a tacit supporter of Anna doing  the deed. As we see when Mary speaks to her latest love interest, she thinks it was Bates, but she's not going to give him up.

But if I have to make one choice, it is clearly Barrow, our favorite Iago in the show.

And if it is indeed he, then, as I briefly mentioned in my long post, what exquisite irony that it is then quite possible, that Anna is worried that Bates did it, and Bates simultaneously is worried that Anna did it. So they're each worried that the other will be caught, and neither will confide in the other what they're each thinking, because they love each other so much.

Now that's about as suspenseful and romantic, at the same time, as a storyline can get, isn't it? Each will do anything to protect the other from punishment for a crime neither of them actually committed!

The best touch of the episode, however, was the very very brief glances that Bates and Barrow exchange right after Lord Grantham has greeted everyone, and before the cut to the next scene.

What does Bates know about Barrow's scheming? What does Barrow think Bates knows?

This is going to play out VERY richly sometime in Season Five, you can be sure!

But as I've said repeatedly now, this raises Julian Fellowes tenfold in my estimation of and appreciation for his screenwriting skill. This is really first rate subtle mystery writing, and he shows his great self assurance as a writer by being content to leave all of what I've been outlining completely subterranean, waiting patiently for next season to make it all explicit, even though he hears criticism of the literary quality of Downton Abbey every day.

Just as I imagine was the case with Agatha Christie, and still is the case with Stephen King, he seems unconcerned with the criticism of those dull elves who don't even realize he is having the last laugh on them this time! 

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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