Downton Abbey Reflection: Part One

It has recently been announced that there will finally, officially be a Downton Abbey movie.  My love for this series must be well known, because at least five people sent me news articles to let me know!  In anticipation, I have been re-watching the series from the beginning (again), and I always find when I re-watch it reminds me of things I questioned at first, or detailed I may have missed.  If you have not watched the series in full, this post contains spoilers.

One thing that always gets me is the whole dilemma with "Patrick Gordon" during the war.  Patrick Crawley, as we know, was the heir to Lord Grantham's title and estate.  He was reported killed in the sinking of the Titanic.  However, years later, a man claiming to be Patrick Gordon arrives at Downton Abbey as a patient recovering from war injuries - injuries that leave his face unrecognizable.

During his stay, he convinces one of the daughters that he is, in fact, Patrick Crawley.  His story is that he was rescued from the Titanic disaster, but suffered from amnesia due to the trauma of the experience.  He claims that he took up life in Canada under an assumed name as he did not know his identity.  During his service in the war, he was injured and the shock of the injury caused his memory to be recalled.  

Of course this creates much drama in the household, as it would disrupt the new heir and shake the household.  Throughout, there is doubt cast over his claims, and Mary makes an excellent point that all of his memories are the exact same memories anyone would have spending idyllic summers on an estate like Downton.

However, each time I have watched this series, I have been struck by the same moment that makes me wonder if there was some intention that this man was intended to be the missing heir.

There is a moment in the library when Lord Grantham is speaking privately with this young man.  Lord Grantham is openly suspicious, but then the young man begins fidgeting with his hands in a very odd way.  Grantham catches this and asks, "Where did you learn that?"  This was obviously a recognizable quirk that possibly the late Patrick Crawley used to do. The young man replies, "Learn to do what?"

Nothing more is said, and no one ever hears about this man again for the entire rest of the series.  I always wondered, until the series finale, if this man would show up and throw a wrench in everything.

But I ask myself every time, if he was an impostor, how would he have ever known that small, recognizable little fidgety thing that caught Lord Grantham off guard.  Was he that skilled of a criminal to do that lengthy research to sneak his way into an inheritance?  I have read through viewer commentary online on this topic, but the fights that such dialogue breeds always alters my faith in humanity, so I have had to avoid sharing my views there!


  1. I've found myself teetering back and forth as to whether it was him or not. Sad they didn't resolve it, but I can see how leaving it as a mystery is good for the show too.


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