There’s a lot to enjoy about the hit series Downton Abbey. There’s the ambiance, the costumes, and of course, the lavish setting of the mansion itself. Undoubtedly, however, one of the show’s main draws is Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, played by the incomparable Maggie Smith.
Even when she only appears for a few moments in a given episode, she manages to grab the audience’s attention, and so it’s worth taking a look at her best episodes, ranked by users of the Internet Movie Database.
ten Episode 6.7 (2015) – 8.6
Considering it was in the show’s final season, it makes sense that this ranks high on the list, and it actually sees the Dowager take a more active role than usual for her.
The episode notably sees her dealing with the fact that her stepdaughter Cora is gradually taking over her role. More importantly, it also sees her go up against a woman whose kindness to Isobel might not be quite what it seems. As she always does, in this episode, Maggie Smith shows why the Dowager remains one of her best roles.
9 Episode 5.8 (2014) – 8.7
There were many great novels during Downtown‘s run, and the one between Violet and Russian Prince Kuragin is one of the best. In this episode, he asks her to run away with him and Violet, in typical fashion, turns him down.
It’s a particularly notable move on her part because it’s clear she’s at least tempted to do so. It’s also a reminder that even though she’s getting older, the Dowager still has feelings and a heart.
8 Episode 6.3 (2015) – 8.7
One of the persistent themes of Downton Abbey it is the advent of modernity and the inevitability of change, both generational and social. It’s especially stressful for Violet in this episode, as her stepdaughter Cora tries to become a bigger part of the hospital.
In less capable hands, Violet would have simply come across as a grumpy old woman utterly resistant to change, but thanks to Smith’s talent, the series allows Violet to emerge as a woman truly trying to make sense of a world leaving her behind. more and more behind.
7 Episode 2.8 (2011) – 8.8
If there is a character in Downtown who gets the lion’s share of eye-catching lines would be the Lady Violet. In fact, she has many interesting quotes to her credit.
While she doesn’t have a particularly active role to play in this one, it does contain some of her best lines, especially when she remarks that Branson is a very good pilot. Given that the marriage between her granddaughter and the driver is one of the most notable events, this is a particularly dry remark from the Dowager Countess.
6 Episode 1.7 (2010) – 8.9
The relationship between Mary and Matthew is one of the most fascinating in Downton Abbeyespecially since it takes them both so long to finally decide to become a couple.
For her part, Lady Violet quickly adopts the pragmatic approach that their marriage would solve all the problems of the family, especially in matters of inheritance. What’s particularly notable about playing the Dowager in this episode, however, is that she eventually comes to terms with Cora, which almost never happens.
5 Episode 3.5 (2012) – 9
There’s a lot to like about this episode, and while it does focus on the tough stuff, there’s no doubt the Dowager shines. In particular, the episode allows her to talk about relationships, as she clarifies in her conversation with her son, Robert.
It’s one of those moments where she lets the audience, and the other characters, see behind the rather broken mask she almost always wears, to see that her marriage might not have been as happy and fulfilling as it was. she would have liked it.
4 A Vacation in the Moors (2015) – 9.0
The fight between Violet and Isobel is one of the show’s most enduring feuds, and it allows both Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith to show off their acting skills. However, this episode marks significant shifts in their dynamic, as the Dowager actually admits that she nearly ran away with Prince Kurigan.
However, this episode also sees her reuniting the Russian man with his wife, and it shows that while she clearly cares a lot about him, she just can’t bring herself to leave her life behind, even if she wants him to be happy.
3 Christmas at Downton Abbey (2011) – 9.1
The Christmas specials were always among the best episodes of Downtown, and this one was no exception. The Dowager mostly hovers at the edge of the narrative, but she has two important moments.
First, she invites Sir Anthony to the shoot, showing that she has her granddaughter Edith’s romantic well-being at heart. In addition, she utters a short piece of French poetry that expresses her sadness at the time that passes quickly and at her own old age that invades her.
2 Episode 6.8 (2015) – 9.1
As the series draws to a close, many characters must come to terms with the past and the promise of their future. This is especially true for Mary, who has not yet decided whether she wants to remarry.
However, the dowager, in the way that only she can, eventually overpowers her to let her heart heal and move on, noting that she believes in love. It’s a remarkable moment, and it shows that the fearsome old woman still has a softer, friendlier side to her personality.
1 Christmas Special (2015) – 9.3
Considering this is the series finale, it makes sense that it ranks very well overall. Downton Abbey classification of the episodes, as well as for the dowager in particular.
More importantly, the venerable lady gets the final words on the show proper, as she responds to Isobel’s remark that they’re going to the future by noting that they don’t really have a choice in the matter. . It’s a perfect distillation of many of the key themes that have seeped beneath the surface of the series from the start.
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