The Downton Abbey Christmas special aired earlier this week, and it was a doozy. We’ll all need time to process it, so check out our recap of the episode and share your feelings below. All the spoilers below!

The episode begins with the house in a carefully controlled chaos, as Robert, Cora, Violet, Mary (who is pregnant), Matthew (who is worried), and Edith all hop aboard the train to Duneagle Castle in Scotland. Duneagle is the estate of Robert’s cousin Hugh (“Shrimpy”) MacClare and his wife Susan. Their teenaged daughter Rose – last seen in the season finale, though she is much more sympathetic and vulnerable this time around – is at Duneagle as well, and is thrilled to have company. Anna, Bates, O’Brien and Molesey come along as well to attend to the family in the various goings-on.

But frankly, not a whole lot happens up in Duneagle. Shrimpy and his wife have realized that they despise each other and they snipe among themselves at every opportunity; Lady Shrimpy vents her vitriol on Rose out of motherly concern. Remembering Sybil’s rebellious-ish days, Cora sympathizes, and it’s eventually decided that Rose will come to live at Downton while Shrimpy and Susan take up a military post for the Empire in India. (Maybe the food will improve their marriage, or at least their tempers.)

Robert lusts after the unadulterated privilege which Shrimpy’s vast estate reminds him of (Robert’s own has been dissipated by the war) and hunts, dines and lives as lordly as he could wish… until Shrimpy admits that he has lost the estate by neglecting to modernize its management, as Robert has. Lord Grantham realizes how lucky he is to be in love with his wife, and expresses at length his good fortune in having Matthew there to pressure him into taking Downton Abbey into the 20th century.

Really, what would we do without Matthew?

At the same time, it turns out that Edith’s newspaper editor Michael Gregson has more-or-less followed her up to Scotland in order to propose a not-marriage. Mary disapproves of Gregson instantly and lashes Edith with her acid tongue every time the subject comes up, though to be fair, she hasn’t got much else to do. Matthew (dear, dear Matthew) is much more sympathetic to Gregson and tries to make a good potential brother-in-law by hiking across the Highlands with him in an attempt to kill stags and fish.

That is, until the facts reveal themselves. The editor is still trapped in a marriage to his mad wife (maybe he should hire Bates?) and the best he can offer Edith is a position as his super-duper beloved mistress. Matthew insists that he end their flirtation after the Gillies Ball, but Edith once again rejects her man’s rejection of her and informs him that their relationship is not over.

Bates and Anna sneak away for a picnic, all memory of the former’s incarceration and death sentencing swept away by the scenery, or maybe the opening credits. They are sweetly flirtatious, especially when Anna surprises Bates by breaking out a killer reel in the middle of the ball. O’Brien and Lady Shrimpy’s maid at first seem to be kindred spirits, but then wind up in a battle of the ladies’ maids, with Molesey as the drunken casualty.

And Mary, after becoming increasingly uncomfortable in her nearly full-term pregnancy, decides to return home to Downton after dancing a reel, and falls into full-blown labor as the train pulls into Downton station. (Yes, that is apparently what it’s called.)

But before we go on to the really exciting parts, let’s rewind a bit. Meanwhile in Downton Abbey…

The younger servants left behind find their attentions wandering, though Carson and Mrs. Hughes provide plenty of work for them to do. Mrs. Patmore begins to be courted by the village’s new spice-shop owner, who invites everyone to a country fair. After a good deal of cajoling by the enternally-awesome Mrs. Hughes, Carson allows Thomas, Jimmy, Alfred, Mrs. Patmore, Daisy, Ivy, and new (and instantly loathed) maid Edna to attend the fair. While they’re away, Carson cuddles with baby Sybil in a scene which might have been worth the entire two hours combined.

Speaking (alas) of Edna, Tom Branson (who has not been invited to Duneagle) is left alone in charge of the estate while the Crawleys are on holiday. This continues to exacerbate Tom’s awkward comrade-to-superior relationship with the staff. Edna spies Tom’s discomfort and seizes her opportunity, flirting with him with narrow-eyed intensity and inviting him downstairs to dine with the staff. She ups her game at the fair and finally walks in on a shirtless Tom alone in his room. (Screencap it, it’s worth it.) Edna kisses him and tells him to meet her at the pub for lunch, which fact she (in a truly spectacular breach of brain cells) informs Carson and Mrs. Hughes when they ask her to actually do her job.

Mrs. Hughes, having sniffed out the source of Tom’s newfound camaraderie with the staff – which is, for some reason, a problem – fires Edna and assures Branson that he has nothing to regret in his raised station. Tom gratifyingly breaks down over Sybil and expresses how much he misses her; Mrs. Hughes comforts him and tells him that someday he’ll find someone with whom to bear that loss.

(Disregard those words from the man behind the curtain, they will certainly not be important later.)

At the country fair, Jimmy gets drunk with cash to burn and winds up nearly the victim of a brutal robbery. Thomas (still pining, apparently) steps in to take the beating and gets his face bashed in. Feeling guilty, Jimmy visits a recuperating Thomas in his bedroom and admits that while he is not interested in a romance with Thomas, he is willing to make a go at friendship. Thomas happily agrees.

Also at the fair, Daisy wins a rigged game, and Mrs. Patmore’s beau flirts mercilessly with her and every other woman in sight. Mrs. Hughes breaks this news to her later, but Mrs. Patmore reacts with relief. Dr. Clarkson and Isobel attend as well, having shared a few plesant evenings together, but Isobel inadvertently rejects Clarkson’s proposal of marriage by telling him she prefers friendship to wedlock.

So! A ghostly pale Mary is zipped straight to the hospital, where she begins to labor in earnest. (The baby is early, but not worryingly so.) Isobel comforts her as news is brought to the Crawleys back in Scotland, who make arrangements to dash down as quickly as possible. With Downton in a tizzy as they arrive (even Carson is adorably ruffled) Matthew dashes to the hospital. Sweaty and terrified and joyful, he is just in time to meet his newborn son and – as Mary very pointedly reminds us, just in case we’d all forgotten the past three series of playing ‘Catch the Crawley’ – his heir. Mary, Matthew and long-awaited baby enjoy a few blissful moments in the sun-drenched hospital room, light glowing around them all like halos, enveloped in their collective love and the bright future ahead of them.

At Downton, the Crawleys breathe a sigh of relief and Robert recaps the past years of turmoil, wondering what he has done to deserve two healthy heirs. Violet agrees (that Robert has done nothing, apparently) and then cooly informs the audience that, “We don’t always get our just desserts.”

We have no idea what she could be talking about.

At the same time, Matthew drives back to Downton Abbey in his Chekhov’s car, bearing his tides of boundless joy. Smiling as only a new parent can as the wind ruffles his hair, he arrives back at Downton, and all is happiness, as fan-and-family dreams are fulfilled alike, and there are fireworks, and –

Oh, sorry. Actually, a lorry driving up the one-lane road causes Matthew to veer off down the unpaved hillside, where his his head is dashed in the dirt and his body crushed beneath his overturned car. Not being party to all the foreshadowing, Mary smiles down at her son in the hospital, waiting for her family and her husband to come back to her.

Happy Christmas to you too, Lord Fellowes.

Have you recovered from the Christmas special?

‘The Space Between Us’ set report: What if a human was born on Mars?

Hypable visited the set and spoke to the film's stars.

12:00 pm EST, January 17, 2017

Could a human be born on a distant planet and later survive on earth?

It’s not only a premise that the upcoming science fiction tale The Space Between Us asks, but a real question and concern that people at NASA have considered as well.

Inspired by his son’s obsession with Mars, and the kernel of an idea from another writer he works with, film producer Richard Lewis picked up the phone and posed the question to members of NASA.

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Could a human be born on a distant planet and later survive on earth?

It’s not only a premise that the upcoming science fiction tale The Space Between Us asks, but a real question and concern that people at NASA have considered as well.

Inspired by his son’s obsession with Mars, and the kernel of an idea from another writer he works with, film producer Richard Lewis picked up the phone and posed the question to members of NASA.

He never would’ve guessed what was going to happen when he spoke to them.

“I called a group of NASA scientists and said, ‘So what would happen if an astronaut turned out to be pregnant on a flight to Mars?’ and there was just silence on the other end of the call. And they said, ‘Are you listening to our phone calls?’ I said, ‘No, I’ve never spoken to you in my life.’ And they said, ‘It’s going to happen, and we don’t know what to do.'”

That was when he teamed up with screenwriter Allan Loeb and started fleshing out an answer. “I thought, wow, that’s the beginning of an interesting story.” Lewis even worked with his father, a heart specialist, to examine how that muscle would develop differently on Mars, and aspects of this research became a big part of the story.

The Space Between Us is an interplanetary adventure following a human boy named Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) born on the distant red planet. His mother, an astronaut, only realized she was pregnant with Gardner after leaving on her mission to colonize Mars.

Once Gardner reaches his teenage years he becomes interested in leaving East Texas (yep, on Mars) and returning to the home of his species. Not only is he curious about Earth, but Gardner has also fallen for a girl named Tulsa who’s literally tens of millions of miles away in the state of Colorado. The two met online and can relate over their outsider perspectives.

There’s just one problem: Tulsa doesn’t realize that Gardner is literally living on Mars.

Hypable visited the Albuquerque, New Mexico set of The Space Between Us starring Butterfield, Robertson, and Gary Oldman in late October 2015. On the day we visited, Asa, Britt, and crew were at the tail end of their 37-day shooting schedule which took them through New Mexico, Las Vegas, and Malibu.

It was Day 31, and indoor and outdoor shoots were taking place at Highland High School located in the southeast quadrant of Albuquerque. Since it was a weekday, real classes were in session as Asa and Britt shot outdoor scenes.

The real students who walked by the production had mixed reactions. Some watched and Snapchatted the excitement, while others passed by as if a Hollywood production wasn’t filming right before their eyes. Later in the day, after the real students went home, production moved inside the school to shoot a scene where Gardner and Tulsa meet in person for the first time. It’s one of the more touching moments in the movie.

Earlier, Asa walked into our press tent carrying a drone in tow. He had recently purchased it to try and capture aerial footage for fun, and was learning how to operate it in between filming his scenes.

Both the aerial device and Gardner struggle to deal with Earth’s gravity.

When asked how he handles playing a character who has never been on Earth before, Asa describes it as a very unique experience. “It’s hard to put yourself in that kind of position because we [as humans] are so experienced in the world, and to completely strip all that back and be absolutely in awe at everything you see — a tree, a doorman — everything’s interesting,” he says.

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Tulsa (Britt Robertson) experiences zero gravity with Gardner (Asa Butterfield).

Living on Mars your whole life doesn’t mean you’re missing hormones, so girls are also of interest in Gardner. On the relationship between his character and Tulsa, Asa tells us, “They both have this longing desire for being somewhere. Belonging somewhere. Tulsa’s been jumping around through various foster homes, she’s never really settled anywhere. Gardner spends his life on Mars. No one knows he exists. They’re kind of united by this experience.”

“He’s an alien, and she’s an alien, and this is the journey of the story,” Lewis tells us. “Watching these two characters connect, and the disconnects, the misunderstandings, and then ultimately they have a connection.”

Those good and bad connections were present in the scene we observed, which finds Gardner surprising Tulsa in her school hallway. As someone who is tough and reserved, Tulsa is understandably frustrated by Gardner’s sudden appearance. The two still haven’t communicated well with one another — Adorably, Tulsa is unaware that when he says he’s from “East Texas” he means the establishment on Mars.

With Gardner now on earth, the two begin to form a close bond as the Mars-born boy tries to discover his roots.

Co-starring in the movie is Gary Oldman, whose character originally organized the trip to Mars. He wasn’t on set the day we visited, but the actor has a very important role in the movie.

The Space Between Us opens in theaters February 3, 2017.

‘Rogue One’s’ best scene doesn’t involve the heroes

It's a nameless character who saves the day.

8:15 am EST, January 17, 2017

Among the many exceptional scenes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the most poignant ones doesn’t even involve any of the main heroes.

Rogue One  is full of memorable moments, some breathtaking, some endearing in the way we’ve come to expect from Star Wars, and all full of an epic sense of the lengths people will go to in the name of hope. It also stands out because of its representation, with a female main character and a diverse cast of supporting characters. But it’s the scene almost at the very end that makes its story truly unique.

It takes place after Jyn Erso and her band of rebels have already completed their mission, and the Death Star plans that they have given their lives to procure are being physically carried through the Profundity by a single individual, while the ship is under attack. Close at his heels is Darth Vader, finally revealed in all his lightsaber-wielding, terrifying glory, killing rebel soldiers left and right. The door jams in front of the man holding the plans, with only a slight gap left open – just enough for him to fit an arm through and frantically get the device to one of the fleeing rebels on the other side, knowing fully that this is the last action he’ll ever carry out.

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Among the many exceptional scenes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the most poignant ones doesn’t even involve any of the main heroes.

Rogue One  is full of memorable moments, some breathtaking, some endearing in the way we’ve come to expect from Star Wars, and all full of an epic sense of the lengths people will go to in the name of hope. It also stands out because of its representation, with a female main character and a diverse cast of supporting characters. But it’s the scene almost at the very end that makes its story truly unique.

It takes place after Jyn Erso and her band of rebels have already completed their mission, and the Death Star plans that they have given their lives to procure are being physically carried through the Profundity by a single individual, while the ship is under attack. Close at his heels is Darth Vader, finally revealed in all his lightsaber-wielding, terrifying glory, killing rebel soldiers left and right. The door jams in front of the man holding the plans, with only a slight gap left open – just enough for him to fit an arm through and frantically get the device to one of the fleeing rebels on the other side, knowing fully that this is the last action he’ll ever carry out.

This character has no name, and we know nothing about him beyond this scene. But faced by the most fearsome threat and terrible odds, he abandons fighting and uses his dying moments to get the plans across the doomed ship, and to Princess Leia.

It’s not common to see a scene like this one – scenes that convey the power of the collective action of many people across different areas – done so skillfully, especially in movies that are so character-driven.

In Star Wars, we’ve always focused on Luke and Leia and Han, and more recently on Rey, Finn and Poe. Although we knew that the Rebellion was the fruit of the efforts of many, we never had such a clear look into just how many lives were involved.

Rogue One the Rebellion

This final scene brings it all together, tying together the various storylines we know in an epic finale, and finally connecting them to Episode IV in a perfect mix of excitement and nostalgia. Without this character, driven by desperate hope rather than fear of his imminent death, Rogue One’s mission would not have ended successfully, Leia would have never received the plans… and none of the story we already know would have taken place.

For once, it was a character whose face we didn’t even see properly, dressed just like everyone else, fulfilling his own small role in a much bigger mission, who saved the day.

This ending, maybe even more meaningfully than the stories of the heroes we know and love, shows us the very essence of the Rebellion: a movement of dedication and sacrifice, full of people like the ones that died on Scarif, that put themselves between the plans and Vader, that drove the mission to success in their dying moments – and that stopped the race to save their own lives in favor of securing the mission’s objective.

We, as the audience, can find ourselves in the nameless rebel soldier and his sacrifice – a realistic and emotional portrayal of what makes any movement for change possible: the sacrifices of a vast number of people whose names and faces we may never know, whose stories may never be recorded, but whose lives were spent in search of a better future for the generations that follow.

What scene in ‘Rogue One’ impacted you the most?

Sherlock season 4, episode 3 is the last new material fans will see for a very long time. Was it a satisfying farewell to the series?

The Sherlock season 4 finale is a healthy mix of emotional highs and lows. But was it, as co-creators Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss describe, “television history?” No. It was not. It was not even the best episode of the Sherlock series.

However, it is what we have to left to unpack as we leave Holmes at Watson in 221B by the fire. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

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Sherlock season 4, episode 3 is the last new material fans will see for a very long time. Was it a satisfying farewell to the series?

The Sherlock season 4 finale is a healthy mix of emotional highs and lows. But was it, as co-creators Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss describe, “television history?” No. It was not. It was not even the best episode of the Sherlock series.

However, it is what we have to left to unpack as we leave Holmes at Watson in 221B by the fire. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

The final problem

The greatest flaw of Sherlock is when it gets stuck in its own heightened story telling. “The Final Problem” is the perfect example of retelling the past and not giving the audience any new information. It’s not hard to deduce. The episode does not suffer for this. Because it is not about the game at all.

Eurus’ game is well-crafted, brutal, and unforgiving. She is a master. The episode goes above and beyond to prove that over and over. Eurus wants to understand the complexity of human empathy. The only way she can do that is to cut the people open and see what makes their muscles move.

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The maze she crafts tests the resolve of Sherlock, Mycroft, and John. One great example of this is the use of Molly Hooper. It should be noted that Molly Hooper deserves so much better.

Using her love for Sherlock as a weapon, Molly Hooper’s life shatters with three words. Unfortunately, all of this is in service to unravel Sherlock with no resolution on her end.

As he smashes the coffin with his bare hands, John and Mycroft are there to reel him back in. They lend a hand to rebuild the walls that are falling down around him. That is until they literally fall at the doorstep of his childhood home.

The final problem is how do you deliver human connection to someone who does not know how to receive it? That desire to feel that her brothers appreciate her for more than her brain. If Eurus’ favorite person, Sherlock, could just take a moment to play her game, everything can end.

The test, it turns out, is for Sherlock to lean heavily on his capacity for emotional connection throwing logic out of the equation. He makes room for John, Mary, Molly, even Greg in his life. Can he find a way to make room for Eurus in spite of everything he just found out?

“You were always the grown up,” says Mrs. Holmes near the end of the episode. Sherlock takes the family into the next chapter of their life. One where music bridges the gap between them and the entire Holmes family can sit together without words getting in the way.

‘I’m a pirate’

The biggest twist, if you didn’t already work it out for yourself, comes when John discovers the bones of “Redbeard” in the well. They are not dog bones, but the bones of Sherlock’s best childhood friend, Victor.

But the best appearance is by far the inclusion of Mycroft’s Christmas gift — Jim Moriarty.

sherlock season 4 moriarty

Moriarty’s obsession with Holmes begins well before Eurus calls him in for a meeting. But did he succumb to being one of her agents? Probably. But Jim likely steered his own course to Sherlock. But the game… well, the game now reeks of Eurus.

Mycroft Holmes

The Holmes brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, have the most fascinating relationship on Sherlock. “The Final Problem” highlights the complexity of their past and the trajectory of their future.

The most moving scene in the entire episode arrives when Mycroft, John and Sherlock are contemplating the reality of what may be their final moments alive. Hearing that Sherlock appreciated a talent of his, one that is not based on their familial intellect, moves him to a smile. Well before Mycroft sacrifices himself for Sherlock’s partnership with John, he gets the validation that their relationship is full of mutual appreciation.

mycroft sherlock

The minds of the Holmes siblings may be capable of great feats, but no fortress is entirely secure.

Mycroft’s home at the start of the episode is infiltrated by the combination of Holmes and Watson. Later on, his mind’s security system fails. He is a strong, put together person. After years of arranging Sherlock’s safety behind the scenes, it’s time for Sherlock to step up and do the same.

Is there room for more?

Perhaps we will all meet again at Anemoi. In the credits letters it is typical for the editors to highlight certain letters. The final sequence produces just a single word — Anemoi, the meeting place of the four winds.

While the finale ties up loose ends, recreates the scars that affect the duo the most, it does feel more like a beginning than an ending.

Sherlock may or may not return.

Tags: bbc sherlock