Your favorite Edwardian drama is back! Our Downton Abbey season 4, episode 1 recap breaks down the events of the premiere, which aired Sunday, January 5 on PBS.

Last year’s season 3 finale left viewers on a big cliffhanger: Matthew Crawley had died on the same day as the birth of his and Lady Mary’s firstborn. The Downton Abbey season 4 premiere jumps ahead six months as Lady Mary and family are still recovering from the loss of Matthew.

The episode begins with a dark-cloaked figure leaving the family. It’s O’Brien, who’s departing the show because the actress who plays her (Siobhan Finneran) wanted to leave. Anna discovers the letter O’Brien left in the middle of the night and news spreads quickly around the home. Anna offers to take care of Cora while they find a replacement.

Lady Mary is still struggling from the loss of Matthew more than anyone, and understandably so. Even six months after his passing, she’s still wearing all black and insists on wearing no other colors. She also has a hard time bonding with her son, Master George, going so far as to describe him as an orphan.

Out on the farm handling the estate, Branson and Lord Grantham are discussing paying Matthew’s death duties and disagree over how they should be handled. Branson insists that Lady Mary be involved with the decisions, but Robert says that since he owns half of everything, he thinks he should manage George’s fortune. Later, Cora and Robert debate keeping Mary involved with the estate. “Matthew is co-owner, and now his son is. I worked with Matthew, now I must work for his boy,” Robert argues.

Looking to get Lady out of the emotional hole, Branson goes to Carson to ask him to speak to Lady Mary. He goes through with it, but Mary is offended that Carson would disagree with Robert’s plans for the estate. She believes her father is making the best decisions possible. “You’re letting yourself be defeated,” he tells her before stepping out of the room.

At dinner, there is more debate over the managing of the estate – including comments from Violet – and it sets Mary off. She storms out of the room. Later that night before leaving, Violet goes to Mary’s bedroom and offers some advice. “I love you,” she tells Mary. “Now you must remember your son. He needs you very much. The fact is, you have a straightforward choice before you: You must choose either death or life.”

“And you think I should choose life,” Mary asks. Violet nods.

After talking with her father, Lady Mary realizes that she is being taken advantage of and goes to apologize to Carson. She gets emotional and the two embrace in a warm hug.

Meanwhile, Molesley is in need of a job after the death of Matthew, who he worked for. He asks Carson to continue at Downton, but Carson isn’t interested in him staying around.

Also in mourning is Isobel Crawley, Matthew’s mother. She is wondering what her purpose is anymore. Edith reminds her, “You’re a grandmother, and I know you’re going to be a wonderful one.” Later, Lady Violet agrees that Isobel should use George to give her purpose. While Violet is at Isobel’s, Molesley comes in and asks for a job, but Isobel doesn’t think she needs assistance. Violet is interested in helping him, however, and sets up an opportunity.

Speaking of Edith, she was tasked with putting an ad up at a local store for the open maid’s position that O’Brien left vacant. Edna – who we saw in a previous season of Downton – has been training for a position like this and applies. Edith and Cora meet with Edna over tea, and she gets the job thanks largely to a letter of recommendation from Mrs. Hughes. There’s just one problem: In season 3, the recommendation letter was given to her as leverage after a quick romantic relationship between her and Branson.

Edith also went into London to meet with Michael, who informs her that he’s interested in moving to Germany. Over dinner at the Criterion, Michael professes his love for Edith. He also tells her he can divorce his wife Lizzie if he becomes a German citizen. At tea later, Edith invites her man to Downton so the family can meet him at a house party.

Barrow and Nanny West enter into a tiff over the course of the first half of the episode over silly things related to each other’s power. Always looking to stir up trouble, Barrow rats on West by telling Cora that she has been neglecting Branson and Mary’s children. Later, Cora peeks in on West taking care of the kids and hears her calling Sybil and Branson’s child a crossbreed. She fires her on the spot.

The end of the first half of the episode concluded with Lady Mary – now dressed in purple instead of her mourning-black – entering an afternoon event with Branson, Robert, and farmers from around Downton.

The second hour of the episode kicked off with a box arriving from the office of Matthew, and in it Robert finds a letter that reveals he wanted Mary to be his sole heiress. Before taking it to his daughter, Robert presents this note to Violet, who encourages him to share the letter with Mary even if it isn’t legally valid.

Speaking with Mary privately, Robert reveals the existence of the letter. They then bring it to Isobel and the rest of the upstairs family so they can all read it together. Robert still insists they bring it to their lawyer Murray because it is not a will.

Later, Violet comes up with a plan to help Mary run the estate: Tom will teach Mary the ropes of farming. “Let her see the problems facing the estate,” she explains. Mary is hesitant about this plan because they’re keeping Robert in the dark, but in Violet’s wise words, “There can be too much truth in any relationship.”

Lady Rose asks Anna to go with her into town to go dancing. She’s not interested but is dragged along anyway. At the dance hall, Rose immediately begins batting her eyelashes at several gentlemen. Her dashing looks work – Rose picks up a man and tells him she’s a lady’s maid at Downton. It comes back to bite her later when he makes a surprise visit to Downton to see her again. In what is a great moment, Anna suggests she dresses up as a maid and says she’s actually seeing someone else.

At the end of the episode we learn that Mary does indeed own half the estate because Matthew’s letter was valid. She and Robert promise to begin discussions the next day about the handling of the farms.

Other notes about the episode:

– Barreling into modern times, downstairs receives an electric mixer, which puts off Mrs. Patmore, who doesn’t like new technology.

– Anna tries to give Mr. Molesley some money to pay off his debts, but he refuses to accept them. Later, Bates works with Violet to give him money. Anna asks how he pulled it off, and he credits prison with a proud smile.

– Carson showed his romantic side – once with his knowledge of Valentine’s Day, and second when we hear about a former flame. A plot involving a former friend of his begins and ends on the episode when Isobel and Mrs. Hughes organize a repair.

– A love triangle has formed between Alfred, Ivy, and Daisy.

The best ‘Downton Abbey’ quotes of the episode

“We must all have our hearts broken once or twice before we’re done.” – Mrs. Hughes

“It’s getting harder and harder to say no.” – Edith to Michael

“There can be too much truth in any relationship.” – Lady Violet

“How do people have time to write when the week is just beginning?” – Mrs. Hughes

“It’s the job of grandmothers to interfere.” – Lady Violet

“It’s not for me to have an opinion, but I will say this.” – Mrs. Hughes

What did you think of ‘Downton Abbey’ season 4’s premiere?

Episode 2 airs Sunday, January 12 at 9 p.m. eastern on PBS. Watch a trailer below:

Here’s how Netflix’s ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ should split the books up

We still know next to nothing about Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ adaption, but we can dream.

8:45 pm EDT, May 2, 2016

There are few things in this world I am more excited about than the Netflix adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The casting so far is perfect. Neil Patrick Harris looks like a better Count Olaf than Jim Carrey did, and the kids selected to play Klaus and Violet look like they jumped right out of the book. Plus, Netflix is keeping Daniel Handler, the author, close at hand as a producer so they adapt the books accurately.

Impatient fans with nothing better to do, like myself, have to wonder, how will the books be broken up across a Netflix series? How do you transition 13 short children’s books into a format broken up by episodes and seasons?

The Game of Thrones option is out, because the ASOUE books are far too short to do a book a season. And also, 13 seasons just won’t happen. So what do you do? You do what the movie did and group them together. With that strategy in mind, here’s how I think A Series of Unfortunate Events will play out on Netflix, and what ground each season will cover:

Season 1: ‘The Bad Beginning,’ ‘The Reptile Room,’ ‘The Wide Window’


The Baudelaires have never experienced tragedy before. When they learn of their parents’ death in a fire that destroyed their home, they simply don’t react. They don’t know how to. Before they can process any of their grief, they’re dragged into the custody of Count Olaf, a character who earns the title of the series’ antagonist. Count Olaf is after the Baudelaire fortune, an immense sum of money the children’s parents left behind for them to inherit when Violet, the oldest, turns 18. Through the entire series, Count Olaf deceives, kidnaps, steals, and kills to get what he wants. Every time, the Baudelaires narrowly evade his grasp. During the first three books the orphans visit the Count’s sinister, disgusting home, a room filled with fascinating reptiles, and a house dangling over a lake infested with flesh-eating leeches. This is just the start of the orphan’s troubles.

Season 2: ‘The Miserable Mill,’ ‘The Austere Academy,’ ‘The Ersatz Elevator’


Through the next three books, the Baudelaires come to expect Count Olaf everywhere they go, and they’re right to do so. While meeting even more unpleasant characters, they also meet some who come to be their closest friends. The Quagmire children still consider themselves triplets, even though one of them died in a fire. The Quagmire triplets also have a large fortune waiting for them when they turn 18. The other triplets are also exceedingly smart, just like the Baudelaires. Count Olaf kidnaps the Quagmires, but before he can do so, Duncan Quagmire gives the reader, and the Baudelaires, the first glimpse into the mystery behind these unfortunate events, “V.F.D!” The mystery only grows larger when the orphans find a secret passage from one of their new guardian’s homes, to their old mansion, which is now reduced to ashes.

Season 3: ‘The Vile Village,’ ‘The Hostile Hospital,’ ‘The Carnivorous Carnival’


The children no longer fall from guardian to guardian and are more or less on their own. They go to a village where they discover the Quagmire triplets are being held somewhere secret. By the time the Baudelaires figure out the location of the Quagmires, they are also running for their lives, as Count Olaf has managed to frame them for murder. The orphans are no longer safe anywhere. Meanwhile, the acronym V.F.D appears everywhere they go. The children come to find that V.F.D is a secret organization — an organization that their parents, Count Olaf, and many other characters they have met along the way are members of. This season will be fraught with violence, as it includes a harpooning, a surgery, and man-eating lions.

Season 4: ‘The Slippery Slope,’ ‘The Grim Grotto’


The orphans begin to discover more and more about this secret organization, its history, and what it had to do with their parents. Eventually, they find the headquarters of the organization, but of course, it’s burnt down. They learn about a mysterious sugar bowl, and something that was contained inside which that caused the falling out of the entire organization, the organization splitting into two sides with two very different goals. At this point in the series, mystery will now be dominating.

Season 5: ‘The Penultimate Peril,’ ‘The End’


In the last book, which I’m sure will take up most of the last season, we find the Baudelaire orphans on a remote island. One last time, Count Olaf finds them and has a final standoff with the children. The series comes together incredibly, with things from 10 books ago now once again coming into play, and mystery after mystery being solved. Ultimately, however, more questions are asked than answered. Thus the whole series heeds the advice of a submarine captain we met in book 11:

“Some things are better left unknown.”

All we know right now is that season 1 will be eight episodes long. Netflix is free to decide how many episodes each season will include, so the following seasons could potentially get longer as the story progresses.

These books are perfect for a TV series adaption. It was never meant to be a movie. In A Series of Unfortunate Events, characters die off constantly. Every book is filled with insane twists that will make House of Cards look like Sesame Street. Not only that, but the books are stuffed with colorful, imaginative locations, and addictive, outrageous characters begging to be brought to life in your web browser or on your Apple TV.

We still don’t have a release date, trailer, or anything really. All we can do
for now is watch this Very Fake Depiction of what a teaser trailer might look like:

How do you think Netflix will tell the Baudelaire Orphans’ story? Comment below!

‘Space Jam 2’ starring LeBron James finds director as script enters development

Welcome back to the Space Jam.

2:14 pm EDT, May 2, 2016

Rumor no more! LeBron James and Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin are currently at work on a Space Jam sequel that will find the big (both literally and figuratively) basketball player in the leading role.

The Hollywood Reporter says that a Space Jam 2 script is currently being penned by Lin and writer Andrew Dodge. Very little else is known about the movie, but it’s safe to say it’s going to get a lot of attention as it makes its way through development. The original Space Jam starring Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, and the rest of the Looney Toons became an instant classic thanks to the basketball theme and the fact that the animated characters were interacting with real actors.

Adding to its quirkiness, WB has kept the original Space Jam website online over all these years. Visit it. It’s amazing.

Space Jam hit theaters in 1996 and co-starred Larry Bird, Bill Murray, Thom Barry, Charles Barkley, Wayne Knight, and Theresa Randle. And the Looney Toons, of course.

LeBron James appeared in last year’s Trainwreck opposite Amy Schumer. We’re sure he’ll invite a few of his basketball friends to make appearances in Space Jam 2 like Jordan did in the original. While LeBron James’ interest in a Space Jam sequel has long been rumored, today’s report is the first time we’re hearing that the film has found a director, and that the script is now being worked on.

Lin is also known for directing Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6.

Are you ready for another ‘Space Jam’?

While we wait (it’s probably going to be a while), watch the original trailer for Space Jam below. Damn, we miss the ’90s.

15 Broadway songs you must listen to

1:00 pm EDT, May 2, 2016

Looking to discover some new Broadway show tunes? You’ve come to the right place. Don’t like Broadway show tunes? Wander over here, lets see if we can change your mind.

You have the Hamilton soundtrack memorized, you’ve seen more stagings of Rent than there have been years since it debuted on Broadway (20!). You’re looking for some more Broadway music to tap your toes to. Well, welcome, you are among friends in this article.

Chances are, you’ve heard of some of the songs on this playlist, if not on the theater stage, then in the pop lexicon (looking at you, Green Day, Carole King and Jersey Boys). These tunes are showstoppers, the reason the Great White Way has, and continues to, thrive.

We’ve compiled 15 songs — one hour, four minutes of music — that you may not have heard of before from shows you may have never seen. They’re a capsule look into the energy of the genre, and showcase the best Broadway has to offer — that is, the variety, the vitality and the vicious harmonies that thousands of performers crush night after night. The playlist was curated by various members of the Hypable team, so there’s a little bit of everything. Broadway shows, like all of entertainment, range in genre and can be divisive. One person’s Hamilton is another person’s Anything Goes. But, like all of entertainment, that’s the beauty in creating playlists like these. We can share and hopefully you can discover new music you might not have heard before.

The shows these songs originate from are cemented in history, they are part of the Old Guard, and they represent the transition into a modern-day Broadway, catering to audiences of all walks of life. This isn’t the typical list, no “Seasons of Love” or “Defying Gravity,” nor are there any particularly ‘deep cuts,’ all songs come from shows that should have familiar names. Some come from revival shows, some are brand-spankin’-new off original albums.

Take a listen and let us know what you think! They’ve been compiled into one handy dandy Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure, below.

Listen on Spotify:

This article is a part of Hypable’s inaugural Broadway Week in celebration of the 2016 Tony nominations.