Beleaguered love, boiling political tension, and bittersweet family drama made series 3 of Downton Abbey one to remember. How did the finale live up to what came before? Many, many spoilers follow below!

Series 3 of Downton Abbey was an eight-week emotional roller-coaster for everyone from fans to the fictional family. From the uncertain eve of Mary and Matthew’s long-awaited wedding, to the devastating loss of Lady Sybil, to Thomas’s dangerous liaison with new footman Jimmy, it’s certain that no one in the Abbey will ever be quite the same.

As the series began, it seemed like everyone in Grantham was ready to celebrate Matthew and Mary’s decision to tie the knot at last, along with the show’s many shippers and fans. But the joyous occasion was nearly doomed to disaster when Mary learned that Matthew refused his potential inheritance from deceased-fiance Lavinia’s father to help bail Downton out of debt. Fortunately, wise words from Branson reconcile the two just before the wedding, and a lucky letter from Lavinia’s father reconciled Matthew to the idea of devoting his inheritance to the support of Downton. Now Mary and Matthew can look to forward to their future as the Lord and Lady of Grantham… hopefully with heirs aplenty.

Edith (poor Edith!) was determined to hop on the wedding train as well, and pursued Sir Anthony Strallan with a single-mindedness that would brook no argument from either Sir Anthony or her family. But from the precipice of success, Edith fell into despair as Sir Anthony let his age rule over his heart and left her at the alter. Forlorn, but with an unexpected resilience, Edith turned her attentions to England’s neglect for women’s rights and toyed with a journalistic career in spite of Robert’s objections.

As for Sybil, the youngest of the Crawley sisters ought to have earned the most joy out of series 3, but it was not to be. Sybil was repeatedly torn between her husband Tom’s disdain for English aristocracy and a desire to keep peace with her own family, a tension that only escalated when Tom participated in an Irish rebellion and was banned from his country. The birth of Sybil’s daughter might have helped bring the Bransons and Crawleys nearer together, but after a difficult, though seemingly successful labor, Sybil tragically died of eclampsia.

Sybil’s death sent waves of sorrow through Downton Abbey and its fans, but none more so than her husband Tom. Though Matthew and Mary especially tried to lend whatever support they could, it was sadly clear that Branson – exiled from Ireland and bereft of his wife – found it difficult to make a place for himself at Downton without Sybil.

Love and loss also characterized the lot of the downstairs set of Downton Abbey. Mrs. Hughes spent earlier episodes battling terror as a lump in her breast was examined, assessed and diagnosed with agonizing slowness; fortunately, the lump was benign, and Mrs. Hughes found strength in the clear love and support from the Crawleys, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Patmore.

Anna, meanwhile, struggled with perhaps the most dolorous storyline of the series: that of Mr. Bates’ continued imprisonment for the murder of his first wife Vera. Anna was desperate to find proof of her husband’s innocence, and finally narrowed down the truth in an offhand reference to a pie crust. Freed from the grey-toned prison at last, Bates and Anna hope to finally start their married lives in earnest.

The younger members of the staff were also entangled in highly-charged emotional bonds. Kitchen maid Daisy was finally promoted to assistant cook, only to lose the growing affections of new-footman Alfred to her new underling Ivy. Ivy herself fancied even-newer-footman Jimmy, however, and Alfred found himself hemmed in by the dislike of Jimmy and Thomas.

Thomas, of course, found it increasingly difficult to hide his attraction to Jimmy. Still grieving for Sybil, Thomas took O’Brien’s vindictive advice and tried to initiate a relationship with the handsome footman. Unfortunately, Jimmy’s indignant reaction coupled with Alfred’s accidental intrusion landed Thomas in very hot water.

Dear old Isobel, well-intentioned to the point of being dangerous, lent a hand to Ethel, a former maid at Downton who had turned to prostitution to feed her illegitimate son. Watching unhappily as Ethel decided to have the boy raised by his wealthy grandparents, Isobel took a stand against prejudice and hired the “fallen woman” as her maid. Though Ethel’s cooking skills and relationship with Isobel both improved, Ethel continued to face censure from almost every quarter in Grantham.

And to zip straight back to the top of the Downton Abbey food chain, Robert and Cora spent significant time in the emotional trenches as well. Robert’s loss of his and Cora’s fortune was a bigger blow to Lord Grantham than it was to his wife, but Sybil’s untimely death nearly drove a permanent wedge between them. Robert also struggled with his two sons-in-law, fighting Tom for the right to baptize his daughter as a Catholic and resisting Matthew’s attempts to reorganize the finances of Downton so that the estate might survive in the 20th century.

And lest we forget – Lady Violet was truly stupendous in series 3, whether engaging in biting back-and-forths with Cora’s visiting mother, or trying to bear up under the awful loss of Sybil. (It hardly seems like necessary speculation, but we fully expect Dame Maggie Smith to accept another Emmy Award for her work this year.)

Like we said, it’s been quite the year on Downton Abbey! Share your reactions to the finale and the series below in the comments… And don’t forget to speculate on the upcoming Christmas special!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

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Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?

The first two cast members for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Lion King have been announced by director Jon Favreau.

James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the animated movie in the ’90s, is returning as the character in the live-action adaptation. Interesting!

Meanwhile, Donald Glover — who will co-star in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming for Disney and Marvel — will play Adult Simba.

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The first two cast members for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Lion King have been announced by director Jon Favreau.

James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the animated movie in the ’90s, is returning as the character in the live-action adaptation. Interesting!

Meanwhile, Donald Glover — who will co-star in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming for Disney and Marvel — will play Adult Simba.

Favreau tweeted the news Friday evening:

According to a statement from Disney, The Lion King “will build on the groundbreaking technology used in The Jungle Book to bring the story of Simba to photorealistic life.”

A release date for the film hasn’t been set. Favreau also helmed the live-action Jungle Book for the studio.

So far casting is off to a great start!