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!

After all that talk of inclusivity, Star Trek Beyond falls into the Hollywood trap of implied sexuality.

Mild spoilers for Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek Beyond, already a wildly anticipated movie, made headlines ahead of its release because of the franchise’s decision to introduce the first openly LGBT character: Mr Sulu, played by John Cho.

While this decision was certainly met with excitement, there was disappointment, too. The original Mr Sulu, George Takei, openly voiced his opinion that they should have introduced a new LGBT character rather than expand on original canon (as they have been the whole trilogy), while Simon Pegg beautifully argued that there was power in using an established character who wouldn’t be defined by his sexuality.

Then came the movie itself, and while the introduction of gay Sulu is still a great thing, we’re left sorely disappointed by Beyond‘s decision to depict the LGBT relationship — or rather, hardly depict it at all.

As reported by our friends at The Mary Sue, the scene featuring Sulu and his husband Ben depicts a “lukewarm” relationship, although Sulu is very affectionate with the pair’s daughter.

This is, unfortunately, a common problem in Hollywood when an LGBT couple — almost impossibly — makes it into a big franchise film. They’re allowed to be there, but having any kind of physical interaction even remotely resembling what a heterosexual couple might have still seems to be off-limits.

Related: Hollywood is failing the LGBT community: GLAAD slams Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros.

And, according to John Cho, there was actually a kiss filmed. “There was a kiss that I think is not there anymore,” he told Collider. “It wasn’t like a make-out session. We’re at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss. I’m actually proud of that scene, because it was pretty tough.”

Cho points out that Ben was played by a non-actor, writer Doug Jung, and says, “Obviously, I just met the kid, and then Doug is not an actor. I just wanted that to look convincingly intimate. We’re two straight guys and had to get to a very loving, intimate place. It was hard to do on the fly. We had to open up. It came off well, in my view.”

And we wish we could have seen it. Introducing a major LGBT character in the Star Trek franchise is a fantastic first step, and depicting two POC actors raising a child together is a great statement — but, unfortunately, the decision to cut out their kiss (which was already chaste, by the sounds of it) is emblematic of Hollywood’s continuous phobia of depicting LGBT relationships and intimacy on the big screen.

As Screen Crush also points out, this exact same scenario played out in Independence Day: Resurgence, too. In Finding Dory, the lesbian couple are only implied, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sequence.

LGBT representation (when present at all) is always so subtle, evidently in fear of offending straight audiences while not totally erasing non-straight sexualities. And, sadly, even that is considered a big step forward — but maybe it’s time we start depicting humanity as it is, and not what society wished it was 100 years ago.

Here’s looking at you, Star Wars.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviews from theater critics are glowing, so when the hell can Americans get a chance to see the play in New York?

With just days to go until The Cursed Child script book is released around the world, The New York Post’s theater reporter has spoken to sources who say the play will be coming to Broadway sooner rather than later. Producers are currently holding discussions to bring the play to NY as early as 2017.

They haven’t yet announced a Broadway engagement for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” but New York theater people say it’s only a matter of time. Word is that Friedman and Callender are in negotiations for a Shubert theater possibly for next season. They may hit Toronto first, however.

The idea of The Cursed Child hitting Broadway so soon (“next season” could mean around May 2017) will come as a relief to American Harry Potter fans who would rather not travel overseas to see “the eighth story” (though it’s a little more affordable to do so right now thanks to #Brexit). It also speaks to this important fact: It’s important to see The Cursed Child rather than reading it.

If the show does go to Toronto first as The New York Post suggests it might, a trip to Canada would also be easier for Americans. Sorry, people who don’t live in North America.

This writer saw the play in June and absolutely loved the characters and magic happening on stage. But the story is… not the best. I’m very eager to see what fans, myself included, think of the story after reading the script book this weekend.

For her part, Rowling has promised that fans around the world will get to see the play. Only time will tell if she’s hinting at a movie or a world tour:

If ‘Cursed Child’ comes to Broadway next year, will you try to see it ASAP?

The West End production currently has dates running into May 2017, but additional dates are expected to go on sale in early August.

Present day Han Solo may’ve left the main Star Wars series after the events of The Force Awakens, but the character’s time in movie theaters is far from over.

The new Han Solo film from Lucasfilm — scheduled to hit theaters in May 2018 — might turn into a trilogy for the reluctant hero, according to the New York Daily News.

The paper reports that star Alden Ehrenreich has signed a three-picture deal, suggesting that the studio intends to expand the Han Solo spinoff into a trilogy. “They feel that his character has the right potential to become a central figure in several movies,” a source told NY Daily News. “They’re keeping things under wraps at the moment, but the deal is that he has signed for at least three movies.”

This makes a lot of sense given the popularity of the character coupled with his absence in Episode 8 and beyond. We also know that Lucasfilm and Disney have many, many grand plans for Star Wars in the years ahead: The very first Star Wars theatrical spinoff, Rogue One, opens later this year. Episode 8 then hits theaters a year later (2017), followed by Han Solo’s own movie (2018). Next comes Episode 9 in 2019, followed by yet another spinoff reportedly focused on Boba Fett in 2020.

As for 2021 and beyond? Only time will tell, but we expect more movies set in the worlds of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and now Han Solo.

The Han Solo spinoff will be directed by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. They’re currently deep into pre-production, as this tweet from Lord this morning shows:

“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with,” the directors said last July. “We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”