SHOCKING 'Downton Abbey' Spoiler: Season 3 Will Break Our Hearts

Downton AbbeySometimes when I write a recap of a television show here at The Stir, I feel a little eye-roll-y about putting a SPOILER ALERT warning in the first paragraph or two. I mean, it's a recap, of course it's going to contain spoilers. Right? Right. But this post is a little different, in that I'm about to share a MAJOR CHARACTER SPOILER about season 3 of Downton Abbey. Which, as you probably know, has been airing in the U.K. but doesn't premiere in the U.S. until January 6.

If you're hoping to watch season 3 spoiler-free, READ NO FURTHER. I'm not kidding. This is your chance to click away. DO IT! Unless you want to know. Which I thought I did, at least until I actually saw the spoiler and then I thought, dammit, I wish I hadn't read that. SERIOUSLY I AM GIVING YOU EVERY WARNING THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO AVOID THIS ONE.

Still here? Okay, here's what happens on the season 3 Downton Abbey Christmas special ...


So, remember this moment from the season 2 Christmas special (which I covered on my own blog because I am a dork):

Well, who knows how many happy moments we get to enjoy between Matthew and Mary in season 3, but their love was not meant to last. A spokesperson for the show confirms that Dan Stevens, the actor who plays Matthew Crawley, will not be back for season 4 ... and the season 3 Christmas special explains why.

Ready for this? Okay, deep breath: on the season 3 Christmas special, Matthew -- who is newly married, OMG DOWNTON ABBEY WEDDING -- gets killed in a car accident.

I know. I know. The worst. Just ... let's just try and take solace in the fact that it was Matthew and not the dog. (DO NOT PUT ISIS IN JEOPARDY AGAIN, ABBEY CREATORS.)

I spoiled myself further by seeing a screen shot of the accident (gah) and learning what Matthew had been doing right before he got in the car, but I'll spare you. You can google for that if you want, but I recommend against it.

As for Stevens, he sounds a little bittersweet about his character's death, calling it both "odd" and "liberating":

We were always optioned for three years. And when that came up it was a very difficult decision. But it felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment. From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things.

I guess he'll have time to do so now, but ... damn you, Downton Abbey. Damn you to hell. *sobs brokenly into a delicate lace-trimmed handkerchief, rings bell for emotionally-stabilizing cup of tea*

Did you just spoiler yourself by reading this, or did you already know about Matthew? Will you miss him on the show?

Image via PBS

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