Not again! Downton Abbey fans are losing yet another character. Only this time it's not another character we love -- it's a character we love to hate. O'Brien is leaving Downton. The actress who plays her, Siobhan Finneran, says, "I'm not doing any more." Whoa, did you see that coming?
O'Brien, Cora's scheming, vindictive lady's maid, is about to jump ship. Cora will be "so disappointed," just like she was when Thomas spread that rumor that O'Brien was planning to leave. I'm "so disappointed," too. Next to the Dowager Countess, O'Brien had the funniest zingers. But I have to say -- I saw this coming. Here's how I think O'Brien's departure is going to play out, and I don't think it's going to have much to do with "her ladyship's soap."
Remember in the season finale, when the Crawleys were visiting Shrimpy, Susan, and Rose in Scotland? Shrimpy was talking about taking a post abroad because he was about to lose his estate. That's why Rose is going to live at Downton next season. But did you notice O'Brien's conversations with Susan's maid? Her maid was a little trepidatious about going abroad, but O'Brien confessed she's always wanted to travel the world. O'Brien, dreaming of travel, right out of the blue! Fellows doesn't throw idle chit-chat out there for no reason. That was a hint.
Later, Susan tries to get her maid to do her hair like O'Brien does Cora's, and forces O'Brien to do a tutorial. This makes Susan's maid jealous of O'Brien, and she tries to exact some revenge by handing O'Brien a powerfully spiked glass of punch later on at the ball. O'Brien (who knows a thing or two about a thing or two) smells trouble, literally, and lets Moseley take it from her. And we all saw how tanked he got.
Anyway, O'Brien's all, you thought you could get me drunk, but you didn't, haha, and now I don't feel any sort of loyalty to you to Susan's maid. And then she marches rights up to Susan and chats her up. In that week's recap, I asked, "Do you think Mrs. O'Brien will leave Cora to work abroad for Susan?!?"
Sure looks that way!
I wonder if the soap incident will come up at all, now. I'd hate to think of O'Brien and Cora parting on bad terms. But then, Cora's going to be pretty pissed anyway, so why not mix in some extra drama. And what about all the other story lines? The massive grudge match between O'Brien and Thomas? And between O'Brien and Bates? Are the staff just going to be free to go about their work peaceably, without fear? What kind of fun is that?!?
Well, we'll definitely miss O'Brien's wicked ways, and so will Finneran. The actress admits, "O'Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being -- that was great to play." I can imagine she is. "I actually have great fun being sniffy to everyone. I love O'Brien the most when she's spiteful and has a brilliant put-down. She's a clever lady and a bad enemy to make." Perfect, she'll do well with grumpy old Susan, then. But the rest of us will miss her terribly!
Are you surprised to hear O'Brien is leaving Downton? Will the soap incident play a role?
Image via PBS