Peter Fenzel, Ryan Sheely, and Matthew Wrather recap Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 3.[audio:http://podone.noxsolutions.com/launchpod/overthinkingitrecap/mp3/oti-recap-downton-abbey-s05e03.mp3]
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I was a bit surprised at Matt’s argument that the pairing of Eros and death is not typical of Downton Abbey, as there are a variety of examples where sex and death are juxtaposed. The most obvious is in the third episode of the very first season, where poor Mr. Pamuk is sexed to death by Mary. (Perhaps it is only Tony’s litheness and suppleness that has saved him from a similar fate.)
One could argue that a further example of actually illicit sex being punished is the death of Gregson at the hands of Brownshirts. (In a way, the deaths of those involved in illicit sex makes Downton like a slasher movie.) And Sybil is essentially killed by having sex (although the causal link is 9 months later than for poor Mr. Pamuk).
So sure, some of these are reaching. But surely Pamuk’s death, right in the first season, made a connection between these two Freudian drives. Yes, it was played far more lightheartedly in the first season (far too much, I thought, as it plunged nearly into farce), but the two were associated right at the start of the series.