The biggest appeal of Downton Abbey lay in its dual storytelling — viewers got to see the opulent lives of the aristocrats, as well as the daily problems and romances of the downstairs staff that actually ran the estate. Many a time, their stories intertwined, but overall, the servant quarters were where most of the action was at.
With the focus on their storylines came some unpopular opinions too. Fans of the period drama have some very hot takes about everything that went on in the lower floors of the estate, whether it was William and Daisy’s odd love story, the Bates’ misfortunes, or Tom’s rise from the bottom to the upper echelons of English society.
Daisy Was The Worst
Despite being one of the most likable characters on Downton Abbey, Daisy gets a lot of flak online. Viewers think that she was irritating, especially towards the end of the show because of her bad behavior with Cora. Her love triangle with Alfred and Ivy was terrible, and she acted bratty with her newfound family after complaining about not having one. Silver-Star92 summarized “Daisy annoys the crap out of me. She never seems to grow up despite everything she goes through.”
But arguably, Daisy had the most growth on the show. She outgrew her meekness, educated herself, and therefore started speaking up against classism and unfair treatment in the house. She always meant well, even if she messed up. Her actions were always well-intentioned and she matured beautifully.
Sybil And Matthew Died Because Tom Pursued Sybil
In a very absurd and alternate universe type of take, Redditors blame Tom for the two biggest, most shocking deaths on Downton Abbey. User English_rose86 felt that if Tom hadn’t listened to his heart and pursued Sybil, then two things would have happened. She would not have his baby and thus would be alive. Tom would have stayed a chauffeur and would be able to drive Matthew so he wouldn’t have met with an accident. “…They’d both still be alive,” they said.
If every event were to be connected this way and traced backward, the plot would never go forward and there would be no show. Tom did not cause these deaths.
William Shouldn’t Have Forced Daisy’s Hand
Sweet William passed away too early, but his parting kindness to Daisy was received badly by some viewers. They felt that he was annoying because he smothered Daisy with his love and guilted her to marry him as he lay on his deathbed. Harriet_Jones_PM opined “William irritated me. (Hated how they pressured Daisy to marry him)”
William loved Daisy with all his heart, but he knew that she didn’t feel the same way. He knew he wouldn’t survive, so the marriage was his way of making sure that she was looked after all her life by his father, and that she would never want for money. It was the nicest thing he could do and William set her up for life with this act.
Carson And Mrs. Hughes Felt Forced
Redditors frowned upon Carson and Mrs. Hughes’s whirlwind marriage because it seemed like a romance was added to the show for the heck of it. They were better suited to be friends who ran the house together, and the marriage seemed like one of convenience. A deleted user said that “The romance didn’t do a lot for their relationship at all.”
Love is never the same for everyone, and Carson and Mrs. Hughes had worked together a long time. Theirs was a slow love, and one that crept in before they realized. They had worked together a long time, and putting off marriage didn’t make sense for someone their age, which was probably why it was quick.
Bates Killed Vera
Vera Bates was a side character who had main character energy, mainly because she could ruin Bates’ life with a snap of her finger. Difficultcolorgreen on Reddit is convinced that Vera didn’t kill herself and that her husband did go to London (since he did have troubling violent tendencies) and murdered her himself so that he could live happily ever after with Anna: “Bates killed his wife.”
Bates did share an unsavory relationship with Vera, but she was also very disturbed. The evidence of her ingestion of arsenic was clear. The halo made by her fluorescent breath, her discolored fingernails, and strange state of mind was proved in court, and her death was ruled a suicide.
Anna Was Obnoxious
Of all the characters on the show, netizens (or at least some of them) don’t like Anna. The sweet maid rubbed them the wrong way, and they felt that she was irritating, especially since she got married to Mr. Bates. Doodlebugkisses said brazenly “Anna was whiny and obnoxious.”
Anna was easily one of the most lovely people on Downton Abbey. She barely whined: her life was dedicated to her husband and to Mary, for whom she even went and purchased birth control without a word. She usually kept her grievances to herself, be it about her pregnancies or even about Mr. Green.
Carson Was Pathetic
Of the many flaws in Downton Abbey, viewers pinpoint Carson’s undying loyalty to the Crawleys as one of the main issues. Redditors thought that his devotion to them wasn’t endearing, but pathetic. He was deluded if he thought that they considered him family, because the class distinction was clear as glass and his simpering was insufferable. “I can’t stand Mr. Carson,” Ireadonredditthat said plainly.
Carson’s bond with the Crawleys was an emotional one because he had spent his entire life with them. He was conservative, so he truly believed that the order of things back then was correct. After he left the “Cheerful Charlies”, he found dignity and respect at the estate, so he stayed loyal to them.
Bates Would Have Been A Better Villain
Another character downstairs gets the boot from Reddit, and this time it’s Bates. Redditors don’t like the vibe that Mr. Bates exudes, and they’re not sure if it’s his smug expression of self-righteous behavior, but it’s not welcome. His smile isn’t genuine and he strikes approval_seal as creepy, who says that he “would actually have made a better villain I feel.”
For what it’s worth, Bates was one of the most honorable men in the show. He was generous, even to people like Thomas who heckled him, and loyal to his wife. Liking a character is subjective, but Bates was a good man, for the most part. He did have some violence in him which he kept controlled, and that’s what made him human. He wasn’t flawless, but he sought to be a good man every day.
Barrow Was Never Hateful
Snowballdance on Reddit is of the opinion that there was no reason to hate Thomas on the show, because his petty and cruel behavior could be explained away by his traumatic experience of trying to fit into society. He was vulnerable and taken advantage of by even O’Brien, who used to be his friend and ally. Thomas did bad things, but it was forgivable because he had a backstory, unlike O’Brien. They said “I never hated Thomas – he was my favorite character from episode one.”
Thomas’ struggles are undeniable. He suffered a lot in a restrictive era, but excusing him from his terrible treatment of Bates, stealing Robert’s dog to curry favor, and getting himself shot on purpose during the war because of it makes no sense. He did grow and evolve in the later seasons, but there was plenty to hate about Barrow for a while in the show.
Tom Only Moved Back Because He Liked Luxury
The rebel of the show changed his stance a fair bit after his daughter was born, and fans online can’t help but wonder if it was because he got used to the high life. He had seen and done the dirty work, but being a Grantham gave him access to luxury like never before, and they think that he didn’t stay in America because he liked the comfort of Downton. In KrasMeow’s words, “I feel like he got a taste of how life is on both sides, and we can’t blame him to scale back politically to live a life of luxury.”
Tom was too proud to feel this way. The reason for his return lay in Sybil’s memories at Downton, and that his child would be well-looked after and at home there. He wanted to lay down roots around people who loved him and Sybbie, and America wasn’t very welcoming to the Irish back then, either. Downton was the safest and most loving home for them.