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Your Downton Abbey Recap: What You Need To Know Before the Movie

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The gong has rung and it’s time to dress for dinner. Got your gloves and tiaras? Carson approves. The Downton Abbey movie comes to theaters this week! If you need to a quick Downton Abbey recap before the movie, look no further. Here’s what you need to remember before seeing Downton Abbey this week. Affiliate links are in this post. 

Downton Abbey Movie Poster

Welcome Back to Downton Abbey: A Recap

I am one of those fangirls that know when they slept on something, they gotta make up for it.

And I slept hard on Downton Abbey. 

I didn’t watch a single episode for six full seasons. (GASP!)

Carson Downton Abbey Movie recap

Look, we can talk about how dare I and what were you thinking and all that nonsense another time.

And you’d be right to give me a quick one-liner ala the Countess Dowager to put me in my place. 

But please don’t.


Because I get it- now, late, all that… but I get it! 

And I made up for being late to the ball by binging the show over a course of 2 weeks on Amazon Prime. Six seasons in two weeks: that was quite the marathon, y’all!

Binging Downtown Abbey: A Jolly Good (but long) Show!

My rules for binging usually are pretty simple. 

  1. A show needs to be relatively new- 2 or 3 seasons max.
  2. And the seasons ideally will only have 6-8 episodes.
  3. Bonus if the shows are under 30 minutes. 

As much as I wanted to actually move into Downton, I do have kids, a husband, a dog, a job… I mean, I’m definitely more Sybil than Cora when it comes to staying busy.

sybill downton abbey

However: Downtown Abbey broke ALL those binging rules for me.

I went ahead and binged away. Even thought it was 6 seasons long, and each episode was anywhere from 47 to 90 minutes long.

And it was pretty awesome. And also pretty intense. 

Should You Binge Downton Abbey?

Absolutely. Totally. YES.

Trust me on this. 

But going in, know that it’s a commitment. And at this point in the week, you likely don’t have time to binge-watch the full Downton Abbey series in order to recap Downton Abbey if you want to see the movie this weekend. 

I mean, you could, I suppose.

There is still time in theory, but that clock is ticking and you’d need to fully invest. 

The Crawley women Downton Abbey recap

I’m talking calling in sick to work, sending the kids to grandmas, holing up on your couch, and ordering a lot of pizza & Red Bull.

(But probably don’t admit to anyone that you’re doing all this just so you can catch up on a PBS show or they might judge you.)

It will be our little secret. 

I was on that exact track when I binged two seasons in two days. I couldn’t get enough! I think I even picked up a British accent for a hot minute. 

And then I read up on spoilers (because, yes, this is what I do and, no, it does not ruin anything for me- I’m weird like that) and slowed down for season 3. I knew some -ish was coming, and I subconsciously put off getting there. 

Heavy dramatic British sigh. 

FYI: Season 3 is tough, y’all. We love these people hard and when they hurt, we hurt, and oh— it’s just a whole dang thing, now isn’t it?

Upstairs or downstairs: this place has some of the best characters on tv and soon to be on the big screen. 

bates family downtown abbey

Do You Need To Watch the Downton Abbey Series Before The Movie?

I had the chance to see the movie early so I do have a bit of insight into this. 

As a Downton Abbey review for someone who has never seen the show: you can go see the movie and still enjoy it. It’s not overly complicated but it does rely on backstory. However, you won’t be “lost” if you decide to watch it cold-turkey- but I’d take the 10-minutes needed to watch the Downton Abbey recap video in this post to get an idea of things. 

downton abbey movie recap braxton

There’s a lot of fanservice in the movie, however, which means some of the jokes, one-liners- and even plots may not carry the full impact if you haven’t seen the series. 

But the Dowager Countess Crawley is ALWAYS a blast- no backstory needed! So feel free to see the movie if you are ok with having some plot lines from the series spoiled for you. 

I Don’t Have Time To Binge: Can I Get A Downton Abbey Recap Before the Movie?

While not quite as nuanced as watching the full series, this video touches on many of the main plotlines of Downton Abbey in a recap. 

Keep in mind: this is 100% spoiler-filled.

If you haven’t watched the show before, you will get a sense of what has happened and who is whom from the Downton Abbey recap video below.

But you will have major plots spoiled. If you don’t like that idea, then I suggest putting off the movie and buckling in for a long binge of the Downton series

Downton Abbey is in theaters nationwide on September 20, 2019. Get your Downton Abbey recap on before you go!

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