Ok we need to talk about that moment on Downton Abbey last night, and why it was not as effective as it could have been.
In case you missed the huge twist. Last night’s episode saw Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) resist the advances of valet Green (Nigel Harman), who responded with rage, attacked her and raped her. The audience saw Green’s initial slap, before the camera panned down the hall replacing it with Anna’s screams being heard behind closed doors.
While the moment was certainly shocking and had an emotional pull, due to it using one of the show’s most popular characters, it felt as if the moment lost some effectiveness due to the amount of promotion it had received.
The promos for season 4 released here before the season began on air, promised a twist that shocked Britain, was simple yet effective without giving too much away.
However, when it came time for the episode to screen, Channel Seven decided to tell viewers when the event would occur as seen by this promo embedded below.
With the audience aware the event would happen, it lessened the impact the show’s creators wanted to achieve.
It is a fine balance between promotion and storytelling but in the end the audience shouldn’t be deprived of the element of surprise for ratings like it was in this case.