02/17/2013 11:17 pm ET Updated Apr 19, 2013

'Downton Abbey': Matthew Is Dead, But Is That A Good Thing?

Note: Do not read on if you have not not seen the Season 3 finale of "Downton Abbey."

"Downton Abbey" fans are likely still reeling over the fact that Matthew Crawley is dead.

Of course those who heard the news of Dan Stevens' departure from the UK period drama or those who've been spoiled by fans on the other side of the pond who watched the Season 3 finale months earlier may not be surprised right now. But after watching, do you think it's possible that Matthew's death is a good thing for the show?

The Huffington Post's TV critic Maureen Ryan suggests it is. She says Stevens was "saddled with some of the show's dumbest storylines" and now, he and the show will be put out of that misery. "All that 'Downton' held for Matthew was more of the same, and those repetitive storylines had reached the point of diminishing returns," Ryan wrote. "I think more highly of the actor and the character than to want that. And his death will force the show to evolve: [Creator Julian] Fellowes may not like to embrace change, but with Stevens' departure, "Downton's" creator will be forced away from the Matthew-Mary dynamic and will have to try a few new things."

But The Huffington Post's executive arts and entertainment editor Mike Hogan doesn't agree. "I don't like it when a story like this one, which owes at least as much to 'Great Expectations' as it does to 'General Hospital,' lets contract disputes determine its plot," Hogan wrote in his Season 3 finale recap. "Matthew's death just feels wrong. It's too much, too soon. Yes, I know that tragedies don't always come in neatly spaced out intervals. I heard a story recently about someone who lost three close family members in a single year. But we don't watch 'Downton Abbey' because this family is unusually susceptible to tragedy. In fact, I suspect many of us watch it because it extracts such high doses of drama and tension from such trivial concerns."

What do you think? Share you thoughts about Matthew being dead in the poll and in the comments below.

'Downton Abbey' Season 3