Downton Series Finale
I can’t believe it’s over, said anyone who has ever watched and loved a series. But Downton—well, it’s been like Jane Austen, Peyton Place, Upstairs Downstairs, and Falcon Crest, whipped into a trifle and served for pudding. We celebrate and mourn at the same time. And what a fare-thee-well! #weep
Edith finally found happiness—because of a little tugging at the puppet strings from Mary (yes, Mary!). Edith went to the Ritz with Rosamund and it turned into a blind date with Bertie; Rosamund left them, and Bertie begged Edith to marry him. She reluctantly agreed, still fearing reprisals from Mother. So off Edith and her parents go to the castle, where they meet the dragon-lady mother, who harps on the importance of morals and being above reproach. Edith can stand no more. Despite her parents’ and Bertie’s opinions, Edith tells her potential mother-in-law the truth about Marigold, knowing she is gambling with her own happiness again.
But this Edith is brave. She has morals. She has a truth she must live with and she risks everything. Marigold and her own self-love are worth it. Surprisingly, the truth wins! Bertie’s mum values the truth and a woman who isn’t a gold-digger. I have loved watching the arc of development for Edith. She was such a ninny in the first season: jealous, whiny, shadowy. Downton Abbey was Mary’s story then, and for successive seasons Edith was still a shadow of Mary. But this final year, this final episode, even, really confirms my opinion that it was Edith’s story all along. Who has changed more, after all? Mary is pretty much the same; the tweak at the end where she grabs onto Henry still seems out of character. But Edith? Go, girl! #teamEdith
Happily Ever After
The wedding was beautiful, wasn’t it? The children, the smiles from the family and staff—and did you not feel a frisson of doubt at that moment when the priest asked if there were any objections? Oh, blessed be—Edith married a man she loved, who turned out to be, as Robert says, a prince charming in disguise. Henceforth, Edith and poor little Marigold, who have struggled so much, will have the best of everything, even social precedence over Mary and her parents. Whodathunk it?
Who else get a happily ever after?
- Bates and Anna—For unto them a child is born! Anna’s water breaks in Mary’s room, and before we can get the ShopVac and some sawdust for cleanup, Anna is holding their new son, and Mary pledges to let the baby live in the nursery with her own kids while Anna continues to wait on Mary. A job with daycare? Yes, please!
- Barrow finally got a job somewhere else, and he got what he asked for: to be butler. And yet, he’s not happy. When he returns to Downton for Edith’s wedding, Carson has the shakes, possibly Parkinson’s, though they still call it “palsy.” The result is that Carson can no longer pour wine or hold a tray, so he’s given the golden handshake and Barrow becomes butler at Downton. Barrow’s happy; Carson isn’t but is at least graceful in stepping down.
- Daisy chops off her hair and finally decides to split from the house and move to the farm; she also sees the worth of Andrew the footman-turned-pig farmer. With some encouragement from Mason and Mrs. Patmore, Daisy finally might stop being the prickly scullery maid and become the mature cook and farm wife. There’s also promise for Mrs. Patmore, with a wink and a nod from Mr. Mason.
- Carson, if truth be told, gets a pretty big break by being allowed to act as elder statesman-butler emeritus. He’s not happy but he knows his retirement is inevitable. To get to stay on the property, in the cottage, keeping a benevolent eye on the family and staff—what else could be better for a man of his years and experience?
- Cora steps into her own as the president of the hospital. Robert is whining about her work taking precedence over her family, but honestly—she’s 50(ish). She’s raised the kids. Give her a fat break, and let her own her success. Luckily, he does. #teamCora
- Molesley scores: A teacher gave notice, so there’s not only a job but a cottage, so Molesley gives notice, and since he and Baxter are close pals, perhaps there will be wedding bells in their future. Here’s hoping.
- Tom and Henry start a motor business—and Mary doesn’t hate it. And at the wedding, Edith’s editor catches the bouquet and makes eyes at Tom, so there’s hope for his (their) future, too.
- Isobel learns that her erstwhile suitor, Lord Merton, has pernicious anemia, which was essentially a death knell in the 1920s (it’s treatable if not curable today). She’s heartbroken over what might have been, and Miss Cruikshank and Larry won’t allow her to visit. Finally, Isobel and Violet break him out of his virtual prison and take him home. Isobel marries him and then—surprise! He’s not going to die! Happiness abounds!
- Violet makes peace with Cora over the hospital brouhaha, and also puts her imprimatur on the series close. She wishes we could look back to the past, but Isobel loves moving into the future. That’s the essential argument of the series: Look forward or look back? How each character has dealt with changing times has made this series worth watching.
- Spratt beats Denker: Denker does her best to snoop out Spratt’s side job as a magazine columnist, and tattles to Violet, but Violet laughs and doesn’t care. She even praises Spratt for his sage advice. Edith even wants Spratt to run a full page instead of a narrow column. Nertz to Denker!
It is sad to say farewell, and to lose the excitement of watching and anticipating next week’s installment, but it has been a pleasure to watch the 15-year span for this family. From the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 to the end of 1928, Britain’s ups and downs, as reflected in the nobility and the working class, has been an exciting time to watch. Alas for the Crawleys, et al, the Crash of 1929 is coming, the world depression of the 1930s, and then a second great war, beginning in 1938. So the next ten years will prove to be a challenge for the family. It would be a thrill to see a reunion show in a few years (again, I hope!). Such a good show…I can’t say it enough. I’ll miss them all. Sigh.
Thanks for riding along with me this season!