Who didn’t get a bit misty when the family and help all sang as DOWNTON ABBEY said farewell to its fans and PBS?
As noted in preview recaps of this season’s episodes, the writers got each and every person to fit in a box that represented the individual’s future. We also got those on the fence about their future realizing they had to stop fighting and give in to the inevitable.
Carson was afflicted by something described as “palsy”, that took down both his father and grandfather’s careers in service before their time. He couldn’t hide it any longer and was ready to slink off to his cottage with his wife, feeling he’d let the family down.
Whoops, the Earl of Grantham wouldn’t hear of it, and neatly slipped the banished Barrow into the spot he’d always coveted, with Carson as the senior adviser, poking his nose into all things surrounding the care and comfort of the Crawley family.
Barrow had been gone a few months, leaving the Downton estate a new man. Humbled by being saved from a suicide attempt he thanked all, and even Mary came down to say goodbye, with Master George begging Barrow not to go.
His new position was in an estate like Downton, except inhabited only by an elderly blue blood couple and two other staff besides Barrow. It was quiet and of course, made him long for the comings and goings at the Crawley residence.
He was invited as a guest to Edith and Bertie’s wedding (yes we’ll get to that) and began pouring the champagne for the New Year’s toast as Carson was humiliated for the last time, his hand shaking with sparkling wine spilling all over. It was then that he admitted defeat. Robert took one look at Barrow and made that man’s life complete.
Didn’t you love when Carson and Mrs. Hughes called each other by their first names as they toasted each other and their future with the man of the house no longer “Mr. Carson” the super-butler? Yes, Charlie and Elsie walk off to a future that is financially secure and still tied to the Crawleys.
Mary’s so happy with her marriage that she didn’t care that Henry gave up racing and lived off her money. She’s pregnant and glowing and has to share that, even with her sister, who she got back in front of Bertie via subterfuge.
Mary maneuvered it when Edith went off to London, with the help of Aunt Rosamund. As Edith arrived with her aunt at the Ritz for dinner. there was Bertie and Auntie made her exit.
Bertie was miserable without Edith, he told her and ready to swallow his pride while hoping the secret doesn’t leak. He most fears his mother, who he is certain will scuttle the engagement when they announce it.
His blue blood mother hasn’t evolved like the Crawleys. Let’s face it, the Crawleys are unusual in that regard no matter how the modern age is encroaching on that class in England.
It began with them, including Violet, dealing with Mary having sex with Mr. Pamuk who promptly died in her bed. It continued with Sybil’s death, leaving Tom Branson to live among them with little Sibbie and over the years it led to acceptance of Marigold as a full member of the family.
Edith tried to explain to Bertie that she didn’t think she could keep the secret any longer. It’s out there floating among most folks at Downton and bound to leak. He was a sniveling baby about keeping it from his mother but Edith wouldn’t have any of it.
She told her future mother-in-law the truth, risking it all after hearing Bertie’s mother talk about the grave responsibility he had inherited as the head of the Brancaster estate.
While the mother’s turnaround in less than 24 hours was a bit ridiculous, her reasoning wasn’t. She realized her son needed backbone and telling that kind of truth, with all Edith would lose if the decision went against her demonstrated backbone like she hadn’t seen in a long while.
The couple’s New Year’s Eve wedding was a grand affair, but not as grand as it would have been ten years prior. Edith looked gorgeous and thanked her sister for the shocking bit of sweetness that finally got her to an altar where she wouldn’t be left standing with an absent groom humiliating her.
Back a few episodes ago, we heard tell Mary about his dream of opening an auto shop in the villag. She listened, being encouraging in an effort to keep him and Sibbie close. Tom then convinced Henry to come along for the ride, so to speak.
They showed off the shop to Mary, fearing she’d run from Talbot who was going into business like a commoner. viable business.
As I wrote above, she is so happy she’s oblivious to what it would mean to be married to a tradesman. All she knows is he won’t be racing any more and Mary finally realized she’d like a living husband no matter how he chose to spend his days.
Tom has cast a spell on that entire family and no one is more under that spell than Mary.
The Bates baby was born without horror, other than Anna’s water breaking in Lady Mary’s bed chamber. There she stayed to give birth and recover. John and Anna have a son and after Mary and the family told Anna to stop apologizing for being in her lady’s bed rather than her own, The Bates’ rang in the new year in bliss.
Daisy did her usual schtick, by refusing to consider Andrew a suitable man to love, discouraging him, then chasing after him after she pissed him off for good, or at least she thought so. The scene with her trying to get a new hair style and using the new contraption called a hair dryer, all to impress Andrew was pretty funny.
Mrs. Patmore took her to task for vacillating about Andrew and of course Mr. Mason did too. “You could do worse,” they both told her. She finally realized that she had to stop the back and forth with him.
She also had to do the same with Mr. Mason kept who keeps asking her to move in to help him around the cottage/farm. Andrew was already there doing hard labor as well as taking care of the financial books and records. It may just be that Mason will be throwing a wedding for the young couple at some point.
Mason has dropped more than hints to Mrs. Patmore that he’d like her around a lot more, which made her blush and smile. Still another wedding in the future? Will she leave Downton or hang in there with the Crawleys as she lives at the Mason’s farm?
Lord Merton was stricken with what he was told was a fatal form of anemia, and it led to Isobel Crawley telling herself “Carpe Diem” and helping him through it. When he was taken back to his son and evil daughter-in-law’s home and kept away from Isobel, it took the Dowager Countess to bust her way in and spring him.
They walked out of the home triumphant and we all thought Lord Merton would die as Isobel cared for him until he let go. Oh no, this was an even when there wasn’t a sad ending for any character at Downton.
Dr. Clarkson cleared it all up by testing Merton’s blood after Isobel had taken care of him for a while and all of a sudden, it wasn’t “pernicious” anemia any longer. Wedding bells will be chiming again.
Robert and Cora settled their differences about her spending increasingly more time dealing with the hospitable and community. When cousin Rose arrived for Edith’s wedding she took Robert to see his wife in front of a room, conducting a town hall meeting and exuding the kind of confidence and happiness she rarely exhibited at home.
He gave in, but not begrudgingly as he once again admitted that he was lucky to have her. Oh, and he wasn’t unhappy that her mother didn’t come over from America for the wedding, Neither was Cora.
The Dowager Countess admitted that Cora was the perfect person to be leading that effort in town and they kissed and made up. She was part of the collective sigh of relief that Edith was finally someone’s wife and of course, led the charge to make Isobel and Lord Merton a couple once again.
While I had tears in my eyes as the cast sang Auld Lang Syne and major characters said farewell to us without costume, as their actor selves, it was time to go. The season hasn’t been one of the best, but when faced with it never returning, all was forgiven.
How was it for you?
Image credit: PBS.org, used with permission