SPOILERS FOR SEASON 6 OF DOWNTON ABBEY. DO NOT READ IF YOU STILL PLAN TO CATCH UP ON THE FINAL SEASON.
It’s over! It’s all over! No more snarky bon mots by Violet! No more snarky anything from Mary! No more life treating Edith like the raggedy puppy mean people want to kick! No more members of the Bates family arrested on trumped-up criminal charges! No more Carson wringing his hands over the way his world is changing!
Whatever shall we do?
Kidding aside, I asked my mother what it was she liked so much about the show:
“It’s simple. I like the shows that are complicated, but it’s nice to watch something simple and straightforward like this, too.”
I think she hit on one of the main reasons the show became so popular. Its beauty isn’t limited to the gorgeous actors, sets, and costumes, it’s also its simplicity. And if you think simplicity is easy to achieve, you’d be wrong.
Here are some random thoughts I had about the final season:
- The only thing that made me happier than seeing Carson and Mrs. Hughes finally marry was Tom and Sybie returning during their wedding reception.
I actually jumped up and down with joy! I had no idea they were returning for Season 6, but it feels so right that they did. I always enjoyed Tom’s friendship/working relationship with Mary, and he and Sybie were our connection to dear, lost Sybil. Things were just a little bit off until they came back.
- Everyone should have a friend as good as Mrs. Patmore.
Seriously, this woman went above and beyond for her friend Mrs. Hughes, who was nervous about the sexual aspect of her impending marriage and actually asked Mrs. Patmore to bring up the subject with Carson.
AND SHE DID IT.
Give that woman every gold star in the world.
Mrs. Hughes, on the other hand—that’s really putting your dearest friend in a very, very awkward situation. Have your own sex talks from now on, lady.
- I absolutely loved watching Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes going all “Lucy and Ethel” on Carson.
When Mr. Carson did not understand how difficult it was for Mrs. Hughes (still called this even after her marriage because rich people can’t be bothered with remembering new things) to run a house, she and Mrs. Patmore set him up by pretending Mrs. Hughes had injured her hand. Mr. Carson, to his horror (HORROR, I SAY!) had to cook dinner and do the washing up. That shut him up for good.
- Robert vomiting up blood during a dinner party with Neville Chamberlain as a guest was both the most horrifying and funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
It was SOOOO over-the-top.
Maybe they were trying to make some kind of political statement here?
Nah, I doubt it.
- Season 6 was the season Barrow turned into Edith.
Told his job was being eliminated, he spent the entire season alternating between job hunting and being depressed. On the one hand, it was a nice change to see him not manipulating everyone just for the sake of manipulating everyone, but on the other hand, he wasn’t as interesting as when he was manipulating everyone.
- Season 6 was the season Edith turned into a person instead of an endless tragedy.
O.K., I have my issues with Edith; I won’t lie. She took Marigold away from, not one, but TWO loving adoptive families.
That is SELFISH.
It’s worse than that.
It’s MARY selfish.
However, watching Edith evolve into a smart, capable woman running a business was nice. So was how she stopped acting like a black cloud was following her everywhere she went.
That was Barrow’s job this season.
- How weird was it to see Mary almost become—NICE?
Sure, she made one last bitchy move on her sister when she revealed to Edith’s boyfriend Bertie that Marigold was Edith’s daughter. Then she started to feel bad about it and arranged for Edith and Bertie to meet so they could reconcile.
One of the things I’ve always admired about Downton Abbey is how its nominal heroine is so beloved even though she is in many ways a horrible person. That is very hard to pull off. But I don’t mind that they had Mary and Edith finally become less antagonistic, if not bosom buddies.
- How great was it to see Edith become a marchioness and Mary the wife of a used car salesman?
Oh, yeah, Tom and Mary’s new hubby Henry probably ended up the biggest car manufacturers in England, but it was still funny to think they were starting out by selling used cars. Mary seemed happy about it, but when Henry was moaning about being useless and idle, she had a look on her face that said, “Yes, and?”
- YAY, education!
Daisy, Andy, and Mr. Moseley had their lives changed by education. Daisy passed all her exams, Andy finally learned to read, and Mr. Moseley (before this season the downstairs version of Edith) nabbed a job as a teacher and finally began following his bliss.
Best of all, we were treated to the brief return of Gwen, the housemaid who left to become a secretary during Season 1, and found out that education helped her elevate her station in life. As it will most certainly for these other characters, just as it opened up opportunities for the lower classes who no longer had to live out their entire lives in service.
- I don’t ever recall a series finale with THIS many happy endings.
Everyone lives happily ever after.
Robert learns to live with Cora’s new job running the local hospital and is proud of her.
Mary is pregnant.
Anna and Bates are overjoyed when she gives birth to a healthy baby boy.
Daisy realizes she likes Andy and decides to move in with her father-in-law Mr. Mason.
Mr. Mason implies to Mrs. Patmore that he will soon come a-courting.
Miss Baxter makes herself and Mr. Moseley happy when she decides to let go of the past and stop feeling guilty about how she let a creep manipulate her into committing a crime.
Edith wins over her prospective mother-in-law by being honest about Marigold.
Carson reveals he has a palsy and has to retire, which isn’t happy, but he gets a pension and a role as Supreme Head of the Staff at Downton Abbey, or something, and Barrow is offered the job as butler.
Rose and Atticus arrive for Edith’s wedding and show off pictures of their baby, who they left in America with the nanny because being rich means you don’t have to drag a baby everywhere with you.
Violet has a good laugh over Spratt being an agony aunt (advice columnist to us Yanks) in Edith’s magazine.
Denker is pretty much the only one who doesn’t end up happy because she has failed once again to sink Spratt. (We can’t have TOO much happiness, because that would be unrealistic, right?) But I’m sure Denker immediately started working on her next plot, so she’s probably happy, too.
Edith’s editor Laura catches her bouquet and gets a twinkly look from Tom, so you know where THAT’s going, right?
Isobel finds out Lord Merton is dying and rescues him from his horrible son and daughter-in-law. They marry so they can enjoy life until he dies. Then they find out he’s not dying.
Even Lord Merton’s awful son and daughter-in-law end up happy because they get Merton’s house AND they don’t have to live with him.
Then there’s Edith, who gets her man, her child, who she can send off to a school and not be bothered too much by her, and a grand title that her sister would have killed for at one time.
Usually, neat, happy endings bug the heck out of me, but the pile-on of happy endings was exactly right for this series.
Cheerio, Downton Abbey! It was fun while it lasted.