Well, the Downton Abbey finale was last night and they decided to give almost everyone a fairy tale happy ending. It has been a smash hit for PBS during its six seasons and what some would call a cultural phenomenon.
There was a very interesting display a year or so ago at the Dupont Estate, Winterthur that had costumes from Downton Abbey but also talked about what life was like for the ultra-rich in America at the time and how it differed from the English. It was very interesting.
Downstairs and Upstairs Had Equally Happy Endings
It didn’t matter whether it was the servants or the Crawleys, everyone seemed to get a happy ending out of this last episode. But, of course, you had to have some drama.
To start with, Thomas Barrow, tried to commit suicide by cutting his wrist in the bathtub. Luckily, one of the maids suddenly realized this might be the case based on something he said and rushed to find him. He was found just in time and rescued and stitched and bandaged up. The support he received seemed to change him from nasty to nice. However, because of his prior issues, he looked for and found a job with another family. When he got there, it turned out it was a much smaller household and therefore a much smaller staff. He was the butler and there was a cook and a maid. He seemed very unhappy.
Then Lady Mary told Bertie that Edith had had a child and because Edith hadn’t told him, it put an end to their engagement. Violet (Maggie Smith) comes back from a trip and talks things through with Lady Mary who is very unhappy since the death of her husband in a car racing accident. Violet tells her that it is OK to marry for love and not station which is kind of a shock. So she gets married to Henry in a small ceremony and is happy, but in a way, Henry is not. He had been a top race car driver but since the death of his friend and Mary’s first husband, racing no longer brings him any thrills. He mopes around for a good part of the show trying to figure out what to do with his life and not just depend on his wealthy wife. Finally towards the end it is revealed that he and Tom have teamed up and opened a car dealership selling used cars to start and then looking to move into new cars. Mary is excited for him even though this would have been so inappropriate for someone of this station to be doing at the time when the show first began.
Mr. Carson is as crusty as ever but has started to have problems with shaking of his hands making difficult to pour wine or serve properly. A bit of a problem for a butler. It isn’t noticed much at first and he hides it but becomes more obvious as the show goes on. Carson meets with Lord Grantham and says that he can no longer function at his job because of the palsy and he will tender his resignation. Grantham suggests he could stay in some capacity and Carson said that if he were the person coming in, he would not accept the job on those terms. At the very end Barrow is back from his other job to help out with a Christmas party although oddly it seemed as if he was a guest not a servant. When Carson has problems pouring, he offers to take over the job for him. Lord Grantham has a brainstorm and suggests that Barrow leave the other job and come back as the head butler and Carson would get a cottage and stay around to help and give guidance. Happy ending for all.
Molesley gets to teach a class in a local school and tries to give the kids advantages he didn’t have. Later they expand and want him to come and live at the school in the village and work full time. He agrees to come back and work at Downton Abbey for large functions and parties.
The Hospital Resolved
Lord Grantham is not happy with Lady Grantham’s involvement with the local hospital until a niece brings him to see Lady Grantham at a hospital meeting and he realizes that she is very good at it and loves it. And, at another point Violet tells Lady Grantham that she is doing a wonderful job at the hospital.
Lady Mary arranges a meeting between Bertie and Lady Edith without Lady Edith knowing it was going to happen. They resume their courtship and plan to get married. Bertie doesn’t want to tell his mother about Edith’s child. So the morning of the party where the marriage will be announced, Lady Edith goes to his mother and tells her all the details. There are some tense moments but everything works out and the marriage goes forward. This means that she now outranks her family in social ranking and also wealth.
Isobel and Lord Merton
Then there was Isobel and Lord Merton. Isobel turned him down and then he told her he was dying of anemia and didn’t have long to live. Violet told Isobel their age shouldn’t matter. When she went to see Lord Merton, Merton’s son and daughter in law wouldn’t let her in. They wanted him to die and to inherit the estate and not have her creating complications. Finally Violet goes with her and they barge in and get to see Lord Merton. He tells his son he doesn’t like him and he can have the house but he is going with Isobel. Then he finds out that his anemia isn’t as serious as previously thought and he won’t die soon.
Other Wrap Ups
Anna breaks water in Mary’s room and ends up giving birth to a boy in Mary’s bed with Mr. Bates, Anna’s husband in attendance. Daisy stopped being dim and finally accepted the advances of Andy. Mr. Mason started flirting with Mrs. Patmore and it looked like something was going to happen there.
Oh, and Lady Mary is pregnant. There are probably more things that could be mentioned but there was a lot of feel good stuff they packed in that last episode.