Let’s just get this out of the way. Downton Abbey is over.
After 6 passionate and poignant seasons, the curtain comes down on Downton Abbey in an ultimately satisfying and emotional conclusion. I—like many of you—have spent the last 6 years or so wrapped up in the trials and tribulations of the Crawley family, so much so that I actually felt like I was with them at the dinner table every Sunday night. I’ve enjoyed this show so much, but alas…
No Downstairs and Upstairs for the final recap. This time, everyone is on the same level.
We ended the last episode shocked and sad for what looked to be the end of Bertie and Edith’s engagement. When the final episode begins, we watch Edith walk with her family and tell them of her plans to move to London with Marigold and enroll her in school, commenting on her spinster status no less. Meanwhile, I’m assuring myself that Bertie is going to pop up at some point in this episode.
Since the death of his best friend, Henry doesn’t seem to enjoy racing anymore and tries to determine what he wants to do with his life. Tom wants to do a little soul searching of his own, and the two of them formulate a plan for their futures that they don’t tell anyone about—until the end.
While Isobel was initially invited to visit her sometimes-beau, Lord Merton, she gets a letter from his son essentially uninviting her for reasons she doesn’t understand. She consults her favorite scheming frenemy Violet, and she’s not having it. She tells Isobel to go to the house herself and see what’s up. Lord Merton tells Isobel that he has pernicious anemia, and it’s fatal. In typical Isobel fashion, she vows to take care of Lord Merton until it’s over and regrets that she didn’t marry him when she had the chance, but once the two of them get back together, Lord Merton is snatched back home and is seemingly held hostage by his son and daughter-in-law. Let’s just say Violet isn’t having it.
Violet and Isobel bombard the house and hilariously rescue Lord Merton. Not only that, Isobel says she’ll marry him, and he—of course—is on board with it. Later on, the two of them learn that he was misdiagnosed. He has anemia, but not pernicious anemia, so he’s not going to die from the disease.
Andy lurks in the shadows and asks Mrs. Patmore’s advice about Daisy. It turns out he’s sweet on her (yes, I just used that phrase) and wants to know how she feels about him. As usual, Daisy scoffs at him and spurns his advances, until Mrs. Patmore speaks up and tells Daisy she’s being rude. Andy begins helping out at Mr. Mason’s farm and he and Daisy can’t seem to get things together, staying out of step with their advances. Finally at the end, a courtship develops.
A blow-dryer comes to Downton for Lady Mary, and the downstairs staff is beyond confused as to why a woman would want to use that device to dry their hair. I mean, why not just use a towel? Daisy, however, is intrigued by the machine and decides to give it a try. Needless to say, she fails miserably, and Anna has to restyle her hair, giving her a new look similar to Clara Bow. Personally, I’m not feeling it on Daisy, but that’s neither here nor there.
Molesley gets offered a full-time job at the school and Thomas received a job offer at another house, finally able to leave Downton. The downstairs staff gives him a proper goodbye and advises him to be nice and try to get along with his new colleagues. Thomas seems excited for the new experience and vows to be a new person; however when he gets there, it’s clear he actually hates it. There are only 2 other people on staff there, and his new employers don’t seem that friendly towards him.
Denker tries to be slick, but, of course, it backfires. Lady Edith comes to visit Spratt to expand his column to a full page (I could so see him do that), and Denker figures out that he’s writing for Edith on the side—underneath the Dowager Countess’ nose. She accidentally on purposely tells Violet about Spratt’s “violation,” but Violet actually loves the idea! She even tells Spratt that she wants to seek his advice in the future—because Violet loves to be unpredictable.
But let’s talk about what this episode was really about. EDITH!
While in London, Rosamund invites Edith to dinner, but when Edith arrives, Bertie is sitting at the table waiting for her! Clearly this was a set up (Mary was behind it), and Rosamund leaves so the two lovebirds can talk. Edith’s not too happy to see him at first since he broke her heart, but he tells her he wants her back, and he can’t live without her. For the first time, I actually feel a real connection with these two. Maybe it’s because of the strained circumstances or a myriad of emotions, but either way, this was a great scene. Edith and Bertie make up, and the engagement is back on.
I literally did that.
So did Cora and Lord G on the inside. The two of them head up to Brancaster Castle to meet Bertie’s mother and announce the engagement, and she is just what we’re expecting—overbearing. When she meets with the Crawleys she continuously comments on the importance of morality and how Bertie can’t afford to make any mistakes. This makes everyone noticeably uncomfortable, which forces Edith to eventually come clean with the truth about Marigold to her soon-to-be mother-in-law. We’re all worried for a minute, but she applauds Edith’s honesty, and the wedding is officially on for New Year’s Eve.
Rose and Atticus come back for the wedding, and Cora’s role at the hospital aggravates Lord G, especially after she has to take a meeting a day before Edith’s wedding, but Rose takes him to see his wife in action, and Lord G becomes proud of his wife and her new leadership role. He’s certainly come around to the modern changes in his life.
Speaking of changes,Tom and Henry reveal their new business ventures as “Mr. Rolls” and “Mr. Royce.” Mary is (in my opinion) uncharacteristically happy about this, but also reveals that there will be a Baby Tolbert on the way.
Edith marries Bertie and officially becomes the Marchioness of Hexham. It was a heartwarming occasion, but the reception was even better. Throughout the episode, Carson’s hand shook, and he revealed he had “the palsy”. We got to see Mary and Carson’s closeness again as everyone came to grips with the fact that Carson would have to abandon his position. However, when Carson struggles to pour glasses at the reception, Lord G decides to offer the new butler position to Thomas.
At this point, I’m practically in tears. I blame it on those damn violins.
Anna gives birth to baby boy in Lady Mary’s bedroom, and Edith leaves on her honeymoon with Bertie. Even Carson is crying by now. What follows next is a series of final quotes and goodbyes as the upstairs and downstairs family celebrate the New Year and new beginnings.
Most Fashionable Moment: Edith’s wedding dress of course! But if it weren’t for that, then the honor would go to Cora’s ivory and black hat she wore when she left for Brancaster Castle.
Welp. It’s been one helluva ride these last six years. Not only has Downton Abbey given us riveting storylines, but every time I watched it I truly felt like I was being transported to another time and place. The acting. The set design. The costumes. The sharp writing. The attention to detail. All of it came together in a way that made this show more than just another period drama (and I watch puh-lenty of those). It felt real.
Downton Abbey is most definitely a drama, but it is one of the most hilarious dramas I’ve ever seen with the perfect blend of drama and comedy that leaves me laughing and tearing in the same episode. Some might’ve felt that this ending was a little too happy, but I believe that it was just the right way to conclude the series. Tragedy is no stranger to Downton, and it was nice that just this one time, everyone left us with ultimately satisfying happy moments.
It’s not over yet! I’ll be compiling a list of the most memorable Downton moments, so if you would like to contribute with your most memorable moments of the show (big or small), then leave a comment below or tweet me @ladykyndal with your suggestions!
In the meantime, for those of you who are Amazon Prime members, remember the entire series is included with your subscription, so you can go back and relive your Downton obsession whenever you want. I know I will.
Kyndal is a free spirit who finds it very hard to describe herself. Tea Snob. Daydreamer. History, Fantasy, & Book Blerd. Cursed with Wanderlust. Jams to show tunes. Obsessed with Hamilton (the musical). Always on the advent of her next adventure.