Ah, friends. I’d say those Downton writers really know how to wrap up a season. And how to keep up salivating for more.
This week’s episode, the finale, was really fun, wasn’t it? So many lovely moments that just can’t fit into my Top Five. I’m thinking of Robert and Edith, Robert and Cora, Robert and Sybbie. I guess Robert is finally coming around and becoming the man he was in Season 1.
And then there was the moment with the Russian Princess. Oh my! Would you say she has a chip on her shoulder . . . or was she happy to see Violet again? That entire story line was a little bit perplexing to me this season. I’m kind of happy to see the Russians trot off to Paris where they can be miserable together.
But the Russians do bring me to my first favorite line of the night, which, of course, belongs to Violet.
[Note: I don’t always put them in order, but this week I am. Because I want to. And because my favorite line is definitely worth waiting for.]
5. So the Russians have left the building and Violet remains, yet again, alone. I was glad that she finally confessed her somewhat sordid background to Isobel—she came across as a very real person. She confesses something else to her BFF as well—that she’s a little sad to put her latest near-tryst with Prince Kuragin in the past.
“Sad?” Isobel asks.
To which Violet replies,
“I will never again receive an immoral proposition from a man.
Was I so wrong to savor it?”
The passage of time can be so cruel.
4. So the family travels quite a distance (we aren’t quite sure where—Scotland?) to visit the Sinderby clan in their much-larger-than-Downton rental house because, you know, they are family now. Sort of. And they have to make a show of it for Rose’s sake, I guess.
Or Robert just wants to get in on some premiere grouse shooting.
Anyway, while most of the house is gone, Mrs. Patmore creates a nice dinner for some of the staff because, “When the cat’s away, we mice might as well play a little.”
She’s invited just a few people to share in the special meal: Carson, Mrs. Hughes, herself, Mr. Bates, Mr. Molesley, and Daisy, to which Carson crinkles his bulbous nose and says, “Daisy? To wait on us, I assume.”
Mrs. Patmore quickly puts him in his place when she ever-so-calmly replies,
“To wait on us, yes, and to eat with us. And if that thought’s too democratically overpowering, you can share what I’ve made for the housemaids."
Cudos to you, Mrs. Patmore!
3. While they are visiting the Sinderby’s, the Millenials decide to take a little walk so they can chat some distance away from the ears and sneers in the really big rental. Atticus divulges that he’s been offered a job in New York, and he and Rose seem all smiles about this. Tom talks about moving to Boston, which Mary continues to dismiss. Denial much?
Edith understands her sister better than Mary might think. “Poor Mary,” Edith mocks. “She hates to be left behind when everyone else is getting on with their lives.”
Not so fast, Edith. Mary once again comes out on top with her quick, albeit cruel, wit.
“It isn’t that. It’s just the thought of
being left behind with you.”
Once again, Edith is left agape and everyone else just shrugs their shoulders as if to say, “That’s our Mary.”
2. My final two favorite lines from this episode are in a near dead heat—they were both great for different reasons. But my number one favorite line just squeaked in ahead of my number two favorite for reasons which you will see when you get there.
This favorite line was probably one of yours, too, because it was just so hilarious.
Bates and Thomas are cleaning the guns [side note: Baxter reveals that Thomas knows his way around a rifle and that his father was a good shot. Hmmm. Will this information be important somewhere down the road?], and Molesley offers his sympathy, yet again, to Bates for Anna still being in prison.
Bates feels helpless and claims, “I’d cut my arm off if I knew it would do any good.”
“Oh, I don’t think that would be sensible, Mr. Bates.
We can’t have you wobbly at both ends.”
Oh my word! Just too funny.
Cringeworthy, but funny.
1. OK, you’ve probably already guessed my favorite line of the episode, and it gets this spot both because of the delivery and because of the scenario.
Dear Carson and Mrs. Hughes. We’ve seen this coming for some time now (remember them walking hand in hand into the sea at the end of season 7?), and finally our deepest Downton desires have been met.
While everyone else is upstairs drinking spiked punch and singing Christmas carols, Carson and Mrs. Hughes sneak downstairs. Carson explains that he has purchased the house in both of their names, despite the fact that Mrs. Hughes has already revealed to him that she’s destitute.
No matter. Carson wants her in on the deal. In fact, he wants her in on the rest of his life, as he so sweetly declares to her with tears in his eyes.
Mrs. Hughes pushes back. “Suppose you want to move away and change your life entirely. You don’t want to be stuck with me.”
“Well, that’s the point,” says Carson.
“What is?” Mrs. Hughes is starting to understand.
“I do want to be stuck with you.”
“I’m not convinced I can be hearing this right.” The puzzle pieces are beginning to fall into place.
Carson comes in for the kill: “You are if you think I’m asking you to marry me. . . . Well?”
“Well, you can knock me down with a feather.”
Isn’t that just lovely? But we’re not there yet. My favorite line is still coming, but I had to set the scene because it was just so sweet.
Finally Carson tells Mrs. Hughes to take as long as she likes because, “One thing I do know, I’m not marrying anyone else.”
She smiles and hands him a drink. Carson says, “What exactly are we celebrating?”
“We’re celebrating the fact that I can still get a proposal at my age.”
“And that’s . . . it?”
Now Carson looks pained; the distress on his face is obvious until Mrs. Hughes puts him out of his misery.
“Of course I’ll marry you, you old booby!
I thought you’d never ask.”
And everyone in the room said, “Ahhhhhhh.”
We thought he’d never ask either!
With that, Season 5 is a wrap. I’m sorry to see the fun of Downton Abbey come to an end, but does it ever? So many unanswered questions are left for us to ponder for the next nine months until a new season is born.
Will Atticus and Rose move to America?
Will Tom and Sybbie ever come back as he promised three times in this episode?
Will Mary make Edith’s life even more miserable when she opens her eyes and realizes the truth about Marigold?
Will Isobel change her mind and realize that she just can’t live without Dickie Merton?
Will Thomas find a reason to use a gun?
And will Robert ever get a new dog, this time one with a more suitable name?
Until next year, good bye, Downton! And thanks.