Oh friends. Wasn’t that all so lovely?
I’ve chatted with many of you, and I think we all agree on one thing: the Downton Abbey finale was perfect in every way.
Oh sure, it was cheesy (especially that last scene with Isobel and Violet talking about moving forward to the future instead of back into the past—what?—but still, I’m glad they gave Violet the last line), and sure, it was predictable (Mary’s pregnant!), but you have to admit that it was pretty much the tied-up-with-a-ribbon package that we all wanted it to be.
And such a happy ending it was.
I have watched this episode a few times (call it research), and every time I start to cry about 30 minutes in and pretty much don’t stop until the end. I think it hit me, finally, that this silly television show that brought me so much joy for the past six years, is finally OVER. It sounds so trite, I know—it’s a TV show!—but I really am going to miss it.
I have had so much fun writing these posts and getting feedback from all of you. I’ve loved dishing about the latest antics, the cruel gestures, the unkind remarks, and the crazy escapades. These characters have taken on lives of their own, and at times, I’ll admit, I got a bit too caught up in thinking about them.
I guess that’s what makes it a good series, though. Characters you love in a setting you adore in a story that takes you right in. Just like a good book, and whoever found fault in a good book?
This week, because it was impossible to find just five lines that I loved in a 90 minute finale, I’m going to write about my favorite happy endings. Yes, I’ll include some of my favorite lines, but do me a favor and don’t count the number.
Let’s just dish.
If you’ve been around here for any time at all, you know that there has been no love lost between me and Thomas. In fact, for five seasons I haven’t been able to find many redeeming qualities in the guy.
But this year was different.
It seems Julian Fellowes spent some time rounding out his character, smoothing off some of those rough edges, even taking him to some admittedly low lows, only to bring him to his highest high—the position he’s always wanted: Head Butler of Downton Abbey.
And I’m happy for him. For all of Thomas’s faults, and there were many over the years, I couldn’t help but feel compassion for him this season. I’m so glad he ended on a good note.
And, as Thomas himself said to Robert, “I arrived here as a boy, but I leave as a man.”
Good for you, Thomas.
Violet and Isobel
These two. Sometimes you loved them, sometimes you hated them, but all along you knew there was no other BFF for either of them. Where would Violet had been if Isobel hadn’t followed her son to town in Season One?
I absolutely loved their last grand adventure—going to rescue Dickie from the clutches of his horrible, greedy daughter-in-law, Amelia.
Violet shows herself to be a true friend when she takes the lead and marches straight into the house to confront the wretched Amelia: “You don’t need Mrs. Crawley to take him off your hands anymore, do you?”
You tell her, Vi!
I know I’ve mentioned this, but I really thought it was so sweet and so fitting (albeit a bit cheesy) that Violet and Isobel got to share the final scene. The two somehow managed to stay up until midnight to toast the New Year, looking really spry, I might add. There they sit together, BFFs, and they reflect.
As usual, Isobel is ready to take on the future with gusto, and Violet wishes she could go back to happier times. Times that aren’t ‘a changin’ quite so fast.
But they chuckle together, realizing that this is who each one is, and each accepting the other, even if they disagree on most things. Kind of reminds me of one of my own dear friends.
Isobel and Dickie
I have to go back to the Great Dickie Merton Rescue because it was just. so. good.
Didn’t you just love how Dickie, after hearing voices in the hall, comes down the stairs in his bathrobe and tie?! Always the formal one, that Dickie.
Anyway, he’s astonished, as is pretty much everyone, that Isobel has taken matters into her hands to come and rescue him. He also realizes, finally, what his son and daughter-in-law are up to, so he packs his bags (with Izzie’s help) and hands over the keys to his pretty great house.
Dickie has left the building.
But not before he proclaims to his son,
“Larry, as my son, I love you, but I’ve tried and failed to like you.”
And with that, Isobel and Dickie are free to live their own happy ending.
Robert and Cora
OK, just so I’m completely honest here, these two bother me. A lot. They have been such weak characters. And I think they are terrible parents. They act mainly from selfish motives (heck, their marriage was arranged for the best interests of the parties involved), until the very end.
Even in this last episode, Cora gets completely involved in her hospital work and Robert pouts like a baby because she’s not paying attention to him as much as he’d like. They’re like a couple of teenagers!
And when Edith strikes gold, literally, they can barely contain their glee.
Let’s go back to that moment, shall we? Edith calls home late at night to share her happy news. Robert gets out of bed (harrumph) to take the phone call, then comes back to share with Cora. He barrels into the bedroom saying, “You’re not going to believe it!”
And Cora, ever the supportive mother, retorts, “She’s pregnant again.”
Way to go, Cora. Mother of the Year.
They get into a little scuffle about the hospital because Robert is a selfish little baby, but Cora quickly diffuses the situation by saying, “Never mind it now. Edith is going to be happy. Just think about that.”
(And Downton is saved!)
Robert agrees with a hearty Hurrah!
Oh those two.
But I’m including them in my list because this week because there were a couple of sweet and tender moments between them.
Robert finally gets to see Cora in action at the hospital and realizes that she’s actually pretty good at her job.
“You are a woman of real substance, and I am lucky to call you my wife.”
Now who wouldn’t want to hear that?
Later, just before midnight, Robert and Cora have a moment in the hallway. They still can’t believe that their ugly duckling has landed such good fortune (for them) and that both of their daughters are happy. Everything looks rosy and Robert asks, “What more could we want?”
“A long and happy life to watch the children grow. That’s all I ask,”
Seems like the two will be very happy in their empty nest.
Andy and Daisy
One of my favorite lines of the night:
“Is Daisy interested in men?”
We roared at that one.
Still, you knew it would happen, didn’t you? You saw it coming, right?
And if you didn’t see it coming this entire season, you surely saw it coming when Daisy looked up . . .
. . . and saw this.
Yes, Daisy is going to let herself fall in love again. I’m sure it won’t be an easy road for poor Andy—Daisy is no pushover, that’s for sure. But I think they are a sweet match.
She even cut her hair for him!
I wish those two cuties well.
Edith and Bertie
Edith gets her man.
And a good one she gets, too.
I am so happy for Edith I could just spit in Potter’s eye. (Oh wait, wrong movie.)
I’m just so happy for Edith!
Bertie had some choice lines tonight.
“Would you believe me if I said I couldn’t live without you?”
And even after Edith protests, suggesting that the gossip about Marigold will be all over before sundown, Bertie holds fast.
“The only thing I’m not ready for is a life without you.”
We always knew Bertie was a stand-up guy, though, didn’t we? He never had an unkind word to say about his cousin, even though he, and pretty much everyone, suspected he was gay, which would have been scandalous back in the 1920s.
Bertie’s mother, however, is an entirely different story. She blows up about Cousin Peter and his forays to Tangiers (as if we’re supposed to know what that even means). But Bertie defends the memory of dear Cousin Peter: “That’s ENOUGH, Mother!”
And Bertie will defend dear Edith too.
Edith proves to be a woman of great character in the end as well, a perfect match for upstanding Bertie, the moral center of the county, according to his mother. Edith tells Mrs. Pelham the truth about Marigold, effectively heading her off at the pass. Mrs. P isn’t happy about it, but in the end she takes the high road for the sake of her son.
And finally. That wedding.
Wasn’t Edith just the picture of beauty and happiness? Oh, that made me so happy.
(But was Mary happy? Or jealous of her sister’s happiness? Oh, who cares.)
Edith wasn’t always my favorite, but she really grew on me these last couple of seasons. I think that’s because she has grown into a mature woman—complicated, honest, compassionate, and sincere. I wish her all the best in her new life.
It’s just too bad her mother-in-law will be living down the hall.
I don’t have time to talk about all the others whose stories got tied up with a happy bow: Molesley and Baxter, Mr. Mason and Mrs. Patmore, Carson and Hughes (now that they’re calling each other by their first names I think they’re going to be OK), Tom and Miss Edmunds, Mary and Henry (they’re having a baby!), Anna and Bates (it's a Boy!). Perfect endings, all.
I think the only people not ending up together are Denker and Spratt.
And that’s as it should be.
I want to leave you with my favorite line from the finale from, of course, Violet.
Rosamund and her mother are sitting together waiting for Edith’s wedding to start. Rosamund says, “We didn’t always think there’d be a happy ending for Edith.”
Violet responds, “Well, there’s a lot at risk, but with any luck they’ll be happy enough, which is the English version of a happy ending.”
The two sit on that for a moment. Happy enough. Is that what the English are all about?
“What do you think makes the English the way we are?” Rosamund asks her mother.
And then Violet offers this nugget of wisdom that I absolutely loved:
“Opinions differ. Some say our history, but I blame the weather.”
Thank you again, friends, for being here throughout the six seasons (well, maybe just five—I can’t remember) of my writing about Downton Abbey. It seems superficial, at times, to spend my time writing about a TV show when there are so many other, more worthy topics to write about.
Too quote Robert, Golly!
It’s been such a joy to spend these weeks with you. I hope you’ll stick with me around the blog, even though there may not be as much DA talk. (Although, I don’t think this will be my last DA post.)