Film & Television

So Many Happy Endings at ‘Downton Abbey’

With the two-hour series finale, Fellowes makes it clear that he appreciates his large and loyal audience. The episode feels like a protracted love letter to his fans. It’s as if he answered every piece of mail, every hopeful post and wishful Tweet. “Who’s your favorite character?” he asks, “Let me see what I can do for them.” 

Be forewarned. If you haven’t watched the series finale yet, there are spoilers — marvelously satisfying spoilers — ahead.

On the top of most viewers’ lists was, of course, the hapless Lady Edith. Fellowes has joked that wherever he’s travelled over the last few years, strangers have come up to him and begged, “Please let Edith be happy.” Her history has been rather pathetic throughout — plain Jane sister, jilted bride, unwed mother. When spiteful Mary spoiled Edith’s chance at happiness a couple of episodes ago (“I admire you Bertie. Not everyone would take on Edith’s past.”), I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who applauded Edith’s response: “I know you. I know you to be a nasty, jealous, scheming bitch.”

RELATED: Will this Be the Year for Lady Edith?

With an end in sight, Fellowes wrapped up the sisters’ feud fairly neatly. Lady Mary, feeling quite happy in her own circumstances and just mildly guilty about spoiling Edith’s engagement, organized a reunion for the lovers. They reconciled, came clean about “Marigold,” made peace with Bertie’s exacting mother and were wed on New Year’s Eve. And now, Lady Edith outranks them all. As Robert exclaimed, “Golly gumdrops!”

Sister Mary, meanwhile, is deeply in love with her race car driver, husband number two. He and Thomas, former chauffeur and widowed son-in-law, go into business with a promise of becoming “Mr. Rolls and Mr. Royce.” We sense that a romance is blossoming between Thomas and Edith’s charming and independent young editor. And, in case, we didn’t pick up on that, she caught Edith’s bouquet. Rose and Atticus, still deliriously happy, dance together, and Robert and Cora congratulate themselves on their children’s and grandchildren’s rosy futures.

Cousin Isobel, meanwhile, has reconnected with her smitten beau Dickie. He’s ill and may not live much longer, so she and the Dowager Countess kidnap him from his hateful son and daughter-in-law, and the two are finally wed. There’s an unlikely but utterly expected “doctor ex machina” moment when Clarkson informs them that the tests were wrong! Dickie has plain old ordinary anemia, not the dreaded pernicious kind after all. Read More »

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  • roz warren March 9, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    I’m with you, HillsMom. All of my favorite shows, from Dr. Who to Downton, are British.

  • hillsmom March 8, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    It’s over…sigh. While tying up most of the loose ends did seem a tiny bit rushed, I’m still sorry that it’s over. Why is it that the Brits are able to make marvelous television programs, and movies, too, while we in the USA have so few? I guess there’s a market for un-dead and blowing up invading robots, but I’m not part of it. Perhaps Mr. Fellowes will soon start another mini-series, after he rests from his labors (should one say “labours”?) which kept us all enthralled.
    P.S. Excellent review Ms MacAaron…