Downton Abbey: The Christmas Special and Series Finale
December 26, 2015 8:27 PM - Season 6, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Mary endeavors to build bridges with her sister, but Edith's secret continues to pose a threat, even after she thought there was nothing left to lose. As Henry settles into the role of husband and stepfather, scars left by Charlie's tragic death are slow to heal fully, while Carson struggles to come to terms with developments which prove that even he is not invulnerable to change...

Spratt's successful moonlighting venture is threatened by the continued conniving of Miss Denker, and Daisy may have missed her chance with an admirer. Isobel receives devastating news and when the young Greys' scheming takes a sinister turn, and she and Violet join forces. Robert must learn the value of independence while the day that Anna and Bates have been waiting for finally arrives.

Thomas Barrow rises to the occasion.
posted by TWinbrook8 (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
oh god this is so embarrassing but I cried through half the show, every time Lord Merton and Isobel were together, Thomas saying goodbye, Moseley moving on. Fortunately, it just takes Daisy's fingernail-on-a-chalkboard whining to snap me out of it and there was plenty of that also.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:51 PM on December 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


It didn't feel like a lot of effort had gone into the script. Lots of stuff left dangling and the stuff that was resolved seemed a bit pedestrian. Predictable finish for Isobel, for Edith, for the Bateses and for Barrow. Nothing left for Cora and his lordship to do so a pretend danger to their marriage, I thought Lady Rose telling him off particularly out of character. No resolution to Daisy's continued intellectual development. I suspect Henry & Tom are going to run into serious problems selling (and possibly building) cars under the name Talbot, that was a well established manufacturer by 1925. Perhaps Tom should have gone into selling spare parts rather than whole cars since he has been one since season three.

Liked Molesley moving on and hints of romance for him and for Mrs Patmore.

No dead dowager!

I would guess there was a spike in people googling pernicious anaemia on Friday, I wish we had been able to look it up since my MiL's apparently definitive statement has just turned out to be bull.

I reckon they will knock out at least one more episode at some point.
posted by biffa at 9:26 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


So bad! A happy ending for everybody, no matter how much we have to twist them out of character. And I guess it turns out that the aristocracy isn't doomed after all because they're just too darned nice to take down.
posted by rikschell at 6:20 AM on December 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, I can't contest all the criticisms, implicit or explicit, in rikschell's comment, but I was happy with the episode as the ending to the series. The show has long been for me a kind of comfort food and my expectations are both very modest and that the show just gives me that familiar, mild pleasure.

True, it's important to me that things work out for Edith. And Tom, too -- and I am (mostly) satisfied with the hints about his future with Edith's editor. The good things in the future for Molesly was already established, but I find I'm very pleased at the vindication for Spratt.

I cried a bit a few episodes back at Gwen's reminiscences of Sybil -- I think there for a while earlier in the series I was a lot more strongly invested in the characters and especially about Sybil and so that represents the high-water mark for me about how much I really cared. I've long rooted for Edith -- she's not someone I identify with but rather she's otherwise the kind of person I tend to notice and care about when other people overlook them or mostly only see their faults. For me she's represented all the Ediths in the world and in that way I've cared a lot about her getting a happily-ever-after. She's not idealized the way that Sybil was, she's more fallible and sometimes quite unlikeably so; but generally she's got a good, kind heart and that sort of understated decency is overwhelmed by Sybil's angelic luminance and Mary's, well ... Mary's expansiveness and generally powerful personality. So basically my point is that it's what happened to Edith that I cared about enough for it to make a real difference in how I felt about the series finale. Otherwise, with everyone else, I'm okay with contrived, hasty happy endings or whatever. As I wrote, the show became more like comfort food for me and frankly I think I prefer it go out with a mostly forgettable warm glow than with a dramatic bang.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:00 PM on December 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


It felt a little flat for a series ender but it's comfort TV for me and I found myself tearing up about Carson.
posted by kanata at 4:30 PM on December 27, 2015


Oh, gak! The only thing they left out was Sybil coming back in a time machine, after being cloned in the future, so she could be reunited with Tom.

Nice they wait until the last episode to finally let Daisy look like a grown up.

I was kind of hoping Mary would stick it to Edith again during the wedding or something. Things like Edith getting beat on and Moseley being humiliated are the elements that make the show worthwhile.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:34 PM on December 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


When they reached the part in the wedding ceremony in which the officiant asks if anyone present wishes to give reasons why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, I was waiting for someone to do so, because it would be really funny and kind of awesome. But no, Edith finally got her happy ending.

I did get the giggles when Robert told Cora, "You won't believe what's happened to Edith!" and Cora said, "She's not pregnant again?" Those two will never get that much of Edith's unhappiness had its roots in their attitude towards her.
posted by orange swan at 12:06 PM on December 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Fellowes just needs to give in and make that follow up WWII movie with a grown-up Georgie, Sybbie, Marigold, and Lil' Bates like he so clearly wants to do.
posted by bgal81 at 7:56 AM on December 29, 2015


I was happy with the finale, although I was quite disappointed that they didn't incorporate my suggestion of Edith sneezing uncontrollably whenever the new dog walked into the room, only to find out it was the doggie shampoo doing it to her, so whew! Robert didn't have to give the new dog away after all. Edith has always reminded me of Jan Brady; I suppose it was good to see Jan get a happy ending and best Marcia at long last.
posted by heyho at 9:29 AM on December 31, 2015


When they reached the part in the wedding ceremony in which the officiant asks if anyone present wishes to give reasons why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, I was waiting for someone to do so, because it would be really funny and kind of awesome
I was entirely expecting Michael whatsit to BURST through the church doors, covered in mud and tears, giving an incoherent description of taking a wrong turn and getting lost in some sort of hell south of Northampton.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:58 PM on January 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


On reflection, if there is one change I could make to this series, it'd be to keep Edith single and follow her life as an editor in London—that should have been the spin-off. Sort of like Mary Tyler Moore, but set in London in the late 1920s. And with a lot more money and an even cooler apartment.
posted by heyho at 2:40 PM on January 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


Ugh, well at least it's finally over.

If I could re-write the ending so that it would be consistent with who the characters seem to be:

1.) Edith is a single mom working in London with Marigold and runs her magazine wonderfully far away from Downton. She meets an American newspaper magnate and moves to New York.

2.) Daisy leaves service entirely and goes to work doing something with her schooling/opens her own restaurant/business.

3.) Tom dies in the bathtub.

4.) Mrs. Crowley stays far far way from Dickie and ends up with the lovely doctor at the hospital, as she should have from the beginning. They're better suited for each other.

The rest of the happy endings are allowed to stand - Tom and the editor should get together, the Bates trio skips off into the sunset until the next tragedy trope strikes them, Mary can marry her car racing man and have more babies, new puppy can live, Robert can be proud of Cora, etc etc. But really - the smooshing Thomas back into Downton like he was some prodigal son is just utter nonsense. Edith sabotaging her happiness (AGAIN) was just ridiculous.

I was entirely expecting Michael whatsit to BURST through the church doors
Me Too! At least, the "Edith must suffer" side of me thought this would be hilarious.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:12 AM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh yes, I also thought of the "Michael Gregson returns" twist. I wonder what Edith's choice would have been if she'd had to choose.
posted by orange swan at 12:03 PM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would guess there was a spike in people googling pernicious anaemia on Friday.
Yep, Bertie would have been fine, although I wouldn't have envied him his diet.
Pernicious anemia was a fatal disease before about the year 1920, when George Whipple suggested raw liver as a treatment…
After Minot and Murphy's verification of Whipple's results in 1926, pernicious anemia victims ate or drank at least one-half pound of raw liver, or drank raw liver juice, every day.
Lovely.
posted by unliteral at 5:45 PM on January 12, 2016


I liked the ending, I thought it was sweet. I appreciated that they didn't hurriedly slap together a giant Shakespeare-style quadruple wedding for Mrs. Patmore + Mr. Mason, Isobel + Dickey, Daisy + Andy, and Molesly + Baxter; instead leaving it open in a gentle "life goes on" kind of way (actually I'm not sure if Isobel & Dickey got married off camera, I thought I heard an offhand comment about a "wedding present").

It was a relief to finally see these characters just being happy and loved after watching them getting slapped around nonstop for 10 years.

I thought it was funny seeing Robert & Cora feeling like country bumpkins in Bertie's house.

I was kind of surprised at the whole thing of Mr. Mason wanting Andy to do the books for him... that was the whole reason Daisy went back to school in the first place. That's sexism for you.
posted by bleep at 12:06 AM on February 20, 2016


My mom brought over her DVD's so I finally caught up on this a week ahead of the rest of the Americans.

Overall, I really liked it. I'm with Ivan in that it's a comfort food show and while it might have been more fitting to have them all have to sell off and downsize and whatnot, I'm good with people ending happily.

The only things I wanted to have happen that didn't was that Denker didn't get fired and Molesley and Baxter didn't get together. I've been rooting for them for years and was bummed that didn't happen. Fellowes is so much better with slow building romance over years than he is with the insta-mances he's had to do ever since Matthew died. Oh, and I still can't stand Daisy so I don't give a shit if she gets together with Andy. The girl has no taste and I did like Mrs. Patmore pointing out how fucked up it all was and how Daisy only wants a dude if he doesn't want her. (Also, girl, just ask Anna to cut your damn hair.)

What did surprise me was the whole Lord Merton plotline. I'd only just read a book the other day mentioning that percussive anemia was fatal so I didn't have to Google that, but it was another misdiagnosis by how many doctors? Sheesh, guys. However, Violet and Isobel storming the castle to free Lord Merton, and presumably followed by Isobel's immediate elopement with him, was just great. You go, you two. I hope Larry and bitchface get as disinherited as it's possible to do--leave them the house and no money to run it, muahahahahahah.

YAAAAAAAAAAAY EDITH WINS EDITH FINALLY WINS YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY IT'S ALL WORTH IT NOW.

I've always enjoyed how Anna and Mary support each other, and this episode downright had Mary undressing Anna and having her give birth in her own bed. Very sweet.

They made Thomas sympathetic. I was surprised he had a new job without us seeing the interview, and then it turned out to be that sad old dude. Carson's shaky hands gave me flashbacks to my dad's Parkinsons'-related disease and I felt and still feel so bad for him. But good for Thomas, after all these years of ambition he finally gets to become head butler and actually act like a nicer person. Somehow this led me to try to think about how many servants got new/better jobs vs. actually getting in-house promotions, and Thomas has definitely had the most changes. Anna got a promotion, Daisy supposedly got one but essentially she has been and always will be Mrs. Patmore's second, Tom uh....yeah. Molesley got DEmoted, poor bastard. Edna...kinda promoted herself. Briefly.

I would be down with Downton: Next Generation with George trying to keep the place afloat, Sybbie being a rebel, Marigold feeling left out every time she visits and Mary and Anna's newer kids being the best of friends.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:33 PM on February 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Well, I guess I'm an old softie after all. I thoroughly enjoyed the last episode and found it very satisfying. I read and watch a lot of stuff with unresolved, vaguely unhappy endings, so for once it was a delight to see that many happily ever afters.

I'm still pretty over Mary, though. After last week I couldn't care less what happened to her.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:32 PM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


It kind of had the feel of a Rubik's cube, though, didn't it? Everything had to slot into place so every single character got some kind of happy ending. I mean by the end I was expecting that priest or vicar or whoever he is who shows up to marry people would suddenly get a telegram in the middle of the ceremony announcing he'd been made Archbishop of Canterbury or something.

But that was kind of Fellowes' s job, though, wasn't it? Somewhere around Season 3, Downton stopped being a really well done period drama and became a "beloved institution." At that point, his job was no longer to write a great show, but to take good care of all the characters we'd come to love. The show was still enjoyable, but more as fan service, and this was perhaps the ultimate in fan service series finales.
posted by Naberius at 6:59 AM on March 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Loved the reference to Bertie staying at Castle Howard, which is where the original Brideshead Revisted was filmed. Yay to old houses made famous by tv.

I liked having Rose back for a bit. While she was never my favorite, she always brought some lightness to the precedings. I missed her in the early episodes this season, when dinner would consist only of Robert, Cora, Mary and Edith.

Happy endings all around, but I'm not sure having Thomas as the butler will work out. As devoted as he is to Downton, he really could have used a new start.

Golly, I enjoyed this show.
posted by Sukey Says at 3:10 PM on March 7, 2016


Well, thank goodness that's all done. Ugh. It went pretty much as I expected but still felt really rushed. Like they were just going down a checklist: Cora & Robert? check, Mary & Henry? check, Edith & Bertie? check. All the way down to the basement of the house and over to Mason's farm. Check, check, check.

WRT the anemia thing, my husband speculated that they were going to say Larry & What'sHerName were poisoning Merton. I wonder if they would have gone that route were it not the finale.

And Daisy's storyline felt really abbreviated. They should have started with her transformation a few episodes back to give it a chance to make her newfound interest in Andy make a bit more sense.

The only thing I'll really miss is Violet. Yeah, she's a traditionalist and all that ("if only we had the choice" [to go back to the past]) but she was pretty kickass. I liked that she was always one step ahead in the Denker/Spratt Hundred Years War and virtually everyone else for that matter. And I think the writers must have really liked her:
"Never let tenderness be a bar to a bit of snooping." (@theLadyGrantham)
"I wonder your halo doesn’t grow heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara around the clock."
"Stop whining and find something to do."
Mrs. Crawley: "I take that as a compliment." Countess Violet: "I must've said it wrong."
"You must know by now, I never answer any question more incriminating than whether I need a new rug."


So. What are we watching next?
posted by Beti at 1:31 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


OMG Beti I totally thought Lord Merton's son and daughter in law were poisoning him!!

And yeah, I'll miss Violet too. She really grew on me over the series. She's always unapologetically herself (for good or ill) and I liked her friendship with Isobel. By the end, she was very kind to her, and accepted Isobel's kindness too.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:43 PM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


If there was a way to fake pernicious anemia so that nobody would catch on it was poison...very Agatha Christie.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:58 PM on March 8, 2016


The Historian watching Downton on the Toast also mentions the pernicious anemia == possibly poisoning too.

And has a delightful take on where the characters will be in 20 years! Please note: she's not a fan of Mary....
posted by travertina at 10:07 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


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