Downton Abbey: Ever After

And they all lived…..

They really did! I’ll be honest, I assumed Maggie Smith was toast. Partly because it was her refusal to sign for any more seasons that did the show in. Smith will not go on? Then Smith will die, and with the tangy heart of the show gone, the rest of the Downton would fade away.

Isobel: “What else could we drink to. We’re going forward to the future, not back into the past.”
Violet: “If only we had the choice.”

But perhaps Fellowes learned that audiences don’t take well to killing off characters just because they’ve decided not to renew their contracts. Perhaps he’d decided the show had enough death. Or perhaps he had too much respect for Maggie Smith to send her out that way. Any way you slice it, the Dowager lived, along with everyone else to see the turn of 1926.

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As for everyone else, I don’t know if it’s right to do a drama finale bullet point style, like one does for Dancing With The Stars, but hey, it’s my blog, and I’ll do as I like.

Amelia: This is ridiculous. Father, Mrs. Crawley wants to take you away from your son and your family and kidnap you into marriage. What do you say?
Lord Merton: How perfectly marvelous.

  • Henry settles into the exact same role that Matthew once inhabited, except without the title to the estate, which means Mary has even more to lord over him.

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  • Mary also lords over Tom, since she doesn’t really need him anymore to run the estate. So Tom and Henry do the only logical thing, and go into the business of selling cars to the rising middle class. It may not seem like more than a lark now, but the rest of us know that if the two of them manage to keep the business running through WWII and into the late 1950s, theirs will be the business that keeps the Granthams moneyed for life.
  • Mary also does the oddest, out of character thing and sets Edith up with Bertie, basically making up for ruining her engagement the first time. This is where we all throw up our hands and say “fuck it.” All have won and all must have husbands after all. Even Edith doesn’t believe it.

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  • Speaking of all having husbands…
    • Isobel ends up with Lord Merton after Violet stages the best hostage breakout in a period piece on television. (That needs to be an Emmy category next year.)
    • Daisy ends up with Andrew, and blessed god, finally clues in that running her own farm is way better than being a kitchen wench
    • Mrs. Patmore doesn’t exactly end up with Mr. Mason, but the suggestion is definitely there that it’s only a matter of time.
    • Molesley winds up with Baxter after becoming a teacher means he even has his own cottage.
    • Branson and Miss Evans make eyes at each other and Evans catches the bouquet. You do the math.

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  • And if you already have a husband… you get a baby!
    • Anna Gets a Baby! Yes it’s a son. We’ll just assume they’ll name him Norman.
    • Mary Gets a Baby! (Well, with child anyway.) She doesn’t even announce it in the middle of Edith’s wedding or steal her thunder! (That’s Anna’s job, who obliges by going into labor.)

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So what about the married who can’t have children? If you’re Carson and Hughes, you get to retire. Carson is rather forced into it, with the discovery he has “he palsy” (aka Parkinson’s.) But that’s ok, because now there’s room for Thomas Barrow to finally get that butler job he’s been eyeing since the beginning of the show. (And considering the times, husband and children are just not things he’s going to be able to be rewarded with. So steady employment for the rest of his life will have to do.) He’s not the only gay butler with a steady job. Spratt not only gets to come out of the closet about his Agony Aunt column, but he gets an entire featured page. Because as Slate and Mallory Ortberg will tell you, it’s still one of the most popular features in any publication today. Even Violet reads it.

Edith: And you wrote so well about dressing for town and country in autumn. Could we have a little more of that?
Spratt: Oh, I’m full of ideas when it comes to combining comfort and elegance, m’lady.

If you’re Lord Grantham you finally remember your wife is better than you are, and for the first time since the last time you were an ass (only as late as last season!), you tell her how much you respect her. Awwwwwwwwwwwwww.

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It’s the end of an era everyone. Raise your glass to the Granthams and their frozen moment of happiness, as they sign off for the last time.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ lang syne!

…happily ever after.

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3 thoughts

  1. There was a scene very near the end, as the Granthams are processing through the upstairs corridor from Anna’s lying in (two old expressions in one sentence) to the New Year’s celebration that was poignant.
    They are remarking on all the changes they have been put through in the past 14 years, and give a sigh of relief that all seems settled in the family and that all have husbands and All’s Well that End’s Well.
    Bonneville and McGovern bring a special something to the scene, relieved that the upstart fellow Baron Fellowes will now be leaving them alone.

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  2. I was readingon the weekend a fascinating book published by the National Trust called.”Life Below Stairs In the Victorian and Edwardian Country House.”
    It contains all kinds of snippets, including the fact that the larger country houses, installed internal telephone systems for communication within the house and with stables, dairy, etc. These operated decades before there was a rural telephone grid to connect to.
    Many of the Country Lords were early adopters of new technology when it would make their lives easier and give them a whizz bang factor over their neighbours, who then would have to install to keep up with the Lord Joneses.
    I thought back to Carson being befuddled by the telephone installation in an early season, and thought that the only novelty IRL would have been the outside connection as Downton would likely have been wired for phones at the same time electricity was added.

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