Mar 072016

Downton Abbey: Edith's wedding day

At some point during the Downton Abbey series finale/Christmas special, I realized that absolutely every beat would be an expected beat, and I had to just decide to lay back and let it wash over me. There was a point, indeed, where I admired Fellowes’s restraint in refraining from having absolutely everybody get down on one knee and propose to everyone else. Moseley and Baxter. Daisy and Andrew. Tom and Editor Person. Mason and Mrs. Patmore. Barrow and Young Master George. (Too far?)

Because everyone that the audience longed to see happy together ended up happy together. There was so much love we didn’t even have time for Dick and Isobel’s wedding to be on-screen, although doubtless it was a tastefully practical affair.

Swallow it, Granny. It’s stuck in your craw long enough.

In addition to the high level of romance, there was an enormous amount of peacemaking. No grudges were left grudgey, no enemies were left with enmity (except the extremely evil Larry and Wife, and the barely mentioned and off-screen Rose’s Mother Susan That Bitch). Everybody kissed and made up: Violet and Cora, Mary and Edith, Thomas and Bates. Also, everyone has babies! BABIES!

I confess to a bit of an emotional reaction when I suddenly realized that, wow, this really was the last ever episode, and I was going to miss the parade of pretty people doing tastefully melodramatic things wearing magnificent clothing. Kudos to Edith’s pink sequined number the night of the engagement announcement. Her wedding veil was also a garment for the ages, but why was it dragging on the ground? With three children in the household, shouldn’t someone have been carrying her train?

At the very last, I came around on Thomas Barrow. A failed suicide attempt is, in fact, enough of a motivation for a person to turn his entire life around, and his remark that he came to Downton a boy and left a man was, in its own way, eye-opening. Of course, the long drawn-out goodbye, with the slow, mournful filming of Thomas with his suitcase, was designed to broadcast as loudly as possible that his departure was Not Right and he’d Be Back. I think, indeed, that Fellowes doesn’t consider surprise to be one of the dramatic devices in his arsenal.

Has anyone else noticed that the downstairs staff on this show spends an enormous amount of time polishing shoes?

Edith’s meeting with her future mother-in-law was pure hilarity. “Everything is okay as long as we’re moral. Morality is so important. Bertie can marry anyone as long as she doesn’t have a secret out-of-wedlock child. Or as long as he’s not gay like his dead cousin. Otherwise, we’re good to go.”

For all the build-up about this difficult and formidable woman, she collapsed like a bad soufflé. I wanted more from her. I’m used to the Dowager Countess, dammit, if you tell me a high-born woman is hardcore, I want to see a CAGE MATCH.

Edith is a marchioness now, which apparently has all sorts of duties. What does that mean to her magazine? How will she have time to do both? No one discussed. It’s just a woman’s career, after all.

So, let’s review the events of this episode. Mary arranges a surprise reunion of Bertie and Edith, which went exactly as we knew it would, as those crazy kids were meant to be together. There was the wedding we expected, and because everything has to happen at once, during this wedding (a) Mary told Henry she’s pregnant, and (b) Anna gave birth. This was a very fecund event. (Look it up.) Isobel realizes she’s in love with Dickie, thanks to our own little cupid, Lady Violet, who helps her rescue him from Evil Larry, and they, too, get married. Thomas leaves, everyone is sad, Thomas comes back.

I thought Moseley’s departure would be enough to get Thomas back on-staff, or even prevent him leaving. Carson sits and complains that he’s painfully short-handed with Moseley out, but he does nothing about it, until a mysterious illness intervenes. This illness ‘doesn’t even have a name’, which, I think, is something like “Fuck you, Internet, you can’t look THIS ONE up!” Also, please note that Carson opined that no decent butler would accept having Carson hang around as Elder Butler Statesman, but once it’s Barrow, all bets are off. No need to worry about Barrow playing second fiddle to Mr. I’ll Just Be Over Here With My Tremor Carson.

You know your problem?
I bet I soon will.

I actually liked Mrs. Patmore’s read on Daisy, how deep her self-hatred runs that she hates any man who wants her. It makes Daisy seem less like a random mean person and more like someone self-protective and intensely defended. Daisy sure knows how to give shade, though. Her meanness to Andrew becomes believable, if not attractive, and her turnaround on him was about right—he loses interest, she gains interest, Mrs. P. is in her corner telling her to stick around long enough for them to overlap. But the fact that this makes her soften towards Mason and Mrs. P. getting together is a bit much. By the way, did you catch Andrew taking a lock of Daisy’s hair? Aww.

By the way, Wikipedia says “Pernicious anemia was a fatal disease before about the year 1920”. So, five years later, the English nobility still think it’s fatal? Also, the symptoms of pernicious anemia and iron-deficiency anemia aren’t the same.

What do you suppose makes the English the way we are?
Opinions differ. Some say our history. But I blame the weather.

Things I loved: Isobel and Dickie happy to be friends, and then Isobel realizing she was in love. Edith’s delirious happiness. Robert watching Cora kick ass. Violet’s infinite wit.

Downton Abbey has been maddening to watch, if fun to write about, but I’ll miss it.

What say you all?


  12 Responses to “Downton Abbey Series Finale/Christmas Special: I blame the weather”

  1. This finale was a fairytale…happily ever after!

    I think one could interpret it as a gift to the fans…But I wish a little was left unresolved so we could speculate on a future revival of the series in say, 5 years. I like to keep the hope alive. For the right money and opportunity I think HBO would offer MadMen a miniseries in about 10 years. Why not? Its TV land, anything can happen with the right checkbook.

    Speaking of the right checkbook, I stumbled onto something that cracked me up and I suspect many people here will find amusing too. For a couple hundred of bucks you could be a Lord or Lady! I really got a good laugh out of this service.

  2. I loved the finale..kept wiping away tears I hadn’t realized I shed. Your line above about Thomas and Master George…you are bad! Hilarious. Thanks for the chuckle.

    Question…since Dickie got better does that mean his wicked daughter in law was poisoning him?

    • Probably not, but I say that only because I doubt she can cook. Anemia is common in the over 65 population and has a variety of causes, most of which can be dealt with nowadays. My question is: why doesn’t he kick them out of the “big house” and make them live somewhere on the estate on his sons money from his mother? If she left them money, that is.

    • You can’t poison someone to give him anemia AFAIK. I mean, iron-sucking poison?

      • Right…yes…but could he have been misdiagnosed for them to THINK he had it. There must be a big difference between regular anemia and AFAIK. How could they have so misjudged?

        • Sorry, “AFAIK” is short for “as far as I know”. He was diagnosed with pernicious anemia (PA). I’ve linked above to an article about it. The symptoms are similar, but the sore tongue, for example, seems to be more PA than iron-deficiency anemia.

      • Where is Agatha Christie when you need her experience/expertise ? She was being published in 1925, right?

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