And they all lived happily ever after — at least until the movie.
“Downton Abbey” ended six seasons Sunday, on a high note, or a series of them, as the Crawleys found true love and Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) found true happiness (debatable, because this is Barrow after all). There were marriages, and a baby or two, also new jobs, new directions. Life went on and lives were fulfilled. No one even died.
“Downton Abbey” really was a fairytale after all.
In a big-hearted farewell full of little surprises, perhaps the biggest non-surprise involved Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) — luckless in love, until Sunday night. She reconciled with Herbert Pelham, the 7th Marquess of Hexham — you know him as Bertie (Harry Hadden-Paton) — and both finally married, even with the reluctant blessing of Bertie’s starch-collared mother Miranda (Patricia Hodge) who also learned of Edith’s illegitimate daughter, Marigold.
There was some of the foreshadowing which “Dowton” is so very fond of — typically expressed as a sudden onset of an illness that might be serious but which will absolutely figure in a critical plot point later on. Butler Carson (Jim Carter) explained that a convulsive twitch was a condition his father had and his father before him, and which ended their careers as loyal servants. “The plain truth is, I’m done for,” he said bleakly. What was to become of our beloved Carson? Of course we all guessed even before the question was asked: Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern) promised to to take care of him and his wife, Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan), until the end of his days, while his replacement was to be . . . Barrow.
Ah yes, the baby: The story of Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Bates (Brendan Coyle) finally concluded with one — a boy.
Every fan will come away with a favorite moment, but it’s hardly a matter of dispute who had the best lines — Violet (Maggie Smith), of course. Her best arrived shortly after her lady’s maid Miss Denker (Sue Johnston) hinted at her butler Spratt’s (Jeremy Swift) moonlighting job as a columnist.
Said Violet, “In Denker’s mind, she is Salome dancing rings around Spratt’s Herrod. . . . ”
The finale was a thing of beauty and generosity, leaving fans off at the end of a journey that almost arrived too quickly, after only six seasons. Perhaps mindful of that, “Downton” dispensed presents: Another marriage, of Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) and Lord Merton (Douglas Reith), a pregnancy, for Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), a future for Barrow, and even new careers for Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and Henry, who opened a (used) car dealership. Now, about that movie. . . .