Downton Abbey: A Moorland Holiday

“Well, you’re in for the Downton Christmas this year, and, if that doesn’t put you off, nothing will.”

I do love a happy ending. After a season with more than its share of angst and stories that were often less than they could or should have been, this season finale left me with a smile on my face.

The timeline actually moves forward a bit this episode. It kicks off in the middle of August and goes through Christmas. We have come to the end of 1924.

This was an episode that felt like the end of a lot. Rose and Atticus are going to New York. Tom and Sybbie are going to Boston. Neither Lady Violet nor Isobel will have a man in her life.

I was fascinated to finally meet the Princess -- and wasn’t she worth the wait. Tough as nails and accepting no nonsense from anyone, she reminded me quite a bit of Lady Violet. I fully believe that the Princess pulled her rival from the carriage. Isn’t that the greatest mental image? Anyway, Lady Violet’s telling the story to Isobel was a lovely moment.

The friendship between these two women has become the backbone of the series for me. I love watching them exchange confidences and I love the fact that they appear to be inseparable. As Isobel (very rightly) finally refuses Lord Merton, it makes me glad that these two women have each other to lean on and to snipe at.

Speaking of strong women, both Rose and Mary showed us the steel that is inside themselves. Rose rescuing her father-in-law was fantastic. She has grown from a spoiled, whiny girl into a woman who will not only assess the situation in a flash, but go out of her way to protect those she loves. Even those who have been insufferable to her.

Looks like Mary has met her match. Henry Talbot is intuitive, intelligent, and extremely handsome. Mary doesn’t cower before such a man, but even she admits she is impressed by him. I genuinely thought that Tom and she would be the end game couple. Now, I’m not so sure. Plus, if it means a season of Matthew Goode, I am not complaining in the slightest.

Just when I think Robert is beyond redemption, we see that other side of him. We see that side that loves his family and wants them to be happy. His conversation with Edith was so sweet and his saying goodbye to Tom was moving. It wasn’t that long ago that Robert thought Tom was the worst thing to ever happen to his family. Watching him admit that that he wrong made me almost like him again.

Almost. The whole thing with his health annoyed me. If I were sick, or thought I were, the first thing I would do is tell the person closest to me. His keeping it from Cora was just silly, especially since we all knew that it would come out at the end.

Although he tries so hard to hide it, Robert is capable of great emotion. When those emotions escape, I always find myself crying. The scene with the three parents in the nursery was incredibly moving, especially when Robert stumbled onto the scene. Watching Tom being so gentle with this man who was once so awful to him and watching Robert barely hold his tears in check made me cry. What a lovely, lovely moment.

Carson and Mrs. Hughes have always been fun to watch together. The story this week of their buying the house was rather dull -- up until the end. I gasped when he proposed and I got tears in my eyes as his welled up when he realized what the answer would be. The exchange between them was one of my favorite moments in the entire series. I found myself grinning like an idiot through the tears.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without at least a small present to cherish. Our present from Julian Fellowes may be that this Green story is finally, finally over. The witness against Anna has recanted and Bates was definitely in York. While some may complain that this two season story arc rather petered out, I say let it. It’s a silly story that was over ages ago. Let’s hope that the season ending with the door closing is the apt metaphor it should be.

Bits and Bobs:

-- If Brancaster Castle looked vaguely familiar to you, it might be because it was Hogwarts for the first two Harry Potter films. It was also shown in Elizabeth and Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Alnwick Castle is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland.

-- The Grouse is still a thing. The season begins August 12 (the Glorious 12th) and several of the restaurants in London have grouse flown down that night to celebrate. Grouse is gamey, but good if you like that sort of thing.

-- I do wish Fellowes would give Anna a break. First the rape, now we learn that she was abused by her stepfather. Seriously, this woman has been through enough. It’s time for her and Bates to walk off into the sunset.

-- Stowell vs. Thomas. Was there ever any doubt who would win that contest?

-- Spratt, Denker and the broth. What a waste of airtime. Conversely, Molesley and Baxter pub crawling through York was a thing of beauty.

-- Everyone knows Edith’s secret except Mary. “She’s completely uninterested in me, which should keep me safe.” Edith is many things; unaware is not one of them.

-- I love the fact that the same Christmas carols have been sung for a century. I’ve said it before, but Mary has a lovely voice.

Well Said:

Lady Violet: “Oh, you know me. Never complain; never explain.”
Edith: “You don’t usually have much trouble complaining.”
The look Lady Violet shoots Edith is hilarious. God bless Maggie Smith.

Robert: “The English have strong principles, except when it comes to the chance of good shooting or eating well.”

Tom: “I was still a shock to the system.”

Lady Violet: “The presence of strangers is our only guarantee of good behavior.”

Kuragin: “Nothing is more tedious than other people’s misfortunes.”

Lady Violet: “I will never again receive an immoral proposition from a man. Was I so wrong to savor it?”

Isobel: “And, you’ve never strayed again?”
Lady Violet: “I’ve never risked everything again.”
Isobel: “That’s not quite what I asked.”
Lady Violet: “It’s all the answer you’ll get. Remember, we were the Edwardians.”

Mrs. Hughes: “You don’t want to be stuck with me.”
Carson: “But, that’s the point.”
Mrs. Hughes: “What is?”
Carson: “I do want to be stuck with you.”

Mrs. Hughes: “Of course I’ll marry you, you old booby. I thought you’d never ask.”

ChrisB loves all things English, but grouse not so much.

1 comment:

Juliette said...

Great to see your Downton reviews back, Chris! I don't tend to comment because I've already seen it and don't want to give anything away, but I always enjoy reading them :)