“Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?” – Downton Abbey 6×01
I am still in denial about this being Downton’s last season.
Hearing that opening theme after a long time felt like a homecoming. Unlike last year, this season’s premiere felt very satisfactory. It was the perfect opening – it touched on all the storylines that we’re following and will soon see to closure (Whyyy), and set the stage for this season’s conflicts for the last time (Whyyy).
But can I be honest and say that at this point, the only storyline I am invested in is Edith’s. We all know that Mary is all set for her perfect life (I’m staunchly Team Edith here), but Edith still needs that resolution. My personal wish for her is to move to London with Marigold, who will now be publicly acknowledged as her child, and live the life of a thoroughly modern and accomplished London sophisticate. This is 1925, after all. (Edith’s inheriting Michael Gregson’s flat is a source of confusion for me. I thought women were not allowed to inherit property back then?)
I care about what will happen to Downton Abbey itself and if it will escape the fate of the Darnleys, who had to auction off their estate. (I have to give props to my niece for recognizing the actor who plays John Darnley as Wickham himself! He got old.) I care about Robert, Cora and the Dowager Countess. But surely nothing really bad will happen to them?
Our blog post title is again courtesy of the Dowager, and refers to another fight she’s having with cousin Isobel. There’s some talk of taking over the county hospital, and though it’s not all that compelling, I think the focus on Violet v. Isobel may just be a bluff so they can surprise us when it’s Cora who finally stands up to her mother-in-law.
I am also, in a perverse way, still rooting for Barrow. (I mean, a man who gives piggyback rides to children can’t be all bad, can he?) And actually, the entire Team Servants too. I don’t want them to be cast out on the streets.
Actually, now that I think about it, I am interested in everyone else’s story, except Mary’s. I hate her. Have I said that before? Objectively speaking though, I realize it would be revolutionary if a woman were to take over running the Downton estate, if that’s where we’re heading. But I simply do not care for Mary. Never have, never will.
I’m glad that the Bates-Anna trouble has finally been resolved and was not dragged out throughout this season. This should leave us more time to hope and plan with them for their future – IF we didn’t have to deal with another blow for them, in the form of Anna’s miscarriages. At first I thought that Anna was just referring to that time of the month when she told Bates that she was definitely not pregnant, but it turns out that she had miscarried before. Is that really how it works? Can you just get up and work on the same day if that just happened to you? In any case, why can’t Julian Fellowes give this couple a break?
This episode’s funniest moments had to be Mrs. Patmore’s awkward conversations with Mrs. Hughes and Carson about “the implications of a full marriage”. Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs. Patmore, has always excelled in these comedic moments, and in this episode, with her subtle throwaway expressions, she shone again. It was a sensitive topic, but she gave it just enough levity without belittling or mocking the situation.
And so the countdown to the end begins. What will I do without Downton?