Friday, March 18, 2016

What I’m Watching: Downton Abbey (Series Finale)

Downton Abbey: Season 6, Episode 9 “The Finale”

All good things must come to an end. This show is unique in that it has maintained a certain quality all throughout its six seasons, never rising too much above a certain level and not dropping below it either. While I fell asleep the first time I tried to watch the pilot of what was then a miniseries, I attribute that to the fact that I was just really tired. It’s been quite a journey in so many ways, and also little has changed with the cyclical nature of relationships and events. This finale wasn’t too flashy or big, yet it still managed to resolve a good deal and end things on a warm and endearing note. Most significant, of course, is that Edith got married to Bertie, easily the most well-rounded and likeable of her generally agreeable doomed lovers, and that Mary had a positive role in making it happen, which was a nice change. Edith also proved that she is courageous and honest by telling Bertie’s mother about Marigold, winning points all around, which was wonderful. The wedding was indeed a celebration, and it provided the opportunity for Robert to propose a fabulous if inevitable solution to the problem of Carson’s debilitating condition and Thomas’ unhappiness in his solitary new role. Anna giving birth right after the wedding and remaining in Mary’s bedroom while the Granthams went on to ring in the new year was so appropriate in terms of social separation, and it’s great to see Anna and Bates, who have been through so much, get a happy ending. I like that we got inklings of romance that could lead to something for Daisy and Andy and for Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Mason, and a last-minute reprieve for Isobel and a marriage that almost didn’t happen. Even Spratt managed a wondrous unintentional victory over Denker when Violet responded with laughter rather than disapproval when she found out about Spratt’s side activities. I don’t think there will be another show like this anytime soon, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything that has transpired up until this completely fitting crowdpleaser of a finale.

Series finale: B+
Series grade: A-
Season MVP: Laura Carmichael as Edith
Season grade: A-
Series MVP: Maggie Smith as Violet
Best Season: All of them! Best Episode: All of them!

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