Following Episode 8, which except for the final Xmas Special, more or less winds up six series of Downton Abbey for the cast and crew reports our London correspondent, everyone upstairs and downstairs is left feeling a sense of loss or overjoyed at the turn of events.
Coming up over the hill to see Downton Abbey rising in all its grand manner architectural glory for one of the last times in Episode 8 we have an anticipation that creator Julian Fellowes will be sure it perhaps ends well for our most beloved characters.
Please, don’t read any more if you don’t want spoilers.
Edith and Cora are out in the field walking and talking about Edith’s love for Bertie and wondering if she should accept his proposal of marriage. Cora is warning Edith she must not have a lie at heart of her marriage, urging her to tell him about Marigold. Edith wonders out loud that if she tells him the truth, will it ruin her chances?
You cannot be married to a man and leave him out of a secret like Marigold’s parentage cautions Cora prophetically.
Downstairs poor old Mrs Patmore is being advised by the Sargent of Police from the village that her first guests at her B and B were not what she thought, but a couple committing adultery.
And now she is going to be forever tarnished with the reputation of running a house of ill repute, for as we discover, the local societal rumour mill is off and running.
Carson worries about Mrs P’s dilemma and instructs Mrs Hughes not to tell anyone upstairs, but little does he know that it is far to late. Anna has already told Mary and they have both collapsed in convulsive laughter together.
Mrs P is further enraged when all her future guests cancel in light of the ‘scandal’!
Lord Robert declares his mother Dowager Violet has exhausted his patience.
She has swanned off to the south of France, although he forgives her everything as she has given him his new Labrador puppy Tia’a.
An English Marquess dies in Tangiers on holidays it says on the newspaper headlines as Tom and Mary walking through the village.
They discover it’s the sixth Marquess of Hexham, Bertie’s youthful second cousin once removed, and they discuss how Bertie the property manager may now be out of a job.
Who will succeed to the title?
Imagine Mary’s surprise when it turns out to be the man she regards as boring Bertie, Edith’s beloved. Her eyes turn green as Lord and Lady Grantham express their delight. Not reacting well, Mary then declares she will not accept Mr Talbot to Anna.
Downstairs Daisy is advised that she has passed all her papers with high marks opening up her opportunities in life.
Mr Moseley who has also passed the schoolmaster’s special exam with distinction has been invited to become a teacher at the village school.
He gets busy setting tests for the children observing that if you expect a lot in life you get a lot back.
Edith talks to Bertie but still hesitates to tell him…. we are all getting anxious as Edith declares he is dropping by to see her on his way to Tangiers
Mary declares that if he is then he will not want to marry Edith.
Lady Rosamund who has arrived joins in those telling Edith to let Bertie in on her secret and make a clean breast of it.
Mr Moseley declares he will accept the village school position. Although, he wants to see how it pans out before he makes a decision to teach permanently.
Mr Talbot arrives spontaneously and Tom tells Mary to get of her high horse as Mary fights her feelings, saying they would be wretched together.
Lord Robert and Lady Cora discuss Edith’s prospects, he’s delighted at the thought his daughter will outrank them all.
In the library Lady Rosamund informs her brother that she is appalled they are keeping the scandal from Bertie, who when he arrives eloquently expresses his feelings for his lost cousin.
Lady Cora admiringly comments how pleased he would be to know that he is his heir.
As they all leave the library, Lady Rosamund and Cora discuss how Robert is making a mistake by not urging Edith to tell him.
Tom hits the nail on the head when Mary and he discuss Henry Talbot’s lack of prospects.
He declares that not to marry a man for lack of money is reprehensible and Tom and Mary exchange words.
She says people like us must marry sensibly.
Mr Carson, the ‘old curmudgeon’ tells them all off over ‘dragging the Duke and Duchess into the Patmore affair.
Mr Barrow notes he believes he doesn’t have a future.
Mr Moseley starts teaching at the local school; running into unexpected difficulties with the children. He hopes they will find history as exciting as he does.
Edith is again in the garden with Bertie telling him he’s not obliged to honour his previous proposal to her before he became ‘noble’ too.
He believes rank carries responsibility and wants at his side.
Once again Edith lets her chance to tell Bertie her secret slip by.
Mr Talbot drops in unannounced and Lady Cora invites him to stay.
Mary is fuming and Tom tells her to get off her high horse and leaves her and Henry to sort it out.
Mary pleads with him to let her go and he says he will make it as hard as possible.
She then pleads with her mother to send him away and after she’s left Lady Rosamund declares she’s mad about him, whatever she says.
Dinner that night is a lively affair and Edith tells Henry that Mary is a handful.
He chases her from the room, saying he believes they love each other very much, asking her if she’s not pushing him away because of his ‘lack of money’. If she is he tells her he would find it as reprehensible as marrying him for it.
Bates declares Mary is a bit of a bully to Anna and churlish if she doesn’t get her own way.
Bertie pleads with Edith to give him her answer so he can go to Tangiers knowing that their future is settled.
She tells him she loves him and he takes it as a yes before she can qualify what she wants to say and, despite her telling him her life is not as simple as it seems. He still takes it as a yes and she’s confused.
The next morning at breakfast Mary discovers Henry has left and she is furious.
After Lord Robert has left the room Bertie tells Tom, and Mary about he and Edith’s engagement despite her warning him it is not the time.
Mary jealous of her sister’s happiness, maliciously exposes Edith’s secret much to Tom’s dismay.
She forces Edith to declare Marigold is her daughter and totally shocked Bertie gets up and leaves the room. Tom looks at Mary with disgust and Edith is left dazed and upset.
Isobel has another very unhappy tea in Downton Abbey’s garden with Lord Merton’s future daughter in law declaring that if her fiancée wants his father to welcome her at their wedding then Larry who has been so rude to her, needs to invite her himself
Lord Robert, Rosamund and Lady Cora discuss helping Mrs Patmore to regain her reputation by going to her ‘B & B’ for afternoon tea and informing the press.
Carson reveals his disdain for the idea, dragging the family into the frey.
Tom tells Lord Grantham what Mary has told Bertie who is pacing in the grounds with Edith where he declares she hasn’t been fair to him.
He takes it as her not trusting him and he is very hurt. He wants to know if she would have married him in a lie.
She says she doesn’t think so, and he declares that he couldn’t spend his life with someone he doesn’t trust and leaves. She wishes him good luck in his future life without her.
Tom is furious with Mary and vents his anger. You ruined Edith’s life to smother your own misery. “You’re a bully Mary, and like all bullies you are a coward”, he says.
Edith and Mary have a violent showdown and Edith tells Mary she’s a bitch, who is not only content with ruining her own life but also has to ruin hers too.
Edith packs her bags and leaves for London telling Mary she’s glad that Henry Talbot has escaped her clutches.
A tawdry brew ha ha says Carson to Lord Robert when he expresses his desire that the family should not be dragged into Mrs Patmore’s affair.
Nonsense says Lord Robert, we cannot let Mrs. Patmore’s investment in her future fall away to nothing. She is very touched and grateful that the family are going to come to her B & B for tea, which when it happens goes off without a hitch.
Anna and Baxter meet Barrow in the hall. Baxter is puzzled by his lethargy as he passes them heading for his room in the daytime.
She’s setting off to the village with Moseley but pauses as she contemplates Barrow’s mood with him. She senses a terrible event is about to happen and rushes back to the hall.
It is no surprise when she finds Thomas has slit his wrists in a bath and summons Andrew to help her save him. She sends him to fetch Mrs Hughes and send for Dr Clarkson.
Daisy goes to watch Mr Moseley, who has made peace with the children telling them how he’s in service. They all warm to their new teacher.
He declares learning is the province of each and every one of them and that he wants them to have the shortcut he never had in life.
Carson tells Lord Robert, Cora, Rosamund and Mary about Thomas and they are all shocked, realising the uncertainty about his future has contributed to his distress.
Mary delivers a below the belt comment to her father who is completely ashamed of his daughter. She is at her lowest ebb.
Downstairs Mr Moseley is being applauded at tea by the rest of staff for his success, as reported by Daisy. It seems he may become a great teacher after all.
Up in London Edith numbed by her disappointment discovers that Cassandra Jones is coming to tea due to the success of ‘her’ column in Edith’s magazine… can it be someone we know?
Violet summoned home from France by Tom is there to talk to Mary and surprises everyone by declaring “He’s in love with you and you with him…. Do you deny it?”
Mary breaks down telling her Grandmother she cannot be a ‘crash’ widow any more.
When Violet brings up what has happened to Edith she asks can’t you find me a Duke to put Edith in her place?
Cold and selfish and grand… Violet tells Mary she believes in love. “No man is an island’ she says.
Mary goes to visit Matthew in the graveyard. “I love him Henry Talbot and we are right together” she says to Matthew “… asking would he be happy for her”.
Isobel visiting her son as is her Friday habit offers Mary to her blessing…
Henry arrives… well; you threw me out for telling you I loved you and now she informs him she’s stopped fighting it. We are equal in strength and passion…
Look at you he declares, so cool and collected while I am hot and bothered as my heart pounds
When I was here last I had a marriage licence he tells her and it is valid still.
Just marry me on Saturday in the village church, where Tom becomes best man at both of her weddings.
Edith returns on Mary’s wedding day to offer her best, saying that ‘… in the end you are my sister and one day we will be the only people to remember dear Sibyl’…
… and, in the end ‘our shared memories will mean far more than our mutual dislike’.
Matthew loved you and he wanted you to be happy
I am sure he would have been very pleased say Edith to Mary. You look nice.
Saturday dawns a lovely day and everyone is dressed to the nine’s on their way to church.
In the village church upstairs and downstairs from Downton Abbey assemble as Henry and Mary become ‘a new couple in a new world.
Lord Robert is pleased, declaring all his ships are coming home to port.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015
Watch the Trailer
Lord Robert Crawley Hugh Bonneville
Lady Cora Crawley Elizabeth McGovern
Lady Violet Crawley Maggie Smith
Lady Mary Crawley Michelle Dockery
Lady Edith Crawley Laura Carmichael
Lady Rosamund Painswick Samantha Bond
Isobel Crawley Penelope Wilton
Tom Branson Allen Leech
Charles Carson Jim Carter
John Bates Brendan Coyle
Thomas Barrow Robert James-Collier
Elsie Hughes Phyllis Logan
Anna Bates Joanne Froggatt
Mrs Patmore Lesley Nicol
Daisy Mason Sophie McShera
Molesley Kevin Doyle
Andy Parker Michael Fox
Images: courtesy iTV