Watching the final episode of Downton Abbey Season 5 was like enjoying an excellent meal: it was extremely satisfying and yet it left me looking forward to more. So many loose ends were tied up, yet at the same time bread crumbs were laid down for future plot lines. Thankfully the cliff hangers we were left with were pleasant this time. Going into next season, there does not appear to be an imminent threat of imprisonment or peril.
So many stories came full circle in the season finale. Rose started the season as a flighty self-centered girl. She finished the season as a much more mature married woman. She loves Atticus for all the right reasons, and despite her father-in-law’s prejudice against her, she proved to be a loyal member of the Sindeby family, deserving of their trust. Off she goes to America, to turn New York on its head.
Thomas started the season off much as he has been for the past four seasons, as a conniving backstabbing schemer. Despite trying to undermine Baxter, her steadfast friendship pulled him out of a very dark place emotionally. Baxter’s kindness and friendship started the thawing process of his heart. Thomas ended the season as a team player, showing kindness to members of the staff. He still has a conniving streak, however, he’s begun to scheme against more worthy victims. Lord Sindeby and his prudish butler Stolle found out what happens when you tick off Thomas (both deserved a measure of discomfort).
Violet, Isobel and Mrs. Hughes all received proposals of marriage and in Violet’s case elopement, despite their mature years. Who says love is just for the young?? Although all three were delighted by, and even flattered by the attention, only Mrs. Hughes appears to be headed down the aisle. Violet turned away Prince Kuragan’s advances because he was married to the Princess who was still alive. She acknowledged that however much she disliked the Princess (who was no Sally Sunshine, I can’t blame the Prince for wanting to get away from her) the Princess saved her from “a life in the shadows.” Her debt had been repaid.
Isobel’s impediment was of an entirely different nature. Dickie Merton’s horrid sons ruined their chance of happiness. I have never approved of the adage that children should be seen but not heard, however, the Gray boys are far too vocal for me. In the end, Isobel was correct in refusing Lord Merton. Who wants to spend the holidays scowling at each other over the savory for the rest of your life? And what if Dickie dies first? Isobel would be alone with the gold dust twins, Not an appealing prospect.
Now for Mrs. Hughes, there have been hints all season that a proposal from Mr. Carson was coming. Mr. Carson confessed early on in the season that he didn’t like being on the opposite side of an issue from Mrs. Hughes. Mr. Carson’s determination to show Mrs. Hughes that he was open to the modern world by giving Mrs. Patmore financial advice was sweet. Finally, wanting to invest in a property with Mrs. Hughes for their retirement indicated that he was looking into his future and he wanted her there with him. I was happier than I have been at any point in the entire history of the series when Mrs. Hughes said , “Of course I’ll marry you, you boobie.” Please, please, nothing will go wrong for them.
Tom has come full circle as well. He started out as the chauffer winning fair Sybil’s heart. Through his perseverance he worked his way into the hearts of Cora, Mary, and Edith, then finally Robert. Robert’s tribute to Tom at the Christmas party was heartfelt. Tom helped to turn the estate around when the family needed him the most. I know it’s the Pollyanna streak in me, but I’m still hoping he and Sibbie will stay. I’m not sure what it will take for him to stay, I just feel that he’s made such progress at Downton both with the family and for the economic benefit of the estate he should stay. Sibbie would also get to grow up in that adorable nursery with George and Marigold. Don’t go Tom!!
Mary was swimming with suitors as the season began. She decided against Tony, but only after sleeping with him. Charles is off in pre-WWII Poland (hopefully he’ll be back before the political fireworks start over there), his feelings for Mary seemed to me to be unclear. We didn’t see or hear from Evelyn Napier all season. Then at the eleventh hour Harry Talbott made his entrance. Mary is definitely interested in him, you can tell because she tried to make him feel uncomfortable. I have a feeling that Mr. Talbott is no one’s fool though. I do think it ironic that his sport is cars, when Mary lost her husband in a car accident. We’ll see if they meet up in Yorkshire next season.
Second to Mrs. Hughes’s’ and Mr. Carson’s news, I was so relieved to hear Edith say she was happy. If anyone deserved a moment of happiness it is Edith. Thanks to Robert who told her there was nothing for which she needs to be forgiven and that Edith and Marigold must absolutely stay at Downton. Lord Hexham’s land agent seems to be interested in her and she in him. He is not quite what she’s used to, she went from a Lord (Anthony Strallon), to a newspaper publisher, to a land agent who admits he has no ambition. Oh well, if it makes her happy. Perhaps, he’ll be Downton’s new land agent when Tom leaves.
Dear Daisy has grown so much over the course of the season. She went from being “rubbish with numbers” to sitting for her matriculation exams. She’s gained an interest in politics, and art. Who knows where these new interests will take her.
I hope Miss Baxter and Mr. Molesely will continue with their friendship. Who knows, next season we may have a double wedding downstairs. Mr. Spratt and Mrs. Danker have already lost their appeal for me. I don’t particularly like either one of them. She’s a lush, who got poor Andy the footman in financial trouble. He’s an annoying tattletale who likes everything his own way.
Robert and Cora are back on solid footing. Their relationship was tested and they have come out stronger for it. We’ll have to see if Robert’s “tummy” ache is only an ulcer. Will that be a source of drama, is it actually more serious?
Finally we come to Anna and Bates. We learned that Anna was abused by her step-father, making her even more sympathetic (I didn’t think that was possible). At the end of the day, despite all the dodgey police practices, Anna and Bates were reunited for Christmas. Here’s hoping there will be the pitter patter of little Batlette feet next season.
These are the characters I think we’ve said good-bye to: Sarah Bunting, Tony Gillingham, Mable Lane Fox, Prince Kuragan, Princess Kuragan, Susan Flintshire, Shrimpie Flintshire, Jimmy the footman, Tim Drew, Margie Drew, Dickie Merton, and his monster sons, and (sniff) Isis the dog.
These are the characters who I think will have a limited appearance next season: Rose, Atticus, Lord and Lady Sindeby, Tom and Sibbie, and Charles Blake.
These are the characters who I think we’ll be seeing more of: Harry Talbott, Lord Hexham’s land agent and Andy the footman.
I can’t stand the fact we’ll have to wait a full ten months before we go back to Downton. What will I do?