Saying Farewell to Downton (2010-2016)

Emotions run high as the beloved series ends its six-year run on PBS.
By Tara Higgins

“With any luck, they’ll be happy enough. Which is the English version of a happy ending.” — The Dowager Countess

The final episode of Season 6 of Downton Abbey marks the end of one of America’s most beloved television series. The show closed with one of its now famous Christmas stories, which aired Dec. 25, 2015 in the United Kingdom before its release in the United States last night.

The show opens with Robert’s (Hugh Bonneville) musing over Edith’s (Laura Carmichael) decision to send Marigold (Eva and Karine Samms) away to boarding school in London, despite the fact that she does not have any relations there in town.

Meanwhile, Mary (Michele Dockery) joins Henry (Matthew Goode), as he reveals to her he has recovered from the guilt of blaming himself as responsible for Charlie Rogers’ death, and that he is ready to move on if he hopes to work for and gain Mary’s love.

The episode covered a lot of ground fairly quickly, moving from Thomas’s (Rob-James Collier) profuse thanks to his rescuers Anna (Joanne Froggatt), Andy (Michael Fox), and Miss Baxter (Raquel Cassidy), to the perusal of a letter written by Larry Grey’s (Charlie Anson) current wife, Miss Amelia (Phoebe Sparrow), to the strange disappearance of Lord Merton (Douglas Reith).

The show featured everything a Downton fan could ask for and more. Of course, it had its disappointments: the rapid progression of Carson’s (Jim Carter) Parkinson’s disease, as well as the debut of Henry and Tom’s car shop, seemed to fly by in seconds, leaving viewers wondering how the producers could have skimmed over the episodes so quickly.

Far more touching, however, were the scene’s true Christmas moments, which would have been far more impactful had we witnessed them in the snowy month of December than in the middle of a warm spring March here in Colorado. If Carson and Mrs. Hughes’ (Phyllis Logan) finally calling each other by their first names and the whole cast singing “Auld Lang Syne” to finish didn’t reach your more emotional side, I can’t think of anything better that would.

Nothing I could say would do justice to this amazing series, which touched our hearts from the very beginning. Perhaps the best way to end such a review would be in the words of the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith) herself.

Isobel: “We’re going forward into the future, not back into the past.”
The Dowager Countess: “If only we had the choice.”

Farewell Downton. We will miss you.

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