Monday, February 20, 2012

The Downton Finale

So the last episode of Downton began with a stunning Christmas tree in the front hall and ended with a proposal in a snowy courtyard. It was worth Daisy's endless whining. It was worth the specter of Patrick Crawley. It was worth all of Branson's posturing.

The Mr. Bates storyline was wrenching. Poor, poor Anna! I cried.

As much as we all hated Richard Carlyle, I loved the way it all played out, even (or especially) Mary trying to make amends at he left Downton for the last time. He tipped his hat as he left which makes me reconsider the accusations I levelled against him last week. Maybe, like O'Brien, there's more to him.

I loved Mary this season. I hope Michelle Dockery is enjoying her new found fame. She knows how to nuance a role.

I am a sucker for a happy ending. I read Tess of the d'Urbervilles right up to the bitter end, dead certain that it would all turn around in the final chapter. Shudder! I watched Saving Private Ryan, the whole while thinking some mother out on the plains of Nebraska would get that miraculous news that her boys had come through. Didn't happen. I loved Jane Eyre because there's redemption and even an epilogue! Happy sigh!

So there we were watching the snow fly in front of Downton Abbey. It was everything that makes this show a visual wonder -- Mary's stunning maroon gown against her milky white complexion, Mathew's blue eyes, her excited "yes!," their kiss, their laughter -- call me a sap, but I cried.

Even better than that, though, was the return of the venerable Lord Grantham as Newt exited stage left (hopefully never to be seen again). The Earl of Grantham tells the hard, hard truth under pressure, admits to Mary that she's not the only Crawley to have erred, advises her to go to America and bring back a cowboy who will shake things up a bit. Honorable, decisive, dashing -- and sweet to his wife once more. Cora and Robert are a long married couple who has endured war, family crises, and Spanish Flu -- and the sight of them embracing was even sweeter than watching young love blossom. I cried here, too.

I have all sorts of crazy ideas about next season, but rest assured that Jullian Fellowes will have even wilder ones.

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