Thus it draws to a close … and all I can say is be glad my mother wasn’t writing this blog because nothing would have been a surprise. Matthew wounded but not seriously (in the end)? Check. Lavinia dying of Spanish flu? Check. Bates killing his wife? Almost check. Patrick’s an impostor? Potentially. Ok so Downton is no Spooks (it’s MUCH better according to the ratings battle), so I wasn’t expecting huge twists and shocking revelations but bravo to my mum!
Anyway, after that brief tribute, let’s cover the 90 minute finale. The trailers yesterday evening that brought back slo-mo images to the soundtrack of a gramophone-style With Or Without You had me suitably nauseous, and when the announcer told me I’d need tissues I was ready clutching my loo roll. However, the ensuing episode, while gripping, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable, did not move me in quite the same way as last year’s close.
More frequent were squeals, shrieks and fist-shaking (to put it politely). Once more I’d rather not discuss Lord Grantham but the shrieks and profanities were aimed squarely at him. And Jane. Oh, Jane, is it? Got a first name do you? Got ideas above your station too so be off with you and feel ashamed.
Actually I am going to talk about the Earl. Perhaps it’s having spent too much time at university discussing the role of the writer (yah yah) but I can’t help but feel that it’s not all Lord Grantham’s fault. Mr Fellowes spent the entirety of the first series establishing the loving relationship of Cora and the Earl; a triumph of the arranged marriage which is particularly intriguing in the context of our own society. Then we see maybe 3 or 4 bickerings throughout a 4 year period and suddenly the once rational Earl has become a philanderer. Not only that but his attitude to the (albeit rebellious) pairing of Sybil and Branson is hypocritical and staid. Mr Fellowes, it’s rather unbelievable.
In a delightful juxtaposition, though, the Dowager Lady Grantham just excels and excels. So the chauffeur’s going to be a political journalist and there’s a family with the same surname that know the Howards? Why he’s practically royalty! At least she has the sense to see that morals and manners are better than money and no scruples (Sir Richard, that means YOU).
Lavinia’s dead! No, sorry, she was very noble. But Lavinia’s dead! As Matthew let himself fall (quite literally) into Mary’s arms, the romantic scene of all of Downton to date tipped poor unremarkable Lavinia over the edge. That’s how self-deprecating Matthew with the heavy red under-eye make-up would have it anyway. But it’s ok because for now Mary and Matthew’s biggest obstacle is gone and they got a smooch.
Glad that Cora’s alive. It worried me that she’d be sacrificed to stop Sybil from leaving but we’re ok!
Really enjoyed Thomas ruling the school again, he’s so entertaining at false manners. I was only sad that he’s not moving on to bigger and better things (it’s much more fun to hate him). Hopefully we’ll have more ambition next year.
And finally to Anna and Bates. (Silliness – did Bates have more hair last night? I thought so.) It was inevitable that the man destined to be unhappy would be arrested for another crime he didn’t commit. Still they had a lovely wedding and really the most adorable and tasteful wedding night scene to ever have graced a period drama (there’s probably not that many, though, it’s a bit racy). Bates’ arrest was probably the episode’s finest scene. The shot down the corridor combined with the sinister twist on the classic Downton theme was wonderful as was the closing stark image of Anna.
What’s next? I desperately hope that Downton goes to Dublin for the Christmas special – what could be more festive than the Dowager, revolutionaries and Guinness?
Word by Claudia Rowe (predictions by her mum)
You can reminisce over the series with Claudia’s entire Downton Abbey Series 2 blog