And now, the fantastic conclusion to the final episode! Get your popcorn or your teacakes or really whatever you heart desires, and be prepared to yell things at your television. Also, since this brings everyone up to date with what’s aired, I’ve included a bit of a quiz at the bottom, regarding how we all feel about, oh, everything. Please weigh in!
So, where were we? Mrs. Hughes updates Cora on Bates’ trial, still feeling horrible about having to testify. Daisy grumbles about having to serve dinner with only twenty minutes notice – she’s feeling underappreciated, partially because Miss Shaw (Rosamund’s new maid) keeps pointing out that she is, well, undervalued.
Upstairs, Mary comes in, wearing what might be the most comfortable-looking garment ever. It’s baggy! It has long sleeves! It’s black! I want it. More importantly, Mary and her father finally discuss whether Mary keeps up the engagement with Sir Richard because of the Mr. Pamuk story. Robert, apparently remembering how much he was kissing Jane quite recently, is far more forgiving than, well, I would have expected him to be. (Is THAT why the RoJane plotline happened? Hrrumph.) Mary has the cares of the world on her shoulders. Robert, in the best example of fathering we’ve yet seen from him, urges Mary to get rid of Sir Richard, and go to America if necessary to wait out the scandal. He instructs her to “find a cowboy in the middle west and bring him back to shake us up a bit!” (Are there cowboys in the Middle West? I’m from Long Island, I don’t know these things.) Mary laughs, for the first time in a long time.
Thomas and Carson have a conversation, in which Thomas finds out he will not be promoted to valet. “Because of the stealing. I knew it.”
Daisy is making a stand for herself. She remembers that life is short, and she feels she’s wasting hers. Hear hear, sister. Mrs. Padmore urges her to go visit the Mason’s farm, but Daisy says no.
Matthew and Isobel and Mary go and put Mr. Swire’s ashes on Lavinia’s grave. Matthew’s glad that she’s here, and Mary talks about how their time together is over. After they pray over Lavinia and now her father’s grave, Matthew and his mother head off in one direction, Mary in the other. Isobel tells Matthew that Mary’s still in love with him. Matthew says that things have to be the way they are, because of Lavinia. Isobel points out that Lavinia wouldn’t have wanted Matthew to be unhappy. Isobel then says that if you’re unhappy, and you can do something about it, you ought to.
And now for one of the better scenes. VIOLET AND DAISY. Daisy, who was cleaning the fire in the library when Violet stumbled upon her, apparently has told Violet the whole story with William and her ensuing guilt. Violet does a fantastic job of comforting Daisy, pointing out that she married him to keep his spirits up, which clearly shows that she at least cared for him a lot, and wanted to keep him happy. Robert interrupts this budding friendship, and Daisy runs out.
Violet’s only there because she wants Robert’s opinion on Rosamund and Lord Hepworth, which Robert thinks is fine, provided they make sure Rosamund’s money is safe.
Meanwhile, Thomas is out dognapping Isis and locking her in a shed. THOMAS, THESE PLANS OF YOURS ALWAYS FAIL.
Anna goes to visit Bates in prison, again. Bates is, per Bates, being noble and considerate and resigned to his fate. Anna is being far more human. She also says she’d marry him again in an instant, which is fantastic and sweet and everything we expect from our Anna. The guard says they’re not allowed to touch, and then relents, so there is some hot and heavy hand holding, and then a very sad kiss.
And we’re back to the Ouija board! Mrs. Padmore decides to use this to her advantage, and uses the game to further urge Daisy to go to Mr. Mason’s farm. Which, really, lady? Haven’t you pushed Daisy around enough?
Matthew attempts to sneak in to Downton to just see Mary for a moment, but instead runs into Robert, who’s concerned that Isis is missing. Matthew suggests a search party, so most of the cast sets out in what appears to be the worst-conceived search party EVER. They’re all in a bunch, not spread out at all, and it’s dark as fuck. They get up to the shed where Thomas imprisoned the poor dog, and it’s silent. Not good. Carson insists that Thomas run back to the house immediately, so it’s not as if he can lag behind and investigate the shed.
INCOMING MATTHEW AND MARY SCENE! Matthew wants to know what the hell is going on that’s forcing Mary to marry Sir Richard. But wait! First, a Carson and Mrs. Hughes scene, they’re worried about how the Bates situation will reflect on the house. And then Anna gives her notice! BUT BACK TO MATTHEW AND MARY! This is the second time that the actual “so this is what happened re: Pamuk” scene has been cut – we’re waiting for Matthew’s reaction right now. Matthew’s trying to understand what happened, and Mary says it was lust, or a need for excitement, or something. This is one of the very few times that we get Mary’s views on what happened seven years ago in her bedroom. So now that we all know everything now – I still maintain that what Pamuk did constitutes sexual assault. I know lots of people are of a different mind, including, it seems, Mary? And I don’t want to rob her of her agency by telling her what happened to her, but nothing that looked anything like consent happened in that bedroom. Thoughts?
Sorry to sidetrack. Matthew takes a few seconds to process what he’s been told, and then maintains that Mary must not marry Richard. Matthew seems to support the plan for Mary to go to New York, as long as she gets rid of Richard. Matthew then says that he could never despise Mary. MAKE OUT! Except no. (We should probably start a count of how many times I yell “make out” in the remaining half hour of the program.)
Instead, Thomas The Dognapper is feeling guilty as hell about his dog-napping. And he’s worried something’s happened to the dog. I DON’T CARE MARY AND MATTHEW ARE HAVING A MOMENT UPSTAIRS. PRIORITIES.
Daisy is indeed convinced that she should go to Mr. Mason’s farm. And, oh, it’s the next morning, and Thomas has gone to fetch Isis, except she’s not there. Thomas rolls around in the woods a bit, yelling for the dog. Ever notice that when Thomas is freaking out about something, he just gets himself completely filthy? (E.g.: when his black market supplies turned out to be bad.)
Yay sweet scene! I know Daisy frustrates some people, but I can’t help but love her. Mr. Mason explains to Daisy that he’s buried 5 children, and has no one left to pray for but Daisy. So he asks her if she’ll be his daughter – but of course, she’s got parents of her own. The look on Daisy’s face as she says she doesn’t have any parents is just the best damn thing. She also realizes, with Mr. Mason’s help, that William is the only person she was ever special to, and you can tell something major has changed in Daisy’s life, or at least in the way she sees things.
Thomas staggers out of the forest, clothes and hair a mess, and there’s Isis! Robert inquires as to how Thomas became so disheveled, and is impressed by Thomas’ seeming devotion to him and his dog.
Mr. Mason insists on driving Daisy back to the station, and gives her some good advice re: getting a promotion. He also insists that she stop listening to Miss Shaw, which is fundamentally good advice to start with. Except, I’m kind of frustrated that a lot of this means that Mrs. Padmore knew what’s better for Daisy than Daisy did, and I don’t like that.
Lord Hepworth is back! Because Miss Shaw insisted that Rosamund invite him to Downton.
Anna, once again proving she’s a shade smarter than anyone else in the house, suggests that if Mary does go to America, perhaps Anna could go with her, rather than resigning. Perfect.
Robert’s decided to give Thomas a try if he does indeed need a new valet. So we’ve got that to look forward to next season.
Isobel tells Matthew to fight for Mary, and stop bringing Lavinia into it.
Anna tells Mrs. Hughes that she’ll go with Mary to America, and Mrs. Hughes, in a display of what I’m assuming is about as demonstrative as early 20th century British people could possibly be, tells Anna that she’s very highly valued. And then there is crying and hugging.
Mary explains to Sir Richard that they won’t be getting married. Sir Richard is an asshole. (Oh, go sell some poachers to Tyroshi slavers, why don’t you!) Richard threatens to make Mary’s life hell via newspaper gossip about both her and the Mr. Bates issue. But have no fear, Matthew is here!
Sir Richard dares to invoke the name of Lavinia. AND FOR THAT HE GETS PUNCHED IN THE FACE. And then the two grown men have a fantastically undignified roll-around-and-punch each other. (In the future, when Downton Abbey is shown at midnight on movie theater screens and we all go dressed up as the characters, this is the time to yell, “MATTHEW, DON’T HURT YOUR SPINE!”) How quickly we forget that boyfriend was PARALYZED a few months ago. But no, now he’s knocking over vases and punching newspaper magnates.
Robert storms in and essentially tells Sir Richard to GTFO. And now Violet rushes in! And is awesome. Richard storms out, Matthew apologizes for breaking the vase, and Violet really takes it over the top in explaining how perfectly wonderful it is that Matthew’s broken the vase.
Sir Richard leaves the next morning, and Mary comes down to say goodbye. She also apologizes, which I think is slightly warranted, but Sir Richard reminds us all again that he’s a dick. He’s still going to defame Mary. His job is to sell newspapers (not, it seems to be a good person. Or even human). He does mention that he loved Mary, more than she knew. Goodbye Sir Richard. Keep on being a dick.
Anna, for the second or third time, sees Miss Shaw talking to Lord Hepworth again.
Carson runs in with a telegram! Mr. Bates’ sentence has been changed to life imprisonment! WHY WOULD YOU TAKE THIS TO ROBERT AND NOT ANNA?! Damn hierarchy. Anna’s still upset that he’s got life imprisonment, but is quite pleased. Also, the servants’ ball is still on!
Anna goes to Bates, and will be staying at Downton. She’s convinced they’re going to overturn the conviction. Bates makes her promise that Anna won’t act as if she’s in mourning the whole time Bates is in prison – she should have fun, make friends etc.
SERVANT’S BALL! Robert and Matthew pregame in the library. Robert suggests that Matthew danced with O’Brien. Crikey! Okay, I am HORRIBLE at doing my own screencaps (monchichi is my lifesaver for the BSG recaps) but we need to vote on the best servant’s ball matchup! Please see below to tell me who’s the best.
While everyone’s dancing, Anna sees Miss Shaw and Lord Hepworth sneak away. Daisy and Mrs. Padmore have a conversation in which Daisy asks to be promoted to assistant cook, which Mrs. Padmore agrees to! Yay for Mr. Mason’s advice!
But back to Miss Shaw and Lord Hepworth! Anna fetches Mary and Rosamund, and the three of them bust in on Lord Hepworth and Miss Shaw, who are going at it. It seems they’ve had a relationship for quite some time? Interesting. Poor Rosamund. More dancing! Anna asks to withdraw her resignation, which, obvi yes. MARY AND MATTHEW DANCE, while Carson looks on like a fairy godfather. Adorable. Also, MAKE OUT.
Cora and Robert escape from the ball, and Cora pushes for them to have a better relationship with Sybil. Cora and Robert kiss, as if they heard me yelling and thought I was talking to them.
Downstairs, Daisy’s got the Ouija board out. She and Anna sit down to it, and the board goes WILD. Both deny pushing the pointer, and Anna says that it’s spelling out “May they be happy, with my love.” Some spirit wants some couple to be happy, we guess? IS IT LAVINIA?! (Weirdly and worse, is it Mr. Pamuk?) Both women get a little freaked out.
And now we’re outside. Mary is in the snow, alone, and Matthew comes out. He asks her if she’s really going to America, and asks her to stay. Mary says that they’ve got enough baggage that he can’t really mean that. Matthew tells her there’s nothing to forgive, when it comes to Mr. Pamuk. FINALLY SOMEONE HAS THE RIGHT OPINION ON THIS MATTER. Also, MAKE OUT, WAIT WHAT IS HAPPENING!? THE MUSIC’S SWELLING! OH GOD OH GOD HE’S GOING TO PROPOSE!? HE IS! HE IS! Lavinia doesn’t want them to be sad! Mary’s making him get down on one knee (THE MAN COULDN’T WALK SIX MONTHS AGO!) but still, Matthew goes down on one knee in the snow and asks for her hand in marriage, all formal-like. AND THEN THEY FINALLY MAKE OUT AND IT’S BEAUTIFUL AND THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER.
Alright! There are some things we need to hash out, now that there is nothing more that can be spoiled. I am uncomfortable reducing “did Mr. Pamuk rape Mary” to a multiple choice question, so discuss that on your own if you’d like, but for more lighthearted matters:
1. Who killed Vera Bates?
A. John Bates
B. Vera Bates
C. Sir Richard
D. O’Brien, with an assist from Thomas
E. The Ghost of Lavinia Swire
2. Who is truly THE WORST?
E. Sir Richard
3. Best scene from this episode:
A. Daisy and Mr. Mason
B. THE PUNCH!
C. Everyone dancing together
D. THE PROPOSAL AND KISS!
E. All scenes involving the Dowager Countess
3. Best Dowager Countess Lines (out of the entire episode):
A. “Life is a game in which the player must appear ridiculous.” ““ Someone embroider this on a pillow for me
B. “We were all ill. Yes, isn’t it sad?” ““ On why they didn’t attend Sybil’s wedding, in the least convincing tone EVER
C. “Mending the fire. And suffering.” ““ On Daisy.
D. “Do you promise?” ““ On Sir Richard’s informing her they’ll never meet again
4. Best dancing partners:
5. Best Downton-related Tumblr; (I can’t vouch for all of the content on all of these sites)
A. Just this post is the best thing ever (it’s not properly credited, I think that’s the initial post?)
B. Hey Downton Lady!
C. Telegrams from Downton (some of these I love, some I hate)
D. Downton Pawnee
So now you’re all caught up! Please feel free to debate anything and everything Downton-related in the comments! Good-bye, my darlings, until next season!