This is it. The last season of the global sensation, Downton Abbey, premieres tonight in the US. We've been waiting weeks for our glimpse into this whimsical world's final stand, and the time has finally come. Let's see what the Crawley family has in store for us.
There is a great to-do in the front yard of the house, it appears to be a hunting party. Mary is on horseback bucking all sorts of tradition in her pants and refusal to ride side saddle.
Barrow finally proves he's human in his adorable relationship with Master George. Mary and Matthew's son is clearly crazy about the under butler we all love to hate.
Mrs. Hughes is discussing her upcoming nuptials (!!!!!!!!!!!) to Mr. Carson. Mrs. Patmore, however, can smell a rat and knows something is wrong. We learn that Mrs. Hughes is a 60-something-year-old-virgin, as is Mrs. Patmore. I suppose this is actually quite common back in those days, for two women who have never been married. I don't know why, but this makes me unspeakably sad. Anyway...
Mrs. Hughes NEEDS to know if Mr. Carson expects to live with her as his wife and ALL that entails. Will he expect a traditional marriage, including sexy time? She rather hopes not... but needs to know one way or another. She asks Mrs. Patmore to find out for her in the most bridezilla request ever. Poor Mrs. Patmore.
Anna is rushing up the stairs in clear distress, but we quickly flash to the hunt.
Mary is keeping pace with the men and, even though I take issue with her on MANY things, I love the fact that she DNGAF and doesn't let a little thing like gender hold her back. She spots the creepy chick that was hanging around the abbey and finds herself quite distracted, and falls off her horse.
Edith is having issues with her magazine editor, who doesn't appreciate working for a woman. Poor Edith, truly. This girl is the universe's most beloved punching bag.
The village council is meeting at Downton to discuss a possible takeover of their community hospital. The crown wants to take over the operation and upgrade their facility. In doing so, Violet would lose all the power she currently yields over the running of the hospital. Cora and Isobel want to take the buyout and move their facility into the new age. But Dr. Clarkson and Violet do not like the idea of the crown coming in and giving orders.
Mary comes face-to-face with creepy chick and we find out that she's a maid that was staying at the same hotel where Mary had her weekend tryst with Tony Gillingham. She wants 1,000 pounds to keep her mouth shut, or she'll spill the beans about Mary's scandalous adventure.
Carson and Robert are discussing future staffing plans, and Carson, unsurprisingly, is not on board with the idea of downsizing and having a lower maintenance operation. Carson is nothing if not a traditionalist.
Bates is not one to give up easily, and he knows something is up with Anna. He starts talking about Marigold and how she's lucky to have found a family, and then Anna breaks down. She thought she was pregnant and then she got her period so she's been upset. We find out that, in fact, this is likely her third miscarriage.
I don't watch a lot of British television, but this show certainly seems to emotionally demolish all of the people that deserve happiness the most. Actually, this show just seems to never grant happiness. Ever. People are always getting kicked when they're down. But maybe that's just a sign of the times in which it is set.
The family is at dinner and they're discussing Tom's absence, and the need to fill his place. Mary points out that, no, actually they don't need to replace him. They've got her. She is going to be the agent for the estate. And she'll be a damn good one.
Oh poor Mrs. Patmore. She's having the discussion with Mr. Carson about sexy time. Once he finally realizes what she's asking, he is sufficiently mortified, but ensures her that, yes. He does intend to live with Mrs. Hughes in a traditional marriage, and all that that entails. Even sexy time.
Robert is having the same conversation that he had with Carson with Violet, and she echoes Carson's sentiments to the letter. Also, not surprising.
Edith is discussing her need to dash to London. She needs to handle her problem editor and decide whether or not to move into the flat that Michael left her or rent it out again.
Creepy chick is back and has feigned being a servant with an urgent message from the Dowager that she must deliver to Lady Mary herself. Mary sees who she is and sends Mrs. Hughes straight off. Anna arrives and escorts the nasty woman out, but not before Mary assures her that she won't be giving her a penny.
Dr. Clarkson and Isobel are squaring off. Clarkson is being quite a douche, and Isobel is having absolutely none of his pretensions. She is probably the best character. No, not probably. She definitely is.
Anna and Bates are meeting with the sergeant again. Someone has come forward and confessed to the murder of rapist Greene, and that may just mean the end of their troubles with this nasty business.
Mr. Mason, Daisy's father-in-law, has come to the abbey to tell the family that the owners of the land he tends is being sold. He wants to know what his future holds.
Carson finds Mrs. Hughes in the servant's hall, and she asks if it's time that he start calling her Elsie. He's appalled and says "not at work," and then asks when she's going to set a date. She asks what the rush is and brushes him off.
Denker, Violet's horrible maid, drops in to stir up some shit about the house downsizing. I didn't think it could get worse than O'Brien and Barrow, but Denker proved me wrong.
Now Denker is being the harbinger of bad news for Spratt, who already hates her anyway. They have a hilarious chemistry, I love them together.
I also love Anna and Mary together. They have a wonderful balance and dynamic and play so well off each other.
Spratt asks Violet if she will give him sufficient notice before sacking him, and he spills the beans about Denker's bad behavior. Violet is pissed, since she specifically told Denker NOT to talk, but she seems to be oddly naive when it comes to her.
Miss Bevin storms into the house demanding to see Mary, but Mosley tells her that she won't be home for hours. Carson and Robert come out to see what is happening, and Bevin tells Robert that she will talk to him as she has waited for Mary quite long enough.
Edith is in her flat with Rosamund, trying to decide her future. Her aunt seems to be the only person that really gets her.
Mary gets home to Carson waiting for her with the bad news about Bevin. Mary storms into the library to see what is happening to find Robert cutting her a check. Bevin storms out and Mary discovers that Robert turned the tables and threatened Bevin into leaving with no more than 50 pounds and a signed contract that she will never come back. Robert then tells Mary that he is proud of her and the woman she has become; and that he knows beyond a shadow that she is able to run the estate.
Isobel comes to visit Violet, and Denker comes in to hand her a shaw. Violet tells her that she's a wonder, and that she will miss her when she's gone. Denker goes a terrible shade of white and starts sputtering. Violet assures Isobel that she has no intention of living without a lady's' maid, but that, sometimes, it's good to rule by fear.
The Crawleys are at the auction of the house that is selling its land. It's hitting a bit close to home, because they know they could be next. But English courtesy is strange, and it would be rude if they weren't there.
Daisy can't help herself and screams at the new tenant, which has the opposite result she was hoping for. The new tenant tells her that she did not help Mr. Mason at all and storms off.
The sergeant shows up to tell Bates and Anna that, it's over, once and for all. A witness came forth that corroborated the story that the person confessed to. Anna and Bates are free at least.
Robert tells Carson to pop some bottles in celebration of the great news, and they go down to join them.
Carson and Mrs. Hughes confront Daisy and tell her that she won't be losing her job, even though he feels that she should.
Mrs. Hughes takes this chance to also talk to Mr. Carson about his conversation with Mrs. Patmore. He assumes that she wants out of the arrangement, but she insists that it was SHE that she was worried that she would fall short of his expectations. But now that she knows what he wants, she is ready for the next step. They share a sweet, adorable kiss, and that's it for the episode.
Shew! I am completely unaccustomed to recapping a show that runs a legitimate hour and ten minutes with no commercials. I thought this was an absolutely brilliant premiere. We got good screen time with each character and the plot moved along nicely.
But I swear to all of the fringe and tea in the English world; if Edith doesn't find some sort of happy ending I will hunt Julian Fellowes down and throttle him.
Until next week!