After six seasons inside the Grantham family manor, Downton Abbey has come to a close with a perfect ending for the heartwarming series.
Happy endings are rare in a drama landscape that exalts antiheroes and political scheming. Downton Abbey has set itself apart from its prestige drama peers by never being about good guys or bad guys (whether you're rooting for them or not). The show has been a character study, observing a specific way of life rather than purposefully pitting its characters against each other. A happy ending for everyone is the only one that fits for the period drama.
There's of course no one more deserving of that happy ending than Edith (Laura Carmichael), who finally got hers with Bertie (Harry Hadden-Patton) after seasons of misfortune and misery. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) was also rewarded for her change in character after almost ruining Edith's engagement in the penultimate episode. She and Talbot (Matthew Goode) are expecting their first child together as they head into the New Year.
Things concluded just as cheerfully for the staff downstairs. Daisy (Sophia McShera) got over her own ego to find true love. Mrs. Patmore's (Lesley Nicol) bed and breakfast was saved from scandal, and Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) welcomed their baby safely into the world. Even Thomas (Rob James-Collier), who is the closest thing the show has to a long-term villain, was welcomed back to the house as butler (and a member of the family) so that Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) could semi-retire.
It's a testament to the show that it could maintain drama without committing character assassination on any of the core cast. Throughout the six seasons, there may have been times where you hated a character for one reason or another (Edith and Thomas both come to mind), but you never actively wished for them to fail. Instead, each of them overcame their shortcomings to become the people the audience hoped they would be.
The show ended in 1925 to maintain that sense of jovial contentment with the Granthams' modern lives. In reality, England was heading into a deeper economic depression that wouldn't abate until World War II in 1939. However, the show still manages to set up a bright future for the manor family. It's no accident that Talbot and Tom (Allen Leech) decide to enter the car business. While it's "risky" in 1925, they stand to make a killing when mechanical services are in desperate need during the war. It's not a guarantee, but the Granthams might stay prosperous even during Europe's darkest time.
After six years of being so deeply invested in the lives of Downton Abbey, it's hard to say goodbye, but its sweet, hopeful farewell makes it a bit easier.
What did you think of the series finale?
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