We're in denial, but that won't change the fact that Downton Abbey is coming to an end.
The cast and producers were on hand to discuss the show's swan song at the Television Critics Association fall previews on Saturday. Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern and Penelope Wilton were in good spirits and joined executive producer Gareth Neame and Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton on stage. The panel also included a few juicy clips that just made us wish it were Jan. 3 already.
Check out all the scoop:
Moving into modern times We pick up in 1925, and the world of privilege continues to disappear bit by bit while the lower classes are demanding to have a life (such cheek!). Downton is feeling the pinch as housemaids turn in their notice, but hey, at least there's a handy new fridge in the kitchen for Ms. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) to regard with suspicion. According to Bonneville, Robert Crawley is conservative, but he comes to an understanding that he has to adapt or die after seeing someone local be forced to sell off their silver.
A wedding in the works As you may recall, Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) and Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) are now engaged, and judging from a conversation between Anna (Froggatt) and Lady Mary (Dockery) about the upcoming nuptials, there may be some trouble. We can only hope that this all turns around because if ever a couple deserved a perfect wedding, it's these two. Also, can he just start calling her "Elsie" already? So formal!
Friends become frienemies Oh no! It looks like the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) and her BFF Isobel (Penelope Wilton) are on opposites sides of an issue involving the hospital, and it devolves into snipery and bad blood. Meanwhile, Lord Merton (Douglas Reith) is still sniffing around Isobel, but she still doesn't seem to have warmed to him.
Mary quite contrary We catch a glimpse of Lady Mary gambling (or at least dealing cards) and discussing her sister, who seems to be in town alone all the time. The tone is half-disapproving and half-dismissive, as Lady Mary does. Dockery added, "Mary is still in the dark about Marigold because she just doesn't take enough interest in [Edith]."
Lady Edith in charge After inheriting the magazine from her now-deceased lover, Lady Edith (Carmichael) is the boss, but that power doesn't seem to give her any joy. "Sometimes I think I've been given one bit of happiness and that will have to do," she says with her typical cheer. But at least she'll have Marigold nearby, even if she can't acknowledge her as her own. Carmichael said of her character, "I love the journey that Edith has gone on. She could've been the most conventional of the three sisters... She's found enjoyment in work. I'm really delighted."
Anna and Bates need a break Sadly, the downstairs sweethearts are still being haunted by Green's death, and Season 6 will continue to plague them. All of this happened after Anna's controversial rape, which Froggatt said creator Julian Fellowes didn't want to show on screen because he abhors violence against women being shown.
Daisy to the rescue Our favorite assistant cook (Sophie McShera) is worried about her father-in-law Mr. Mason, who's been thrown off his farm for some reason that she considers all her fault. He can't seem to handle running it anymore, and Lady Cora (McGovern) has an idea that might help.
Where's Tom Branson? Remember the chauffeur who infiltrated the Crawley clan? Well, we won't see Tom (Allen Leech) any time soon since he made good on his plan to move to America and take Sybbie with him. But he did write to Lady Mary a very sad letter in which he describes the aftermath of a dream where he visited Downton: "When I woke, my eyes were filled with tears." While we wipe away our own tears, here's a fun fact: Branson was not originally written to be Irish, nor a regular character.
Downton Abbey's final season returns to on Sunday, Jan. 3 on PBS' Masterpiece.
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