Downton Abbey Season 5 Concludes...Beautifully

Last Sunday night Season 5 of Downton Abbey concluded and I felt bereft. Without a doubt Season 5 was the best season since Matthew Crawley unexpectedly died leaving us all trembling with shock at the end of Season 3. This was followed by the Season 4 yawn fest conclusion. So, it was especially gratifying to have some long standing suspenseful storylines wrapped up nicely so that this poor gal could catch a good night’s sleep.

This was undeniably the season of autumn romances; the Dowager Countess received an “immoral proposition”, Isobel Crawley, an offer of marriage and the saintly Mrs. Hughes agreed to marry the staunch Butler Carson. (That was one proposed union that set my heart afluttering).  

The indelible Dame Maggie Smith - AKA the Dowager Countess, AKA Robert’s mom, AKA the sharpest tongue in Yorkshire has a colorful history of her own, and it took an Old Russian exiled Prince to unlock her secrets; and what delicious secrets they were. I ate up her geriatric romance story like a dog in a bone shop. For the first time since 1914 we saw Violet flabbergasted, sentimental and displaying personal moral rectitude.What a treat it was to see other sides to our favorite Granny. It was an episodic high point when she delivered the line to Isobel with such dramatic aplomb, “I will never again receive an immoral proposition from a man, was it wrong to savor it?” 

Mary (Michelle Dockery) having thrown off the widow's weeds flourished this season in full blown self-gratification, as she delighted in playing suitors off each other like horses at an Ascot race. It was Lord Gillingham versus Robert Blake with neither horse winning the race. In between her romantic maneuverings, she still found time to be nasty to her woebegone sister Edith, while going out of her way to support Anna. How do three such different factions exist in the same person anyway? All said, the season ended leaving her panting with intrigue after the mysterious “agent” Henry Talbot who is clearly more than meets the eye. I smell a new romance in the air?

Perhaps no other single character has attracted more bad luck than Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael). Poor, forlorn Edith who can’t seem to catch a ride on the happiness train. She was a train wreck waiting to happen, from wrestling her wrong-side-of-the-blanket daughter from the farmer’s family, to placing her right under the family’s nose at Downton. Is it just me, or does the Crawley family not know how to do math? Especially Cora, who should be called Blind Bartimaeus for not connecting the dots in her own daughter’s life for two whole years. Really? Thankfully, this season ended with poor Edith finding some semblance of peace in the knowledge her family accepts her secret, and the possibility of a new love interest.

Rose is one of the characters that has developed significantly over the last two years. This is the first season in which I found myself warming up to her. This lassie, (remember she's from Scotland) spent the last two seasons playing the adolescent brat with cotton for brains. This year the Crawley's cousin shed her wild streak into adulthood, and embraced personal growth by taking on a charitable purpose and marrying a respectable Jewish man. But, the turning moment which finally won me over to her character was when she saved her horrid Father-in-law’s hide from the public revelation of an adulterous affair. That was a classy move on her part, and I tip my hat to Rose for not repaying meanness in kind, (okay, and for marrying a 1920’s GQ man).

Surely one of Season 5’s best story-lines was the ongoing saga of Anna and Bates. These two have clocked enough tragedy and drama to justify their own spin off series. All I can say is thank God that Julian Fellowes (the writer) did not drag Anna's imprisonment into another entire season, ‘cause I was so done with the prison story-line. All that said - our favorite couple sealed the season finale ending with Bates sneaking in to reunite with his long-suffering wife as the last notes of Good King Wenceslas faded out.

Show writer Julian Fellowes has put it on record that Downton may have one, possibly two seasons left in its engine. He has no intention of aging the characters or moving them into the 1930’s – a decade he is not a fan of. If you ask me it already looks like he’s winding the storylines down to a possible Season 6 conclusion. I for one hope this is the case since I’d rather a solid ending on a high note than a mid-show cancellation (think Lark Rise to Candleford, The Paradise). On that note; here are some theories/possibilities that I'd like to see for Season 6 if you please...

  • Edith finally finds long-lasting love and marriage
  • Anna and Bates conceive.
  • Daisy finishes her studies and writes a best selling cookbook
  • Will Denker and Spratt finally kill each other?
  • Has Mary found her love equal in race car driver Henry Talbot?
  • Is Branson actually going to move to Boston?
  • Does the Dowager Countess die of old age?
  • Will Moseley and Baxter become romantically involved?
  • Will Rose and Atticus actually move to New York?
  • Will there be a Downton spin-off based in America?
  • Will Lord Milton get a backbone & tell his bratty sons to jump off a bridge and marry Isobel anyway?

And finally...THANK GOD Miss. Bunting is gone!


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