The only way is Downton

I’ve never been so glad to see a dog’s backside. That was indeed the first thought that sprang to mind when the opening credits rolled on the final episode of Downton Abbey.

I had trawled the web for every spoiler possible, typed the combination ‘Sybil and Branson’ into too many search engines, and watched far too many YouTube tributes. I genuinely feared for my mental stability. I was verging on Twihard and that’s never a good thing.

Last night a nation watched as season two came to a close. Well, they watched, I watched for a second time. You see I had already caught the finale on ITV last Sunday. I was too impatient to pace myself and keep watching on TV3. Twitter was alive last weekend, as Irish fans un-followed friends who were relentlessly tweeting for ninety minutes.

With the Great War over viewers waited with baited breath to see if Matthew and Mary would finally get it on, but a Christmas special and a third series had been commissioned already so that was hardly likely.

No, Matthew and Mary were, in her own words, ‘a show that flopped’ in an episode that was brimming with phallic references.  ‘You are my stick’ was a personal highlight. Swooning here Matthew, swooning.

When Lavinia kicked the bucket like all good third wheels should, Matthew ‘Edward Cullen’ Crawley appeared. He told his beloved Mary that it was a broken heart, and not Spanish flu, that had killed the London lass.

Never mind the fact that she told you she was happy enough to send you into Mary Mary quite contrary’s open arms, Matthew. Someone’s been reading a little too much Stephanie Meyer.

That said, the magnificent Michelle Dockery gave another outstanding performance as the Ice Queen with a heart of… well, some perishable substance. Will she marry Richard Carlisle? Another series, another cliffhanger.

Anna and Mister Bates finally tied the knot, a beautiful event that was duly followed by a bedroom scene that my eyes never needed to see. Lady Mary can certainly keep a secret, Turkish delight anyone?

Ethel’s boring baby storyline also came to close. The Bryants, tenderly named the ‘porntaches’ by the online fandom, offered to take ‘baybeh Charleh’ but Ethel said no. Imagine that.

And then of course there was the upstairs downstairs tryst. Sadly no, it was not between Sybil and Branson (damn you Julien Fellowes), but between Robert and Jane. Yes, while his wife was lying on her deathbed the Earl of Grantham was considering making the beast with two backs with a housemaid, while scolding his daughter for even thinking of doing the same with the chauffeur. ‘You think you have the monopoly of honour’ our beloved Branson spat at dear old Bob. Burn.

Downstairs, Thomas was worming his way back into the good books as Mr. Carson reposed, while Mrs. Patmore attempted to traffic young Daisy once more. Am I the only one who found that forced marriage positively horrific?

Back in the drawing room Dame Maggie was in flying form. She had some excellent one-liners this time around and the history nerd in me was chuckling when she made a perfectly wonderful reference to the Habsburgs. Oh, to spend a day in the company of cousin Violet. Edith’s working her way up there.

Brybil shippers got what they had been waiting for when Sybil and Tom (yes, we’re calling him Tom now) headed off into the sunset. It will be interesting to see how a socialist journalist and aristocrat get on in Dublin in the 1920s. Let’s just hope there isn’t another six week long Easter Rising blunder. That said, the fourteen-year-old fan girl in me loved how this relationship was played out throughout both series. This is one couple I look forward to watching.

Finally, when all seemed well with the world once again, Mr Bates’ wife Vera reared her dead head. John was carted off in handcuffs while the house watched on in despair. Anna’s lip quivered and the screen went black.

Just like cousin Violet, I hate a Greek tragedy. What good is all the drama when it happens off stage? Roll on December 25th.

Will you be watching the Downton Abbey Christmas Special? Or do you think it’s a little more Downton Drabbey?

( November 2011)


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