In the Season 5 finale of 'Downton Abbey,' Tom finally made a big decision about his future.
Editor's note: The following article contains spoilers about the new season of Downton Abbey, which began airing in the United Kingdom in September. If you wish to remain spoiler-free until the season starts in the United States on Jan. 4, please avert your eyes.
LONDON, ENGLAND — There was quite a lot packed in the super-sized Season 5 finale of Downton Abbey, which features developments in most of the storylines and left just enough threads unresolved to make the upcoming Christmas special interesting.
The Dowager Countess' words during the episode sum up the theme quite well — "Love may not conquer all, but it can conquer a lot."
In this episode, a wedding takes place (but not without some bumps), a departure is spared and we learn another dreaded one might happen. Meanwhile, an absolutely unexpected event shocks Downton and leaves us wondering — and worried.
A wedding against the odds
As Lady Rose’s wedding to Atticus approaches, preparation is in full motion at Downton, before everyone travels to London where the nuptials are to be celebrated.
However, the young couple has to overcome a series of obstacles before being able to happily walk down the corridor of the registry office.
While Rose’s parents, Shrimpie and Susan, are facing their own issues with their separation, Atticus’ father is not pleased with his son's choice of marrying an English and Anglican woman.
Later, when everybody gathers for dinner, the conversation gets awkward. Not only are stag parties — including his son's, obviously — high up on Lord Sinderby’s disapproval list, but divorces are too. Ouch. (And changing topic doesn't seem to work, as Susan is quite determined to drop as many hints as possible about her marital situation.)
Then at his bachelor party, Atticus is the victim of a set up. He is first approached and then followed in his room by a woman, whom he ultimately sends away but not before being secretly photographed with her. Of course, those photos are then sent to Rose.
So who concocted such a plan to stop the wedding? The suspicions fall on Lord Sinderby, with whom Atticus had a very frank confrontation, but it’s clear pretty soon that the man has no responsibility.
That leaves Rose’s parents. Shrimpie confronts Susan, who seems more and more desperate to prevent Rose from marrying Atticus and becoming an outcast.
So much so that she decides to announce her upcoming divorce as the wedding is about to be celebrated. But not even this attempt is successful, mostly thanks to Atticus’ mother, and the couple ties the knot, at last.
Mary and the Dowager Countess’ hesitation
The Dowager Countess receives an unexpected early morning visit from Prince Kuragin, who comes to pitch an indecent proposal. It’s their last chance to be together, and he wants to spend his final years with her, as a friend, as a lover.
The Countess sits down, her voice softens, refusing to make a decision on the spot. While she tries to maintain her composure, it’s quite clear that she is overwhelmed by a storm of feelings. And will remain so for the whole episode.
Edith seems happier and more at peace now that she is with Marigold, which catches her father’s attention until he finally puts the pieces together. Robert promises Cora to keep the secret, since neither Tom nor Mary know.
Had it been anyone else, Mary would have probably been the first one to find out the truth, but since it’s Edith, there simply are just a million of other things she’s rather be occupied with.
In one hilarious moment, Mary suggests Tom, Rose, Edith and herself should have lunch together, "even you, Edith." Classic Mary.
Actually, Lady Mary is experiencing quite a transition. Lord Gillingham and Mabel Lane Fox inform her about their upcoming wedding in December, and after Sybil death and Rose’s wedding, the one person she’s very close to, Tom, announces that he'll be leaving to Boston after Christmas.
As she sneaks away from Rose’s reception to take it all in, the ever caring Carson observes and follows her.
“Our household is breaking up... People grow up, and move away, and things change,” she sighs, revealing a sense of loneliness.
He tries to comfort and reassure her. "I am confident that you will triumph in the end," he says. The conversation has a nice balance of sad and sweet and is a further example of how special and meaningful their relationship is.
I love the relationship between Lady Mary and Carson #Downton— Mandy Summerscales (@FASHIONgotoGAL) Tháng 11 9, 2014
Can we really expect Mary to be alone for much longer?
Remembrance and departure
Scheduling the unveiling of the village war memorial on Remembrance Sunday was quite the perfect choice.
Add to that Robert’s idea to remember Mrs. Patmore’s nephew with a plaque to make the whole celebration just a little extra special.
Daisy's announcement that she will not be leaving after all comes as a big relief to Mrs. Patmore who had fallen into despair. The young woman had initially decided to resign to pursue her dreams and new avenues, but finally decides not to leave until after her exams. There might be some surprises for her in Season 6.
The Bates' sorrow
One has to wonder if there is ever going to be some lasting happiness for Anna and Mr. Bates.
In one of the night's biggest developments, the investigation about Mr. Green takes a new turn when Bates is ruled out as a possible suspect, since police believe the attacker was shorter than him.
However, just after that piece of good news, a terrible event shakes their lives once more. Anna is summoned to Scotland Yard, put in a line-up, which already is quite terrifying, and later arrested at Downton.
Despite everyone’s attempts, including Lady Mary and the Earl, to stand up for her, she is taken away.
Even if the evidence against Anna doesn’t seem to be that strong, considering all the previous difficulties, how is she going to get out of this? Hopefully, there is a sweet payoff for them as they’ve gone through so much pain and suffering.
What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments.
Dani Botti is a freelance writer based in London, England whose work has appeared on English and Italian websites, including gossipandgab.com, 2night.it, and tvseries. While her main professional joy remains covering U.S. television shows, she's also an experienced movie reviewer and on-the-ground reporter, covering film and telefilm festivals.
Tags: DOWNTON ABBEY, ENTERTAINMENT, RECAPS, TELEVISION