The language of leave-taking is always gentle, pleasant, accommodating. Looks like this whole season is an extended farewell. While it is what we all want to see, characters we’ve befriended over five years are now coming together for one last time to happy resolutions, it is also sad to see this is their last efforts to entertain us.
And entertained we are, however placidly here in S6 E3. A long awaited middle-aged wedding finally takes place and I’m glad the reception is held in a school house as the bride desires and not in the grandeur of the great hall at Downton. No, I don’t think Cora is being a snob. Mary is unreasonable to accuse her mother as such only to further her own plan to have Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes hold their reception right there in the grand mansion. If Cora is being snobbish, then Mary is downright patronizing.
What’s the greatest farewell gift for us all? Here’s the foreshadowing: “Last night I dreamt I went to Downton again…” Julian Fellowes’s version of Rebecca, equally moving in Tom Branson’s letter.
A pleasant surprise indeed. Tom realizes where home really is, even though he has to go all the way to Boston to find out. The best scenario is always to have someone leave for a short while so that he can come back for good willingly. What more can a viewer ask? Sadly, even the great scribe Julian can’t bring back Sybil and Matthew; he can at least do us this favour with Tom and little Sybbie. Look at how George welcomes his little cousin back, embracing her and softly uttering this endearing word, “Sybbie.” Awww… Even Marigold gives a rare, spontaneous smile.
Next, Rose? I doubt it, since she’s almost everywhere lately, busy living her multiple personas as Cinderella, Natasha in War and Peace, and soon Elizabeth Bennet confronting zombies.
Another gratifying storyline is Edith’s. She’s the Anna upstairs. Something good is finally coming her way that warrants our congrats: Living on her own in London when she’s in town, firing the obnoxious editor Skinner, taking his place and beating the deadline to get a new issue out with some incredible teamwork from Bertie Pelham. Of course, Mary can smell that team miles away, but so what. Edith, go for it, both magazine and team, and the new you.
In the slightly darker side, Miss Denker has a major role to play as the necessary nuisance to stir up some ripples in the calm waters of Downton’s final Season. Denke is a more animated stand-in for Mrs. O’Brien, still remember her? But she’s not the leave-in-the middle-of-the-night kind; looks like she’s going to hang on as long as Violet wants her. Violet seems to be fine with her own in-house Punch and Judy sideshow with Spratt and Denker.
After all, Violet Crawley is just too preoccupied with her own Punch and Judy show with Isobel. Now the line-ups are Isobel, Cora, Lord Merton, with Dr. Clarkson shifting ground. How can Violet step down gracefully without losing face, I wonder. Hope this is not as violent a show as Punch and Judy.
And Cora, never thought she can be so angry, scolding a bride on the night before her wedding? Definitely out of character. But the resolution is quick, again, now that’s more like Cora; since we don’t have much time left, so… apology accepted. Mrs. Hughes deserves not just a fancy piece of clothing but her total respect.
Finally, Anna has some good news. But hush, we won’t say more. Having been dealt bad cards all her married life, can this be a real, winning hand? It’s the farewell Season. I trust the handling will continue to be gentle and pleasant.
Previously on Downton Abbey Season 6: