Pardon me while I dry my tears. I just finished the two-hour Season 5 finale of Downton Abbey and it was everything I’d hoped it would be. I’ll label spoilers later on so you can skip through them, but first, a few other words.
Maggie Smith is 80 now and this week said that next season will be her last on the show. Lady Violet is the most beloved figure on the program and although she must be more than 100 years old by now, I don’t want her to go!
The Dowager has taught us the value of wisdom that comes from age. Notice that when her granddaughters got in trouble, Lady Violet often had the best counsel. And as the years (and seasons) passed, we saw depth of character that wasn’t revealed in the early years of the program.
Spoiler Alert…starts here…
In the season closer she tells Isobel that she almost abandoned her husband, the late Lord Grantham, to run off with a Russian prince. Can you even imagine? Wouldn’t those grand-girls be shocked! The princess (his wife) intervened, pulling her out of the coach by her hair, it seems. And in one of those touching scenes between friends, Lady Violet confides to Isobel that she has no regrets about how it ended up, just gratitude for having been saved from a life in the shadows. It would have been disastrous. Ah, the mistakes of the young!
And as we look around Downton Abbey in the final scene, we see that she was right. In sacrificing the love affair of the moment, she invested in a life that had more staying power. Something to think about as it relates to our own lives.
And speaking of staying power…
Carson finally proposed to Mrs Hughes, and it was a long time coming. Smiles all around at this happy news. And didn’t Mrs. Patmore seem very chipper these last few episodes? And as much as I was glad to see Bates return, the shadow hanging over Anna is still there, but will have to wait until next season for resolution. Here’s hoping those two lovebirds get a break.
And as I expected, Tom will be gone when the new season begins a year from now: January 2016. The writers did it right–Tom is held in great affection by the family and they let us see every tear-jerking moment of it.
End of spoilers
So much else happened in the two-hour finale, including some priceless scenes with Rose and her new father-in-law.
I love how Fellowes gave us so much of the Dowager this season. I suppose he was preparing us for her departure. We’re told that Season 6 will be the last one; the Downton actors are anxious to cash in on their well-earned reputations and don’t want to be tied down. I can’t blame them.
We can’t hold these wonderful characters forever. But I wish we could.
I’m dying to know what you thought of the season finale.