Ahhhh, finally. Like slipping into your comfiest PJ’s and slippers, Downton Abbey returned to our screens last night and all felt right with the world. Of course, this is the show’s final outing, and while we’re undoubtedly sad, we are still excited to see what’s in store for this last season. Will the Bates become parents? Will Mary ever get off her high horse (literally and figuratively)? Will Thomas finally find love? And will Edith ever find happiness? Without further ado, let’s recap all that happend in episode one.
What You Need To Know:
- Mary’s Past Catches Up With Her: The year is 1925, and the show opened with Mary and Robert heading out with the hunt. Mary was riding astride and not side saddle. The scandal! Anyway, a mysterious lady was watching the hunt, and Mary became distracted, falling from her horse. The same woman then showed up at the house and revealed to Mary that she had been a chambermaid at the hotel where she and Lord Gillingham had their secret meetings (last season, keep up). She demands £1000 to stop her from going to the News of the World (a classy publication, even in those days) and getting them to publish the scandal. Mary refuses to be blackmailed and decides she must weather the storm, but when the woman turns up again and visits Lord Grantham, he pays her £50 and threatens her with the police should she try any more blackmail. Mary’s dear Papa then says the scandal has only reminded him how grown up she is now, and duly appoints her as estate manager after Tom’s departure.
- Something is Brewing: Violet and Isobel, always a joy to have on our screens, are at it again. The big hospital in York wants to take over the running of the small, local hospital. This is something that happened a lot during the post-war era. It meant villagers needed to travel to bigger towns and cities for larger operations or more specialised treatments, but it also meant better access to healthcare for all. Isobel thinks this is important, Violet wants the local hospital to retain independence. Though they’re adamant they won’t fall out over this, it’s easy to see that this is going to run and run. A shame, really, since these two were worthy of a far stronger storyline in the final season. Let’s hope it picks up.
- Daisy Lays it on the Line: A strong theme in last night’s episode was change. Now in the mid 1920s, a lot of the larger estates are starting to wind down, with many selling off land and letting staff go, and some even selling up altogether. One such estate happens to be where Mr Mason is a tenant farmer. The estate is sold with vacant possession of all properties, meaning all tenants must be prepared to move out if the new owners want them to. There is an auction of the estate’s wares and the Grantham’s go, as does Daisy. She finds the new owners and gives them a piece of her mind, much to everyone’s horror. Robert also gives us an enormous sense of foreboding when he wonders if they’ll be next. He’s already thinking of what staff cutbacks he can make.
- Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes, OTP: Bless them! Mrs Hughes is reluctant to set a wedding date, and reveals (awkwardly) to Mrs Patmore that it’s because she’s worried Mr Carson won’t want to consummate the marriage now that she’s older and past her best. Mrs Patmore then (even more awkwardly) explains this to Mr Carson, who asks her to tell Mrs Hughes that he thinks she’s beautiful just as she is. The pair finally talk about it face to face and share a touching embrace that will melt even the hardest of hearts.
- Will Edith Make The Move? Having trouble with her insolent editor who doesn’t like working for a female, Edith travels to London to check in at work and also to look over the flat Michael Gregson left her, which is now vacated by the tenants. She can’t decide whether to stay in the country or move to the city with Marigold and live in the flat. Either way, can she just do something that makes her smile?
- The Bates Saga Continues: Good news, finally, as all murder charges against Anna are dropped. The reaction of the whole house, including those upstairs, was wonderful and very sweet. However, this is the Bates, and true happiness always seems to elude them. Poor Anna can’t get pregnant and it’s taking its toll. If these two don’t get their happy ending, I’ll be hunting those writers down.
Next week, our fabulous EIC, Emmy, will be recapping for us, so until then!
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