(SPOILER ALERT!! To my friends who are still catching up with previous seasons of Downton Abbey, DON’T READ THIS. )
Well, last night I sat in my recliner and tearfully smiled through the entire final episode of Downtown Abbey. I am so grateful for this gift from the writers and producers of this most excellent series. The impeccable attention to detail and period class culture has made these seven seasons more than mere television. It has consistently drawn me through time itself to an alternative reality and period where I could actually live for an hour each Sunday night.
While I understand that the key word in today’s entertainment industry is “edgy”, I am not a fan of edgy. I am a fan of soft edges. And last night’s episode was downright fluffy.
What’s wrong with tying up all the loose ends and giving every character a good shot at happiness? When I saw a recent interview with the series writer Julian Fellowes in which he promised ‘resolution’ for everyone, although not necessarily typically happy endings for all, I was prepared for come-what-may. (Although very hopeful that there would be no horrible surprises like the one at the end of season three.) But when all was said and done, it was way better than I expected. In the words of Los Angeles Times reviewer Mary McNamara, “If there has ever been a more wantonly happy-ending finale in the history of television, I have never heard of it. No ribbon was left untied, no tea cake unfrosted, no romantic possibility overlooked.”
And I say “Yay!!”
Frankly I was skeptical. I mean I got so mad at the season three finale where they killed off Matthew, I vowed never to watch the damn show again. For heavens sake, Mary and Matthew had been doing this toe-crunching dance of ‘will they, won’t they’ for SO LONG, and finally they get together and even have a baby. Ahhhhh FINALLY. Such a relief. And then in the last seconds of the episode, as he is on the way home from the hospital where he has just laid eyes on his newborn son, he crashes his car and DIES???? Come on! I was pissed!
I know, I know, that sort of makes me sound like I’m one of those over-the-top cult followers of the series or something; I mean that I could get so involved I would actually throw my Downton Abbey embroidered pillow at the TV screen. Wait, no I didn’t actually do that. I don’t have any such pillow. But you don’t have to be an uber-fan with a collection of Crawley Family teacups to get pissed off over a thing like that. I felt betrayed. I had agonized through their on again-off again relationship for so long……and then this? I felt angry. (But after a summer of cooling my jets I grudgingly gave it another go next season. All right then.)
So anyway, as I say, I was skeptical. But it was a beautiful finale for which I am grateful. What’s wrong with a grown-up fairy tale where we get to wipe a tear and feel all warm and glowing inside? We don’t have to believe in ‘happily ever after’, but I thoroughly enjoyed happily looking forward to the future with these people. Yes, people. I know they are just characters, but to me they are people. And I am happy for them. Because it feels good to feel hopeful, and I fell asleep with a peaceful mind.
You can take your ‘edgy’ and shave your butt with it. There’s enough of that in the news. Give me soft and happy. And a clean hankie.