Which is sadder to you? The sinking of the Dow Jones? Or the recent climax of Downton Abbey? The right answer is, of course, the latter. Downton will not return, but the Dow Jones will stage a comeback. What television series captured our attention as much as Downton Abbey? The Sopranos? Perhaps. Games of Thrones? Lost? You fill in the blank.
Downton was majestic. Grandiose. A throwback to an era long ago. People swooned around the nation’s water coolers on Monday after the Sunday when Mary tragically lost her newly wedded husband in a car crash. People were not happy with a couple of shows in the final series when the writing did not seem up to snuff. Linda, a friend from up north, was as captivated as I was about the show over the past six years. “Golly gumdrops!” she wrote. “Was ready to give up on the Abbey when the sisters all but started flinging the good china at each other in the grand hall!!!” and she offered me these thoughts two weeks before the final chapter:
“Mary is vile and shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce anymore… Poor Thomas. Maybe they’ll let him stay and play nanny?… If the B&Bs don’t work out, Mrs. Patmore and her house of ill-repute could totally clean up ($) in the village… The Dowager Countess manages to get sick of the French much earlier than scheduled.”
Then, she opined, how about these endings?
“They all go blind and then blow up the town per Little House on the Prairie… Edith buys the place and makes Mary her scullery maid (that’s my personal favorite.)… The cast goes into a roaring 20s dance flash mob.”
Friends have been offering more sobering thoughts: Mary has another baby (Bingo on that guess)… She takes up car racing… Edith and her lover get together again after he forgives her and announces he impregnated a prostitute and has an adult child… (His mother has a heart attack and dies.) … Mr. Crawley has another “attack” at the dinner table. Such a gory sight.
Linda and I and others did not come anywhere near guessing the way the show would really end, except that Mary really is pregnant. It was neat and satisfying, and finished up the way a Masterpiece Theater should end. I guess.
The only happy thing out of the ending of this Masterpiece Theatre production is that all the people who, for whatever reason, were bored witless listening to us talk about the show don’t have to hear about it any more. My son, having never watched the it excerpt for the last episode, snored through the first 45 minutes, awoke long enough to announce to his lady friend, “The butler did it.” Oh my.
As for the rest of us, we will cherish the memories of bygone times. As somebody said, “The show was curiously addictive.”
I wish someone would put all the witty phrases and arch sayings by the dowager into a book. I, for one, remember her words when I am discouraged, “Don’t be defeatist. It’s very middle class.”