Let’s not linger on the giant period drama-shaped holes that will be left in our Sunday nights once the fifth series of Downton Abbey comes to a close this weekend. We all know being defeatist is awfully middle class.
And we still have one glorious extra-long episode – and after that a Christmas special – so don’t be so down in the dumps. Carson just wouldn’t stand for it.
Last week’s dramas saw the residents of Downton Abbey react to Edith’s departure. Mary wasn’t bothered, naturally, while Rosamund and a newly enlightened Cora rushed to London to find her, concocting a complicated plan allowing Marigold to live in the Abbey nursery with her cousins. A plan which almost went off smoothly. The Crawley clan barely batted an eyelid, though it seems Anna and Mrs Hughes are now in the know…
Isobel announced plans to marry Lord Merton, but a meeting with his sons descended into disarray when Branson, who spent the episode thinking about moving to America, lost his temper and swore across the dinner table; Lady Mary finally got rid of Tony Gillingham by snogging Charles Blake in public; and the family’s dog – loyal, lovely Isis – breathed her last.
Not forgetting the happy news of the episode: Lady Rose and Atticus Aldridge are now engaged to be married.
But what’s going to happen on Sunday? Vintage cloche thinking hat on – for the final time this series, let’s make some spurious suggestions…
Here they are, the happy couple. Bright-eyed and hopeful for the future, despite the dreary examples of Downton marriages that have come before. Lady Sybil risked everything for love, only to never see her first wedding anniversary, Lady Mary’s wedded bliss lasted mere months before Matthew died, and Lady Edith never made it further than the altar after being jilted by Sir Anthony Strallan. Add to that the MacClare’s impending divorce and I’m surprised they’re all looking so chirpy.
It’s time someone was allowed to walk down the aisle without any woe, though. Let’s cross our collective fingers that Rose and Atticus get their happily ever after…
Lady Mary and Tony Gillingham look as bored with their will-they-won’t-they storyline as we are. We thought this palaver was all done and dusted, but the pair are back at each other’s sides in the series five finale, though Lord knows what that means…
Perhaps Mary’s decided he wasn’t too bad between the sheets after all – and with Blake out of the country for the foreseeable future she’s decided to backtrack sharpish and seduce Tony out of Mabel’s clutches once again. It’s not like she could go out with ANY OTHER MAN IN THE WHOLE OF ENGLAND.
That’s a rather large glass of wine. Life as a new mum is clearly taking its toll on Lady Edith, just like Rose’s extravagant wedding is having an impact on the Crawley finances. They must really be feeling the pinch – it looks as though they are dining in a pub.
Even Branson, with his humble, low-key beginnings, doesn’t seem impressed. Perhaps this will make him think twice about moving to America. It’s all well and good embracing your working-class background, but that does mean Mrs Patmore will no longer be on hand to whip up a lobster tea.
With a Downton wedding must come suitable Downton dramas. Exhibit A: No guests. It looks like, in yet another bungled attempt to save the Crawley fortune, Robert has taken the invitations into his own hands.
Lady Mary, Lady Edith and Branson can’t come – a happy wedding day is sure to send them into a spiral of despair. Cora might be reminded of the art-loving men she could have married, Isobel of her tricky engagement and Rosamund of her non-existent love life. And father and mother of the bride or not, there’s no way Shrimpie and Susan can attend – we still haven’t ascertained how infectious this whole divorce business is.
So Robert alone will have to do. Down the aisle with you, Rose. They are charging by the hour…
Actually, I might have been mistaken there. THIS could be the impending disaster. There is a lady in Atticus’ bedroom and she most certainly isn’t Rose. In fact, she most certainly isn’t a Lady, in the traditional sense at least. She’s more a lady of the night.
Perhaps Atticus isn’t quite as lovely a chap as we’d thought and wants to spend one last night as a free and sleazy, sex-seeking bachelor before settling down with lovely Rose. We can’t be fooled. We all know what it means when a Downton man is spied in his dressing gown. Bricker, Gillingham – we’ve seen it all before…
Meanwhile, in dramas of a much less frivolous nature, Bates and Anna seem to have found themselves in yet another spot of bother. Sure, the bright lights of the big city can be dazzling, but we doubt the pair have got carried away on a night out in Leicester Square and ended up in the slammer.
Their seats in this shadowy cell can only mean that the investigation into Green’s demise is far from all tied up. But what can the police want with gentle Anna? They can’t possibly think she had something to do with the death, can they? Is it us or does she suddenly look a little, erm, shady?
Downton Abbey concludes on Sunday at 9:00pm on ITV