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Downton Abbey, Series Six (2015)



After six years watching the secrets of the Crawley Family peeled back, this is it. All of the adoration, tears, happiness and love-hate dilemmas are all over. The sixth and final season of the wildly popular British series ends here. With the finality of the final episode just around the corner, there didn’t seem to be a better time than now to review the final season. Without giving away too much, or spoiling the final episode, here are my thoughts on series six.  

Changes are afoot at Downton Abbey. Faithful butler of the house, Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) finally asked the love of his life, housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) to marry him which has put the household in a flurry of wedding preparations. Enjoying a close relationship with the stalwart butler, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) is insisting the wedding be held at Downton in the prestigious hall. Mrs. Hughes has her doubts, while Carson finds himself unable to say no to the family he thinks can do no wrong. Mary is herself encountering some challenges when she's blackmailed, and as the estate’s new manager. For a woman to be solely in charge of the position is unheard of, but she persists in succeeding.  

Quite outnumbered by the strong willed women in his family, watching his daughter take on his responsibilities isn’t the only thing Robert (Hugh Bonnville) sees change. He watches as his wife, Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) and mother, Countess Grantham (Maggie Smith) bicker over whether or not modernizing their hospital would be prudent. 

Elsewhere, middle daughter, Edith (Laura Carmichael) treks up to London on numerous occasions, becoming quite the modern woman with her newspaper office; son-in-law Tom (Allen Leech) returns from his short move to America; and downstairs, Robert’s valet, Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) and his wife, Anna (Joanne Froggatt) struggle with accepting the possibility they may never have a family. 

Silly as it sounds, Downton Abbey has been a memorable part of what I refer to as my TV obsession life. Each new season I excitedly snatched the full season sets, adding them to my already too large TV sets collection because I had an affinity for the beloved ITV show. Giving this a proper send-off in a review is a next-to-impossible task because every single one of the nine episodes that comprise the final season packed a punch – and they all packed a great deal into the hour (some a bit longer) installments. Unpacking all of the good, bad and downright ugly (believe me, this word is applicable in some situations) is a daunting task to say the least!


One of the things that I noticed about this season was how far the show pulled away from some relationships. For example, this is true when one remembers all of the prior seasons full of scenes between Bates and Robert or Baxter and Cora. If there were a handful of scenes between the two respective relationships I’d be surprised. I missed this. These aren’t the only differences, but they are certainly some. Anna and Mary still enjoy a fabulous relationship and if anything, their friendship enjoys the most fulfilling completion.  

But it’s Tom and Mary whom I most adore together. Not as a romantic pairing, rather as best friends. There’s a moment in the eighth episode (airing this Sunday) when Tom tells Mary off (with very good reason) and it’s glorious. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Mary, but sometimes she needs someone to NOT tiptoe around her. If she can give it, she needs to be shoved right back. Though I neglected to mention them, fan favorite characters Daisy, Molesley, Baxter, Dr. Clarkson, Isobel, Lord Merton and so many more are still present and play a large role in this season.  

Without giving away the entire season, I really don’t want to say a lot about this sixth season. To me, the short version is, it’s beautiful. I adored every moment, savoring each poignant scene and respecting some of the “tough” decision writing. The new romances grew into something I easily rooted for, and yet through it all, those loved ones we lost along the way were never forgotten, something the writer’s earn my respect for. The theme of “new beginnings” and happily ever afters are present which will play to an audience that I think will be satisfied. Even someone who doesn’t have a love life (for the first 7-8 episodes) finds someone he could pursue – and I heartedly approve! Then there are the return of favorite characters Atticus and Rose (Lily James).  


Those who have been with this series since the beginning will be doing themselves no favors if they’ve not been watching this final season. Those of you who have been teetering on the edge of starting this family saga, I say to you, there’s no better time than now. Jump on the bandwagon and discover this for the first time. Fortunately for you, you’ll be enchanted if you’re anything like the rest of us. For the rest of us, this is a fond farewell.
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Rissi
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12 comments:

  1. I was really pleased with how they wrapped everything up. A few characters acted rather obnoxiously throughout this season (I'm looking at you, Daisy), but overall a lot of things happened that I've been waiting for. :)

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    1. Daisy... YES! I didn't have near enough page space to cover everything I wanted to. And believe me, I so wanted to talk MORE about THINGS. Daisy really become a nuisance in some instances, but dear thing she is, I still liked her.

      Same as you, I was really happy with the way things ended up. Everything was... beautiful and well suited for these stories. :)

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  2. I am SO pleased with this season. The truest and most honorable way to end Downton, in my opinion. I'm enjoying it again, after seasons 4 and 5 being somewhat clunkers in my opinion.
    Tom is my favorite character--and I agree about him and Mary. LOVE their relationship. He's a great buffer between Mary and Edith too. Which they need...again. LOL The romances too I'm enjoying--especially Edith's. Granny's one liners are en pointe as always and it's been such a joy to watch every Sunday night!

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    1. Ditto, Meghan. Ideally, I'd have liked it to continue on, but as all good things must, this had to come to an end.

      Tom started out being a so-so character for me. I never disliked him, but I didn't love him as I do now. He's amazing... and what's great about him is he's not "afraid" of anyone. He says what needs to be said and gets away with it - particularly with Mary.

      Granny will forever be a fabulous, iconic character. There's just no "buts" about that.

      I hope you wind up enjoying the final episodes, Meghan. They're perfection or as close to TV perfection as I'll see. :)

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  3. This season has been great. Twists and turns lie around each corner still, but we still get that feeling that conclusion is coming soon. Things are winding down but they're still exciting. It's just so sad to think of it being over! :(

    I love seeing all the progress that's taking place with Mary being more involved in the estate, Edith running the newspaper and many of the servants chasing some of their dreams. That's always a wonderful thing to see. And the romances are turning out great. I just hope they stay that way! Haha!

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    1. It HAS been great, Miranda. As silly as this sounds, I'm so proud of the writer's for how they've chosen to conclude this series. They've not forgotten the heartbreaking losses over the years, and pay sweet tribute to them throughout the series. Plus, the new stories, as you say, are lovely.

      Some of the romances had to grow on me, but in the end, I was very pleased by them all. It's nice to see certain characters find happiness after so much tragedy and as sad as it is to see this end, the writer's didn't disappoint us. Because of that, the end is lovely - and I hope you find it so too, Miranda. :)

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  4. I have to admit, I'm still back on series four but I couldn't help but read your fabulous review! Makes me all the more excited to finish this lovable show! :)

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    1. Nothing wrong with that, Bekah! In fact, this means you've got so many great moments yet to come. Happy watching - and I hope you are enjoying this beloved series. :)

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  5. I'm not what you would call a super fan of Downton, but I have watched it religiously since the second season (after discovering the first season on Hulu). But I have FEELINGS about last week's episode. It was one of the best of the whole show. The acting was amazing. The only complaint I have is that I just don't find Mary's whirlwind romance with Mr. Fast & Furious believable. I think they rushed it too much and didn't develop his character enough. But other than that, this has been a great season. :)

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    1. I've been a huge, avid fan of this show from the get-go, Kate. It has it's flaws, sure (as every show does), but overall I cannot hate this show.

      I have FEELINGS about the entire latter half (okay, maybe the entire series) of this final season. It's been brilliant. I totally know what you mean about Mary's new love interest. But I do think the writer's give him a bit more character development in the finale (I'd be interested to know what you think), which is a great big plus. Either way, I hope you enjoy the end! :)

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  6. I adored the fact that Fellows gave our characters happy endings. In my sorrow of Downton being over I've been rewatching the seasons and I have to say, I still wish Tom and Mary had ended up as a romantic couple. I didn't care much for any of Mary's suitors. But alas, at least Edith got her happy ending! It was about time!

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    1. Me too, Rosie! After all of the hardship and tears it was lovely to see everyone with genuine smiles when all is said and done. I wouldn't have disliked Tom and Mary, but in the end, I was happiest with them being close as siblings/best friends. By the time the finale rolled around I was quite fond of Henry and loved that Tom took such an active interest in welcoming him into the family. Something tells me he could relate. ;)

      As for Edith - YES! I loved her story. So sweet and finally. Plus I liked that Mary and she made some sense of peace. :) Great thoughts, Rosie. Glad you shared them. :)

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