It’s the final season of Downton Abbey and Julian Fellowes is clearly wants to go out with bang. Break out the Veuve Clicquot, Anna is finally off the hook for the murder of Mr. Green ending two seasons of torment. And no it turns out that Bates didn’t do it either. Another of Mr. Green’s victims has confessed that she done it! And she’s so sorry that it took her over a year to come forward. This poor unnamed woman met Mr. Green in a pub after which he assaulted her. She just happened to run in to him in Piccadilly Circus that day. He taunted her and in a sudden rage she pushed him under a bus. She will go to prison for manslaughter but she won’t hang for her crime. While everybody is rightfully celebrating this good news, Anna is still down in the dumps because she hasn’t been able to get pregnant with a miniature Bates. Let us just forget shall we that until Anna was cleared, any child she might have had, could have been born in prison. Of course, she has been keeping her torment from Bates as usual. These two really could use a session with Dr. Phil about how to communicate because they are terrible at it. Bates tries to reassure Anna that it doesn’t matter if they have kids or not, but Anna is convinced that he’s lying to her about his feelings.
Once again our plucky residents are having to deal with the changes that 1925 has brought to this little corner of England. This week, the family learn that a nearby estate, Mallerton Hall, has been sold and most of the contents are being auctioned off. This leads to Lord Grantham discussing with Carson whether or not they can continue to keep the staff that they have. Carson points out that they have recently lost 2 parlor maids, one to marriage, the other to a better job in a shop. Despite the reduction in staff, Lord Grantham wonders whether or not they need an under butler. This news sends Thomas into a tizzy, he’s pretty sure he’s on the way out the door. Denker, the Dowager’s lady’s maid, uses the information that there might a reduction in staff to torment Sprat the butler. Only it comes back to bite her on the backside when the Dowager informs her that while she could manage without a lady’s maid, losing her butler is out of the question.
Comrade Daisy can’t keep her big mouth shut when the family and the staff attend the auction at Mallerton Hall. Her father-in-law, Mr. Mason, may lose his tenancy on the Mallerton estate and Daisy thinks that the whole situation is wrong. So of course she marches up to the new owner Mr. Henderson and gives him a piece of her mind in front of a large group of people. Mr. Henderson is not best pleased and Daisy almost loses her job at Downton because of it. Only the intervention of Lady Grantham keeps Carson from giving Daisy the boot.
Another servant who wants to stick to the rich is Rita Bevan, formerly a maid at the Grand Hotel in Liverpool, where Lady Mary and Tony Gillingham spent their illicit week. Despite the fact that months have passed and Tony Gillingham has married, Miss Bevan would like £1,000 if you please to keep her trap shut. Mary sends her away but she keeps turning up like the proverbial bad penny, sneaking her way in to Downton claiming that she works for the Dowager! Mary is in a dither about what to do. Should she pay off the maid, knowing that she will likely come back for more, or let her publish and be damned? Given that Mary not only has survived her husband’s untimely death but also the death of her paramour Mr. Parmuk after their night of passion, you would think that she would be a bit more decisive. After all this is a woman who thinks nothing of riding astride instead of side-saddle! While Mary huffs and puffs, Rita tells Mary, “Your lot’s finished. You’re going down and we’re coming up.” Despite Rita’s best efforts, no one messes with the Crawley’s and gets away with it. Lord Grantham rides to the rescue, offering Rita a paltry £50 pounds and threatening jail time if she ever dares show her face at Downton again.
Meanwhile Mrs. Hughes is worried about something altogether different, whether or not Mr. Carson wants a real marriage or whether he would be content to live together as brother and sister. See she worries that she might disappoint Mr. Carson once he sees her middle-aged body in the altogether. It’s a reasonable assumption given that the two of them have barely held hands over the past five seasons. Mrs. Patmore points out that no one has seen with Mr. Carson without his clothes on for years and helpfully suggests that they just keep the lights off while they are in bed. Instead of talking this over with her fiancé, Mrs. Hughes sends Mrs. Patmore to do the deed instead. Because of course, you want to send a woman who has admitted that she’s still a virgin, to talk sex stuff with your boyfriend. This leads to a hilarious scene of Mrs. Patmore trying to bring up the subject without actually saying anything. When she finally manages to broach the subject, Carson lays the matter to rest, by telling Mrs. Patmore that he loves Mrs. Hughes and that in his eyes she is beautiful. And oh yes, he totally wants to hit that! The engaged couple finally share a sweet kiss and Mrs. Hughes (whose first name we learn is Elsie) promises to set a date finally.
The Dowager and Isobel are about to launch Crawley vs. Crawley when it comes to the local hospital. A larger hospital in York wants to merge with the smaller one in the neighborhood and Violet is not having it. She worries about losing control and Isobel worries about losing the opportunity to give better healthcare to the local residents. Lord Merton is of course on Isobel’s side while Dr. Clarkson is on the Dowager’s side. This all leads to a lot of sniping between Isobel and Violet. Lord Grantham warns Cora, who is also on the hospital board, not to get in the middle between Isobel and his mother but Cora informs him that someone has to take his mother down a peg. Uh oh, this battle is destined to give Lord Grantham an ulcer I can tell. Branson and Sybbie have settled in nicely in Boston, where Isobel helpfully informs the Dowager, there are lots of Irish. And Edith can’t decide whether to spend more time in London where she can more easily take care of Michael Gregson’s paper or sell the flat where she once met Virginia Woolf.