by Zehra Kazmi
Spoiler alert, of course.
Like all true fans, I hate farewells.
When it comes to my favourite TV shows, while I'm always curious about the big reveal in the end, the loose ends being neatly (and sometimes, a bit tardily) tied together and all those nagging questions finally answered, the whole process of sitting down and watching it all end is always a little difficult. Once it ends, the realization that I will never see any new episodes in the series is painful, to say the least.
Downton Abbey’s last Christmas Special was one such occasion for me. I've been following it loyally for over a year and in that time, my roommates have seen me jump with joy on Matthew and Mary’s union, cry inconsolably after Sybil’s death and have my I-am-so-happy-that-I-can’t-stop-smiling phase for a day, after Mrs. Hughes and Carson’s marriage.
We’ve come a long way, old friend.
Anyone could predict that Downton Abbey would have a happy ending, but the finale was quite an explosion that way, with almost every character finding love around New Year’s Eve of 1926. Despite my aversion to simplified endings, I didn’t mind this, maybe because we always knew it was coming. Poor Edith is finally poor no more, aided by Mary’s redemption, re-united with Bertie. Moreover, she even shows some courage and tells Bertie’s fomidable mother about Marigold being her illegitimate child. Daisy finally finds love with the persistent Andy. Isobel rescues Lord Merton from the clutches of his exploitative children and finds marital bliss with him.
Mr Carson trembles his way to a happy retirement with Mrs Hughes, with Barrow taking over the position of the Butler at Downton Abbey (yay!) . Anna finally gives birth to a son and makes Bates a proud father, with Mary having to take on the role of her midwife. Then there were the pairings not quite consummated, but strongly hinted at: Tom Branson with magazine editor Miss Edmunds , Mrs Patmore with Mr Mason, and Baxter with Mr Molesley.
The delicious Mr. Talbot (I am rather resentful about how we only got so little of him), after watching his best friend die in the traumatic car accident, decides to become a second-hand car salesman with Branson. His happiness is multiplied when Mary informs us that she is expecting a younger brother or sister to soon join George.
The Guardian ended their summation of the show with, “It’ll be a while until ITV produces anything as ridiculous and successful as Downton Abbey.’’ That it always managed to sweep you off is a testament to both its wonderful performances and its gorgeous art direction. A sincere ode to Edwardian England, the period drama’s key strength was its ability to make you live a time very different from ours through its characters. Written by Conservative MP Julian Fellowes, the politics of the show could lean towards the right sometimes, but there was usually enough conflict within plot to see both perspectives.
The show will not be easily forgotten, because it’s an entire journey the viewer takes across time.
In the show’s closing seconds, as the snow swirled over the grand old Abbey and Mrs Hughes sang Auld Lang Syne, I wasn’t surprised to find my eyes tear up a little.
The goodbye was, indeed, a heartfelt one.