Everything's coming up roses!
[MAJOR SPOILERS are telling secrets downstairs herein.]
So, let me just start by saying [major spoiler! last chance!] that before this season even started, I accidentally stumbled across the spoiler that Matthew died at the end of the season because Dan Stevens wanted out of the show. Just in the course of reading headlines, as I do every day, I saw this piece of information after the episode aired in the UK, so I watched the whole season knowing it was coming. Whoooooooops! And maybe it was because I knew it was coming, but probably not, I was just groaning miserably about the heavy-handed way in which it happened. Yikes.
Anyway. Back to the beginning of the episode.
One million years have passed at Downton Abbey, and baby Sybil is almost a toddler and Mary is visibly pregnant. The estate is running smoothly, thanks to Matthew's and Tom's intervention with Lord Whoops. And everyone is going to visit Cousins Shrimpy and Sourpuss in Scotland. ROAD TRIP!
They all pile onto the train for Inverness, a place where Iain and I once spent the night at an outdoor bus station being harassed by a biebillion seagulls, except Tom is not invited because he was born a garbage person. The train arrives, and it's all bagpipes and tweed and deerstalking, and Cousins Shrimpy and Sourpuss are a real pleasure to be around for everyone.
Cousins Shrimpy and Sourpuss don't like each other anymore, and Cousin Shrimpy has run his estate into the ground because he's not smart like Lord Whoops, a compliment Lord Whoops accepts without a blink of his whoopseye. The financial ruin has necessitated that Cousin Shrimpy continue his career in India, about which Cousin Sourpuss is very unhappy. They ask if they can send Rose to live at Downton, because you know
Edith's editor/suitor comes to visit, and they invite him to dinner, even though Mary disapproves, where he hopes to convince Lord Whoops and Lady Valium and the gang that he is definitely a perfect boyfriend for Edith, even though he's still married to a woman who lives in an asylum and doesn't recognize him. Matthew goes deerstalking and fly-fishing with Mr. Newspaper, and tells him to say goodbye to Edith, because even though Matthew is Edith's biggest (and only) champion, he recognizes she is nonetheless still a woman and needs a man to intervene in her love life lest she accidentally find lasting happiness.
Edith, however, tells Mr. Newspaper she's in it to win it, or whatever, and so I guess we'll be seeing more of their awkward and chemistry-free courting next season!
Everyone goes to a party where there is much reeling. By which I mean Scottish dancing. True Fact: Iain had to learn how to reel as a kid, and he can still do it, and it is very cute! Anna surprises Bates by reeling, after Rose taught her in secret, and there is a very nice moment at which Bates gazes at her and says how marvelous she is, and for the briefest of flickering instants, I remember that they were why I loved the show in Season One, and THEN THAT MOMENT IS GONE GOODBYE!
There is also intrigue between O'Brien and Lady Sourpuss' maid, whose name I don't remember, but let's just call her O'Bryan. Lady Sourpuss wants O'Brien to show O'Bryan how to do her hair like Lady Valium's, and blah blah yawn grim faces snore, O'Bryan spikes O'Brien's drink with so much Scotch that it tastes like pants, and so
Meanwhile, back at Downton, Carson isn't letting anyone have any fun! But Jimmy and Alfred sneak in a little bit of fun by SITTING ON CHAIRS! Until Mrs. Hughes busts their asses. The scamps!
A new food vendor has a crush on Mrs. Patmore, and he invites her to a fair. Pretty soon, everyone is going, except Carson, who at least has the good sense to know he's a buzzkill. There are ALL THE CRUSHES, as Gropey Hands crushes on Patmore, Dr. Mustache crushes on Isobel, and Edna the Maid crushes on Tom. But Gropey is gropeful, and Mrs. Hughes breaks the news to Mrs. Patmore, who's relieved. Isobel lets Dr. Mustache down easy. And Edna is kicked to the curb because she made Tom feel bad about being fancy now. Seeya, Edna!
There's SO MUCH FUN at the fair, with a rousing game of Tug-o-War that the Downton Boys win with the help of Gropey Hands, because ha ha he's fat, and Daisy winning a pound at a ring toss. Huzzah! But then the fun ends as Jimmy gets jumped for the money he won on a bet, and Thomas sacrifices himself in Jimmy's stead and his face gets totes destroyed in the fight. OUCH CUBED! But now they're BFFs, and Thomas will be able to torture himself with longing for Jimmy for at least another season!
Also: Carson holds Baby Sybil, which is very cute.
Finally! Mary returns to Downton to have her baby, after igniting labor with TOO MUCH REELING! She gives birth to a baby boy, who is Very Important, because he is an heir, and no sooner is Whoops II born than his father goes zipping off in his car to share the good news and gets killed in a car accident. If you thought having sex at Downton Abbey brought bad tidings, check out the great luck you have after having a baby!
Next Season: The Mary, Tom Branson, and Moseley love triangle!