“Downton Abbey” Season 6, episode 9 was sad for fans. It served as the series finale. However, it was much more joyful for the characters. “Downton” gave out plenty of happy endings in the final episode of the PBS drama.
Edith (Laura Carmichael) finally got her moment in the spotlight in the series finale. On a trip to London, she and Rosamund (Samantha Bond) head to a restaurant and find Bertie (Harry Hadden-Paton) there. Edith is shocked and Rosamund quickly exits. Bertie reveals that Mary (Michelle Dockery) told him Edith was here, but Edith is confused. Nothing has changed. She still has a daughter out of wedlock.
Bertie reveals that his love for Edith also remains unchanged. He says that he can’t live without her and wants to marry her. He still can’t tell his mother the truth about Marigold. Edith asks if he is ready for the gossip about her daughter. “The only thing I’m not ready for is a life without you,” Bertie says. The engagement is back on.
Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) and Robert (Hugh Bonneville) are thrilled to learn that Edith finally has good news. They head to Bertie’s castle to meet his mother, Miranda (Patricia Hodge). She says Bertie has to make Brancaster appear more moral, and he can’t make a wrong step.
Despite knowing that Miranda is a stickler for good morals, Edith can’t keep Marigold’s parentage a secret from her. Miranda isn’t happy with the revelation. She calls Edith “damaged goods,” but Bertie won’t listen to his mother’s insults. At dinner with several friends and family, she reveals that she’ll accept Edith when she announces their engagement. She later explains that Edith is truly an honest person, and she is happy to have her in the family.
When Edith returns to Downton, she asks Mary why she’d bring Bertie back into her life. It was a genuinely nice thing to do, which is out of character for Mary. “Look, we’re blood and we’re stuck with it, so let’s try to do a little better in the future,” Mary says.
While Edith gets her man back, so does Isobel (Penelope Wilton). She is stood up for tea with Larry Grey (Charlie Anson) and doesn’t know why. Later, Isobel visits Lord Merton (Douglas Reith) and he reveals that he has a medical condition. He has a difficult type of anemia and it’s life-threatening.
Amelia (Phoebe Sparrow) suddenly doesn’t want Isobel involved with the family. Isobel realizes the sudden change and knows why she was stood up for tea. When they thought Lord Merton was going to have a long life, Amelia and Larry wanted Isobel to take him off their hands. Now that his death is likely coming, Amelia wants to take care of him with Larry. When Isobel tries to visit him at home, Amelia won’t even let her in the house.
Luckily, the dowager countess (Maggie Smith) comes with Isobel next time. She gets into the house and her voice gets Lord Merton out of bed. He is appalled that no one told him he had visitors. Once he hears that Amelia and Larry haven’t been allowing his friends to see him, he is ready to pack his bags.
“Larry, as my son I love you, but I’ve tried and failed to like you,” Lord Merton says. “Will you please leave me to get on with what remains of my life?” Isobel decides that he’ll move in with her and they’ll get married as soon as possible.
They aren’t the only ones making major changes. Henry (Matthew Goode) is considering giving up racing cars, but he needs another job. He just isn’t sure what to do with his life.
Downstairs, the staff has to make some less than ideal changes. Barrow (Robert James-Collier) finds a new job and says his tearful goodbyes to the family and staff. Though Carson (Jim Carter) wanted him gone, he starts to regret it.
Carson has a tremor in his hand, and he realizes he doesn’t have all the support he used to. Barrow is off to his new job and Molesley (Kevin Doyle) gets a promotion at the school. He only has Andy (Michael Fox) to help him out.
He tells Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) that the tremor is hereditary. His grandfather and his dad both had the same issue. It’s just shaking hands, but it will end his career as a butler. Mary comes downstairs and tells him that if changes are in order, they can’t be afraid.
In happier news, Andy asks Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) if Daisy (Sophie McShera) is interested in men. The cook tells him that she is, but Andy still isn’t sure he has a chance with her. Daisy is pretty rude to him over the next few days, and Mrs. Patmore calls her out. She points out that Daisy never thinks men are good enough if they like her. Once Andy finally gets the hint that Daisy isn’t interested, the young cook finally notices that he might be the right guy.
Flash-Forward to New Year's Eve
Edith and Bertie are getting married on New Year’s Eve, and that gives Rose (Lily James) and Atticus (Matt Barber) a reason to return. They have a 3-month-old daughter named Victoria Rachel Cora whom they had to leave behind in America.
Before the wedding festivities start, Tom (Allen Leech) and Henry have an announcement. They’re opening Talbot and Branson Motors. It’s a secondhand car dealership. “I’m as proud as anyone living,” Mary says. She whispers other good news in his ear and says that they cannot say anything. She doesn’t want to steal Edith’s spotlight. Obviously, she’s pregnant with another baby.
After Carson realizes he can’t pour any wine, Mary and Robert sit down and ask him what’s really happening. He explains his condition and says he must resign, but neither of the Crawleys look happy with that plan.
Meanwhile, Robert is jealous of how much time Cora spends in the hospital. Rose asks Robert to drive her into the village, and she brings him to one of Cora’s meetings. He sees how she talks to the people and addresses their concerns. He is rather impressed with his wife. “If you want to keep her, Robert, you must let her go,” Rose says. She advises him not to ask her to choose and simply support her latest endeavor.
Downstairs, Daisy decides to try Lady Mary’s hair dryer and give herself a haircut. The other servants laugh at her hair. Daisy runs away after Andy has a good chuckle. “You can laugh, but it’s for you she’s made a fool of herself,” Mrs. Patmore says.
After Anna gives Daisy a chic bob, Andy says they’ve been out of step. It looks like the servants are finally on the same page. Conveniently, Daisy has also decided to move into the farmhouse with Mr. Mason (Paul Copley), where Andy is working during his spare time.
Violet’s servants are trying to start trouble again. Denker (Sue Johnston) discovers that Spratt (Jeremy Swift) is working for Edith’s magazine and spills the beans to the dowager countess. Denker thinks it’ll get him fired, but Violet bursts out into laughter upon reading the article. It turns out Violet is a fan of the column and says she’ll turn to him for more advice.
Just before the wedding starts, Dr. Clarkson (David Robb) approaches Lord Merton and Isobel and says that Lord Merton doesn’t have pernicious anemia. He simply has regular anemia, which is just a nuisance rather than deadly. Lord Merton still has many good years left.
Edith walks down the aisle, and Henry whispers to Mary that he wants to tell at least Robert and Cora. Mary insists that her pregnancy stays a secret until Edith is off on her honeymoon. “We’re sisters, and sisters have secrets,” Mary says.
At the wedding reception, Barrow steps in when Carson’s shaking interrupts the champagne. Robert suddenly has an idea: Barrow can take on the responsibilities of the butler, but Carson will continue to be in charge of things. Carson still looks a bit downtrodden that he must give up some of his duties.
The wedding reception turns into quite an event when Anna’s water breaks in Mary’s bedroom, and the lady immediately starts taking care of her. Carson is appalled that a servant is giving birth upstairs. Anna has a boy, and Mary says the baby can stay in the nursery with her children when Anna comes back to work.
While Anna gives birth, Edith and Bertie leave for their honeymoon. “It’s so strange. I feel completely, completely happy. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that before,” Edith says to her family. She tosses her bouquet, which her editor Miss Edmunds (Antonia Bernath) catches. Tom was seen quite a few times with Miss Edmunds at the wedding, and it seems like they get along. Perhaps Tom will finally find love after Sybil.
The holidays and wedding put all the characters in a good mood. Violet even tells Cora that she runs the hospital well. Midnight strikes, everyone wishes each other a happy new year and sings “Auld Lang Syne.”
“Makes me smile,” Violet tells Isobel. “The way every year we drink to the future, whatever it may bring.”
“Well, what else could we drink to?” Isobel asks. “ We’re going forward to the future not back into the past.”
“If only we had the choice,” Violet says. With that, the dowager countess gets the last word. A fitting ending to “Downton Abbey.”