The Crawley family headed to London in the of summer 1923 for Rose’s (Lily James) coming out season. Cora’s (Elizabeth McGovern) brother Harold (Paul Giamatti) and her mother Martha (Shirley MacLaine) even came to visit.
Tom (Allen Leech) decided to go later and ran into Sarah (Daisy Lewis) when he went to have dinner in the village. She invited herself over for a tour, and an uncomfortable Tom agreed.
When she asked to see the upper balcony—the floor the bedrooms are on—Tom refused. However, Sarah went upstairs anyway for a better view, and Thomas (Rob James-Collier) saw. Still bitter over having to serve a chauffeur, you could just tell what he planned to do with this information, and Tom knew it.
When they arrived in London, Thomas immediately tattled to Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), and implied Tom “entertained” women when the family was away. When Robert asked him about it, Tom told the truth. Although, he did seem a bit embarrassed.
When Anna (Joanne Froggatt) gave Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) an old coat of Bates’ (Brendan Coyle) to donate to refugees, Mrs. Hughes found a train stub that placed him in London the day Anna’s rapist was killed. Mrs. Hughes showed it to Mary (Michelle Dockery), and they decided not to tell Anna.
Mary soon suffered a crisis of conscious, and thought the right thing to do would be to go to the police. Mrs. Hughes left it up to her.
Rose and her friend Madeline (Poppy Drayton)—who was also coming out—ran into an acquaintance at a night club, Mrs. Freda Dudley Moore (Janet Montgomery), the Prince of Wales’ (Oliver Dimsdale) mistress. They all went out together again the next night, and card shark Sampson (Patrick Kennedy) took advantage of his acquaintance with Rose to invite himself along. When the ladies got up to dance, Sampson stole a love letter the prince had written from Freda’s handbag.
Later, Freda was frantic over the situation, and Rose felt guilty about what happened. She went to Robert and updated him on everything. He too felt responsibility, and being a staunch monarchist, vowed to protect the kingdom. The Crawley family formed a plan to steal the letter back from Sampson, who’d planned to use it for blackmail.
With the help of Bates’ forgery and pickpocket skills (!!!), the family was able to return the scandalous letter to the rightful owner. As thanks, Freda had the prince come to Rose’s ball, and he had the first dance with her. Rose became the darling of the season. Due to Bates’ assistance, Mary decided to burn the ticket stub.
Mary’s family was very amused suitors surrounded her again. Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen) and Charles (Julian Ovenden) followed her to London for the season. Mary seemed to be leaning towards Gillingham because she and Charles were from two different worlds.
Wanting a fair fight, Gillingham revealed Charles wasn’t the man she thought. Charles was set to inherit his wealthy uncle’s estate. This changed things for Mary. However, she revealed she still wasn’t able to marry anyone, since it’d still only been a year since Matthew’s death. She did admit she now thought she could remarry one day. Her suitors promised to keep trying to woo her once and for all.
Lord Aysgarth (James Fox) was widowed, and wanted to marry Martha for her money. Harold was disgusted by the tedious ploy, especially because he also forced an ashamed Madeline onto Harold. Despite his being old enough to be her father, and insulting her money-hungry father frequently, they shared a genuine connection. When they parted, they promised to write one another.
Martha declined Aysgarth’s marriage proposal because she had no interest in a title. She promised to introduce him to her rich, widow friends who did, when he visited New York. Elsewhere, Isobel (Penelope Wilton) found herself with a wealthy, titled suitor, while Violet (Maggie Smith) was confronted by the end of her way of life.
Edith (Laura Carmichael) gave birth to a little girl she left in Switzerland with her unofficial adopted family. She regretted her decision, and wanted the baby back near her. Rosamund (Samantha Bond) tried to talk her out of it. However, Gregson (Charles Edwards) was still missing. Although, there had been a witness who came forward and said they saw him attacked by a group of Nazi-like hoodlums. Edith decided to come up with a story, and enticed the kindly tenant farmer back home to raise the “orphaned” girl.
Harold’s valet was smitten with Daisy (Sophie McShera). Harold liked her cooking, and offered Daisy a job in New York. Daisy was flattered at both the offer of courtship and employment. However, she declined. Instead, her protégé Ivy (Cara Theobold) volunteered because she wanted to fresh start in America.
With Molesley’s (Kevin Doyle) support, Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) was able to stand up to Thomas. Cora treated the staff to a day by the sea before they went home.
This was a great finale episode to cap off a great season of Downton Abbey. Despite the loss of two main characters, this was one of the best seasons to date. There were also many comedic moments this year, despite its heavy subject matter like Edith’s unwanted pregnancy and Anna’s rape, which was very well acted.
Who else is looking forward to the fifth season?
Photo Credit: PBS