'Downton Abbey' Season 4 finale spoilers: Romance blossoms, romance fades

downton-abbey-season-4-finale-cora-robert.jpgIt was all about the couples on the Season 4 finale of "Downton Abbey." Don't keep reading if you don't want to be spoiled.

Upstairs

Both of Lady Mary's suitors are back (her "desire of suitors," as Lady Cora says), with Gillingham have called off his engagement to Mabel. These two men have created such an interesting dynamic at the estate when they are there at the same time. As Lord Grantham wonders, "What kind of menage do they have going on?"

And Mary's not leading them on, per se, she's very up front about how she's not ready for a romance -- but it's kind of cute to see how flattered Mary is by the attention. And both of the men are utterly respectful of each other, which is also nice to see.

This is a storyline we actually would like to see continue in Season 5 because both men are attractive and interesting in their own ways. Hopefully the show doesn't have Mary choose one in the Christmas special still to come, that would be quite boring, we think.

But who else seems to have caught a man's eye? Why, Cousin Isobel. Frankly, we're a bit disappointed nothing ever came of her and Dr. Clarkson, but having Mary's godfather Lord Merton take an interest in her would certainly keep her closer to the Crawley family. Also, yay for Cousin Isobel, because she's one of our favorite characters on the show anymore.

Tom Branson also has another run-in with the woman from the political meeting. Turns out her name is Sarah Bunting and she's a teacher in the village. That seems like an excellent match for him -- she's not "the help," but she's not a Lady either. And how can the Crawley family possibly be against him A) not being alone forever and B) a teacher? Good form, show.

Lady Rose is the only one whose romance takes a turn. Jack Ross wants to marry her and she's excited for several reasons -- not the least of which is rubbing it in her mother's face. Lady Mary goes to see Jack about whether he's really thought it through and learns he's calling it off because he loves Rose and doesn't want her to experience what she'll go through being married to a black man. It's rather a nice scene between Jack and Mary, though we hope the show isn't done with him. The only way you make the world better is to be proactive, not wait for it to be so.

And of course, poor Lady Edith still has not heard from Gregson and time is growing short for her to make a decision about the baby. She thinks Mr. Drew, the tenant farmer who came back this season to take over when his father passed away, can raise her baby as his own and then she can still see it, but Aunt Rosamund puts the kibosh on that -- and so does Granny. That Lady Violet doesn't miss a trick.

They decide the best course is for Edith and Rosamund to take a "sabbatical" to Switzerland and there Edith will give the baby away. As Lady Violet said back in Season 1, we hope the show doesn't go the way of Greek drama and have all of that happen off-stage (or screen, as the case may be). We relish the dramatic turn Laura Carmichael will give in having to give up her baby -- she really is one of the best actors on the show.

And finally, Lord Grantham returns from America, much to everyone's delight. All is right with the Crawley house.

Downstairs

When Anna hears of Lord Gillingham coming back, she confides in Lady Mary about how it was his valet, Mr. Green, who attacked her and Mary wants to go to the police, but Anna won't hear of it. Instead, Mary uses her considerable pull with Gillingham to have Green sacked, no questions asked.

Except Green is hit by a bus first and it's pretty well implied that Mr. Bates did the pushing. It's interesting that Season 2 ends with Bates being framed for a London murder he did not commit and Season 4 ends with Bates committing a London murder that no one is going to tell on him for. While we expect perhaps some personal fallout at Downton between Bates and Anna over this, hopefully the show does not once again get mired in an investigation and arrest. Been there, done that, show.

Meanwhile, the romance is not solely for the upstairs folk. Mr. Molesley tries to get Baxter out of her shell and in doing so, appears to be kind of sweet on her. He defends her to Thomas, who wants Baxter to spill all the details of what went on while he was away, and Baxter seems to warm to Molesley.

We know which "Downton" couple is our new favorite 'ship, gang. Adorable. And Mr. Molesley so deserves to be happy.

In the kitchen-romance-that-will-not-die department, Alfred has to come back to the village for his dad's funeral and he writes to Ivy asking her to marry him and come to London. She refuses because while she likes him fine, she's not in love with Alfred. Daisy, of course, cannot believe it, but a lovely trip to see Mr. Mason reminds her that she needs to part friends with Alfred.

And then the big oaf decides he maybe should have seen Daisy as his match all along and he kinda, sorta proposes to her like five minutes after being rejected by Ivy. To her immense credit, Daisy kindly turns him down and it leads to one of the best moments of the whole season when Mrs. Patmore tells Daisy how proud she is of her. *sniffle*

All in all, not the action-packed finale that we've seen in past seasons, but the Christmas special does have a lot of meaty plotlines -- and Martha Levinson and Harold are coming to visit. Oh, happy day.

Best lines:

Lady Violet
: "Rosamund has no interest in French. If she wishes to be understood by a foreigner, she shouts."

Lady Mary: "To be fair to papa, he'd find your being a band singer harder to swallow than your color."

What did you think of the "Downton Abbey" Season 4 finale?


Photo/Video credit: ITV
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