Downton Abbey Recap, Season 6, Episode 9: And in the End, the Love You Take is Equal to the Love You Make

Daisy got a haircut Sunday night on Downton Abbey. Barrow got a job, Edith got a man and Lord Merton's awful son got what he deserved.

And just like that, Downton Abbey ended. Poof. Over. Unless the cast can be rounded up for a movie, we will never see them together again, and while we know that what we should say is "thanks for the memories," it also illustrates how cruel the universe can be.


As for the storyline resolutions, let's put it this way. Before my wife left to sit shivah, she suggested several of them could have been pinched from Hallmark.

That's not as dire as it sounds. She also acknowledged that jolly good endings were what most of us wanted, because even when main characters went as far off the rails as Lady Mary or Evil Thomas, we still wanted them to slap themselves, become better people and find happiness.

On the other hand, Downton didn't become the most popular PBS series ever because it put on a big smiley face. Everyone crashed into obstacles, some serious, life-changing and lethal. That was the fun part, and we don't want the fun to be over.

We know, of course, that in real life the 1920s were an intermission between very bad times. Downton wrapped up on the eve of 1926, which gives everyone less than four years before the Great Depression strikes and little more than a decade before a war that would almost put all of Britain out of business.


In that context, we don't begrudge these characters the 1920s, when one awful war had ended, things were going relatively well and most changes - sorry, Violet - made life better, easier and a little fairer.

Okay, we're starting to sound like a Hallmark card ourselves.

Sunday's big story was that Mary made up for dismantling Edith's life by putting it back together. Mary lured Edith and Bertie to a surprise dinner for two at the Ritz, where Bertie told Edith he couldn't live without her.


He was willing to face any criticism over Marigold's status, he declared. Well, except from his mother, whom he wasn't going to tell because she's uber-judgmental.

Though we can be sure that compared to Violet she'd be an amateur, she did let it be known that Bertie's late cousin Peter - from whom Bertie inherited his marquess gig - had disgraced everyone with immoral behavior that, while unspecified, clearly seemed to be something straight out of Oscar Wilde.

So Bertie preferred to hush up Edith's little scandal. But Edith, knowing the corrosive impact of secrets, told Bertie's Mum anyway, and sure enough, Mum told Bernie to ditch this trollop. "Damaged goods" was Mum's specific assessment of Edith.

Bertie, for perhaps the first time in his life, told his mother her assessment didn't matter.

After reflection, Mum backed down. So Edith walked down the aisle again and this time made it all the way through the "I do" part.

Footnote: Her bouquet was caught by her editor Laura, who had several warm conversations with Branson. Could this be magic? My wife says Branson can marry anyone, including a young Eva Braun, as long it's not Miss Bunting.

Branson was a busy man Sunday. Fresh from his yeoman campaign to hook Henry up with Mary, he partnered with Henry to open a second-hand auto dealership called Talbot and Branson Motors.


This came about after Henry decided to give up racing, which delighted Mary so much she seemed not at all upset that she's now married to a used car salesman.

Mary's evolution was matched only by Barrow's.

Barrow landed a job at another Yorkshire estate, working for a dull old couple who would have caused the statuary to keel over from boredom.

Then something wonderful happened. Well, wonderful for Barrow. Carson began having trouble pouring wine, and it turned out his family had a history of "the palsy," making him a butler with shaky hands, which is about as useful as an interior decorator with color-blindness.

Exactly why this progressive condition never showed up until the final episode was a medical mystery, but it allowed Lord Grantham to suggest Barrow be brought back as butler with Carson as a sort of overlord, the dowager countess of butlers.


Since Barrow had left Downton with so many warm and conciliatory farewells that you would have thought he was going to work for St. Peter, this was a Hallmark moment all by itself.

The fates weren't quite so benevolent toward the scheming Denker, who ratted out Spratt's advice column to Violet, fully expecting Violet would cash him out.


Turned out Violet thought the column was delightful, or maybe she was just deflating Denker, who deserved it. In either case, Spratt survived.

Molesley and Baxter had a good night, too. He was offered a permanent teaching position, and she declared she will not be seeing or writing to Peter Coyle. Why she considered it in the first place sounded crackers, but this should free her up to become an item with Molesley.

Daisy, meanwhile, decided to move into Mr. Mason's farmhouse as part of a major overhaul that included changing her hair to a Clara Bow look. Lots of bangs.

She also acceded to Mrs. Patmore's nagging about giving Andy a chance. He's been sweet on her forever, but had given up after all her snappish rejections.

Since Andy is apprenticing at the Mason farm, they should see plenty of each other, and Mr. Mason said he hoped he would also see more of Mrs. Patmore.


Mrs. Patmore said she didn't know what he meant. "Oh, I think you do," said Mr. Mason, that old rascal.

Mature romance took a more explosive turn with Isobel and Lord Merton.

Lord Merton told Isobel he had been diagnosed with pernicious anemia, which sadly has a high and fast mortality rate.

Isobel said she wanted to help him through. But his obnoxious son Larry's obnoxious fiancé Miss Cruickshank, who earlier had tried to offload Lord Merton's care to Isobel, now apparently decided she wanted to keep the old chap in-house until he went toes-up and his estate had been safely passed on.

To further cement her security, she and Larry got married. When Isobel came by to see Lord Merton, Miss Cruickshank rudely shooed her away.

Isobel told Violet it seemed like a freeze-out and Violet marched them both to Lord Merton's place.

When Miss Cruickshank tried to throw them out again, Lord Merton heard the commotion and discovered that Larry and Miss Cruickshank had never told him Isobel tried to visit.

"As my son, I love you," Lord Merton told Larry. "But I have tried and failed to like you."


Whereupon Isobel said she would marry Lord Merton and Lord Merton said he would be happy to live at Isobel's house, letting Larry and Miss Cruickshank keep his whole bloody estate. Their punishment, of course, was that they would have to live with each other.

As a happy footnote, retesting showed Lord Merton's anemia wasn't pernicious after all. So he's got some time, and since Isobel will be based at Downton, she's still available for lunches with Violet.

Lord Grantham briefly threatened to stir a minidrama in the big house when he grumbled that Cora was spending too much time running the hospital.

Then Lady Rose, who had crossed the pond to visit and show off pictures of her newborn, hauled Lord Grantham down to watch Cora handle a public information session, and he just about burst his ulcer again with pride at how deftly she operated.


Since Mary got her happy ending in the last episode, her main role Sunday was to sell Edith and everyone else on the new, nicer Mary 2.0. Knowing they're dealing with someone in the early stages of recovery, everyone was taking this one day at a time.

Still, Mary was reaping good karma. She told Henry she was preggers and she also bought a new-fangled hair dryer.

The hair dryer upset Carson, as all things modern upset Carson, but it soon got its own subplot. When Daisy was redoing her hair, she snuck upstairs and borrowed the dryer herself.

That was a blatant violation of rank, needless to say, but it proved what Downton has been saying all along, that the old rules are going ragged at the seams.

And the hair dryer incident was nothing compared to the moment when Anna's water broke in Lady Mary's bedroom and Lady Mary insisted she hop onto Lady Mary's bed and have the baby right there.

Even before that could happen, Lady Mary leaned down and said, "First we'll get you undressed," a role reversal so staggering that Anna gasped, between contractions, "It doesn't seem right."

It wasn't. But soon Anna and Bates were sitting on Lady Mary's bed with the baby and Lady Mary was saying it's fine, no rush, Henry and I will go somewhere else.

Fortunately, it never came to Lady Mary and Henry curled up under a horse blanket in the back seat of his roadster.

But we did get the whole crew on New Year's Eve, smiling and kissing and laughing and just generally looking, as Lord Grantham said, like this was the hour when the ships came in.

For the record, Violet had the last spoken line, Moments after even Carson had conceded that Downton must acknowledge change, Isobel mused that arrival of a new year symbolized moving forward. "If only we had the choice," Violet replied.


When midnight tolled, Mrs. Hughes sang the first lines of "Auld Lang Syne." Another voice joined, then another, then every voice.

The song continued as the camera pulled back, then way back, then outdoors, receding into the soft, dark Yorkshire night.

We're just a few hours away from the first dawn of 1926 - and for the first time since April 1912, we won't be there.

It was, at last, one too many mornings, and while we knew the day would come, we also knew we wouldn't like it.