“Downton Abbey’s” final season has kicked off in the U.K. and Zap2it has all the juicy details for you, but be warned — spoilers ahead. Don’t keep reading if you don’t want to be spoiled for the Season 6 premiere.
The big to-do in the premiere is that a chamber maid from the Grand Hotel is blackmailing Lady Mary, threatening to go to the press with news of her week-long tryst with Tony Gillingham. Mary doesn’t cave — because of course she doesn’t, she’s Lady Mary — and eventually this horrible woman tells Lord Grantham about his daughter’s dalliance. Instead of caving to blackmail, he sends her on her way with slightly more than a swift kick in the pants.
Mary’s strength in the face of the would-be scandal proves to him that she’s fit to run the estate, so Mary is the new Branson. And you know she’s going to kick butt at the job.
Lady Edith is busy trying to figure out exactly what she wants her life to be now and continuing to hide Marigold’s true identity from Mary and the estate staff, while Isobel and Violet are facing off over letting the Royal Yorkshire County Hospital taking over their village hospital. Isobel is in favor because it means more money and access to more modern treatments, but Violet doesn’t want to give up the power of controlling their own hospital. This issue is not resolved in the premiere, so look to Isobel and Violet fighting tooth and nail to get their own way.
In the best premiere storyline, Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson haven’t set a wedding date yet, primarily because Mrs. Hughes is so nervous about whether or not she and Mr. Carson will be sleeping together as husband and wife. Mrs. Patmore takes one for the team to play go-between and Carson reveals just how deeply his love of Elsie runs.
“I am happy and tickled and bursting with pride that she would agree to be my wife. And I want us to live as closely as two people can for the time that remains to us on Earth,” he tells Mrs. Patmore, which she relays to Mrs. Hughes. Then at the end, they kiss and there’s not a dry eye in the house.
The rest of the staff is on edge about downsizing, as the times, they are a-changing and grand estates with enormous house staffs are dwindling. Is this the end of Downton Abbey as they know it? Not if Robert and Mary have anything to say about it, but time will tell.
Oh, and a woman has confessed to killing Mr. Green so that interminable storyline is finally put to bed. Anna is off the hook and now she and Bates can move forward — though she reveals in a tearful confession that she’s suffered three miscarriages and thinks she is unable to bear Bates’ children. Won’t these two ever find happiness?