Downton Abbey—Season 6

downton abbey season 6 episode guide
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

The sun sets on Downton with happiness

A rather lackluster finale with little suprises

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Night falls on Downton Abbey

It is 1925, and things continue to change at Downton Abbey.  Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) find themselves ruling a different world than they original inhabited.  Mary (Michelle Dockery) is acting as manager of the house, and Edith (Laura Carmichael) is managing her own magazine while secretly raising her daughter.  Violet (Maggie Smith) finds herself at odds with Isobel (Penelope Wilton) over the future of the local hospital.  Carson (Jim Carter) and Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) prepare for marriage and realize that married life could be different than their years of work together.  Bates (Brendan Coyle) and Anna (Joanne Froggatt) seek to put their past behind them and start a family.  Daisy (Sophie McShera) and Molesley (Kevin Doyle) learn that there could be life outside of Downton as Andy (Michael Fox) thinks about farming life. Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) tries her hand at a bed & breakfast.  Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) learns that her past isn’t finished with her and Thomas (Rob James-Collier) realizes that the jobs like those at Downton are disappearing.  The world is changing around Downton Abbey and Downton Abbey must change if it hopes to survive.

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Frenemies ’til the end!

Downton Abbey—Season 6 is the final season of the award winning series.  The season originally aired from September 20, 2015 to November 8, 2015 on ITV in the United Kingdom with a Christmas special/series finale airing on December 25, 2015.  The series was rebroadcast in the United States on PBS.

Downton Abbey became a massive and surprise success.  The audience somehow caught the attention of United States’ audiences and really latched on.  Having watched all six seasons of the series, the series finale was welcomed though it seemed a bit of a letdown.  A *****spoiler alert***** exists for the rest of the review.

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Could have titled this season “Three Weddings and No Funerals”.

This season is here to wrap up storylines and give resolution to the characters, but it does it in a rather dull way.  Part of Downton Abbey has been shocking moments that you didn’t see coming.  This season has a few surprises like the exploding ulcer, an attempted suicide, and a car wreck that kills a character you barely knew are the excitement for the season…it just doesn’t measure up to some of the surprises of the previous season and feels a bit too rosy for what you’ve come to expect from the series.

The cast continues to be good and with the changing time in the story, it feels more cohesive with less players.  The series spanned about ten years, and this season actually has them looking older and more of the age that they are supposed to be.  It is nice that the writers brought back some characters like Rose (Lily James) and Gwen (Rose Leslie), but I did at least expect Shirley MacLaine to swing by for the finale…or some ghosts of dead characters for “new” scenes.

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This is the “let’s feel sorry for, Thomas” season…

Part of the series strength is the look.  Downton Abbey just looks grand and it is shot in a way to show the opulence of the characters.  This season is interesting in that they play with the idea of how others see this world with an open house (aka the future of Downton) and things like Molesley’s interaction with local students who have grown up in the shadow of homes like Downton.

Boiled down to its core, Downton Abbey wasn’t really anything more than a soap opera.  The plots and storylines of rape, murder, and mistaken identity were really not that different than something you’d see on Days of Our Lives, but you add English accents, a decent cast, and slick directing, and you get a classier product.  There has already been talk of a Downton Abbey movie, and I don’t know that I’d mind it.  I would like to see what happened to Downton Abbey during World War II where countryside homes often became refuges during the bombings.  I figure that the “future” of Downton Abbey is why this series finale was rather lack luster and uneventful; everything ends on a high note…something unusual for Downton.

Downton Abbey—Season 6 Complete Episode Guide:

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“Episode 1”

6.1       Episode 1 Airdate:  09/20/15

Mary (Michelle Dockery) finds her name might be in danger when a woman named Rita Bevan (Nichola Burley) shows up with scandalous information about her and high demands.  Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) worries about her upcoming marriage to Carson (Jim Carter) and wonders what he expects from her as a wife.  Anna (Joanne Froggatt) has a bad health scare that could change the plans of Bates (Brendan Coyle) as they both await to hear about charges against Anna.  An attempt to have the hospital fall under control of the government leads to a face-off between Violet (Maggie Smith) and Isobel (Penelope Wilton).  The closing of a local estate means Mr. Mason (Paul Copley) is out of work and Daisy (Sophie McShera) is set to make it right with the new owners…leading to disaster.  The changing world puts the staff and Robert (Hugh Bonneville) on edge that they will not be able to maintain Downton Abbey forever.

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“Episode 2”

6.2       Episode 2 Airdate:  09/27/15

Anna worries that she can never have children, but Mary promises to help her find a solution.    Plans the wedding and clashes with Carson about having the wedding at Downton Abbey.  Thomas (Rob James-Collier) worries that he’s going to be let go and tries to find alternative employment.  Daisy attempts to right the wrong she made in defending Mr. Mason, and Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) seeks a solution.  A visit to the farm of Mr. Drewe (Andrew Scarborough) with Marigold leads to a dangerous situation with Mrs. Drewe (Emma Lowndes) who still sees the child as hers.

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“Episode 3”

6.3       Episode 3 Airdate:  10/04/15

Carson and Mrs. Hughes prepare for the wedding day, and Downton Abbey prepares for the celebration. The battle over the hospital heats up and leads to an explosion by Cora.  Edith (Laura Carmichael) works on her newest magazine when her editor quits and finds help from Bertie Pelham (Harry Hadden-Paton).  Daisy learns about a possible save for Mr. Mason but jumps the gun on announcing it.  Miss Denker (Sue Johnston) realizes Spratt (Jeremy Swift) is hiding a secret and it involves the police.  Molesly (Kevin Doyle) works to help Daisy in a way she never expected.  The wedding day arrives and the servants and the Crawleys are about to get a surprise visitor.

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“Episode 4”

6.4       Episode 4 Airdate:  10/11/15

Carson and Mrs. Hughes are on their honeymoon and Thomas is filling in as head butler.  Tom Branson (Allen Leech) adjusts to life back at Downton and tries to determine his future.  Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) learns that the man who wrecked her life is facing a trial and she could be called to testify.  Gwen (Rose Leslie) returns to Downton Abbey as a representative of the women’s college and remembers her time as a maid at Downton with Sybil.  Anna suffers a setback in her pregnancy and makes a rush to London with Mary in the hopes to stopping a miscarriage.  Daisy decides she must force the Crawleys to make a decision about the future of Mr. Mason. Carson and Hughes return from their honeymoon, and Carson moves out of Downton to live with Hughes in their own cottage.

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“Episode 5”

6.5       Episode 5 Airdate:  10/18/15

Mr. Mason has moved into the farm and put off Daisy by taking an interest in Andy (Michael Fox) to encourage him to farm.  Denker risks her job by confronting Dr. Clarkson (David Robb) about his disloyalty to Violet and must find a way to get back in her good graces.  Edith replaces her editor and finds her relationship with Bertie heating up.  Thomas learns Andy is hiding a secret and agrees to help him.  Mary learns that she might not know the full truth about Marigold’s birth.  A visit by the Minister of Health Neville Chamberlain takes a surprising turn at dinner when Robert faces a health crisis.

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“Episode 6”

6.6       Episode 6 Airdate:  10/25/15

Mrs. Hughes finds tending to Carson is more difficult than she expected.  The fate of Downton Cottage Hospital is decided and Cora finds herself in a new position with Violet being pushed out.  Mary continues to grow closer to Henry and tries to uncover the secret of Marigold.  Downton Abbey hosts its first public open house and faces crowds of onlookers.

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“Episode 7”

6.7       Episode 7 Airdate:  11/01/15

Daisy and Molesly prepare for their exams and question their future if they pass.  Andy’s illiteracy is exposed, and Thomas once again finds himself sidelined when the local teacher agrees to help him.  Mrs. Hughes has a plan to teach Carson a lesson about his demands.  Mrs. Patmore finds her bed & breakfast is ready for its first customers.  Isobel deals with an unlikely invite to the wedding of Larry Merton, and Violet decides to take a new look at her future.  A trip by the Granthams to a car race to watch Henry Talbot ends in disaster.  Both Edith and Mary must decide the future of their relationships.

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“Episode 8”

6.8       Episode 8 Airdate:  11/08/15

Bertie finds himself with a new title with the death of his cousin in Algeria, and Edith questions whether she should tell him about Marigold before accepting his offer of marriage.  Mrs. Patmore finds her B&B is already in trouble when her first customers and revealed to be using the home for an affair.  Molesley begins his teaching career but discovers it is more difficult than he expected.  The mystery of Edith’s magazine’s advice columnist is revealed.  Thomas decides he must leave Downton Abbey but makes a drastic decision on how.  Mary debates her future with Henry as those around her try to make her realize her love for him leading to a blowup at Edith that could ruin her future.

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“The Finale”

6.9       The Finale Airdate:  12/25/15

1926 is coming, and Downton Abbey continues to change.  Carson finds that he is having troubles controlling his hands and that it could drastically change his future.  Molesley learns that he could leave service forever when a job position opens up at the school.  Lord Merton (Douglas Reith) gets a bad prognosis but Isobel discovers that Amelia (Phoebe Sparrow) and Larry (Charlie Anson) are preventing her from seeing him.  Thomas discovers life at his new position just isn’t like Downton Abbey.  Anna prepares for the birth of her child and the baby might not be wait for a convenient time.  Daisy continues to put off Andy’s advances and thinks about life outside of Downton.  The return of Bertie promises that potential of a happy future for Edith, but Edith worries that she’s never had happiness in her life.

Related Links:

Downton Abbey—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Downton Abbey—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Downton Abbey—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Downton Abbey—Season 4 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Downton Abbey—Season 5 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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