Downton Abbey Season Finale Recap: The Ugly Americans
Previously on Downton Abbey, we learned that this week on Downton Abbey Shirley MacLaine would arrive and also “Teapot Dome.” Some other stuff happened too, in approximately 342 discrete scenes, so, you know, lots of stuff. All the stuff mostly.
Here comes Mrs. Hughes to expository to Daisy all the Changes that are Afoot. Hughes and Daisy will go to London to take charge of the townhouse, and soon Lady Rose is having her coming out ball. Then also Edith has gone to Switzerland for eight months and come back looking tired, as happens when you forgot to have your bortion.
Thomas leaves a totally uncoded message for Mrs. Baxter threatening that he wants gossip. He has gotten less and less sly since the season started. All his baddiness is so very ham-handed you could make eggs Benedict out of them (his hands) (you got that right?) Anyway, Thomas’s hold over Mrs. Baxter is boring.
The dowager is going to supper with the Queen after Rose’s presentation, but first she tells Edith she is sure the baby, or “it,” must be on her mind constantly, and it must be very hard for her. Edith is surly. The dowager tries to lighten the mood with a little joke about how good Edith’s French must be. Edith does not take kindly to the there-there coupled with a total dismissal of Edith’s very real sadness and anger. But also Edith doesn’t often turn down the chance to snipe. And who among us does?
Oh, certainly not Lady Mary, that is who not! She sneeringly asks Cora when the “American contingent” arrives, and how on earth they’ll “manage them.” Cora, clearly having taken a discreet trip to Betty Ford to wean her off her Percocets since she felt that surprising glimmer of capableness at the estate bazaar, correctly reminds Mary not to be a bitch, that she is talking about Cora’s mother and her own grandmother. Mary continues to be an uppity bitch, whether Shirley MacLaine is a nightmare or not. (She is.)
New scene! (Actually, 17 have already passed in the last three minutes, I am pretty sure.) Cora, still exuding her unexpected non-haze, asks Carson to plan an outing for the staff as thanks for their extra help in preparing for Lady Rose’s ball. Will wonders never cease?
Rose, who hasn’t even debuted yet, wants to go out partying in nightclubs after the dinner and whatever else tonight. “Your niece is a flapper,” says Mary like a mildly amused and surprisingly unantagonistic stone. “Accept it.”
Lord Merton shows up in the middle of Mrs. Crawley’s humble soup to ask her on a date to Lady Rose’s debutante ball. Mrs. Crawley’s like nah mang, none of that fucked up bullshit for me, this unemployment agency and do-gooder service isn’t gonna harass the dowager all by itself.
Rose goes partying with the Prince of Wales, whom she and her friend Madeline accost in the Embassy Club, and he’s like, ‘sweet, hot bitches yo, comea sit in my lap,’ except with more curtsying and mentions of “good old Shrimpy!’ and maybe without the lap.
The prince’s mistress, Mrs. Dudley Ward, quite politely and in a friendly manner reminds Lady Rose to back the fuck up off her man, and then they are bosom friends, probably because Lady Rose does not even want him because how would marrying the Prince of Wales piss off her mom?
Lady Mary is going off for lunch and the exhibit with one of her desire of suitors, I have no fucking clue which one. These fuckers strike my face blindness particularly hard. Without subtle identifying clues like “oh look this one is Napier and he has come from [the thing that Napier does with his time] and it is not Mr. The Other One, Or That Third Guy, names and character traits here,” I will never ever ever know which is who.
Thomas has a full-on meltdown in the kitchen about the GALL of Branson saying not to go to any trouble for him as the sole member of the family left in the country, when Branson was the CHAUFFEUR and Thomas is now UNDERBUTLER. Thomas thinks waaaaay too much about underbutlering. I think Thomas thinks underbutler is at least as important as a viceroy, or a viscount. I’m not sure it actually is though? Ivy is like aw fuck man this is so uncomfortable, the only person I have to talk to is this delusional rolling tumbleweed of hostility, life sucks and I am probably scared.
Oh, poor Thomas is even going to fail at being the meanest jerk guy on the show, because here comes Shirley MacLaine to show this dumb pup what’s what. Within even the first sentence, she already has more to work with than Julian Fellowes gave her on her previous (and I thought disastrously undeveloped and poorly written) outing. Now she’s just a motherfucking bitch, making everyone miserable, because her maid quit. (As we all know, a maid quitting is the greatest catastrophe that can befall gentry and vulgar nouveau riche alike. Isn’t it nice that they have something in common?) “Maid Quits” is, as I recall, one of the four universal plotlines in drama, as first outlined by either Waugh or Karl Marx. The others are “Foolish Lord is constantly endangering the estate,” and some others, I forget.
First up, Edith! (Obviously Lady Mary is correct in her assessment of Grandmama, and Cora is an idiot for not letting her be full of TRUTH.) Edith tries to be warm and welcoming to Uncle Harold, Paul Giamatti, and he’s a dick too. Oh these terrible Merkins.
Now we meet Kenneth the Page, who is the new valet for Paul Giamatti; here, he is named Ethan, or Slade, or probably Mr. Levenson since that is Paul Giamatti’s name. He cain’t believe he’s here in the big city gorsh, and they are all super mean to him like pffft fucking bumpkin.
Oh thank god they are going to tell us which suitor Lady Mary is at the exhibit with now. It’s Charles Blake, the one she fell in the pig slop with, and who is a class warrior and veritable Robespierre because he wasn’t there to ensure the gentry save their estates but instead that the food supply for the whole country be secured, like, what about even priorities? What a dick!
Uh oh, here is Gillingham (I think? Obviously, it could be Napier) like a bad fucking penny, and he is with the prince’s mistress and there is a thing I cannot even understand where Mary ends up having to invite everyone to the party tonight but the men are also using it to dickwave somehow, but civilized, and I really don’t understand what they are even on about it, honestly.
Carson picks dumb boring old man ideas for the staff’s day out, like “go see science,” or maybe “get a root canal.”
Branson is talking to the Liberal Party class warrior Robespierretrix, Miss Bunting, and the dowager rides by, sniffs when Branson presents the teacher to her, and then brags gleefully about how she’ll be dining at the palace. Miss Bunting manages to keep her teeth from ripping the dowager’s carotid artery right then and there. Talk about superhuman restraint.
Daisy is killin’ it in the kitchen, like BOOM MOTHERFUCKERS THAT IS HOW YOU DO A BLOOD KIDNEY PIE. Ethan Slade says sure he will help be a footman when Carson lies to him that in England valets will often help out in that way, then he tries to nicely say he has a name and it is not Mr. Levenson, but then Carson reminds him that in England your owner owns you and you don’t get a name. Kenneth the Page is a bit flumpherpied.
The guy who got caught cheating at Downton by one of the sons-in-law or prospective sons-in-law (we see, having clicked our own link, it was Edith’s poor missing Mr. Gregson) has come to their “light supper” for like a hundred and is spreading malicious gossip under their roof. Not cool, guy who got caught cheating.
Carson bitches out Ethan Slade for being all American and offering the guests his canapes with words and (shudder) friendliness, pfft what a fucking idiot.
Harold is rich as Croesus, so Lady Rose’s friend Madeline who is apparently a character now sets her cap at him despite his being Paul Giamatti.
Edith wants to scream and shout and hurl herself into a grave and not be English all the time. Lady Mary is like yo you do not even know what kind of insane evil spirit will burst from my mouthhole and my earholes and my eyesockets and all the lower holes if I leave this insane “feelings” demon unshackled for the slightest millisecond.
Miss Bunting is like “let me see your mansion,” and Branson is like “inappropriate,” so he takes her to the mansion, and then Miss Bunting is like, “you are such an oppressor living in this mansion,” and Branson is like don’t go upstairs to the gallery, because inappropriate, so then he takes her upstairs to the gallery. Bunting is a total B, insulting the portraits of the family. “And the present Lady Grantham? I don’t see one with a dollar sign.” Dude, Miss Bunting, you gotta work on your game. You have to stop constantly insulting his family to his face, rude. They are caught upstairs by Thomas who FINALLY has a story. All he’s ever wanted was someone to blackmail, is that so wrong?
Slade compliments Daisy on the cooking and says how much Mr. Levenson liked it, so Daisy gives him a look full of shit.
Lady Rose asks the cheaty gambler to watch the girls’ purses while she flappers, so he steals it obvs.
Branson explains to Thomas that he wasn’t boning Miss Bunting upstairs, like he needs to explain himself to a servant. Thomas is like “don’t tell me what to think, also probs be ready for some blackmail maybe?”
Mrs. Crawley explains to Lord Merton that she wasn’t being tolerant and loving when she called the debutante ball trivial, and howsabout a date, stud? He’s like, duh, I need a new beard, thank you, kisses, love, ciao!
Edith is in charge of Gregson’s affairs now because he gave her power of attorney and also might have left her all his muneez, which, he’s still married and stuff, come on that’s weird. Rosamund says some words, and Edith is like um, sorry to school you but you are a spinster who has never known the warm suckle of a human babe that you shot from your vagina, because of how you’re a failure and also don’t know anything, no offense. Rosamund comes back with some epic side eye.
Mrs. Hughes finds a receipt in Bates’s coat pocket and looks shocked, it is probably the receipt that proves he murdered Mr. Green, Gillingham’s valet what BRUTALLY RAPED Anna.
A beautiful scene as they enter the palace for their presentation to the queen, all the girls streaming up the stairs in their stunning gowns, but nobody on the internet seems to have it yet for me to steal so : (.
Slade announces to Carson that he’ll be courting Daisy then, as Carson’s eyebrows fall off his face.
King George condescends to address Rose after the Prince of Wales (whom the Internet tells us will grow up to be Edward VIII, FORESHADOWING) murmurs who her dad is. (Her dad is Shrimpy, off in India for king and country, tally ho and whatnot.) Then King George takes a snipe at the prince for being a manwhore. #Plot. #ByeJackRoss. #OhthatsrightyoualreadybrokeupwithherIforgotbecauseyouwereaplotdevicenotahumanokbye.
Mrs. Hughes takes the receipt to Lady Mary and then is like btw so what if he did kill that dude? Lady Mary has an emotion. There is no knowing what it is.
Madeline’s dad, having set her at Uncle Harry, is now unsmoothly hitting on Shirley MacLaine, who is a walking nightmare. She’s like, huh, you had no idea I had a Newport “cottage” on Bellevue Avenue? He is knocked over with a feather. Obvs, he was hitting on her for her charm, grace and beauty, not like anything so vulgar as being rich as Croesusina.
Uncle Harry points out to Madeline that Shirley MacLaine only has an income for life, Madeline is … offended? Embarrassed that he pointed out her father is a gauche old fortunehunter? Anyway, she rushes off.
Now Mrs. Dudley Ward (the Prince of Wales’s mistress) and Lady Rose are besties, and the gambly cheater man has stolen not Mrs. Dudley Ward’s money, but a sensitive “letter.” A letter is like a sext, but it is written on “paper.” The monarchy will be in Crisis should this dumb sext ever be exposed, and the Prince of Wales will have to resign from Congress.
Uncle Harold is sorry he hurt Madeline’s feelings, but he is not going to get trapped in marriage just because he has a billion dollars, so he takes her for a picnic.
Slade’s like yo Daisy let’s go serve at the picnic, and Mrs. Patmore is all OHHHHHHHHHHHH, go on then Daisy, go get married bye.
Lady Rose goes to Lord Grantham about the prince’s sexts to Mrs. Dudley Ward, and he’s all I regret that I have but one life to give in the name of my getting my prince’s sexts back.
Thomas tries to blackmail Branson into letting him ride in the back with him like the viscount he is, and Branson’s like nope, you’re a servant, byeeeee.
Mrs. Patmore killin’ it moment of the week.
All women need a man to show a little interest now and then. Preferably one who’s not that proper.
The longest scene ever, like it might even be three minutes, as Lord Grantham plots with the family on their Ocean’s Eleven-style burgling and hijinx to retrieve the Prince Of Wales’s sexts. I am thinking he offered to be a tampon in Mrs. Dudley Ward’s pants.
Lady Mary confronts Bates about how people sure do bad things in London, because she is super smooth. Lady Mary thinks no crime deserves a revenge killing, and Hughes, who gave her the London train ticket proving Bates is a murderer (again) is like oh fuck, I’ve made a huge mistake.
The dowager picks at Shirley MacLaine about 50 times in 90 seconds. Where have your manners gone, Dowager?
Thomas tells Lord Grantham that Branson boned Miss Bunting in the gallery, because he did not get to ride in the back seat of his car.
Oh, somewhere in there Gregson was murdered by Brownshirts.
Now Edith is going to go kill herself whoops. However Sylvia Plath did it will do.
They failed at their Whodunit, but total crimer Bates (who is also either a one-time or two-time murderer, don’t forget), having first forged something, then pickpocketed the gambler cheater blackmailer letter stealer, so success. Now that he has done something for their family, Lady Mary decides not to send him to gaol to be hanged by the neck until dead, because she is remembering about “loyalty” and “Anna and Bates.”
As the servants prepare for the ball, Carson fiddles with a spoon and Hughes adds to her stalker collection of “pictures of boats and traveling to America.”
The prince and Mrs. Dudley Ward arrive, the prince to open the ball with Rose. Their service to the Monarchy has been Noted. Rose will be the Season’s reigning belle.
The dowager tells Branson this is his family and his people, he is no longer a filthy servant. He STILL is on “no these are not really my people, again, what is my place, again, also let’s waltz.”
Shirley MacLaine warmly tells the old fortunehunter he can come visit her in Newport, she’ll rustle up some rich old widows who care more about titles than she, since she is loud and opinionated and common and doesn’t care for pompous boring people. She’s quite delightful — much more “Shirley MacLaine” then “whatever Shirley MacLaine’s character’s name is.”
Madeline and Uncle Harry are friends now and she is heartbroken that she did not land him, sooo weird you guys.
Gillingham hearts to hearts with Mary like what is up with other dude? and Mary explains that it is on her slender shoulders to spend “every penny and waking minute holding Downton together.” Oh, that is what that is. Then she is like I kind of love Blake except how he is not Noble Like Me. Gillingham is like, hey dummy? He is heir to the baronetcy and one of the largest estates in Ulster. How is Mary only JUST finding out that Blake is heir to the baronetcy and among the largest estates in Ulster. That is as non a starter as Matthew not leaving a fucking will. Come on, Fellowes. Give me a fucking break. It is like they have never even heard of Debrett’s!
OK, Edith is not going to off herself, she is going to the Continent to retrieve her babby.
Mary walks Blake out and is like oh now I know you are an heir, you may fight for my hand, and he is like ok I am not offended because that is what life is like I guess ew.
Edith is paying Mr. Drew to take the lovebabby, and she is a terrible liar about like “you’ll need a dumb cover story here use this one, which is also the one I told you d’oh.”
Molesley is good for something, as he singlehandedly makes Baxter strong enough to stand up to Thomas, I call bullshit. They are all at the beach and Daisy turns down the big NYC promotion, but Ivy reminds Slade that not everyone is an idiot who turns down big NYC promotions and can she try, and Daisy at last gets rid of her mortal enemy, Ivy, who is an evil c, or at least is prettier than she.
Carson and Hughes walk hand in hand into the sea, for their suicide.
See you next year!