When a show unexpectedly captures the public imagination, people naturally assume that there is some big plan in place. This can often be a little intimidating for creators. Co-creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellows, is no stranger to this problem. Right from the beginning, fans were asking Fellows how the series will end, as if the conclusion was the entire point of the show. Fellows of course answered cluelessly, but with Downton Abbey Season 6 coming soon, the ending is almost certainly set in stone.
What with having that perfect soap formula of crazy spontaneous drama coinciding with a reserved status quo, Downton Abbey could theoretically go on forever. ITV could even approach some strange warped model where the 20s never ended. Alas Downton Abbey bows out with Season 6, the finale of which will be a christmas special at the end of 2015. I'm not sure how I feel about the entire show ending with a christmas episode, for those often feel like one-off novelty stories, though I trust the show runners to cap off the series appropriately, jingle bells or no.
With the end fast approaching, what are the happiest ways Downton Abbey Season 6 could end, and please the long time fans?
Lady Rose and Tom Branson
This is the loosest and perhaps most contentious speculation between fans. Lady Rose is already with Atticus Aldridge, who she seems to be determined to get us to like. Tom Branson, of course, has had a turbulent time on the show, losing the love of his life, Sybil, earlier in the series, and planning to move to America at the end of Season 5. Whether those select few fans will be granted their wishes, and see these two get together in some way shape or form, we will have to wait till Season 6.
Mr and Mrs Bates
These two are where the most groan-worthy drama comes from. There have been conspiracies of framing, murder, sexual assault and all sorts of sensationalised shenanigans surrounding these two right from the beginning. If Downton Abbey Season 6 attempts any kind of sad ending, my money is on it involving the death or permanent incarceration of either John or Anna Bates. Best case scenario for these two is that their tale of suffering just bloody ends.
Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes
These two are no doubt the woobies of Downton Abbey, and will certainly dictate the degree of sentimentality the finale of Season 6 has. Mr Carson's proposal to Mrs Hughes in the most recent christmas special was the one thing to happen in Season 5 that didn't incite some greater level of drama or intrigue, and fans loved it. If these two can end happily, it will surely cement the sense of social harmony, redundancy of class, and quaintness the show has been striving for.
Lady Mary and Henry Talbot
Yeah this is what we're talking about! Lady Mary has been through so much on Downton Abbey, embodying at once the emotional and stylistic core of the show. She pushed on through thick and thin (thick being the actual death of Dan Stevens! Tragic!) It would be the happiest possible ending if her character could be resolved without being swallowed up by the lost magic of the 20s in the push into more cynical times. Plus, if she's accompanied by Matthew Goode's Henry Talbot, then it's a win win! Basically, if Downton Abbey Season 6 ends with Matthew Goode around, then I'll be happy.
Who will get their happy ending? We will have to wait and find out when Downton Abbey Season 6 premieres later this year!