ByPeter Flynn, writer at
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best.
Peter Flynn

Upon the final season of a beloved show, fans always expect loose ends to be wrapped up. No show right now has quite the same level of responsibility as Downton Abbey Season 6. Luckily for Downton Abbey, most of its loose ends aren't plot enigmas, such as the identity of people's parents or a mystery as to who committed a murder. Most of what Downton Abbey Season 6 needs to do is wrap up characters, and give their arcs satisfying endings.

The biggest arcs for Downton Abbey Season 6 are those of the characters who have made the biggest journeys. Let's take a look at fan favorite, and veteran of Downton who has made perhaps the biggest journey of all, Tom Branson, and see where his story might end up!

Tom Branson's Journey

Tom climbing the ranks.
Tom climbing the ranks.

Tom Branson is the closest thing Downton Abbey has to an audience insert character. Sure, he's an Irish chauffeur living in the early twentieth century, but with most characters in Downton being heirs, lords, socialites or noblemen, that makes Tom about the most relatable character right off the bat. His character is constituted by mixing social climbing and class integration with a sense of rebellion and rejecting the norm. For a show that hinges so greatly on archaic class structures, having one of your most beloved characters be someone who questions it all is pretty brave.

That's what makes Tom Branson so analogous to the audience. He has a love and respect for the noble world he's joined, yet retains his original sensibilities, just as we would want to. His initial relationship with Lady Sybil perfectly illustrates the view of romance transcending class that so many viewers love.

It has, however, come to appear that Tom Branson's role at Downton Abbey may not seem as concrete as we would like to think. Throughout season 5, certain storylines led him to feel almost out of place amongst the Crawley's, and he vowed to go work for his cousin in Massachusetts. It seems he intends to do this upon Season 6 beginning, and it raises some interesting questions. Is Downton Abbey set to move to America?

Why Downton Abbey could work in America

Cora has been a staple of the series from the start
Cora has been a staple of the series from the start

It might sound blasphemous to set the most English thing since scones on crumpets in the U.S. Downton Abbey has always felt extremely contained within its comfortable countryside setting, to the point where a short visit to London feels a bit heady, but Downton has never denied the rest of the world. It's the sinking of the Titanic (an effort to reach America) that kicks the entire show off. The show is about a class reaction to the progressing world, and what signifies that progress better than America in the 20s and 30s?

Downton Abbey has a huge following in America, and it would be interesting for them to see their home country conveyed through Downton's romanticized, idealized lens. It's easy for some viewers to forget that Downton isn't set in some far off British fantasy land, and is actually heavily affected by the wider world.

Why Downton Abbey wouldn't work in America

Just look at this Englishness!
Just look at this Englishness!

As I've said, the little bubble of heavily codified Englishness is pretty integral to Downton Abbey. Perhaps moving some scenes or even episodes to an American setting would risk ruining the magic for some fans. Such a move would also jeopardize its own identity, in that America at the time was practically a thesis against the type of rigid structures born from nobility that the Crawleys benefit from. Hell, that's practically why Tom is leaving them. Downton Abbey deals with many issues of the early 20th century, but that of the American dream does not seem to be one of them.

Do you think Downton Abbey Season 6 could whisk viewers off to America along with Tom Branson? Why not write an article of your own, showcasing your opinions!


Should Downton Abbey Season 6 take us States-side?


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