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Downton Abbey's Soap Opera Farewell

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 7/03/2016 Lev Raphael

Downton Abbey wasn't just wrapped up last night, it was swept away in a tsunami of schmaltz. Lady Mary did her Good Deed for the Century and brought happiness to her benighted sister who tried her best to undo it anyway. But despite her weepy equivocating, Edith now has wealth, is a Marchioness, and lives in a home that makes Downton look shabby. Boom.
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Edith's Gorgon of a mother-in-law did an about-face which wasted screen time and was utterly predictable. It would have been more surprising if she'd started from that place and been surprisingly sympathetic after having been built up as a holy terror. Though on her inexpressive face (Botox, or just being English?), who could tell what she cared about--but so be it.
Mary herself doesn't have to worry about her hubby dying in a car crash because he's gone into trade. Too bad we didn't get to see her father throw a fit. Hubster's not a butcher, he's selling used cars, and she couldn't be prouder, she says. "That'll do, pig" came out with more warmth in Babe.
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Isobel turned into an AARP version of Lara Craft with the help of her bestie the Dowager and rescued her beloved Larry from his evil family and of course he's not at death's door or even in death's parking lot. They got a quickie marriage, he moved all his tweedy suits to her house and Viva la revoluciĆ³n.
Mrs. Patmore gave snarky Daisy major therapeutic insight into her psychological issues with men, and now Daisy and Big Ears are clearly headed to the altar. It didn't hurt that she saw him in his t-shirt banging away at a roof. And of course Mrs. Patmore has her own courtship to look forward to with Mr. Mason. Paging Stella Gibbons.
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There was a great deal more hugger-mugger including Carson's shaking hand that instantly screamed "Barrow's not going anywhere!" but you have to wonder something. In all the pairing off, in the universal settling down and happiness, why did quivering-lip Barrow only get a promotion? He was the continuing villain of the piece from the first season on, though his nastiness progressively diminished. Why was he the only major younger character left alone without hope of love? What has Julian Fellowes had against him all this time?
The ending was pure 1930s and 1940s Hollywood, the kind of sentimental movie where angels sing and strings swell up, only here we had a Christmas tree, a wedding, a baby being born, another baby on the way, and Auld Lang Syne.
Lev Raphael is the author of The Edith Wharton Murders and 24 other books in genres from memoir to biography.

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