‘Downton Abbey’ season 6, episode 1 review: Mr. Green resolution; Mary’s blackmail; Carson, Mrs. Hughes’ choice


Downton Abbey” promised great change in its sixth and final season, and through much of the season 6 premiere on ITV Sunday night, all of this was starting to bubble under the surface. Through the sale and departure of a major family estate, the Grantham family may have started to realize more and more that the time may be ending for the great British estates.

In the early going, Robert realized that he needed to cut the staff back more and more, and he instructed Mr. Carson that this is something that they need to prepare for. Granted, Carson is the one person even more incapable of moving forward than the Earl.

Wedding planning – Speaking of Mr. Carson, his wedding date to Mrs. Hughes is quickly approaching! What we are starting to realize more and more in the process here is that these two still have plenty to discuss. Specifically, whether or not they are prepared for a physical relationship. Hughes had Mrs. Patmore discuss the matter with Carson, and it took him some time to get the hint and relay back the following message: He wants to be married to all of Mrs. Hughes, and this is not some sham marriage or public facade.

Mary is blackmailed – We have been wondering for some time whether or not some of what Mary did while out with Tony Gillingham would come back to bite her, and we now have a definitive answer to that: It has. After being seen out on her week of “sin” with Tony, she almost had the story published in the press. She refused to play blackmail, but somehow Robert managed to use some master negotiation / threatening skills for a compromise. He managed to keep her story secret for a meager sum of money.

The end of Anna’s woes? – The good news here is that Anna and Bates may not have to worry about Mr. Green’s case anymore! Someone has been arrested in the man’s death, which means that the police are no longer going to be investigating. There is sill a problem hanging over their heads, mostly in how they are having trouble conceiving a child, and Anna worries she is taking something away from him.

Hospital tension – Violet, Isobel, and Cora were all front and center for a serious of arguments as to how to handle the hospital, but to be honest, this was the dullest part of the episode. With so much meaty material around, why did we need to focus on this?

Daisy’s outburst – After losing it at an estate sale over new ownership, she was reprimanded briefly by Carson … but not so much to lose her job.

As a whole, this was an eventful, exciting premiere of the show, and while 90 minutes is a long time for an hour of TV, this was for the most part a very entertaining affair. We were rather happy to have it. Grade: A-.

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