Downton Abbey Christmas Special

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A delivery truck brings a Christmas tree to Downton. The house is in full swing getting ready for the festive season. Electricity is new, but apparently electric Christmas lights are not. Lady Rosamund arrives. Countess Violet is already miffed at a Christmas card she reads. And so it begins…

Downton Abbey Christmas

A sparkling Downton Abbey Christmas begins...

The fate of Mr. Bates hangs over the entire household. The staff line up to get their gifts and Anna gets a special gift from Lady Mary. The staff celebrate downstairs while upstairs, Countess Violet receives a nutcracker from a perfectly giddy Isobel. The implication is clear; Countess Violet is a ball buster.

Isobel and violet

Isobel is giddy. Ball busting Violet is not amused

Edith asks after her old beau, Anthony Strallan. Later on, Countess Violet mettles where she should and invites Anthony Strallan over for tea. Clearly Edith and her funny old beau are happy to see each other, even if his arm is no good to man nor beast after taking a bullet in the wrong place during the war. After an awkward conversation, it’s clear they are still smitten. And perfectly matched to boot. But Countess Violet regrets putting them back together, fearing Edith will spend her life as a nursemaid. Edith drops by Anthony’s house over the holidays and suggest they go for a ride, like they used to. Anthony gives her the old “we can’t be together because I’m an old cripple who needs a nursemaid, not a wife” speech. Edith won’t accept a word of it.

Lord Hepworth arrives at Downton. He’s put in the room next to Lady Rosamund but casts a gamey eye on her maid. Anna caches them later exchanging secret words upstairs. When Countess Violet sits down for a heart to heart with broke Lord Hepworth, Violet lets him know she’s onto his fortune hunting ways. He’s after Rosamund’s fortune even though he says his feelings are sincere. Violet insists Lord Hepworth tell Rosamund that he’s broke and after that it’s up to her. Rosamund seriously considers the advances of Lord Hepworth until he is caught in bed with Rosumund’s maid during the servant’s ball.

Sybil sends news home… she’s wait for it… pregnant.

Flash to a devastated Bates in a cold dark prison cell. A nervous Anna goes to visit Mister Bates in jail. Mr Murray arrives to Downton later and tells Mrs. Murphy and O’Brian that they must testify for the prosecution against Mr. Bates. They do not understand why they’ve been chosen. Along with Lord Grantham. O’Brian’s testimony is damning, she reveals seeing a scratch on Bate’s face after he met with his wife. Mrs Hughes is no better. She testifies that he heard Bates call his wife a bitch and threatened to strike her during an argument she overheard at Downton. Lord Grantham puts the cherry on top of Bate’s meeting with the gallows with his damning testimony stating that Bates had wished his wife dead. They all went in with good intentions, but are twisted by the lawyers. Bate’s is found guilty and sentenced to hang. Anna and Bates, this is very dramatic. In the pub afterward, Mr. Murray and the others try to reassure Anna that a death sentence isn’t a death sentence. Anna goes to visit Bates before his hanging. As they share their last kiss, tears should be flowing in any viewer whose heart isn’t made of stone. Later on, a telegram arrives and Bates has been reprieved from hanging, and offered a life sentence.

Anna and Mr Bates Downton Abbey

How about a kiss for the road?

As usual, O’Brian and Thomas scheme over Mr. Bate’s job. Even when Bates is on death row. They hatch a plan to make Lord Grantham trust Thomas enough to let him be a valet. Later on, Isis goes missing. Thomas has taken the dog and locked him in a shed somewhere. Matthew organizes a search party and Lord Grantham offers a reward. Thomas goes looking for the dog the next day but he’s not in the shed anymore. The dog turns up in the village but Lord Grantham sees a dishevelled Thomas return from a ‘search’ and is impressed nonetheless.

And it’s off to the shoot. Everyone looks resplendent in their hunting gear for an afternoon of guns and games. Mary spends the first round flirting with Matthew and the annoyed Sir Richard is left to his own devices. When Mary and Richard are at their post together, Richard unleashes his jealous fury and wonders if he’s ever to be free of Matthew.

William’s father pays Daisy a visit. She is still wracked with guilt over marrying the man she didn’t love. They have a cup of tea anyway. And Daisy doesn’t tell him the truth, or so she thinks. Daisy later visits William’s father’s farm and he takes her under his wing as a daughter.

New year’s eve is upon Downton and Sir Richard is once again complaining about the lack of servants. He’s from America, what does he know from servants? Lady Mary and Matthew can’t keep their eyes off each other, much to Sir Richard’s usual chagrin. After dinner Sir Richard demands that Mary set a date for their marriage. Tempers are lost. Mary storms off and Matthew chases her. He says she doesn’t have to marry Sir Richard and she’ll always have a home at Downton. Mary says she does have to marry Sir Richard and if Matthew knew why, he would despise her. Oh that dreadful Turk, causing trouble again.

Lord Grantham witnesses the uncomfortable moment and later asks Lady Cora why Mary is going through with the wedding. Cora finally spills the beans about the Turkish delight who died at Downton. In a touching heart to heart later, Lord Grantham tells Mary they can survive the scandal and she should break with Sir Richard. Matthew presses Mary for information about what it is that would make him despise Mary. He asks if it was love, or lust. He’s flustered but trying to understand why Mary slept with the Turk. He tells her she must break it off with Carlilse. He seems okay about it all. Mary decides to go to New York to ride out the scandal. Anna asks if she can with her, if the worst happens.

When Mary goes to break up with Carlisle, Matthew overhears things getting heated and enters the room. Sir Richard unleashes his fury on Matthew too, insulting his precious sentimental memory of Lavinia. Fisticuffs ensue. Sir Richard leaves in the morning.

Sir Richard and Matthew Crawley

I've just about had enough of you, Sir Richard!

The servants ball goes on as planned once Bates is reprieved. Thomas comes to claim his prize whereby the valet dances with the Countess. One can’t help but marvel at the spectacle of watching two old queens grace the dance floor.

And what you’ve all been waiting for… Mary goes outside for a breath of fresh air as delicate snow flakes dance through the air. Matthew joins her and asks if she’s really going to America. He then asks Mary to stay at Downton. He gets down on one knee and proposes. Mary accepts. Kiss, kiss, kiss…

Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley

Let's seal the deal, shall we?

Until next season…