It's 1925 and for our beloved characters at Downton Abbey, changes are afoot. With Tom having left for America, Mary decides to take his position as estate agent, a daring choice for an unmarried lady. Robert wants to cut costs and reduce the staff, which worries Thomas. Carson and Mrs Hughes are preparing for their wedding and both slightly nervous. And when the local hospital is threatened by a take-over from York, Violet, Cora and Isobel all get caught up in the argument, but they are not on the same side.
(This review is as spoiler-free as I could make it!)
It's unbelievable but true, this is already the sixth series of Downton Abbey! Even more stunning, we've been following the life of these characters for 13 years now (from 1912 to 1925) and seen so many changes! And, this is the last season of their adventures which we will be following. Which is a bit sad, but also IMHO a good things. Series should end before their writing starts going downhill and some people might say this is already too late for Downton Abbey.
I will say, I was quite impressed by the writing in this last season! It was definitely superior than the 4th and 5th season, though maybe not on par with the writing in that phenomenal first series. With a smaller staff, there were less characters, so more room for all their different stories. There were still a number of silly secondary plots which destracted from the main storylines, but also great character development. My favourite were the stories of Edith and Molesley, they were well-rounded and well-played stories (though I'm still waiting for the end of Edith's story in the Christmas Special). Other character journeys I've really become tired with, such as Daisy and her endless complaining and Rosamund, who annoyingly pops in and out, but never has a real role of her own. I understand how difficult it must be to write for a series which such a big cast, but these characters are really underused!
What I really liked this season was the attention given to the societal changes. I really loved the episode in which the Crawley's opened the house for paying visitors, this is most likely Downton's future after all. Through Thomas' job search, we get a look in the more bleak fate of some of the 'big houses'. Actually, a lot of the staff are seen considering other careers, which was a definite reality in the '20s. But there was also a lot of attention for the changing role of women in society, especially with Edith's job in London.
I was also pleased with the many heartwarming and sweet moments. Ofcourse there's the wedding of Carson and Mrs. Hughes, which I promiss you will have you grinning madly! The scenes with the youngest Crawley generation are also super cute and the return of familiar faces from the past will maybe even draw out some tears (for those of you who have watched it already, the scene I'm particulary talking about is from episode 4 and my favourite scene of the whole season)!
Now, talking about the romances of this season will be quite difficult without spoilers. Let me just say, the ending for one couple was not completely to my satisfaction. After all those seasons it felt rushed and forced. For another couple I have to believe there's still hope in the Christmas Special. Honestly, I just don't know if writing believable romances is Julian Fellowes strongest point.
Luckily, despite this critisism, the sixth season of Downton Abbey has a great deal to offer and I'm sure will be a joy to watch for all the fans!