After six seasons spent amongst the Crawleys and their retinue in the Yorkshire countryside, it’s time to say goodbye.
“Downton Abbey” ends for good on Sunday, and with it will go television’s best source of elaborate dinner parties, scathingly wise English grandmothers and early 20th century feminists.
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But before we look onward to the next best thing to console ourselves with, it’s time to look back and remember some of our favorite aspects of “Downton Abbey.”
From the Dowager Countess’ best zingers to (some of) the times Anna made us sob uncontrollably, here’s a highlight reel — six lists with six items each, all to honor the end of the sixth and final season.
(If you aren’t caught up on the episodes, warning: spoilers ahead.)
6 best Dowager Countess quotes
(As the sharp-tongued matriarch of the family, Dowager Countess Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) delivered the greatest lines in every episode.)
“Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?”
Cousin Isobel (Penelope Wilton): “How you hate to be wrong.”
Dowager Countess: “I wouldn’t know. I’m not familiar with the sensation.”
“You are a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do.”
Dr. Clarkson (David Robb): “You want me to lie?”
Dowager Countess: “ ‘Lie’ is so unmusical a word.”
Cousin Isobel: “I need to be sure that we can disagree without there being any bad feeling between us.”
Dowager Countess: “Well it depends who wins.”
“In my experience, second thoughts are vastly overrated.”
6 characters we miss most
▪ Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay). The death in childbirth of the sweetest Crawley daughter is still the greatest shock of the series, and her absence pervades the remainder of the show.
▪ Matthew (Dan Stevens). If we’re ranking the most upsetting deaths, the loss of the Crawley heir comes as a close second to Sybil’s. And right after he and wife Mary (Michelle Dockery) had a baby. The “Downton Abbey” creators are all about killing off parents of newborns. (But, to be fair, Findlay and Stevens both wanted out of the show.)
▪ William Mason (Thomas Howes). The poor footman was never going to live happily ever after with Daisy the cook (Sophie McShera), whether he’d made it through the war or not.
▪ Gwen Harding (Rose Leslie). Gwen has done excellently for herself with her new career and marriage, although one can’t help but miss the goodhearted former Downton maid.
▪ Ethel Parks (Amy Nuttall). This former maid is an interesting character. We weren’t all that crazy about her while she was in the house, but that doesn’t mean we wanted to see her reduced to prostitution.
▪ Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine). Lady Crawley’s mother is the Dowager Countess’ match for sass, so of course we miss having her around.
6 best villains
▪ Miss O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran). The lady’s maid is one of the most complex characters, but the fact remains that she did intentionally cause Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) to lose her child with some disastrously placed soap — regardless of how awful she later felt about it.
▪ Nanny West (Susie Coats). Most of “Downton’s” villains are somewhat complicated — not Nanny West. When she called baby Sybbie a “wicked little crossbreed,” it was clear the woman has no soul.
▪ Sir Richard Carlisle (Iain Glen). Since this ruthless tycoon was standing in the way of Matthew and Mary, we were bound to dislike him. Threatening to expose Mary’s secrets and brawling with Matthew didn’t help his case either.
▪ Vera Bates (Maria Doyle Kennedy). Her death should have brought relief to everyone at Downton after her attempted blackmail, until they realized she’d set up Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) to look like her murderer.
▪ Edna Braithwaite (MyAnna Buring). After Sybil’s death, Tom (Allen Leech) was unsteady in his place within the Crawley family, so a meddling maid was the last person he needed to be around.
▪ Gladys Denker (Sue Johnston). Poor Spratt (Jeremy Swift) has enough to deal with as the Dowager Countess’ butler without her scheming lady’s maid thwarting him at every turn.
6 parts of their lives you wish for yourself
▪ The need for a full wardrobe of evening gowns.
▪ The constant extravagant dinner parties. These people never have to scrounge around for enough leftovers to comprise a meal.
▪ The apparent lack of hangovers despite the amount of alcohol consumed.
▪ Servants like Anna (Joanne Froggatt) to keep all of our secrets and make our hair perfect.
▪ Cooks like Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol), because everything she makes looks delicious.
▪ A snarky grandmother figure like the Dowager Countess to amuse us at family gatherings.
6 times Anna made us cry
(As lady’s maid to Mary and wife to the troubled Mr. Bates, Anna has had more than her share of suffering.)
▪ She reveals she’d been quietly suffering through miscarriages without telling anyone.
▪ She (finally) gets a proposal from Mr. Bates.
▪ Mr. Bates asks if she ever doubted his innocence: “No, I don’t doubt that the sun will rise in the east either.”
▪ She gets teary-eyed after Bates is released from prison. When Anna cries, we cry.
▪ Mr. Green rapes her — and then she refuses to tell anyone, because she’s afraid Mr. Bates will do something to land himself in prison if he finds out.
▪ She’s taken to jail for the suspected murder of Mr. Green.
6 parties we wish we could have attended
▪ The wedding reception of Mr. and Mrs. Carson (Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan). The buffet and simple decorations were a welcome change from most events at Downton Abbey — and the arrival of Tom and Sybbie was the cherry on top.
▪ The servants’ holiday ball in season 2. Affairs exposed, communications with the dead, snowy proposals — that party had everything.
▪ Matthew and Mary’s wedding. As the townspeople waving their flags demonstrated, there wasn’t a living soul who didn’t feel like celebrating.
▪ The surprise birthday party Rose (Lily James) threw for Robert (Hugh Bonneville) — complete with a risque jazz performance.
▪ Rose’s coming out party in London, partially because of the new levels of decadence, and partially because watching Mrs. Levinson get hit on by gold-digging Englishmen was a real treat.
▪ The garden party taking place when the war was announced. Until that fateful telegram arrived, this was the crème de la crème of tea parties.
Where to watch
The two-hour series finale of “Downton Abbey” airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on PBS. A behind-the-scenes retrospective airs at 7.