Downton Abbey Season 6 brings in quite a few surprises as well as closures to a few long drawn sub-plots, in order to wrap up the British drama series set in the early 90's after the First World War. It is a time when the grandeur of the Victorian families and legacies slowly go into decline, forcing people to come to terms with modernization and economy.
**** SPOILER ALERT ****
**** SPOILER ALERT ****
Lady Mary is apprehended by an unknown woman named Rita Bevan, who claims to be the hotel maid who witnessed her with her former suitor Tony Gillingham, before he got married to his present wife. Miss Bevan threatens to expose Mary to the newspaper unless she is given a handsome reward for maintaining her silence. Eventually, Mary's father Robert Crawley settles the matter by getting the woman to sign a blackmail confession which he would hold as a leverage in return for her silence and fifty pounds.
Lady Edith tries her best to run the London-based magazine publishing company that she had inherited from her former suitor Michael Gregson after he went missing. She fires her rude and chauvinistic editor and manages to replace him with a female editor, going a long way in displaying Victorian society's gradual acceptance of women in powerful professional roles.
During one of her hectic days in London, Edith runs into Bertie Pelham, a real-estate agent and cousin of the Marquess of Hexham whom she had earlier met during her family's visit to Brancaster Castle. Bertie helps her out with her magazine and both of them gradually become close. Finally, he proposes to her one day. However, Edith asks for some time to consider her proposal, as she gets into a dilemma about whether or not to reveal the true identity of her ward Marigold, who in reality is her illegitimate daughter with Michael Gregson.
|Lady Edith with Bertie Pelham|
In the meantime, Henry Talbot, the feisty and handsome nephew of the Dowager's friend continues to pursue Mary on the pretext of meeting up over dinners and events. Tom Branson, Mary's brother-in-law, who is back from his stint in America, sees through Henry's true intentions and decides to play Cupid. He openly asks both Henry and Mary to not hide their interests in each other, after which Henry Talbot decides to propose to Mary during one rainy night in a London alley.
|Lady Mary with Henry Talbot|
Mary being Mary, admits her interest in him but refrains from giving him a final answer. All seems to be going well until the Henry decides to invite the Crawleys to watch him drive in a car race. The race turns from thrilling to tragic when one of the racing cars meets with a fatal crash killing its driver. Mary suffers a great shock as she concludes that Henry is the driver. However, minutes later, they discover that the crashed car belonged to Henry's friend Charles. Though happy and relieved that Henry is alive and safe, Mary realizes that after her husband Matthew;s crash, she won't be able to survive losing one more love to a car crash. On the same night, she breaks up with Henry over telephone, saying that both come from two different worlds and would not be a good match for each other.
The Dowager Countess Lady Violet meets her rival in her daughter-in-law Lady Cora after they differ in their opinion about their county hospital being taken over by the Royal Yorkshire County Hospital. Cousin Isobel and Lord Merton sides with Cora and nominates her as the next Almoner, replacing Lady Violet. Eventually, they succeed in winning Dr. Clarkson over to their side and Cora is coaxed into accepting her new position as the Almoner. The Dowager feels betrayed by her own family and decides to leave for a cruise without informing them.
|Cousin Isobel, Lady Cora and Dowager Lady Violet|
Meanwhile, Bertie Pelham's cousin, the Marquess of Hexham passes away, leaving Bertie to be the next Marquess. While Robert and Cora Crawley are overjoyed with Edith's suddenly uplifted prospects with Bertie, Mary continues to be miserable at her breakup and becomes tremendously jealous of Edith's seemingly happy future. Tom tries to cheer her up by inviting Henry Talbot to Downton Abbey, so that Henry and Mary can reconcile. However, things go awry when Henry indirectly accuses mary of refusing him because of his lack of money. Mary feels manipulated and enraged at being called a gold-digger and rebukes Tom for inviting Henry. She also confronts Tom about the truth of Marigold's identity and he admits to knowing the secret.
|Mary outraged at Tom inviting Henry without telling her|
The next day during breakfast, Bertie Pelham decides to announce his plans to marry Edith. Harsh words are exchanged between the ever rival sisters Mary and Edith, and Mary in her anger reveals to Bertie that Marigold is Edith's daughter. Bertie feels betrayed by the fact that Edith had kept such a huge secret from her future husband and decides to cancel the wedding. Heartbroken at her prospects being ruined yet again by Mary, the sisters have a huge fight.
After everyone blames Mary for her jealousy and meanness, Mary realizes her mistake - that she is her own worst enemy and is too scared to find happiness in the fear of losing it. She decides to reconcile with both Henry Talbot and Edith. Later in the week, Henry and Mary get married in a simple wedding and Edith also makes peace with everything.
|Mary finds her happy ending with Henry Talbot|
The question remains if Bertie Pelham will accept Edith's situation and realize that she was not intending to trick him, and that the secret just got revealed too soon before Edith herself could disclose it. Whether the Christmas edition will give Edith her much deserved and long due happy ending is yet to be seen.