Let's ignore the fact that, thanks to the Internet, it's now easy to watch shows as they air in the UK. That's exactly what I've done in preparation for this, the sixth and final *sniff* season of everyone's beloved costume drama/soap opera, "Downton Abbey," which debuted on PBS Sunday night here in the States. (Otherwise known as the new home of Tom, Sibby and even cousin Rose, who we learn is now living in New York.)
In case you don't remember what happened last season, Lady Mary got a sleek bob, Edith told a bunch of people she had Marigold out of wedlock, Mrs. Hughes and Carson got engaged, Rose married that boring guy named Atticus and Isobel continued to devastate all the local older distinguished bachelors by turning them down for marriage.
Now that you're caught up, let's indulge in some costume porn and proceed with fashion recapping the first episode of the final season, set in 1925, of "Downton Abbey."
Even the Horses Are Dapper
I love it when Lady Mary puts on her androgynous duds and hits the hunt with the fellows. (Especially when she schools her dad on how she's not riding side saddle anymore, thankyouverymuch.) But look closely at Lord Grantham's horse — there's some sort of mane tufting going on. Dapper! Whose job is it to braid the horses? Does Anna do it in her spare time?
Mary Gets Dirty
After noticing a smirking woman on a bridge — who turns out to be Lisa, a former maid who tries to blackmail Lady Mary for that little out-of-wedlock tryst she had with Tony Gillingham — creepily staring at her, Lady Mary falls off her horse. But in the immortal words of Chumbawamba, "I get knocked down, and I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down." Yeah, blackmailing former chambermaid! Lady Mary will not go slithering home, and will proceed with shooting furry animals, dirty coat and all.
The Smug Chambermaid
Ex-chambermaid Lisa stalks Lady Mary the whole episode wearing a smirk and a shapeless taupe outfit, until Lord Grantham pays her a lousy £50 and somehow gets here to sign a contract saying she won't go to the press. It's disconcerting to see Mary look frazzled and less than put-together, though her morning robe is very on-point and looks like something Cora would wear.
Lady Edith and Champagne
Lady Edith has always loved to match her hair to her dress (and to her beverage), and in this episode we got to see two examples of how fetching it looks on her, once to celebrate the fact that Anna was exonerated and once at a random family dinner.
Sad Anna Still Sad, Drab
Speaking of Anna, she is still very down in the dumps. In her defense, many horrible things have happened to her — rape, being falsely accused of a crime, etc. — and in this episode we also find out that she's had multiple miscarriages. Seriously, "Downton" writers: Something very good better to happen to Anna soon and you also better give her face some color and life back.
Lady Mary Wears Wine
Lady Mary continues to wear her preferred color, cabernet, this season. In fact, the formal dress on the right is a repeat of a dress she wore last season, á la Kate Middleton. Perhaps this is a sign that the purse strings are really tightening at Downton. (Also, please note another image of Sad Anna, who should at least look mildly pleased, having just found out she was exonerated for murder and is drinking some very nice champagne.)
Let's Try to Figure Out Andy
Downton gets a new under-butler named Andy, and he's very cute and boyish. We see him dance with Daisy but also toss a suggestive look (or maybe that was just me being hopeful) at Thomas. Let's see how he plays out this season. I'd like to see Thomas settle down and live happily ever after and stop trying to ruin people's lives.
Lady Edith and Lady Mary Put on Their Bossypants
Lady Edith is really dressing the part of a #girlboss this season, telling off her editor and generally looking very smartly dressed while considering a move to London. Mary, too, is taking on a nontraditional role for a woman and running the estate. Both have power-dressing down cold.
Spit Curls and Severe Headgear
Lest you forgot it was the 1920s, here are two magnificent spit curls and the most uncomfortable looking head band I've ever seen.
True Love Knows No Age
Carson and Mrs. Hughes (and poor Mrs. Patmore) talking about having sex is just about the best thing I've ever seen on television. I can't wait to see Mrs. Hughes's wedding gown.