Season four came to a close last night, leaving us relieved that we didn’t lose any of our favorite characters to brutal childbirth or sudden car crashes. In fact, we ended much like season two – with hope and love in the air.
The family travels to London for Rose’s coming out and American visitors shake things up.
When Mrs. Hughes asks Anna if she has any extra clothing for Russian refugees, Anna donates Bates’s old overcoat. Mrs. Hughes finds a ticket in the pocket, revealing what we all feared – Bates was in London the day Mr. Green died. She relays the information to Mary, who at first seems compelled to turn Bates in. Nonetheless, when Bates proves his loyalty to the family once again (more on this later), Mary tosses the ticket in the fire.
Although Edith left her baby girl in Switzerland, she is not content to be without her child. With news that Mr. Gregson suffered an attack and may not be alive, Edith insists her daughter get half of whatever inheritance may come to her. So Edith offers the pig farmer a large sum of money to care for her daughter, claiming she is the child of an old friend her parents hate. Warmly, Mr. Drew agrees to care for the child and keep the secret between the two of them.
Through friends, Rose brushes with royalty through a certain Freda Dudley. She and the Prince of Wales are secretly in love, but when Rose makes it known that Freda has a love letter from him, the horrible Mr. Sampson (who has made a sudden reappearance) steals the note. The family tries to steal the letter back so the Prince’s love affair isn’t revealed in the tabloids. However, Bates finds the note in Sampson’s coat pocket and gives it to Lord Grantham – crisis averted.
In order to thank Rose for saving his reputation, the Prince of Wales comes to her coming-out ball and dances with her.
As we all hoped, Branson runs into dear Sarah again. She wants to see Branson’s glorious estate (mostly to mock it) and he is hesitant. Her charm convinces him and he is showing her around the main floor, when she runs up to the balcony. There Thomas intercepts them and assumes they were sleeping together. (He even tattles to Lord Grantham! How juvenile!) Nothing more comes of it.
Cora’s brother’s valet takes a liking to Daisy and tries to bring her to America. She refuses, but is flattered to be liked again.
We all want to know what Lady Mary will do with Gillingham and Blake. In a true act of gentlemanliness, Gillingham reveals to Mary that Blake is actually a wealthy heir, making him very eligible. Mary confesses that she can’t make up her mind, but that a year ago she thought she would mourn Matthew until her death, and now she has hope. Although nothing is decided, we know the best man will win her heart in the end.
The finale ends with a “risqué” hand-holding conversation between Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson as they trod barefoot into the ocean. As the camera zooms in on their interlocked hands, the world seems as it should be.
Mary is falling in love, Edith gets her baby, Rose has been presented, the Prince of Wales’s reputation is intact, and no one knows what Bates did to Green. We all have those warm fuzzies and plenty of excitement for yet another season of Downton.