Here’s a little news to make your day: We watched the Downton Abbey Season 4 finale back when it aired in the U.K. last December (on Christmas, to be exact) and so we got a look at what to expect. Although PBS has yet to release much of a trailer for the finale, set to air in the States on February 23, we’ve still got our second-by-second analysis of the finale preview. Think of it as a late Christmas gift (and if you really want a good gift, check out all of our spoilers for the episode):
00:02: Welcome back, Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine)! Lady Cora’s (Elizabeth McGovern) firecracker of a mother returns to Downton and almost immediately sparks fly between here and the Dowager (Maggie Smith).
00:04: Our first closeup look at new character, Harold Levinson (Paul Giamatti). The legal woes of Cora’s troublesome playboy brother were the reason Robert (Hugh Bonneville) had to depart for American so suddenly earlier this season. Has he forgiven the trans-Atlantic inconvenience?
00:08: Jack Ross, who? Rose MacClare (Lily James) doesn’t exactly look put out that the handsome African American jazz singer broke off their engagement. Those attractive red coated horseman probably help distract her.
00:13: All rise for the King and Queen! We’d heard King George V (Guy Williams) and his queen would be making an appearance in the two-hour show thanks to Rose’s debutante ball at Buckingham Palace, and Queen Elizabeth’s grandparents are just as aloof and aristocratic as we dreamt.
00:17: The blue sash clues us in that this new fellow is the Prince of Wales (Oliver Dimsdale) but obviously before all that abduction stuff goes down. And no, unfortunately, Colin Farrell will not be reprising his The King’s Speech role for this year’s finale.
00:22: Why all the white? It’s just the start of the season in London where the year’s leading young ladies make their debut to the city’s top echelons of society. Among their ranks is the Crawleys’s feisty Scottish cousin, Rose, so expect trouble.
00:25: Assistant cook Daisy Mason (Sophie McShera) look quite pleased in the promo, a definite upturn since the departure of Alfred, the latest object of her unrequited love. Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) telling Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) “I’m afraid that boy’s interest in her might not be entirely proper” gives us hope that maybe something romantic will finally work out for Daisy.
00:31: Cue the love triangle. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) waltzes by on the arm of dashing Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen) while the also attractive Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden) simmers on the sidelines.
00:35: Speaking of Daisies, Tom Branson’s (Allen Leech) new love interest, Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis) keeps popping up like one. Here the perky schoolteacher looks to have found her way into the halls of the Abbey, but as she been as successful working her way into the Irish widower’s heart?
00:37: More sad Edith. Thank goodness Aunt Rosamund (Samantha Bond) is there but will Edith go through with her aunt’s grand Swiss adventure?
00:44: Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) gives Lady Mary his best poker face as she coyly reflects that “I expect many people must regret things they got up to in London.” Followed by our first look at Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) we think there must be some new development in the curious case of the clumsy Mr. Green (Nigel Harman).
00:47: And for the grand finale we return to the Americans and Martha’s ominous warning to the Dowager: “My world is coming nearer and your world, it’s slipping further and further away.”
00:59: The sound of Julian Fellowes dropping the mic.