Title: Downton Abbey Special “A Journey to the Highlands”
Released: 2012
Series:  Downton Abbey

Guys, this is it! Downton Abbey’s 2012 Christmas Special!!! Once we watch this, we will be officially caught up to everyone else in the world. Some seriously game-changing things go down in this episode, so if you haven’t seen it yet, TURN AWAY! Otherwise, it is time for us to discuss!

What Happened Upstairs

AHHHH, ONE YEAR LATER! (I seriously hate it when a TV shows pulls that, because it STRESSES ME OUT, but it’s sort of to be expected with Downton.) All the Crawleys are getting ready for a getaway in the Scottish Highlands. They will be staying with The Dowager’s niece, Lady Flintshire, her husband “Shrimpie” and their wild daughter Rose, whom we had the misfortune of meeting last episode. Lady Mary’s mysterious ovary surgery must have been a success because she is with child! The Crawleys arrive at their sprawling estate and castle, called Duneagle, and find everyone on edge. At first, Lord Grantham is jealous of all the pomp and circumstance but soon comes to realize the Flintshires’ marriage is terribly unhappy and that Duneagle is on the edge of financial ruin. Lady Edith’s editor and wannabe paramour Mr. Gregson drops by Duneagle to try and woo the Crawleys. I’m sorry, I’ve got my crazy wife locked away but you can be my mistress in the mean time is never a winning offer. Even Matthew, the most likely to be sympathetic, is unimpressed and tells Mr. Gregson he needs to give up on Edith. Back at Downton, Branson is left all by his lonesome. And Dr. Clarkson begins courting Cousin Isobel only to discover she isn’t interested in dramatically changing her current lifestyle.

A ball is thrown at Duneagle. The show decides Cousin Rose is here to stay and wants us to like her, so they paint her mother as an overbearing shrew and have her give private dance lessons to Anna, so she can impress Mr. Bates at the ball. The Flintshires have to take a post in India so they ask the Crawleys if they’ll look after Cousin Rose. Lady Mary is feeling unwell and leaves for Downton early. When she arrives, she rushes off to the hospital, but is able to give birth to a healthy baby boy with no complications. Matthew gets exactly one opportunity to see his son and then, oh yeah, is Immediately Killed In A Freak Automobile Accident.

What Happened Downstairs

An obnoxious new maid named Edna has arrived at Downton. She’s got her sights set on Branson and I do not approve! With the Crawleys away, the staff hopes to get a bit of a break. There is a fair taking place nearby and the staff all hopes to attend. A new food supplier arrives at Downton and he immediately sets his sights on Mrs. Padmore… and her cooking. His name is Tufton and he invites Mrs. Padmore to the fair as a date. All the staff go to the fair, with Carson volunteering to stay behind so as not to cramp their style. At the fair, the boys of Downton win a game of tug-o-war and Jimmy makes money off a bet as a result. Jimmy starts flashing his money around and getting sloppy drunk. Eventually two men corner him and attempt to beat him. Thomas comes to the rescue and takes the beating in Jimmy’s place. Later, Jimmy thanks Thomas and they are able to agree to be friends and put the past behind them. (For Jimmy’s sake, hopefully Thomas isn’t just pulling a classic Nice Guy move and biding his time, heh!) Back at Downton, Carson continues to be the most adorable surrogate dad ever by spending his time with baby Sybil. Mrs. Hughes informs Mrs. Padmore that her suitor Tufton is a bit of a flirt and a cad and only wants Mrs. Padmore for her culinary skills.

Bates, Anna, Mrs. O’Brien and Mosley were all brought along to Duneagle. While there, Mrs. O’Brien gets into a feud with Lady Flintshire’s ladies maid, who is jealous of Mrs. O’Brien’s mad skills with hair. Lady Flintshire’s maid tries to spike Mrs. O’Brien drink which is almost laughable. This is Mrs. O’Brien after all, you’re going to have to wake up pretty damn early to put one past her. The spiked drink ends up with Mosley, who we discover, is apparently a woo girl at heart. Worst new maid Edna tries to win over Branson by constantly negging him about how high and mighty he’s gotten. Eventually she sneaks into his room to kiss him, while he’s shirtless! Mrs. Hughes promptly fires Edna and we all rejoice. Because, seriously, did this woman really believe should could live up to the ghost of perfect Sybil? Hell. Naw.

Upstairs Winner: Lord Grantham

It’s difficult to pick a winner in this episode, but I suppose Lord Grantham learned a valuable lesson. After seeing that even an impressive estate like Duneagle was on the path to ruin, he was finally able to come to turns with Matthew’s vision for Downton. 

Upstairs Loser: Matthew. And Mary.

Matthew! Why’d you have to go and get yourself killed!??! Driving fast in your horseless carriage! As soon as we starting hearing the rumors that Dan Stevens was leaving the show, it did seem inevitable that he would be killed off. But car accident? And immediately after Mary had given birth? Apparently no one in the Crawley family should ever have children anymore, because childbirth seems to immediately lead to death, one way or another. It’s like there’s a cap on how many Crawleys there can be and every time they bring in a new one and old one has to go out. Poor Mary! Matthew’s the only person who really brought out the good in her.

Downstairs Winner: Mrs. Padmore

I thought Mrs. Padmore handled this Tufton situation really well. Sure, she got a little carried away, but as soon as Mrs. Hughes set her straight, she handled the whole thing like a champ. Honorable mention to Thomas and Jimmy for being able to become friends.

Downstairs Loser: Edna

Good riddance to bad rubbish! I’m pretty much predisposed to hate anyone who thinks that can replace Sybil, but this lady was the worst. She was so incredibly rude and invasive.

Best Maggie Smith Line

Dowager: “Oh my dear, you flatter me. Which is just as it should be.”

Dowager: “It’s bad enough parenting a child when you like each other.”

Best Outfit

I was really enjoying Edith’s outfits this episode. I especially like the combination of her wearing a matching scarf in her hair. She’s been looking very fetching lately!

Burning Questions


  • Will you keep watching this show now that Dan Stevens is gone forever?

  • Will either Mary or Branson find someone new to love?

  • Will things between Edith and Mr. Rochester Gregson work out?

So what did you all think?! How are you feeling after Matthew’s death?! And for those of you who’ve been holding it in since Christmas, let us know what you think. We can all be as spoilery as we like!


Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.