Parody: Shocking Downton Abbey Ending (#1)

Part One: And You Thought Isobel was such a Goody Two Shoes…..

In a flashback to 1885, we learn that the late Dr. Crawley was a man so fastidious as to make Mr. Carson look like a hodad.  He was not pleased to learn of Isobel’s pregnancy, children having a way of making messes and interfering with plans.  When Isobel suspected she was carrying twins, she arranged to have a midwife friend deliver the babies at a remote hospital and spirit one of the babies away for adoption.  She couldn’t bear to give up both children, but feared that two infants at once would spell the end of her marriage to the persnickety Dr. Crawley.  Her guilt was overwhelming, and her good deeds in the years since have been an attempt to atone for the sin of giving away one of her identical twin boys.

Fast forward to 1918, and the last months of World War One.  What we weren’t shown in Season Two was the shocking meeting between Matthew Crawley and his long-lost twin in the trenches.  Private Richard Starkey, a working-class lad from York, has just lit a cigarette after an 8-hour watch when a young captain strides by, inspecting the trench.  The two men lock eyes, stunned:  they look exactly alike.  They share some wretched coffee and have a chat.  In the weeks that come, they meet several more times and learn about each other’s lives. Starkey has no idea that he was adopted, and the two men can discover no known family relationship, so they chalk up their uncanny resemblance to coincidence or some distant family connection.  One night during a firefight with the Germans, Captain Crawley, who has just awakened, wants to set out for what is believed to be a weakness in the German line, and asks Starkey for directions.   Private Starkey may be poor, but he isn’t stupid and he sees here an opportunity.  He directs the Captain instead to the area of fiercest fire.  He then watches as the Captain is cut down by enemy fire, and quickly makes his way to the Captain’s quarters.  Shedding his own private’s uniform and donning Matthew’s captain’s attire, Private Starkey takes on the identity of Matthew Crawley.  Thus it is Starkey who is injured in the late-war foray with young William Mason, Starkey who returns home to Downton at war’s end to break poor Lavinia Swire’s heart, and Starkey who is killed in the car accident following the birth of his son.

Matthew, meanwhile, was not cut down by German fire as supposed.  He received a severe head wound, causing amnesia, and was taken prisoner.  Released at the end of the war, without identity or memory but speaking fluent German, he wandered Germany for several years as a beggar and occasional itinerant worker, until joining the Brown Shirts.  In 1925, in a scuffle at a Brown Shirt rally, he receives a blow to the head, suddenly remembers who he is, and makes his way back to England.  In the final episode of Season Six of Downton Abbey, Matthew returns to Downton and is reunited with an ecstatic Mary.  Buh-bye, Henry Talbot!

TOMORROW:  Part Two:  The Surprising Triumph of Molesley

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