If there's an overriding theme in Season 6 of "Downton Abbey", it is the fall of aristocracy. The last and final season of the British period drama will explore the lives of Britian's elite by juxtaposing them in a landscape that's changed, politically and socially.
The season premiere of Season 6, which is set in 1925, uses this social mileage to comment upon the life of the Crawleys. When Episode 1 begins, Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and the rest of his family members are left without an agent for their sprawling estate. In the trailer for Season 6, the patriarch of the Crawleys tells his butler staff cuts are imminent and hints at a possible shortage of funds.
In the event of Branson's (Allan Leech) absence, who will take over the Crawley estate?
Perhaps the eldest daughter of the Crawleys, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) could find herself suitable for the role. However, the synopsis hints at an extortion threat posed before Lady Mary. Will this ruin her reputation in the village? How does Lady Mary resolve the problem?
In an interview, Michelle Dockery said her character's life would be as complicated as it always was. Fans of the show would remember Lady Mary has always managed to stick her neck out of a trying situation, and has somehow found a happy ending. Will luck benefit her this time?
Elsewhere in the episode, the friendly feud between the Dowager (Maggie Smith) and Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) continues. The synopsis for Season 6 Episode 1 indicates the fight surrounds the local Downton Abbey hospital.
The full synopsis of Season 6 Episode 1 reads:
Season 6 opens in 1925: Lady Mary faces an extortion threat; the estate may have to downsize; a possible change at the hospital upsets Violet; Mrs Hughes has concerns about her marriage; Daisy speaks out; and Anna and Bates wait for word about Anna's fate.
"Downton Abbey" season 6 episode 1 airs in the US on Sunday, 3 January, at 9 pm on Masterpiece. You can live-stream the episode here.