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Heartwarming / Downton Abbey

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    Series 1 
  • Robert asking Cora, in the most tender tone imaginable, whether he truly has made her happy, and her telling him that yes, he has.
  • Violet forfeits the first-place trophy at the flower show in order to give it to the much more deserving Moseley (and deny all knowledge of it afterwards).
  • Robert stopping Mr. Bates from leaving Downton in the first episode.
  • Matthew and Molesley coming to a quiet, unstated mutual agreement during the second episode of series 1 when Matthew lets Molesley really do his job for the first time.
  • Mr. Bates bringing food for Anna while she's sick.
  • Anna's Anguished Declaration of Love to Mr. Bates.
    • Followed by "You are a lady to me. And I never knew a finer one." Oh, Bates.
  • Tom peeking in the window to see Sybil's harem-pants dress, and the adorable, boyish grin he can't hold back.
  • Any scene between Sybil and Gwen.
    "Your dream is my dream now. And I'll make it come true."
  • Carson giving Mary a Cool Down Hug in episode 7 of season one.
  • Mary arranges things so that William goes to see his mother before she dies. And she tells him herself that he has the time off. He looks so stunned and happy by this gesture.
  • The giddy hug between Tom, Gwen, and Sybil in the first season finale. Made even better if one notices Tom and Sybil hold hands after the three break apart.
    • Mrs. Hughes notices, and her tender advice to Tom to be careful: "You'll end up with no job and a broken heart." She really is the Team Mom to the servants.
  • Thomas teaching Daisy "The Grizzly-Bear" dance. It's one of the few times we see him do something nice without any ulterior motives.
  • The fact that Robert and Cora are willing to pay for Mrs. Patmore's operation to regain her sight. Many of their peers would have just sacked her and moved on. Instead Robert brings her to his study, sets it up that she will stay at his sister's home with Anna to watch over her, and he will pay for the operation. He then tells her that her job will be waiting for her when she returns. And the entire time he speaks as if he were talking to a favored aunt. People wonder why the servants are so loyal to the Crawleys; this is why.

    Series 2 
  • It's a small moment, but this troper was very touched when Cora secretly watches Sybil bake her first cake. The smile on her face just makes the scene. What's more is that the way O'Brien rats her out leaves one expecting Cora to be annoyed or more likely to laugh (given Sybil's first attempts). Instead she's so proud of her baby girl.
  • Bates and Anna, at the table, discussing their future together. When he reveals all his hopes and dreams for their future so thoroughly planned, it settles the argument once and for all that yes, he is just as deeply committed to her as she is to him.
  • Despite having the opportunity to destroy Matthew's engagement to Lavinia (and even being encouraged to do so by her aunt and grandmother), Mary instead welcomes her. No matter how much she might be in love with Matthew herself, she wants him to be happy, even if it's not with her. This is quite a change from her ruthless characterization in season one.
    • And Mary doesn't go about finding the information in a sneaky way. When she hears that Lavinia is in some kind of distress, she tries to comfort her and help her.
  • Mrs. Patmore, shown previously to be a bit prickly, discovers Mrs. Bird running a soup kitchen in secret, instantly drops everything and helps cook and keep it a secret. Similarly, Cora goes down to the kitchen to scold the servants for some shady business, but when she learns they are feeding starving soldiers, she volunteers to help.
    • The line that turns this around is where she says they will not use the food the army pays for - they will use Downton's own food to feed the soldiers.
  • O'Brien's utter kindness to Mr. Lang. She compliments his skills and when Ethel teases him she instantly sticks up for him. And when he wakes up everyone with his night terrors not only does she comfort him she firmly tells everyone that he is going through a horrible situation and they need to understand that.
    • Robert is forced to let Lang go but he gives him a great reference and tells him that if he does feel like he can work at Downton again they will welcome him back.
  • Matthew and William returning home during the concert after being reported missing. The looks he and Mary share could melt glaciers.
    • Even more of an heartwarming moment when Matthew goes all protective on her with his indirect If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... to Richard Carlisle, telling her that if Richard ever did hurt her, he'd be obliged to step in. Compounded with the fact that he always carries around her lucky charm when in the combat zone (and not, say, Lavinia's photo), this tells the audience that he still very much cares about her...
  • Edith getting her moment in the spotlight when the entire dinner table guests turn to thank her for her efforts to help the convalescing officers at Downton.
    General Sir Herbert Strutt: I also think we are forgetting someone here... the officers tell me of someone who has been a great help to them.
    Others: "Who?"
    General Sir Herbert Strutt: Here. Lady Edith.
    • Keep in mind that when the exchange begins, Cora and Isobel look expectant, because both have been in a rivalry over running the hospital and both are hoping that they will be named as the most helpful. Edith, meanwhile, did everything for the injured soldiers out of a genuine desire to help them be more comfortable.
  • Isobel's reaction to Matthew recovering his ability to walk. "My darling boy! My darling boy!"
  • Carson escorting Daisy upstairs to her wedding, as a father figure. The way the others have decorated William's room for him for the wedding (especially with his earlier comment of never sleeping in such a lovely room in his life before).
  • The entire story that Carson tells of four-year-old Mary in Episode 7 of Season 2.
    • Ditto "I think I would love you however, whatever, whenever..."
    • Also on the subject of Bates and Anna: "I would marry you now if I weren't already your wife!" Oh, Anna!
  • Robert finally giving his blessing to Sybil and Branson.
  • The entirety of Carson and Hughes' relationship.
    • Carson's proposal at the end of the Season 5 Christmas special. And Hughes' response. Eight words: "Of course I'll marry you, you old booby!" That's Elsie Hughes, speaking to Charles Carson. After five long years, it's official at last.
  • Throughout the series, Mary has been afraid of what her father will do if he ever finds out about the truth about Mr. Pamuk. When he does find out, and also discovers that the threat of exposure is why Mary still wants to go through with her marriage to Sir Richard, his reaction is immediate: "I don't want you spending your whole life being unhappy because of the threat of scandal. Break it off with him. Go to America to wait out the storm, visit your Grandmama and come back with some rich young buck to shake us up!" Cue the father-daughter hug. D'awww.
    • Similarly, Matthew's reaction when Mary tells him about Mr. Pamuk. He is shaken, but the first thing he tells her is "I could never despise you" (this being in response to her saying that he would despise her if he ever learned her secret). She then asks if he's forgiven her for it, and he replies that he has not...because she's done nothing that needs forgiving. He then proposes and she accepts. After two seasons, they finally are engaged! Daw!
  • When Matthew sees that Mary is unhappy with Sir Richard, he tells her that she shouldn't feel the need to marry simply to secure her own future, saying "You'll always have a home here, as long as I'm alive."
  • William's father informally but very earnestly adopting Daisy as his own and then giving her advice about her future. Definitely a Tear Jerker as well, but also very heartwarming.
  • Violet assuring Daisy (2 characters who barely interact) that marrying William in his last moments was the right thing to do, in the season 2 Christmas special.
  • All of the final, epic, romantic scene between Matthew and Mary.
    Matthew: You've lived your life, and I've lived mine, and now it's time we lived them together.
    • In the midst of the Mary/Matthew warm and fuzzies, Matthew also slips in a very touching eulogy to Lavinia.
    Matthew: I don't think she wants us to be sad. She was someone who never caused a moment's sorrow in her whole life.
  • Mrs. Patmore noticing O'Brien's genuine concern for Lady Cora who was sick with Spanish flu.
    You never really know people, do you? You can work with them 20 years, you never know them at all.
    • Speaking of O'Brian, her very genuine concern for the valet suffering from shell-shock. She comforts and supports him and defends him when need be, even though she's only known him a short while. Her favourite brother suffered from shell-shock so she knows what it's about and it's the most empathy she has ever shown.
  • Thomas sticking up for William when the latter returns to Downton mortally wounded. He also attends his wedding to Daisy and declares that he wants to shake William's hand before he dies.

    Series 3 
  • The identical looks of parental pride on their faces when Carson and Robert see Mary in her wedding dress.
  • The reveal at the end of the series 3 premiere that Violet was the one who sent Sybil and Branson tickets so they could attend Mary and Matthew's wedding.
  • Cora telling Mrs. Hughes that if she does turn out to have cancer, she can stay at the house and the whole family will take care of her (which is something that really couldn't be counted on at the time).
    Cora: Mrs. Hughes, I only want to say one thing: that if you are ill, you are welcome here for as long as you want to stay. Lady Sybil will help us to find a suitable nurse... I don't want you to have any concerns about where you'll go or who will look after you, because the answer is here, and we will.
    • Similarly, Robert sending Mrs Patmore to have her cataracts treated at one of the best hospitals
  • After Sir Anthony calls out the jerk that drugged Tom's drink, Matthew shows his solidarity, as he said earlier in the episode, by asking him to be his best man.
    • Speaking of Tom and Matthew, how about when Tom goes to talk to Matthew after he and Mary fight the day before their wedding?
    • And then when Matthew goes to talk to Mary. And then the horrifically romantic kiss where they close their eyes (it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride) an step around the door... only in so florid a period as the Edwardian could something so overwrought possibly be realistic. And wonderful.
  • The damn near giddy look on Mrs Hughes' face as she watches Carson polishing silver whilst humming "She Stole My Heart Away" after learning that she's cancer-free. She bites her lip and beams like a schoolgirl. God, those two.
  • The immediate reaction to Edith being left at the altar from damn near everyone: rallying around her, offering comfort. Even Carson permits some bad words to be said about Sir Anthony....but only just this once.
    • In that scene there's also a cute moment; Sybil reaches out and puts a hand on Tom's chest. On first glance, it looks like she is turning to him for comfort, but if you watch it closely, you can see Tom move, ready to go after Anthony and she is stopping him, so that he doesn't damage his standing with the family anymore.
  • On learning that he's been declared a "dangerous prisoner", Bates is confused and not particularly interested... until he learns it means they've stopped his letters and visitors, at which point he's very nearly giddy. Because it means that Anna hasn't given up on him.
    • And then later, when he finally receives them. He's in prison for life, he's threatened by other inmates and his basic privileges are completely at the mercy of the prison's crooked favor system, but he opens the first letter in the stack like it's a Christmas present, beaming happily and obviously looking forward to several hours of reading with the exact same expression on his face. Anyone who's been in a long-distance relationship or been separated from their partner for a significant amount of time will know exactly how he feels, finding out that the problem was a logistical one and that everything is fine after worrying his teeth off without any way to make contact.
  • Mary and Edith have a Heart-warming moment together after Sybil dies. Both agree and realise that they are not as close as sisters could be and that they will never be like that, but they agree to at least try and be closer; and, sure enough, in Series 4 there is merely sisterly snarking between them and the two are actually closer.
  • Bates being set free and his reunion with Anna. Considering what this show likes to do to the both of them, chances are it won't last long. Oh, how did you guess?
    • In the first episode it is a giant scandal that Bates walks with a limp. Series 3 and he is returning from PRISON... and no one mentioned the gossip, the whispers, the scandal it will cause to have a valet who served time (even if he was innocent). Everyone from Carson to Robert welcome Bates back. Even better, they all demand he simply relax and get used to being free before he starts his old duties again.
  • The normally self-serving Thomas telling Carson that Jimmy didn't reciprocate his affections or his kiss. Keep in mind that being homosexual was illegal in Britain at the time, and if Jimmy decides to report Thomas to the police, all the punishment will be on his head.
    • Bonus points for the finale, where Lord Grantham, Bates and Carson defend Thomas to protect him and Downton from controversy, despite the common view on gays:
    Robert: I'm not asking you to abandon your beliefs, Alfred. Just to introduce a little kindness into the equation.
    Alfred: Am I not to stand up against evil?
    Robert: Evil? Thomas does not choose to be the way he is. And what harm was done, really, that his life should be destroyed for it?
    Alfred: Well—
    Robert: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Are you without sin, Alfred? As I am certainly not.
    • In general, the way almost everyone stands by Thomas despite his obnoxious personality, right when he expects their disgust. Mrs. Hughes gets a particularly epic moment:
    Mrs. Hughes: Then will you tell me everything?
    Thomas: I'm... I'm afraid that if I do, Mrs. Hughes, it will shock and... disgust you.
    Mrs. Hughes: Shock and disgust? My my. I really need to hear it now. Come along.
The way she puts an arms around him and leads him back inside is too sweet for words.
  • The final scene of season 3, episode 8: Robert, Tom, and Matthew laughing together as they play cricket. Made even more heartwarming by the thought that this is what Sybil wanted: to see Tom and her family get along.
    • Just before that final shot of Robert with his sons-in-law, the moment where Matthew and Mary are holding baby Sybil and Tom affectionately pats them each on the shoulder before a heartwarming conversation with Cora about staying at Downton.
  • Pretty much any of Matthew and Mary's conversations in bed in Season 3. Really, every single one is so adorable it's impossible to list them all.
  • In the 2012 Christmas Special, while at the fair, Jimmy gets drunk and runs into some trouble with two thugs underneath a bridge. Then, out of nowhere, comes Thomas to save him. Thomas gets beat up pretty badly, but afterward, Jimmy visits him and tells him that he was brave. They have a nice little talk, Thomas asks if they could be friends, and then they share a newspaper. It's a cute, quiet moment (and potential Ship Tease?) that shows Jimmy's willingness to forgive Thomas for creeping on him and also shows Thomas' apparent desire to be a nicer person.
  • Again from the 2012 Christmas Special, there is Mary giving birth to a healthy boy. Matthew and her share an especial tender moment as he holds his son for the first time.
    • Another from the special is Carson refusing to go to the Thirsk Fair with the rest of the staff. Not because he doesn't want to, but because him being there would mean everyone would be too nervous to let loose and have fun. And while everyone is away, what does he do? He spends the day with little Miss Sybil, carrying her around the house in the same way he most likely carried her late mother. D'awww
    • A minor one from the Special: after their less-than-stellar beginning, it's nice to see Daisy and Ivy have become best friends.
  • When Edith's letter appears in the paper, the identical looks of brotherly pride on Tom's and Matthew's faces.
  • Mary says that Sybil told her she would be happy to have the baby be a Catholic. We never actually see this happen on screen. So, either Sybil did tell it to Mary off-screen... or Mary knows that Sybil wouldn't give a care in the world and is pulling off one hell of a lie to honour her sister's memory.
    • Also the fact that Edith and Mary are in a room together and they are working together to honour their deceased little sister's memory! For once, there's no squabbling, bitching, snarking, fighting, or anything else - Sybil's honour and memory is at stake and could be besmirched, so they put it aside, at least for that.
  • Mr. Carson holds Sybil's baby and starts cooing to her. She stops crying and warms up to him immediately. As if that wasn't enough to melt you right there, the old softy then goes on to reminisce to Mrs. Hughes how he held Sybil when she was that small.
  • It's a small one, but the tug-of-war game in the 2012 Christmas special. After the Downton team wins, the boys (Alfred, Jimmy, Tom, and Thomas) collapse in a tangle on the ground, laughing together like the young men they are. Then Tom reaches down to give Thomas a hand getting up and they hug in the background. Possibly informed by the actors' real-life friendship, but still a nice moment to show that Thomas, whatever his faults, does have friends, and that Tom, even though he's married into the family, still enjoys having fun with his former colleagues.
    • There's also the scene after, where Thomas saves Jimmy from some men he hustled, even though it means Thomas is severely beaten up. When they meet after, Jimmy thanks Thomas, but says that he's afraid they can't have the sort of relationship Thomas wants. Thomas asks if they can just be friends then, which Jimmy agrees to. The scene ends as Jimmy pulls up a chair and reads to Thomas from the newspaper.
  • Yet another Matthew / Mary moment in the 2012 Christmas special is his declaration of love after the birth of their son... even though it turns out to be his last words to her.
  • "Hello, my dearest little chap." The entire scene between Matthew, Mary, and their son is a combination of heartwarming and Tear Jerker.
  • Anna surprising Mr. Bates and Mary by showing off how she'd been taking dancing lessons in secret. Mary, impressed, comments on how extraordinary Anna is. Mr. Bates agrees, while looking at Anna with such a look of pride and love. It's so incredibly sweet!
  • All the fluffy scenes between Shrimpie and Rose in the 2012 Christmas Special and 5x04.
  • A mix with Tearjerker: When Alfred tells Thomas to cheer up after Sybil's funeral Anna instantly comes to his defense, quietly stating that Thomas knew Sybil better than any of the servants. Thomas corrects her... Anna knew her just as well. He then tells Anna that they two, above all others, knew her best. It is a soft moment but it is when Thomas and Anna's relationship changes and she begins showing him true kindness throughout the rest of the series.
    • Anna and Thomas comfort each other when they hear of Sybil's passing, with Anna instantly following Thomas and him letting her cry against him. When Mrs. Hughes walks in on them holding each other they both jump apart since normally that kind of interaction would be forbidden but Mrs. Hughes tells them it's okay since they are all in mourning.
  • After Sybil dies and the family is together the next day mourning Violet walks in what is the first thing she asks? "Where's Tom?" Especially noteworthy as for the most part she kept referring to him as "Branson" even after he married into the family.

     Series 4 
  • Although the Season 4 premiere is suitably grim following Matthew's death, there are a few moments that warm the heart:
    • Carson holding Mary as she sobs over losing Matthew, just as he did way back in Season 1
    • Tom spending much of the episode being a protective brother to Mary, culminating with literally giving her a seat at the table to discuss the estate.
      • Really, you can see the evolution of Tom and Mary's relationship in one scene. Edith, Cora and Rose are talking eagerly about Edith's trip to London, while Mary is sitting in the corner. Tom approaches her and gently tells her to find something to do in the wake of Matthew's death. He knows what's she going through better than most. It's the only real conversation Mary engages in before the end of the episode, when she finally starts to come out of her mourning.
    • Thomas and Sybbie. After the events of Season 3, he seems to have softened a little, and nowhere is this more evident than his affectionate address to this little girl (who he calls a "friend"), who smiles happily up at him. It appears we may have the makings of Carson and Mary in a new generation.
      • While it's arguable how intentional it is, Thomas sets into motion the events to get Sybbie's evil nanny sacked. True he could have done it just because he was angry that the nanny was ordering him around, but he also could have been suspicious that she was keeping people from seeing the children and denying Sybbie food. And after all, he'd said that Sybil had been one of few to be kind to him, so it's possible he was honoring her memory by looking out for her daughter.
    • Mrs. Hughes helping Mrs. Patmore clean up the broken bowl from the electric mixer after Mrs. Patmore reveals she's afraid all the new appliances will make her unnecessary, saying it makes Daisy look like part of the future and it leaves her stuck in the past.
    • Violet's entire conversation with Mary, culminating in her saying that she loves her. This is the first time ever that Violet has ever said these words onscreen to anyone in her family.
    • It's subtle, but when Mary enters the boardroom at the end, she's wearing the colour violet.
    • A brief scene, but when Sybbie is brought in to see Tom, he looks so incredibly happy to be spending time with his daughter.
  • Cora overhears Nanny West being racially insensitive to her granddaughter and sacks her on the spot. This, folks, is what happens when you are mean to her deceased, beloved, baby daughter's baby! You get one very pissed off American - she's so pissed off that it's pure, utter Tranquil Fury. If she wasn't a Countess, you can bet your bottom dollar she would have shouted.
  • Despite the insensitive comment earlier on in series four, the Duchess was trying to cheer Branson up. She recognized the pain one feels in losing their significant other. Made more apparent in the fourth episode when she explains how when the Duke died, she felt lost and couldn't do anything anymore. Branson points out that she could, to which she replies that he will be able to also.
  • Isobel Crawley shaking Anthony Foyle's hand in 4.04. It's significant and an especially kind-hearted gesture from her since it's implied that he might become Mary's second husband following her son Matthew's death. Violet's praise of her afterwards should be heard to be believed.
  • In 4x05, Mary's genuine smile and affectionate greeting upon the return of Evelyn Napier.
  • Isobel, Mary and Tom sitting in the nursery and reflecting on how happy they were when they were about to marry their spouses: Reginald Crawley, Matthew and Sybil respectively. Topped off with Isobel smiling brightly and saying "Well, aren't we the lucky ones?"
  • Baxter surprising Cora with orange juice with her breakfast, and surprising her again with her knowledge that "Americans often like orange juice with their breakfast". Probably just a ploy for job security, but still a pleasant gesture - especially in light of the rare but stinging anti-American comments Cora has to put up with, often from her own daughter.
  • Isobel nursing Violet (who has never cared for her) back to health when she contracts bronchitis for two days straight without sleeping, eating, or drinking. Violet is so ill she doesn't know it was Isobel until Dr. Clarkson tells her that "there was no other nurse."
    • And after learning this, Violet agrees for Isobel to stop by later to check on her and even plays cards with her. This is after Violet initially came to and was so irritated with Isobel that she asked Dr. Clarkson to get that "crazy woman" out of the house as soon as possible.
  • Jack Ross, a black jazz singer, strikes up a romantic relationship with the white Lady Rose, but soon realizes that because of the prejudices common in the 1920s, such a romance would be unwise and even dangerous for the both of them, so he tells Lady Mary, who comes to talk him out of being with Rose, that he has decided on his own to end the relationship. As Lady Mary leaves, they have this exchange:
    Jack: If we lived in even a slightly better world, I wouldn't give in.
    Mary: It may surprise you, Mr. Ross, but if we lived in a better world, I wouldn't want you to.
  • Robert giving a loan to a tenant farmer whose father left him with bad debts, so he can keep his own farm. And when Mary finds out, she understands why he did it and decides not to make a power struggle out of it.
  • Rosamund not only telling Edith she'll support her getting an abortion despite being disgusted by it, but insisting on accompanying her to the clinic.
    • And after, Rosamund tells her mother that Edith "must be cherished" and then agrees to pay for both of them to take a four-month vacation to Switzerland, so Edith can have her baby in secret.
  • Baxter getting Moseley to think about how he's actually lucky in some ways, giving Moseley hope that he can make things work with her.
  • Everything Mary does for Anna, after learning Anna was raped, and who did it. She convinces her father to leave Bates behind for a trip to New York, knowing that Anna needs her husband's support, and convinces Lord Gilliam to sack his man when she finds out that that was the person who hurt Anna. And she manages this without telling either her father or Lord Gilliam Anna's secret, as she promised.
    • Mary immediately takes complete personal responsibility for Anna's physical and emotional safety as soon as she learns what happened; it's clear from her heartbroken expression that she doesn't just realize that it's her responsibility to her maid and friend to use her position of influence to protect her. Mary brought the man into their house by inviting his master to stay, and while no one would ever hold her responsible for Anna's pain, it's obvious that Mary feels that she's let her down badly and is determined to make it right.
  • Oddly heartwarming given the terrible circumstances, the moment you realise that after she was raped Anna takes refuge in Mrs Hughes room. Says something about how she views the housekeeper.
  • The resolution to the Daisy/Alfred/Ivy love triangle. To try to spare Daisy some pain when Alfred stops by for a visit, Mrs. Patmore gives her the day off to go visit William's father. William's father listens to what's troubling her, then says that in his opinion, it'd be best for her to see Alfred one last time and get some closure. To help her out, he gives her a basket full of food as a parting gift for Alfred, and drives her back to Downton with plenty of time. When Alfred returns, Ivy apologizes for turning him down, he apologizes for jumping to conclusions after she was simply being friendly, and Daisy gives him the basket. He apologizes to Daisy for never realizing how she had always been there for him, and the two part as friends. In the end, Daisy goes out back and is joined by Mrs. Patmore, who said that she was so proud of Daisy for returning to see Alfred, "[she] wouldn't have been prouder if [Daisy] were [her] own daughter." Considering how Mrs. Patmore used to treat Daisy, it just says so much about their growth through the seasons.
  • In late Season 4, when Cora rescues Bates and Anna from a snobby host who was refusing to seat them in a fancy restaurant despite them having a reservation. Naturally, when the Countess of Grantham greets them warmly and asks after their well-being, he starts tripping over himself to make them comfortable. She may not have realized exactly how important this date was—their first since Anna was raped and Bates learned about it—but she did know that they deserved to have a night just to be together.
  • Violet's reaction to Mary crying. There are no words said, merely a squeeze of her granddaughter's hand and an affectionate look. No words are said because, frankly, they are not needed. She merely needs comforting... and her grandmother provides.

     Series 5 
  • Thomas rescuing Edith from the fire. He charges right in with no thought for himself and scoops her up, then, after she's safe, volunteers to keep helping.
    • His friendship with Jimmy counts too, considering how bad things were between them originally.
  • Mary's reaction when she hears Thomas shouting Fire! "Oh my god, George." Brilliant when you consider that in series 4 she wasn't sure she could be a good mother.
    • The fact that it takes about half a minute for Tom to get to the nursery and get Sybbie and George. Him giving Sybbie a kiss as he hands her over to be carried outside while he stays to fight the fire is equally so. Not to mention that Robert shakes his hand afterward in acknowledgement that he protected the children first and foremost.
  • Edith when she visits her daughter Marigold. It's the only time when she's genuinely happy.
  • Thomas turning to Baxter when he's finally broken down and can't keep going with his treatment. Then after all the crap he put her through she goes with him to a surprisingly understanding Dr. Clarkson. To top it all off when they're walking home she points out to him that it took a lot of strength to put himself through something like that and speculates what he could do if he put his mind to a worthier goal. Thomas being, well Thomas, just tells her she's daft but you can see by the look on his face that it made him feel just that much better about the whole ordeal.
    • This is followed by his saving the new footman from a poker scam, an entirely selfless act as far as we can tell. It seems Baxter's words really got through to him.
  • The entirety of Rose and Atticus' relationship.
  • When it becomes apparent that Edith is going to take Marigold away and there's nothing that the Drewes can do about it, Mrs. Drewe tearfully tells baby Marigold that "this nice lady is going to be your new mummy, and she loves you more than anyone else could." No matter how much Mrs. Drewe hates Edith for taking her child away, she knows that Edith will love that little girl and do her best to care for her.
    • The first thing Edith does once she gets settled into a hotel with Marigold is order ice cream—she's basically on the run and has no idea what her situation will be long-term, but her first priority is to celebrate reuniting her family and finally spoil her own baby just like she has watched her family dote on her niece and nephew.
  • Edith, Cora, Rosamund and Violet hatch up a plan that lets Edith 'adopt' Marigold due to the 'financial strain' on the Drewes. After years of heartache and sorrow, Edith finally gets to keep her daughter in her home.
    • And in the season finale, Robert guesses that Marigold is her and Michael Gregson's daughter. He's only upset that Cora kept it from him, and has already grown attached to his new granddaughter.
    • The unveiling of the War Memorial,with a simple stone dedicated to Mrs. Patmore's nephew.
  • The fact that Violet has grown fond of Isobel and used to having her around.
    • The fact that Violet is absolutely fuming after the catastrophic dinner with Lord Merton's sons. She's not fuming at Isobel, but for her.
    • Violet revealing to Mary that she's not upset about Isobel marrying because it would elevate her above Violet herself but that she's upset because she doesn't want to lose her friend.
  • The entirety of Violet's relationship with Rose. She can see that Rose is like her and that Susan is not doing anything right as a mother - and takes Rose under her wing.
  • In the 2014 Christmas special, Robert reveals to Edith that he knows Marigold is the biological child of her and Michael Gregson. Edith looks heartbroken, believing she did something wrong, and asks for Robert's forgiveness. Robert calls her "My darling" and says that he has done just as much to be forgiven for as her, and kisses her on the head. Edith looks stunned and smiles.
    • A little while later you can see Robert and Edith arm in arm, laughing with each other.
    • On a related note, Robert coming to accept Donk as Sybbie's name for him and when he asks Sybbie what Marigold should call him she says "Donk"! Robert readily agrees and tells her that whenever Marigold calls him that he will think of his oldest grandchild.
  • Carson's adorably awkward proposal to Mrs. Hughes.
  • Tom and Sybbie playing Poohsticks as they discuss possibly going to live in America.
    • Tom's interactions with Sybbie in general. Right from the start he's been extremely fond and proud of her, is often shown holding her and lights up whenever she comes into a room. There's also an adorable scene where Mary goes to the nursery to check on George and Tom is on the floor playing with his daughter.
  • Mary and Edith both expressing how much they will miss Tom and Sybbie and how they both wish he would stay. He has really become like a brother to them both and almost serves as a surrogate for Sybil as a peacemaker between them. Both sisters are quite protective of him and will go on the offense against anyone who treats him poorly for not being of noble birth.
    • Robert giving a speech to Tom in the Christmas special.
    • Also Edith, Mary and Tom holding hands (yes, Edith and Mary too) and taking a moment to think of Sybil, with Mary expressing how they wish to send her "all our love and all our kisses."
  • Mrs. Patmore breaking down crying at the thought of Daisy leaving. They've come a long way from their relationship in season one and Daisy is more or less Mrs. Patmore's surrogate daughter.
  • Rose saving her father-in-law from disgrace when Thomas tricks his mistress and their son to come to a party full of rich and powerful guests. This man treated everyone like dirt, scorned Rose and her family, and was ready to call off her wedding to Atticus purely because of something out of her control. While she'd have been entirely in her right to sit back and watch him fall she instead rushes to his aid. As Robert says:
    "She'll love you forever if you let her."
    • When Rose confronts the rude butler who let Thomas know about the mistress she only demands one thing: he be nicer to Tom. Because that is the kind of person Rose is.
  • Molesley and Baxter spending months using their days off to visit York JUST to find a man who can provide Mr. Bates an alibi and finally prove that he didn't kill Mr. Green.

     Series 6 
  • Mr. Carson's and Mrs. Hugh's wedding.
  • Tom Branson returning deciding his true home is at Downton with his in-laws.
    • What are Robert's first words upon seeing Sybbie? "Come give Donk a hug!"
  • George and Marigold hugging their returning cousin Sybbie.
  • Thomas happily giving George a piggyback ride, and immediately before, Mrs. Patmore cheerfully telling the children that they can both lick the empty bowl of cake batter.
  • Despite everything he did to her, Miss Baxter supporting Thomas (when almost everybody else turned against him and snubbed him) warms the very cockles of your heart. It gets better when Thomas repays the favour by standing up for her and defending her when he thinks she's in trouble. He later comforts her and tells her that she's stronger and more well-liked than she thinks.
  • Baxter asking Molesley to be there for moral support while she's being questioned by the police (because a shady character from her past - Mr. Coyle - is out on bail). Molesly has a look of concern and worry on his face the whole time, and he keeps looking like he wants to jump between them and shield her. Of course, he subverts this by asking - a little jealously - if this Mr. Coyle was a handsome devil, and tries to press her into it despite her clearly not wanting to.
  • Even though it's something she tried to keep secret out of embarrassment, when it's revealed that Mrs. Harding is Gwen Dawson, a former housemaid, she readily admits that Lady Sybil was the reason she was able to achieve her first job outside of house service, with Sybil having arranged interviews, lent clothes, etc. It not only reaffirms how much Gwen valued her friendship, but also reminds the family present how much Sybil touched the lives of people she interacted with, for all the "youthful idealism" they seemed to dismiss it as at the time. You can see Tom beaming with pride at the memory of his dear wife.
    • The fact that Gwen and Sybil stayed in touch. Sybil didn't see Gwen as a project to keep her busy... she was her friend and remained so until her death.
    • Gwen and Tom happily chatting with each other before the reveal, reminding us that Tom and her were on good terms. He even bucks her up, reminding her jokingly that he one-upped her in moving up by 'marrying the boss' daughter'
    • The fact that the Crawleys are utterly embarassed that they don't remember Gwen and the only one to ever talk to her was Sybil. It shows how fair they've grown that they clearly feel a bit of shame over not getting to know the servants better in the past.
    • "Her kindness changed my life". Sybil, just being Sybil, helped Gwen not just get a job... that job got her a husband, children, and a chance to help others. Sybil's act of kindness not only changed Gwen's life but continued to ripple.
    • Robert calling out Thomas for exposing Gwen was pretty heartwarming too.
      • The way he does it. It's less of him being an angry employer and more like a father scolding a child. He later comes up to Thomas and points out how kindness goes a long way.
  • When Violet decides to leave England for a month due to her spat with Cora she chooses two people to confide in: Isobel, as she is her friend and wants to bounce ideas of her, and Tom because, in her own words, "He is the most sensible one". A far cry from how she felt about both of them when she first met them
  • Mary and the adorable Master George visiting Thomas' room, who was convalescing following his suicide attempt was a blub-worthy moment to say the least.
  • After Mary ruins Edith's engagement, Edith forgives Mary on the latter's wedding day by noting that, one day, their memories together will mean more than their mutual dislike.
    • Mary then makes amends by engineering (with a little help from Rosamund) an opportunity for Bertie to confess that he still loves Edith and salvage their engagement.
  • When Mary finds out Anna has had several miscarriages, she takes Anna to the doctor she went to when she was having difficulty conceiving George, to figure out what's going wrong. When it looks as though Anna is about to miscarry again, Mary immediately rushes her to London (at night) for treatment. Despite the difference in their stations, she's obviously very fond of Anna, and wants her to be happy.
  • After 15 years of dressing and undressing Lady Mary, Anna goes into labor in Mary's room. With no time to get her home, Mary calmly declares "you can wear one of my nightgowns. Here, let's get you undressed!" Then she offers to have the baby looked after in her own nursery so Anna can continue to work. It puts a crown on how the pair have become true friends despite being servant and employer.
    • Mary has had a child, so she knows it is absolutely going to suck, but intends to make it as painless as possible for Anna.
  • When Robert's ulcer bursts, leading to much Blood from the Mouth and an understandable fear that he's about to die, what's the first thing he does? He tells the panicking Cora how much he loves her.
    • Isobel can, in the background, be seen putting her arm on Violet's shoulder as she worries.
  • Moseley's speech to his students, namely that he never got a formal education and thus he wishes to give them the shortcut he never got.
  • The fact that so many of the characters look to be on the way to their own happy endings in the finale:
    • Mr. Mason asks Mrs. Patmore to come and visit the farm more now that Daisy and Andy will be going there. He hints heavily that he fancies her and wants to get to know her.
    • Tom and Edith's editor chatting and lighting flirting, hinting that Tom might finally find happiness after Sybil
    • After struggling with loneliness and feeling unwanted Thomas is asked to return to Downton to take over for Carson. Finally Thomas is chosen.
  • Rose named her daughter after her great-aunt, mother-in-law... and Cora. Not her mother... but the woman who, even after only a year or two, was more mother to her than anyone.
  • The utterly casual way Mary tells Tom "You're my brother". It is in the middle of a conversation and isn't treated as a declaration but as a given fact, no different than calling him by his name.
  • Violet shows where she stands with Isobel. Only she is allowed to pick on Isobel - because Isobel can take it and give it back just as good - so when Isobel is kept away from Lord Merton by his family, the Dowager comes down on them like a metric fuck tonne of bricks to make sure that her friend and snark partner gets her happy ending.
  • When Mrs. Patmore's Bed and Breakfast faces scandal because two adulterers used it Mrs. Patmore is sure that Robert will refuse to go there as he promised. Considering the fuss he threw up when Cora and Violet had tea at Isobel's house when Ethel was a maid there it isn't surprising she thinks that. Instead Robert declares that they will show backbone and help Mrs. Patmore because she has been loyal to them... it is his turn to be loyal to her. Mrs. Patmore breaks down in happy tears.

     The Movie 
  • Mary feels she can't cope with the pressure of the King and Queen visiting so she asks Carson to come out of retirement. He obliges. Cue him walking back to the building where he has dedicated his life.
  • When Anna immediately volunteers to help Mary with something totally outside her job description (setting up folding chairs in the pouring rain, at night), Mary tells her that she's a good friend. They might be employer and servant, but there's real friendship and mutual respect in there, too.
  • Tom encounters Princess Mary, who is thinking about leaving her husband, and not realizing who she is he gives her honest advice about life. She later points him out to the King and Queen.
    • The king thanking Tom not only for helping his daughter but saving his life, revealing he knew of the assassination attempt.
  • Anna discovers the queen's maid is a thief. She uses this knowledge... to get Edith's dress tailored. Purely so Edith wouldn't feel foolish.
  • Molesley feels like a fool after making a serious faux pas in front of the Queen. Miss Baxter assures him that he could never be a fool to her and that she cares for him very much.
  • Edith's pregnancy. With Marigold, she was hiding out in Switzerland, facing an uncertain future and the very real possibility that she wouldn't be able to keep the baby. Now she gets to be surrounded by her family, looking forward to the baby's birth, with the support of her husband.
  • Maud revealing her maid is in fact her daughter, born out of a loving relationship she had with a servant she could never marry. She saw to her education and then made Lucy her maid to keep her close. She plans to give Lucy everything when she passes, instantly making her part of the noble class.
  • Violet continues to be a supporter of Tom in the film. When Maud reveals that Tom and Lucy will be corresponding with each other (which in those days was a version of courting) she fears Violet will be upset. Instead Violet is very pleased with the idea, stating she will 'lick the stamps' herself.
    • She then later reveals to Mary that she wants Tom and Lucy to marry because it will give Tom an estate of his own, setting him up for life and putting him on equal footing with Mary and Edith. Not because she doesn't trust Lucy... but because she wants to make sure Tom is settled. Since the estate can be passed to women - Maud inherited it from her father - it means that Tom can pass it to any children he and Lucy have - not just sons - and Sybil's daughter gets to grow up as daughter of an estate owner, as she deserves, even if she can't inherit it.
  • Violet admitting to Mary that she does not have long left to live, but she is incredibly happy with the life she has led and trusts that Downton will be left in good hands with Mary.
  • It's taken Tom seven years, but, finally, he's ready to try again for love - he'll never forget Sybil, but he's ready to go on.

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