How to Fall in Love, Downton Abbey Style

As season 4 draws to a close, Downton's love birds are in their final acts. Let's take a look at how arcs to various relationships play out.

Downton Abbey
(Image credit: Courtesy of ©Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE)

COUPLE NUMBER ONE: Anna and Bates, let's cut the bullsh*t.

So, is Bates a ragehead, or not? Downton wants us to keep wondering, it seems, because this episode finds him wandering into York with a pocketful of suspicions that Green is Anna's rapist. The question is, will this turn out to have been an alibi when we discover Green is dead? Or will Bates turn out to have been his killer? WHO CARES.

I'm so sick of being jerked around with regards to Bates's true nature. If he had killed Green, I wouldn't blame him (and his horrible first wife wasn't exactly a sympathetic character), but the constant plot manipulation just for a glimpse into Bates's psyche is tiresome. It should work the other way around—We should be able to see Bates's emotions evolving (or devolving) to affect the plot. At this point, I don't really care if he's a secret psycho—I just want Anna to be happy. (And, by the way, I'm quite happy with death as retribution, but I do wish they'd made Green suffer a little more.)

COUPLE NUMBER TWO: Mary should pick Blake, choose Blake, love Blake.

But we have more important things to worry about: Lady Mary's suitors. And, for that matter, Tom's. Downton has developed parallel widowhoods within the family: Both lost their spouses suddenly, both have very young children, and both are faced with dating prospects who are no match for their dearly departed.

Mary has Lord Gillingham and Blake, and I am solidly #teamblake. He's handsomer, smarter, and likes-to-roll-in-pig-sh*t-er. Plus, he's secretly loaded, so Mary needn't worry about following in Sybil's footsteps and "marrying down." And even with all her baggage and chilliness, Mary is an attractive companion—she's showing signs of a reawakening, both from her grief, and from that horribly old-fashioned Grantham mindset. Can't you imagine Blake and Mary flapping through the 1920s and 1930s as a Fitzgeraldian tour de force? Gillingham has nothing on him really—not looks, not personality, and not necessarily money. Also, Gillingham's kind of a stalker.

COUPLE NUMBER THREE: Tom and his Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Now, Tom. Sweet Tom. Sweet Tom with big brawny arms and a barrel chest and a nice chin. Foolish enough to entertain even one second of Edna Braithwaite, yet wise enough to know when a lovely schoolteacher he encounters at a town hall meeting might be a perfect Downton version of Sarah, Plain and Tall. Tom has always been a sad fellow in the background, and I want this new woman to be his reawakening.