The weather is warming up at Downton, as evidenced by this week’s lovely spring bazaar. With spring comes plenty of romantic gestures, blossoming romances and even outright declarations of love. During this week’s episode, Mosely finally came out of his shell to woo the new ladies maid, Branson met a spunky school teacher and even Matthew’s mother has a new potential suitor in her life. Of course, none of these tales of romance was quite as compelling as the men swarming around Lady Mary, and for her part, she barely lifted a finger to stop the two men’s advances. We have no idea where her romances are going, but we are certainly along for the ride. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the two beaus who have made themselves apparent over the last several weeks.
Lord GillinghamLord Gillingham has the name and the title to be a great match for Mary. In addition, he’s a handsome gentlemen with his own holdings of land. He and Mary share much in common with their respective backgrounds, dealing with large estates in a modern age and the challenges that come along with trying to keep those estates afloat. Additionally, he’s proven to be an accomplished conversationalist and rider, as well as a man whom Mary readily confides in. They have shared a lot, but more recently, Mary has kept her distance.
Likely, this has to do with Lord Gillingham’s seeming fickleness when it comes to matters of the heart. While it has been clear that he has an affection for Mary, after she told him she wasn’t ready to be his wife, he moved forward with an engagement to another young lady. Then, he called off the engagement on the off chance he might make things work with Mary, once more. She told him she wasn’t ready yet again this week, but he no longer seems put off by the refusal. Instead, he is taking it as a challenge. Unfortunately for Lord Gillingham, he’s not the only person taking Mary’s affections as a challenge.
Charles BlakeThe second man vying for Lady Mary’s affections is Mr. Charles Blake. This might seem like a shocking turn of events from earlier this season when Mary and Blake could barely stand to be in each others’ presence, trading barbs out of sheer spite for one another. Recently, however, the ice was broken when the two young people rallied together to save a group of sick pigs.
It’s easy to see why Mr. Blake and Lady Mary might be intrigued by one another. They keep each other on their toes with conversation, and they both visibly believe in modern ideals, although Mr. Blake disapproves of her wealthy lifestyle. While Gillingham often defers to Mary’s wishes, Mr. Blake is willing to fight the young lady tooth and nail, and when Mary says she’s not ready to give dating a go, Blake accepts her words as a challenge. Both men have a lot to offer Lady Mary, but her heart has been fickle in the past and it could be some time before we see her take on a beau once more.
What Does This Mean?Downton Abbey has shown no need to hurry to place Lady Mary in the arms of another man. This makes sense, as Season 4 only opened up four months after Matthew Crawley met an untimely end. I guessed it would take Mary some time to make sense of her feelings and move forward, but eventually, she will likely want to make another match. This season introduced two gentlemen from different backgrounds who bring different positives to the table. Moving forward into the Christmas special and then Season 5, Mary will have to decide whether she wants to move forward with one of the handsome gents. With casting already underway for Season 5, who knows whether another young man might also come into the picture?
We have one more Season 4 episode under our belts, and it’s a spectacular Christmas special. You can catch Season 4’s finale on PBS next Sunday evening at 9 p.m. ET. Additionally, recent episodes are available on PBS’ site.