Well, we can probably rule out the two options that played out during Season 3. O'Brien doesn’t exactly seem the man-catchin' type, making a repeat of Lady Sybil’s death by childbirth unlikely, and we doubt the prim and proper maid would ever drive as carelessly as Matthew Crawley (never forget).
What’s more likely is O'Brien gets a new job.
“O'Brien is very much alive,” Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes told Vanity Fair about the upcoming season. “Her departure could be explained in that she simply got a new position.”
Our guess is the gig’s with that nice crop of Scottish cousins we met during last season’s Christmas special and who were heading to India. The cross-continental move may seem an odd choice for the typically unadventurous O'Brien, but now that her soapy secret’s gotten out (thank you, Thomas) it makes sense she’d want to get as far away from Downton as possible.
Supposedly, Downton’s producers want to keep the door open for a potential return though there’s already talks about who will fill O'Brien’s boxy black shoes.
“O'Brien’s replacement is quite interesting because Thomas has brought her in without a reference,” said Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas. “He, obviously, has some kind of hold on her, but what that is, who knows? He is using her, manipulating her with the secret he has on her to feed back to him the stories and goings on from upstairs so he can use it to his advantage.”
Consider us intrigued.
Source: Vanity Fair