A year ago, we never would have imagined we’d be writing the words “Who should Lady Mary choose?” It was so obvious who Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) belonged with: Matthew (Dan Stevens). Their tumultuous relationship was the epicenter of the show’s frequent emotional earthquakes. It got us through a world war and an influenza epidemic. It was the fire by which we warmed our own lukewarm romantic prospects.
But all good things must come to an end, with some ending much sooner than we want. Matthew was killed off at the end of Season 3 in a tragic car accident that had us seriously reconsidering our transportation options.
The loss of her other half left Mary a shell of her former vivacious self. For the first part of Season 4, the beautiful widow wore nothing but black and could barely look at the adorable baby boy she and Matthew had created. It was painful.
Almost as painful was seeing new men enter Mary’s life. It’s not that we begrudge her any happiness but, as Matthew’s mother Isobel (Penelope Wilton) observed, seeing a new fellow get Mary to smile made Matthew fade further into the past. It’s a healthy change but that hardly means it doesn’t hurt.
By the end of Season 4, Mary had several promising developments in her love life, but which, if any, should she ultimately pick? Here are the pros and cons as we see them:
Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen)
Pros: This posh and polished aristocrat comes from a similar upbringing as Mary, giving them a shared history with lots in common. Also, look at him.
Cons: His persistence, although currently charming, could grow tiresome if he doesn’t play his cards right. Mary’s already rejected his proposal once and we wouldn’t put it past her to turn Tony down again even though he broke off a very public engagement to pursue her.
Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden)
Pros: This up-and-coming government employee challenges Mary, making her question her role at the estate. He also took a shine to baby George.
Cons: We can’t see him getting past his and Mary’s financial differences. Rolling around in a pigpen might be fun every once and awhile, but Mary is a born and bred member of the elite. Forcing her to be too different will only result in bitterness.
Evelyn Napier (Brendan Patricks)
Mary’s totally not into her longtime friend, Evelyn, but we kinda feel bad for the poor guy who keeps being passed up in favor of his friends. First Mary picked his pal Kemal Pamuk (Theo James) and, more recently, she’s warmed up to Evelyn’s boss, Charles Blake.
Conclusion: There’s just no winning for Evelyn “Friend Zone” Napier so consider this a pity nomination.
Pros: As the heir of Downton in her own right, Mary doesn’t have to get married. Plus, finding a suitable follow-up after Matthew may prove an impossible task.
Cons: Mary may have an icy reputation, but we doubt she wants to be alone forever. We’re sure she’d like some companionship and a father for George (if not more kids). Also, never moving on isn’t exactly the healthiest of options.
Who do you think Lady Mary should choose? Cast your vote in the poll below and check out the initial results. We can’t promise Mary will listen but we’re all ears!