Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013

Now that we’re over the first shock of watching an episode of Downton Abbey without Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), it’s time to focus on a very important topic: Which new suitors will come to court the widow Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery)?

Perhaps it seems too soon to talk about Mary finding love again, but let’s face facts. She’s beautiful, she’s rich, she needs help. If Downton Abbey is going to remain one of England’s most premiere estates, Mary is going to need a partner. And this season she won’t suffer from a shortage of willing young men interested in the role.

The January 12 episode of Downton Abbey introduces us to one likely contender: Lord Gillingham, also known as Anthony Foley (Tom Cullen). A childhood friend of the Crawleys, the dashing Tony returns to Downton for a little family soiree. While there, he rekindles his friendship with Mary, so much so that she agrees to go for a ride with him around the estate. This from a woman who couldn’t even be persuaded to leave her chambers just last week! Nicely done, Tony.

In a new clip from the upcoming episode, we get a sneak peek at their little tête-à-tête and a private look at Mary’s memories of her dearly departed husband.

“You were happy?” Tony asks of Mary and Matthew.

“Wonderfully happy,” she replies before the notorious Ice Queen admits she’s not sure knowing such great love was for the best. “Matthew changed me. I loved him, but he changed me. If I was as tough as I was before I met him, I bet I’d be happier now.”

Perhaps, but what about baby George? Or your beautiful wedding? Or that lovely proposal in the snow? Mary, you can still be happy again!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem Tony will be the one to make her so since he reveals he’s engaged to some hoity-toity heiress named Mabel Lane Fox. That said, what Mary wants, she gets. Just ask Lavinia Swire.

SourcePBS on YouTube

Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!