There is a lot of material for the Downton Abbey movie to mine. Do you remember how it all ended?
As the camera panned away from Downton Abbey on a snowy New Year's Eve in 1926, we breathed a sigh of contented relief. The inhabitants were happy, together, and the Dowager got the last word. It was a good time to close the book on beloved characters.
Robert and Cora had reaffirmed their love for each other. Mary was pregnant with her second husband's child. Edith got her fairy tale wedding to Bertie. Anna gave birth to her son with Bates in Lady Mary's bed. There was so much to celebrate!
The path to these endings wasn't always as elegant as the Crawley women's wardrobes, but they fit the characters. Downton Abbey Season 6 Episode 9 managed to strike the right balance in providing closure without wrapping too tight of a bow on the series.
The upcoming movie could override many of the happy endings featured in the last episode. The Crawleys could be in danger of losing the estate due to financial troubles.
Bertie dies, and the Marchioness of Hexam goes back to being "poor Edith." Most likely of all, Anna and Bates are accused of murdering someone and running from the law.
Hopefully, none of those things will happen.
It's more pleasant to think about are the positive storytelling opportunities the movie brings.
While the characters got happy endings, quite a few of them got shortchanged in the romance department. The movie should focus on the love stories that didn't get as much prominence or momentum while the show was airing.
Juxtaposing images of birth with death is widespread. The overwhelming symbolism speaks for itself. Downton took this trope too far.
Whenever there was a pregnancy, one half of the couple would die soon after the birth (Anna and Bates being the exception) -- resulting in Tom, Mary, and Edith becoming widowed, single parents.
A good chunk of the last half of the series was dedicated to the three of them mourning their loved ones and finding a way to move on. Mary and Edith found and married their second loves. Tom on the other hand ...
Thanks to her feistiness and kindness, Sybil remains the darling of Downton long after she passed away. In-universe and out, she hasn't been forgotten nor is she replaceable.
After her death, Tom -- feeling more like an outsider than ever -- was emotionally vulnerable. New maid Edna took advantage of the fact and attempted to honeytrap him into marriage -- thereby raising her social status.
Fortunately, Mrs. Hughes was too smart to let this scheme come to fruition on her watch and sent Edna packing.
Tom was in a better place when he encountered Sarah Bunting, a local schoolteacher, for the first time. Their mutual passion for politics sparked an attraction to one another.
However, she couldn't accept he was always going to have some sort of ties with Crawleys.
Tom couldn't envision them sharing future together even though both were leaving Downton for America.
Tom's relationship with the Crawleys has made it more difficult to find a second love.
Although married, Mary and Edith (and in the latter's case moving out) will never lose their connection to Downton. Since Tom married into the family, he doesn't (or at least didn't) have the same bond to the place or its people.
As the Crawleys came to see Tom like a son or brother, they feared his moving on would mean leaving them behind.
It took some soul-searching and a trip across the pond, but Tom concluded that Downton was home and the Crawleys were his family.
After finding inner acceptance and playing wingman for both Mary and Edith, Tom seemed ready to embark on a romantic adventure of his own. In the final episodes, he was friendly and flirty with Laura Edmunds, editor of Edith's magazine.
Miss Edmunds possessed the right blend of progressiveness, toughness, and kindness. Plus, she was already good friends with Edith and welcomed to the Crawley family circle.
The series ended before she and Tom could begin dating, but her catching Edith's wedding bouquet hinted that wedding bells would be ringing for them soon.
Unfortunately, the romance between Tom and Miss Edmunds might be one of the happy endings the movie overrides. The trailers show Tom falling for a new character who is a lady's maid.
As disappointing as it is to see Downton choosing not to continue the Tom/Laura ship, let's hope this new character won't be a repeat of Edna.
Retreading old ground is a bad habit of Downton's. Putting Tom in yet another relationship where someone is trying to take advantage of him doesn't open any new avenues for the character.
Worse, teasing but not providing Tom with a romantic resolution will make his upcoming storyline feel pointless and provides no closure to his journey as a whole.
Daisy & Andy
Mrs. Patmore summed up Daisy's romantic woes best. Daisy automatically thinks anyone who's interested in her is rubbish.
She liked William, but her feelings towards him never matched the strength of his for her. Ethan, Harold Levinson's valet, fell in love with her at first sight, but she turned him down.
Instead, she crushes on men with incompatible orientations (Thomas) or in love with someone else (Alfred).
Late in the series, Andy, the newest footman, became sweet on her, but Daisy wasn't having any of it. Mr. Mason thought better of the lad and advised Daisy she could do worse.
Daisy took Mr. Mason's words to heart and became open to the idea of pursuing something. Course by then Andy had become resigned to Daisy's rejection.
It took some time, but eventually, the two were able to talk out how they felt about each other. In their last scene together, Daisy told Mr. Mason she made some choices she wanted him to know about, implying she wanted to make it official with him.
Did Daisy make good on her decisions?
From the trailers, it looks like Andy is still employed at Downton. The odds of them being a couple appear good, but Daisy storylines tend to progress at the speed of molasses.
A story about how Daisy and Andy are stuck in the will they/won't they phase of a relationship isn't interesting. Seeing them actually having to navigate their relationship has promise.
When it comes to love, Mrs. Patmore might be the wisest person at Downton. She can sense when a heart is about to be broken.
She knows how to give husbands who constantly demean their wives' cooking skills a taste of their own medicine. She may not like being a couple's go-between, but she gets the job down.
Given how her attention is usually directed towards someone else's love life, it's not surprising her own has been neglected. There was that time Mr. Tufton tried to court her, but he was only after her cooking.
Fortunately, Mr. Mason, a far better man, has expressed interest in Mrs. Patmore. It’s clear he enjoys her company and makes sweet gestures — such as gifting vegetables from his farm — towards her, and she has reciprocated.
The only obstacle in their way was Daisy, who was jealous of having to share her father figure with someone.
Once she finally realized Mrs. Patmore’s relationship wouldn’t threaten her relationship, Daisy began encouraging the two to get together.
Will we see more of Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason’s relationship in the movie? Considering the many other characters and plot lines need to get addressed, Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason’s relationship is probably a low priority.
Still, it would be a shame if their relationship was entirely ignored. Mrs. Patmore should get something to do other than providing snarky commentary, and more screen time for Mr. Mason is always welcome.
Molesley & Baxter
Whether it's trying out a new hairstyle or realizing his ambition of becoming valet to a great lord in a great house, Molesley's plans never work out and usually cause him public humiliation.
It was only after he had resigned himself to living a life of unfulfilled dreams did he get the opportunity to live out his dream of being a teacher. As for his personal life, his fortune in that area started changing once Baxter came to Downton.
Since she arrived, Molesley was more than fond of Baxter. Even finding out about her brush with the law couldn't deter his feelings for her. She was more reserved when it comes to expressing herself, but it's obvious the was mutual.
Seeing how they constantly look for ways to spend time with each other, have become each other's confidant, and encouraging one another to be their best selves -- the subtext spells out they are soulmates.
The problem is they never had the opportunity to say out it or any other proclamation of couplehood out loud to each other.
Like Mrs. Patmore/Mr. Mason, when compared to everything else the movie needs to address and fans want to see, Molesley/Baxter may be low on the list.
Why should it be included?
For Baxter, letting herself officially be in a relationship means she has stopped letting fear rule her life. It also prevents Molesley from being solely used as comic relief.
Everyone at Downton has had their fair share of romantic struggles, but Thomas is by far the unluckiest. During the entire series, he never got a single romantic win.
His sexuality was used against him more than once. Plus the guys he wishes to have relationships with are either of incompatible orientation or in no condition to reciprocate.
Thomas' difficulties in finding love stems from his narrative role as an antagonist. He became more sympathetic as the series progressed, but his development was of the one step forward two steps back variety.
Whenever he regressed, his storyline would revolve about knocking him down a peg. It got to the point where the constant insults and shunning made Robert and Carson come across as the unlikeable ones.
The last season gave up on Thomas' love life completely, and his last episode happy ending was him becoming Downton's butler.
The movie is a big opportunity for Thomas to get an actual love story, and the trailers hint this will come to pass.
The Downton Abbey movie certainly has a lot of work to do. Of course, we want to know what the Crawleys are doing and how they are coping with the latest changes coming their way, but we need more.
The characters who ended the TV series with a "maybe ever after" deserve a happily ever after, too.
What Downton Abbey romances are you looking forward to seeing on the silver screen, TV Fanatics?
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Becca Newton is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.