By Topher Gauk-Roger
Editor’s note: This story may contain spoilers.
(CNN) — “Downton Abbey” is wrapping another season chock-full of upstairs, downstairs drama. How will it end? The hit British import completed its third season in the UK last year, but it hasn’t stopped a record number of American viewers from tuning in on PBS. The show is in more demand than ever, winning outstanding ensemble in a TV drama series at last month’s Screen Actors Guild Awards.
With Sunday’s finale, there are only 95 minutes left to answer the many questions on viewers’ minds. Season three has been filled with startling revelations from the ever-dramatic Crawley family and the employees of their Yorkshire country estate.
Show creator Julian Fellowes made sure to pack in the first six episodes with as much plot development as there are characters — from Mary and Matthew’s wedding to the release of Mr. Bates from prison, from the birth of Sybil’s first child (immediately followed by poor Sybil’s shocking passing) to the financial hardships plaguing Downton.
CNN is counting down the top five questions we want answered in the third season’s conclusion. PBS’ official Masterpiece site promises both the flaring up of new romances and the unfolding of a new crisis on “Downton Abbey.” Let’s make some predictions, shall we?
1. Will Lady Mary finally get her heir?
Lady Mary was most recently seen opening up to husband Matthew about a surgery she had to ensure she would no longer have problems in the fertility department. With that sorted out, it’s time for the handsome couple to get to work on creating an heir to the Downton kingdom.
But with the complications her younger sibling faced during childbirth in the back of her mind, will Mary hold off on having children? All seems well with the newlyweds, and everyone in the Crawley family is awaiting Mary’s pregnancy, but nothing is ever as perfect as it appears in this home.
2. Is Tom already moving on from Sybil?
The finale takes place more than a year after Sybil’s unexpected death, and widower Branson may be moving on to someone new. For viewers, it’s only been a few weeks since losing the youngest Crawley daughter, and fans may not be ready for a new woman in Baby Sybbie’s life.
Tom finally found his place in the Crawley family as he became manager of the Downton estate. But is he getting too comfortable already?
Previews for Sunday’s episode imply something may be brewing between the chauffeur-turned-gentleman and the new maid. Will Branson give into temptation, or will he remain the consummate gentleman? Either way, quick trysts aren’t uncommon within the walls of Downton.
3. Are the karma police coming for Miss O’Brien?
The ever-scheming O’Brien spent season three trying to make life a living hell for her former partner in crime, Thomas. Unfortunately for the maid, everything came to a screeching halt by the end of last week’s episode. O’Brien believed she had gotten rid of Thomas once and for all after Alfred caught him making unwarranted advances on Jimmy. Thomas won the battle by gaining unexpected support from both Lord Grantham and longtime adversary Bates. The former valet not only retained a position at Downton but actually received a promotion.
O’Brien has been known by viewers for her deviant behavior since the start of the series, but she may have finally met her match this season. Thomas recently brought up the infamous “bath soap incident” of the first season that caused Lady Grantham’s miscarriage. Will we finally see the two come to blows? One can only hope.
4. Will Lady Edith finally get some respect?
While Lady Mary was getting hitched and Sybil was getting knocked up, poor Edith was getting left at the altar. Not one to let a man get her down, the ever-resilient middle sister of the Crawley clan went on a quest to find her own voice.
Edith defied the outdated expectations of her family by taking on a job writing a newspaper column. As the cherry on top, Edith finally found an exciting gentleman friend in her editor. That is, before she discovers he is already spoken for.
Just as Edith finds confidence in her independence and becomes a prime example of 1920s feminism, she is forced to quit to avoid the advances of a married man. Can Fellowes cut Edith some slack already? When will the most jolly nice of all who reside at Downton finally have something go her way?
5. Who dies?
A death has been teased since production began on season three, but we’re not convinced Sybil will be the only victim before 1921’s end. Rumors have surrounded the departure of star Dan Stevens, who plays resident heartthrob Matthew Crawley. That said, there hasn’t been anything set up in the first six episodes to insinuate that Matthew might be in any trouble.
As any seasoned “Downton” viewer knows, no one knows how to execute a great surprise like Fellowes. Let’s explore all the possibilities before jumping to any conclusions. This is the current heir to the Downton estate we’re talking about, after all.
Perhaps one of Thomas’ many victims, from O’Brien to Jimmy to Bates, seeks revenge. Could it be Tom joining his beloved wife in the afterlife? His child is certainly in good hands now that Branson has agreed to let Sybbie grow up in the house. Regardless, viewers may need to get their black garb ready and prepare for the demise of a fan favorite.
Of course, these aren’t the only things on our minds as we emotionally prepare for Sunday’s finale. We are still dying to know who the Dowager Countess will sass in this episode and why? And we’re still stunned at the choice to bring heedless Cousin Rose back for a second episode. Let’s just hope Downton isn’t coming down with a case of Cousin Oliver Syndrome, which famously ruined “The Brady Bunch.”
What do you want to see happen on “Downton Abbey”? Let us know and check your local listings for its airtime Sunday on PBS.
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