*-This post contains spoilers about Downton Abbey. If you do not like spoilers and have not caught up to the most recent episode, you are reading at your own risk.
With the final episode of Downton Abbey airing in the United States tomorrow night, I’ve been thinking about a few things.
We need to drop the #PoorEdith hashtag. What I realized is that Edith is one of those characters who despite multiple setbacks, just keeps on moving forward. Whether it was crushing on Matthew (whom she lost to Mary), getting engaged to Sir Anthony (who dumped her at the alter) or getting involved and getting pregnant by Michael Gregson, who was older, married and is no longer of this world, her barometer in choosing men is not quite working. Edith has classic middle child syndrome. She is the Mary Bennet of Downton Abbey and the Jan Brady of BPD’s (British Period Drama). She is not the beauty of the family like her elder sister, nor was she rebellious enough to choose her own path like her late youngest sister. She was simply Edith. If I could write Edith’s story line for the sixth series, I would have her go her own way and create her own happiness. Frankly, after all she has been through, she deserves a little happiness.
There are some among the fan base who would like to see Mary and Tom get together. I disagree.
Mary and Tom do have a lot in common. They are around the same age, they are both single parents due to the fact that they both lost their spouses early in their children’s lives and their long term goal is to ensure that their children stay in Downton Abbey for many years to come. But they are ill matched as a romantic couple.
Looking at the series from a writing perspective, a Mary/Tom romance would cheapen the story. Julian Fellows has created these wonderfully complex and highly entertaining story lines. Yes, a Mary/Tom romance would be convenient and easy to write, but it would be too convenient and too easy. It is far more interesting as a viewer to see them with other characters in a romantic relationship while balancing their responsibilities as parents and caretakers of the legacy of the Crawleys.