I of course went on a Google search and learned that Lady Mary is going to be important in Season 4, and that she's going to get a new love interest, though possibly not a new husband. A nanny will be added: Julian Fellowes says there will be "a lovely nursery story." The Dowager Countess "logically must be about a hundred and something now," as Maggie Smith told 60 Minutes in a rare and delightful interview broadcast yesterday, but we can all breathe a sigh of relief--she's not leaving the show, and Fellowes has no intention of killing her off.
So what else might happen in Season 4?
Well, something interesting will surely happen with Tom Branson. With Matthew gone, he's the estate manager now: will Lord Grantham's gratitude to his first son-in-law for saving the farm extend to son-in-law number two? And Tom's a good looking man with a baby: surely another romance is in the offing (this is soap opera, after all). Trouble is, he can't really marry a chambermaid--Mrs Hughes gently made that clear last night. And he isn't invited to the best parties, so a titled wife seems unlikely. Unless she's rebellious, of course, like Lady Sybil. Which makes me think that Tom and Lady Rose MacClare are going to get along just fine. Lady Grantham and Rose's mother, after all, were commiserating about the difficulty of having headstrong daughters. And Rose is coming to live at Downton Abbey. And it is 1921, after all, when traditional matings seem so stuffy. I mean, look how Rose's parents turned out.
And dear Lady Edith. She's 27 now and still a spinster, poor dear. Will she go to live in sin with her married editor, Michael Gregson? Matthew is no longer an obstacle, but Lord Grantham might have a heart attack--oh, right, Fellowes has said Season 4 won't be as lethal as Season 3. Or maybe Fellowes will remember Jane Eyre and have the asylum, with Mrs Gregson in it, burn to the ground, thus freeing Mr Gregson for Lady Edith. It would be a nice twist if she then refused him, bought the newspaper, and became a media mogul, wouldn't it. I doubt if that will happen, but at least she's going to glam up.
And that's just upstairs. What will happen downstairs? The cook, Mrs Patmore, narrowly escaped a bad marriage (cf Upstairs Downstairs: "The Sudden Storm," in which the cook, Mrs Bridges, has an almost identical misadventure). I'm guessing Patmore won't get another proposal, but will something develop between Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes? Will O'Brien wangle a job as lady's maid to Lady Rose's mother and get to travel to India? Has Thomas turned into a decent human being after all? Anna Bates is getting a new hairstyle--will she also have a baby?
What are your guesses?