'Downton Abbey's third series comes to an end this Sunday evening. As viewers prepare to leave the Crawley family and their servants behind (at least until the Christmas special?), Julian Fellowes will have his work cut out tying up all the loose ends trailing around the estate. What are your guesses for the following?
Lady Edith's emergence from the shadows of her sisters has been one of this series' great successes, the small matter of an altar-jilting notwithstanding. Now she's got not just a job, but the attentions of an eligible suitor in her editor Gregson. Will she have to choose one or the other or, like every modern woman of the 1920s, have it all?
I feared Mary and Matthew would prove Tolstoy's theory that "all happy families are happy in the same way" and, sure enough, they've been pretty staid this series after all the courtship shenanigans of the previous two. But they've livened up a bit recently with fears that Matthew's on-off war-wound would prevent them adding to their branch of the family. We had a hint of a doctor's visit for Mary recently - "hay fever" - so I'm thoroughly expecting some good news in that area just in time for credits to roll.
Now that Earl and Lady Grantham have mended their marriage and started grieving together for their lost daughter Sybil, will they still have a roof over their heads? All this talk of estate management has dug a chasm between the staid Earl and the progressive cousin Matthew - will they find a resolution? And will the Earl ever get anything right?
If Downton does stay safe, can Tom Branson stay happily on the estate? Writer Fellowes has come up with a novel way of keeping the Irish former chauffeur in between floors, but can he suppress his revolutionary zeal long enough to tend to the lands and keep the books in order?
Carson and Mrs Hughes - Never mind stiff-upper-lip, these two must sleep in starch, such is the constraint on their emotions. But cracks in their reserved edifices (edifii?) began with Mrs Hughes' health scare - will their obvious quiet affection for each other blossom in the final reel? Perhaps if we're really lucky, they'll let each other know their first names.
The 'ruined' character of Ethel would have had a novella all to herself in Victorian times, but Fellowes is a busy man. Instead, she's been herded off to the patronage of Mrs Crawley, and blossomed for it, with even the Dowager happy to sit in the drawing-room. Willl there be a quiet, noble man in the village ready to overlook her tumultuous past and at least teach her to cook?
The eternal love triangle between Alfred, Daisy and Ivy: We've seen Daisy trying every trick in the book - disdain, cooking and dance lessons - to try to keep Alfred from the clutches of the other kitchenmaid, but it was still the latter who got a trip to the pictures with him. Meanwhile, her heart remains fixed on Jimmy. Someone is going to have to turn and accept some love from another direction. Who will it be? If Alfred turns to Daisy, and Jimmy starts to notice Ivy, everyone's a winner... oh, except...
Thomas. Last but by no means least. Will the lovesick lone wolf be punished for trying to find a bit of romance in dark, forbidden places? While Mr Carson furrows his brow and O'Brien rubs her hands in glee, the valet's fate lies in Jimmy's hands, following Thomas's futile attempt at seduction of his sleeping workmate.
Last week saw Thomas show a freshly vulnerable side - actor Rob James-Collier this week called him "a broken man" - so it would be nice for his colleagues to show a bit of compassion. And Julian Fellowes has no doubt more ideas for wayward Thomas up his sleeve, after what James-Collier called "his sordid, twisted fantasy" of the night-time kiss. "You can't go round doing that," he said. "It's illegal."
With one episode left, Julian Fellowes has a lot to do.
Here are some sneaky preview pictures from Sunday's final episode - what can we glean?
More:Downton Abbey Julian Fellowes Downton Abbey Pictures Downton Abbey Final Episode Downton Abbey Series 3
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