I don't know what to think about Henry and Mary, I thought in the 2014 Christmas Special they had a real thing but it just seems a like their path is full of resistance now: the car thing, Mary has a definite guard up, Henry's prospects, they're at opposite ends of the country all the time.
I'm also waiting for this event that "puts Mary in a dark place" (said my Michelle Dockery) but I've seen the trailer for S6E7, he doesn't look like he gets injured or killed (he's all suited and booted for dinner after the race). What if the "dark place" has nothing to do with cars and Talbot's just a cad who's playing Mary for her money?
Here's the link to photos for S6E7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNMBcHhG5e4
It is quite unbelievable that there are so many unmarried men in their 30s because they were basically all affable (except Larry). I think men of the upper class usually got married in their mid-20s (like Atticus Aldridge).
- Henry I find hard to believe would have never married. I know he's not titled etc. but he'd probably get some other upper-middle-class girl who would have loved him. Plus he's a racing car driver, he must have so many women enamoured by that.
- Larry (he went for Sybil) - he's mean so maybe that's why he's getting married late.
Mary could have quite a few suitors because she's well off and still quite young, but I agree it's weird that none of the men were windowed or had a complicated other relationship that Mary had to shake them free of.
Reading this wikia and other conversations on here, I get the feeling that people don't really like Mary and Henry Talbot together... I quite like them together and I think it's a shame that their romance (and Bertie and Edith's) had to be rushed. I’m going to write a defence (it’s long) for their relationship.
Firstly, I think people always compare any relationship of Mary's with the one she had with Matthew. I get why, because that was her "big love" but I think it's probably unfair to do so because the entirety of series1 was written revolving around Mary and her life, her love. Edith and Sybil's love lives got very little attention, and most of the conversations within the family were about Matthew and Mary, and the entail. It was very easy to fall for Matthew and Mary because it was all about them.
Series 6 is different. Julian Fellowes had to bring loads of different stories, themes and characters to a good end (seeing the servants find a place outside Downton, he had Isobel, Edith, the theme of traditions and estates being unsustainable) so he basically didn't have the same indefinite screen time to dedicate to Mary's love life that he had in series 1 and 2. He couldn't write as many moments for Henry and Mary.
However, I think if you look at the moments we did get, there was a romantic understanding and maturity about their relationship. I felt like the way they looked at each other when they danced, talked or before they kissed, Mary just looked a lot softer and less snooty than she was with the others. She kind of shed that hard exterior, especially in the library when she declared their mutual love.
I also I thought they matched in their ability to challenge and interest each other, like in the 2014 CS dance scene, and when Henry and Lady Shackleton turn up for dinner and he says she has to be taught about cars properly when she's about to dismiss his lifestyle. Neither are the kind to back down and there were playful back and forths throughout (e.g. before he goes off to race) that felt so natural, like they already knew each other's character and how far to push the other before really getting to know one another.
Conversely, I think they also know how to "play" one another, or "push their buttons." Henry knew that turning up to Downton so suddenly would confuse Mary, and leaving before breakfast would confuse her again. Likewise, after Mary called him back, she stopped after her big declaration that she thinks they should be together to ask for some tea, knowing that leaving him hanging would flummox him. It'll make them a tempestuous couple but there's an understanding there.
Lastly, at the Royal Automobile Club dinner, Mary laid out her entire hand of what she wanted in life and what her priorities were, and Henry embraced that and then remembered that she had a son. Likewise Mary knew about the car thing and his financial situation but never wanted him to give up what he wanted to do with his life. It’s not young love where you can try to ignore those things, but it’s mature love which is just as sincere but harder to forge.
I basically think that they are right for each other but maybe people aren’t convinced because Matthew-Mary’s love was written so well and this was rushed. Plus, I felt like Fellowes overkilled by chucking in Tom to harp on and on about it - he should have left it to just Mary and Henry and it would have worked because scenes with just the two of them were the best. Matthew and Mary in s1 was relatively unhindered because it was practical and neither had a romantic history to hold them back. Maybe Julian Fellowes took on too much for Mary and Henry, with the unequal position and car thing and time constraints, but I believed it.
I agree with all of the above observations, especially Tom interfering too much – I think it definitely would have been smoother without him!
In some ways it makes it very romantic to think that Mary and Henry had to meet in 1924-25 to have worked out, it wouldn’t have worked any earlier because Mary had to become the person (through experiences) that could love Henry.
We don’t know about Henry before this but s1 Mary would never have gone for Henry, she was more snobbish, entitled and pressured to marry into money and title; and her family would have been dead against it. Her first marriage, loss of Matthew, having a son to secure the estate and terrible romances that followed made her more ready to accept someone with fewer prospects, and consider love over position.
Similarly, the Henry we know would not have gone for Mary s1 who had those qualities, he seemed to like her independence and ambition that she developed over the course of the show. And he said in S6E8 that he had spent a long time looking for a woman he would want to marry, so it’s even sweeter that he isn’t the kind to settle and Mary, by going through all her ordeals, had become his ideal partner.
I don’t know if others find it as romantic that they lived their lives to become the right people for each other. Perhaps I’m too sentimental!
As for not comparing, I thought the same thing but actually it’s not so bad to have Henry and Matthew side by side because their relationships with Mary and their characters are quite different – they’re almost incomparable. Matthew was all about being principled and moral, doing what is right. Henry was about adversity and challenging the norms. Matthew was the Prince Charming on a white horse riding over the sunny hills, Henry is like the dark knight on a black stallion riding through the storm – princesses would pick both of those.
How is Henry like the dark knight on a black stallion riding through the storm? He did nothing but race cars and then opened a used car dealership.
Mary is attracted to Henry and she thinks he's nice. The only thing that put her off was the fact that he races cars-which will be a constant reminder of how Matthew died. Even though Henry admitted that he does not have much to offer Mary, he still wanted to be with her. He even gave up racing for her but that was because his friend's death made him to lose interest. They both compromised- they both keep each other happy and be their own person.
I don't think that "nice" isn't an adjective that describes Henry. Gillingham was nice, but Mary didn't accept him. And of course Tom was even nicer.
No doubt Mary was sexually drawn to Henry, but that could motivate only a fling, not a marriage. They didn't know each other at all as they had met mostly in company.
Lastly, they did *not* make a compromise but Mary surrended under pressure of Tom and Violet. Mary never told Henry of her fears.
I think a major issue with the relationship is that apparently the unhappiness being apart from Henry caused Mary is what made Mary tell Bertie about Marigold. Unfortunately, it just wasn't that convincing and it felt like Mary's efforts to make amends was solely about getting back with Henry, when many of the audience thought that she should apologise to Edith and make things right with her. Instead she prioritised Henry, and Edith was forced to extend the olive branch. As a result too much weight was placed on Mary's relationship with Henry whilst the audience were more focussed on what she did to Edith. If the relationship was more convincing then it may have been more understandable, but unfortunately the pairing just did not work well enough for many of the audience to find Mary's behaviour excusable. Same for Henry practically threatening Mary on the stairs. It felt less like watching two lovers tortured for their feelings for each other and more like two selfish people behaving selfishly.
I dont' like Mary and Henry as a couple. I think their interest was purely physical. I didn't get the sense they had an emotional connection. She constantly had a nagging that they were not a good match, yet Tom kept harping on how she loved him and how they were right toegther. Why and how did Tom get to know Mary (the icist, most guarded person in the house) to the degree that he would know she loved Talbot? It was a hard sell for me. Also, Mary's closest confident ANA (not Tom) felt they were not a good match and relcutantly told her. Mary seemed relieved to know Ana knew how she really felt despite Tom's insistence. So that was really confusing when Ana had a change of heart and supported the MAry/Henry matching. It seemed like a rushed thing to have her married before the end.
I don't see how Mary, who lost her husband in a car crash, would pair herself with a racecar driver. The horror she expressed to him of how she felt when he raced and when Charlie died was enough reason for her break up and she did. She was being sensible. So enough people tell her she loves him and she buys it? How very un-Mary. Granted, he retired, that was not soemthing they planned on. So I just think it's kind of weird and that she settled. She should've been the spinster. Never feeling anyone was up her grandious expectations. Growing old in the Abby with Thomas. (does it show I don't like Mary? hehe!!)
The Christmas episode made a real effort to present Henry as a nice, dependable bloke (looking after young George, being nice to Edith, rushing to find Bates when Anna went into labour, wanting to step in when Carson got the shakes at the wedding reception) and so the marriage as a happy ending.
But there was too much in what went before that made me uncomfortable: the fact that he wouldn't take Mary's no for an answer, the way in which Tom was pushing her into the relationship (really, this seemed more about Tom wanting a bestie than anything else). Like a previous poster said: "It felt less like watching two lovers tortured for their feelings for each other and more like two selfish people behaving selfishly."
What do you think?