I think Branson has great character development, making the transition from servant to family, and from an angry revolutionary patriarch to a kind, supportive man. What do you think?
Tom has great character development. When he first arrives at Downton, he creates a friendship with Sybil, breaking boundaries, and encourages her political leanings. When their relationship becomes romantic, however, he gets arrogant and pushy, telling her "You're in love with me," but is also very genuine about his feelings. He refuses to accept a bribe from Lord Grantham to leave Sybil alone, showing solidarity in his love. When he and Sybil return to Downton for Mary and Matthew's marriage, he becomes patriarcal towards Sybil, saying "don't dissapoint me" when she suggests options to make him fit in better. Despite the pressure of his new family, he stays strong in his ways and beliefs until he grugingly accepts to wear a morning coat to the wedding. When Mary and Matthew fight, he is able to bridge the gap between them and save the marriage, showing empathy and understanding.
When Branson returns to Downton once more on the run, having left Sybil to fend for herself while he runs from the law, he is engulphed with remorse from taking it too far with is patriotic, revolutionary beliefs. When Sybil arrives at Downton, he shows his guilt by sobbing and saying "I'm so sorry" many times. He accepts sadly that he can never return to Ireland, but is still filled with shame and grief.
After Sybil's death, Branson names their daughter Sybil in her memory, and has the child christened as a Catholic, despite the complaints of Lord Grantham. His grief for Sybil changes him deeply, making him want to appreciate the family that she loved. He becomes the agent of the estate and helps Matthew to convince Lord Gratham to modernize, bringing his socialism to help influence decisions that favor the tenants and the estate. After Matthew's death, he helps Mary to get over her grief, but has to move to America to realize that Downton is his home now.
As he transfers into the family, Tom supports Mary and Edith. Tom has a good relationship with Mary, but I think his relationship with Edith is also interesting. Both he and Edith feel themselves to be outsiders and he encourages her to "fight her corner," which leads her to reunite with her daughter. He also encourages her journalism.I think Tom helps to bring out good values in other people.
During his development, Tom is made to question the changes withing himself by Ms. Bunting and Edna, but these challenges overall help him become more sure of who he is.
In the finale season, Tom really seems part of the family. He encourages the relationship between Henry and Mary, and when Mary ruins Bertie and Edith's relationship, he shows his anger and disbelief at her, even though he loves her life a sister. Eyes filled with tears, he tells her, "Like all bullies, you're a coward."
Overall, Tom is one of the characters who develops the most in Downton Abbey.
People's opinions vary greatly over the evolution of Tom's character. Some aren't happy he effectively sold out on his principles and became a lackey to the upper classes. Truth be told I never thought much of him as a character, didn't like him in the early seasons when he seemed to badger Sybil.
He was more of a plot instrument than anything else. In the early seasons it was a way to allow Fellows have the excitement of the daughter of an earl running off with a chauffeur despite the real life implausibility of it, and in later episodes the revolutionary morphed into the neutral, supportive brotherly role that Matthew Crawley had had in the earlier seasons. So he became Matthew-lite.
I personally love atoms Character. Sybil was Darling and their relationship was endearing. I do however, have an unpopular opinion. I quite like Sarah. I feel as if the writing for the show was bad for her in a way. Edna was fine being vile as it suited her motives, but I wish they would've either casted a sweeter, more softspoken actress, or written Sarah to be opinionated but not rude. They didn't serve her character justice if I'm being completely honest. I would have liked Tom and Sarah's relationship if they hadn't tried to make her a complete witch.
He goes from radical to finding the life of an oppressive toff not all that bad in all of one season. He spends the rest of the time whining he should be somewhere else, while never going there, then does, only to come back two episodes later, and do.... nothing besides yell at Princess Ice Queen to get together with cardboard suitor #4.
What do you think?