Despite how they ended or how they began there were a lot of perfect couples on the show and a lot of couples that made no sense at all.
Downton Abbey had many romances over its six seasons. Many ended in heartbreak – let us never forget that each of the Crawley grandkids has one dead parent – but there were some happily-ever-afters. There was also a lot of scandal. Remember Mary’s first fling dying in her bed? Or Mr. Bates’ estranged wife turning up murdered?
But, despite how they ended or how they began, there were a lot of perfect couples on the show and a lot of couples that made no sense at all. And then there is Cora and Robert who, at times, was a lovely couple, and at other times made you want to tear your hair out. Which is why they’re not on this list.
Make No Sense: Mary and Henry
After Matthew died in the third season, it seemed that Mary might never fall in love again. How could she ever find someone as perfect for her as Matthew was? But she started dating and had all sorts of suitors from Tony Gillingham to Charles Blake to poor Evelyn Napier whom she never looked at twice. But none of them were quite right.
When Henry Talbot entered the scene, he seemed perfect. He was dashing and handsome and witty. But there was no chemistry there. The show tried to convince the audience that they were passionately in love, but the truth was they both had more chemistry with Tom than they ever did with each other. Her friends and family kept telling Mary that they were perfect for each other, but Mary’s instincts may have been right all along.
Perfect: Tom and Sybil
Some of the best characters complement each other and make each other better people. Tom and Sybil were a great example of this. When Tom is first introduced he’s an Irish socialist keen on overturning the status quo. Admirable and necessary ambitions, but he was all sharp edges and brash outbursts. Sybil was sheltered and desired more out of life but didn’t know what. Sybil helped soften his sharpness and encourage his long-term goals, while he encouraged her nursing career and let her know that a life outside of Downton could be fulfilling in different ways.
Sadly, their time was cut short with Sybil’s death during childbirth, but Sybil’s influence stayed with Tom and helped him create his place within the Crawley family.
Make No Sense: Daisy and Alfred and Ivy and Jimmy
This obviously wasn’t just a couple as there are four people involved, but they were each trying to become a couple and none of it worked out. Daisy was in love with Alfred who was in love with Ivy who was in love with Jimmy who was in love with himself. And though there were some successful dates and dances, nothing really stuck. A lot of it was because all four of them acted insufferably towards each other.
And spare a thought for the real victim of their constant couple switching – poor Mrs. Patmore. More than once she had to tell them to stop mooning about each other and get to work. It must’ve been exhausting and she’s a hero for not sacking the lot of them.
Perfect: Mary and Matthew
Mary did not make the best impression on Matthew upon their first meeting. He could tell she was a snob who looked down on a lawyer who was going to inherit her estate and family fortune, not considering that he wanted nothing to do with it. And Matthew made a pretty bad impression on Mary, as she overheard him complaining that it was likely they would try and marry off one of the Crawley girls to him.
But once they got to know each other, they were perfect for one another. Loving Matthew softened Mary considerably and toned down her snobbery. Mary made Matthew believe in himself and taught him that owning an estate like Downton was a duty and an honor, not a burden. It took years for her to truly get over his death, and that’s not a surprise.
Make No Sense: Tom and Sarah Bunting
The first woman Tom was interested in after Sybil died was Sarah Bunting. She had a lot in common with him, with their socialist political views and their stations in life. Both were not servants, as he was Downton’s estate agent and she was a school teacher. And they both believed the world needed to change.
But Sarah was awful. When she was invited to Downton for dinner as the Crawleys wanted to get to know her, she was rude and condescending. And when saying she doesn’t like the type of people the Crawleys are (i.e. Aristocrats), Tom reminds her that he loves them. But it’s not something they can get past, so thankfully she leaves town.