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A Downton Abbey fan favorite is returning — what’s it mean?

Branson is back for Downton Abbey‘s final season. What will his return mean for the ladies of the manor?

Allen Leech (Tom Branson) has been spotted filming scenes for Downton Abbey Season 6 in full ’20s garb. Any fear fans had over Branson spending the final season in America should now be alleviated. Not only is he back, but he may be engaging in a car race (perhaps with the car loving Henry played by Matthew Goode). Could he be racing to woo Lady Mary away from Henry and toward him?

Let’s face it, the chances of Branson ending up with one of his deceased wife’s elder sisters seem high, especially after his touching goodbyes with both Lady Edith and Lady Mary last season. Honestly, this is one love triangle (or quadrangle… or polygon when we factor in Edith’s potential new beau) worth getting behind.

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Branson’s return will be welcome for a number of reasons. His relationship with Robert is always a joy to watch, and he bridges the gap between the upstairs and the downstairs. However, if he managed to find love with Mary or Edith, not only would the fandom explode, it could have huge implications for the future of the manor.

For Mary and Branson, a romantic relationship would further solidify the future of Downton. They have already proven themselves to be forward-thinking business partners and close allies. If Mary married Branson instead of the handsome Henry she met in the Season 5 finale, it would signify a closing of the ranks. Cousins Sybbie and George would grow up as siblings, and Downton’s future would be in competent hands moving into the ’30s.

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For political reasons, Mary and Branson make the best match, but it is hard not to have a soft spot for Edith. Her vivacious attitude and willingness to have a career and be a single mother are all attributes Branson admires. Their friendship is firm, and Branson has long been the one person at Downton who sees Edith’s full potential. Likewise, she is always quick to keep the family from stamping out Branson’s rebel spirit. Edith also has a new love interest waiting in the wings, but it would be oh so satisfying to see her finally get a good and decent man who loves her exactly as she is.

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Even if Branson ends up with neither sister, having him back for the final season is amazing news. The driver turned family member has become an integral part of Downton. Without Branson, the final season just would not feel complete.

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