[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Sunday's episode of Downton Abbey. Read at your own risk]
It was a tragic day at the races for Downton Abbey. The Granthams took a trip out to celebrate Robert (Hugh Bonneville) surviving his ruptured ulcer and to support Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode) in his car race. Things took a deadly turn when Talbot's friend Charlie Rogers (Sebastian Dunn) spun out into a ditch and died in a fiery wreck. Not only did Talbot lose his closest companion, but also the spectacle was too much for Mary (Michelle Dockery) to take and she ended their romance.
Tom (Allen Leech) spoke for all the fans at home when he told Mary she was making a mistake - big decisions shouldn't be made in the midst of such an emotional shock. Mary, as always, puts up a pragmatic argument for why the match doesn't make sense, but is that really what's right for her? Let's get out the daisies and play a little game of "She loves him, she loves him not."
She loves him: Because he's Matthew Goode.
Lady Mary would probably tell you that looks don't really factor into what makes a good husband, but if she tried to say staring into Matthew Goode's gorgeous green eyes across their fancy dinner table was a chore she'd be lying. Honestly, he's the most attractive suitor any of the Grantham girls have had and while it isn't the whole package, it definitely doesn't hurt.
She loves him not: Because cars are a trigger.
It's not just that Talbot's passion is dangerous; it's that Mary already has painful first-hand knowledge of how dangerous cars can be. Matthew (Dan Stevens) died driving down a country road to the house. Charlie's death brought that back in an incredibly powerful way for Mary. Being with Talbot means holding her breath every time he gets into a car and praying that her worst nightmare won't come true again. No one could blame her for not wanting to sign up for that again.
She loves him: Because he's a challenge.
Mary's Season 5 suitor Tony Gillingham (Tom Cullen) was also very attractive, but didn't have the smarts or wit to push Mary out of her comfort zone. Talbot is as cunning as he is beautiful, making him a good sparring partner for the heiress of Downton. Mary can't be bored, and as dangerous as Talbot might be, he makes things interesting and that's what drew her to him in the first place.
She loves him not: Because he doesn't have money.
Money plays a big part in marriages, especially when you're trying to keep a grand house in working order in the midst of a global economic depression. Mary has the future of Downton to think about and marrying someone whose bank account can't help secure the house's future is a big risk. It'd be ideal if Mary's happily-ever-after was determined purely by love, but there is a bigger picture to consider and Mary has always been the most logical of the sisters.
She loves him: Because there isn't time to love anyone else.
Speaking of pragmatism, there are only two episodes left before Downton Abbey concludes its final season. If a Season 7 were underway, then it could be feasible that Talbot was just another "almost" on Mary's way to finding her true match. With the little time that's left though, it is hard to imagine Mary meeting someone else that causes such a spark and meets all of her mental and emotional needs. If there's any justice in the world, these two will find a way over this setback and into each other's arms.
Downton Abbey Season 6 continues Sundays on PBS at 9/8c.