Henry Talbot should be shot.
In this essay, I will break down the reasons Henry Talbot of Downton Abbey should be shot, explain where and how many times I would like to shoot him, and further expound on my personal reasons for said gruesome murder.
Please read on if this is something you wish would happen, too. (No, this is not serious.) (And not meant to be taken seriously.)
As stated in my intro, I am one of many (I’m sure, though I’ve never heard it expressed like so) that believes that Henry Talbot, a character from the later series of the BBC drama Downton Abbey, deserves to be shot.
Specifically, I would like to drag him out into the street and repeatedly plaster his ugly, stringy, way-too-English body with bullet holes until he bleeds out.
Now, before we go any further, I would like to clarify that the actor is not related to Henry Talbot.
There is an actor — whose name I cannot remember and will not look up — who plays Henry Talbot.
Deepest respect. You had an unenviable part, English Actor Dude. Because no one is or ever will be Dan Stevens — and more than that, no one else will ever be Lady Mary’s husband. Not really.
Deepest respect to the actor, I say. It is simply the fictional character who I would like to kill. So, dear English Actor Dude, do not be offended. You done did good. Your character just shouldn’t exist.
Furthermore, they basically boxed you out of the movie, and I must say, even you should be grateful for that. Because we just didn’t want to see you on screen. No one did.
It’s not about you. It’s about the character.
Henry Talbot should be shot.
I’ve said that before, haven’t I? But have I expounded? No. I shall do so now.
Simply put, they introduced Henry Talbot to be a love interesting for Mary Crawley because … she needed a love interest. For unknown reasons. (Ick.)
Personally, I was fine with there being a host of “Mary’s men” and her never deciding to be with anyone. Perhaps she could’ve, I don’t know, actually deepened her relationship with her family — her child, for instance — instead.
Or perhaps she could’ve chosen one of her more interesting suitors. I liked Evelyn Napier and Tony Gillingham, and also that one dude with the pigs. Any of those options would’ve interested me!
Particularly the pig dude. Let’s all have a moment of silence for the pig dude. He was super cool and would’ve added so much to the show.
*a moment of silence*
I won’t even begin to get into my actual ship, though. I started to go into a rant about this here, but I confined it to a point below. And since most people don’t seem to like that ship, I’ll, um, keep it there.
Suffice to say my ship, listed below, is the only acceptable ship.
But instead, Downton Abbey brought forth Henry Talbot.
He was boring. He pretended he had real depth but simply … didn’t. He didn’t seem real — it was like he was copied and pasted from another show and suddenly was trying to fit in in a place he didn’t belong.
He was awkward. And uncultured. And he didn’t fit with Mary. He just didn’t.
Let’s talk about some of the ways I hate Henry Talbot most.
1: He and Mary have no chemistry. None.
Like, every time I look at them, I wonder why the creators of the show believed I would believe they really want each other???
With Matthew and Mary, you could feel it. Down deep in your bones, you could feel that they wanted each other — physically, yes, but emotionally and intellectually, too.
They fit. They fit so well! Almost from their first moment on-screen, there was this delightful play and chemistry.
Even when they hated each other (which, let’s face it, was often!), you could still feel it, y’all. I could feel it, and I’m the least emotionally sensitive person in the world.
Talbot? No. You can’t feel it because there is nothing there. Mary and Talbot don’t work together.
Remember how cringey their reuniting-thingy scene was? It was so cringey. The truth was, Mary wasn’t “trembling at the touch of his hand.” She awkwardly was like, “Yeah, sure, I’m into you.”
But it didn’t ring true. Honestly, no matter what they said, no matter what the actors tried to portray (and talented they are), there is no way they have a passionate marriage. I refuse to accept it. I do.
Ah, pig guy, where are you when I want you!?!
2: He and Downton Abbey have no chemistry.
I’m a pragmatist at heart. I love a good romance, yes, but I also like a nice neat little bow.
I wanted Mary and Matthew to be together for the sake of Downton Abbey as much as for themselves (though I’d have been fine if they burnt Downton to the ground to be together but semantics).
But Henry Talbot and Downton Abbey? Downton Abbey and Henry Talbot? Hownton Tabbey, if you will? I don’t ship it. I so don’t ship it.
Like, can you see them together? Plainly not because he’s rarely at Downton Abbey, and they basically remove him from the movie altogether as if to say, “Henry Talbot is not worthy of the Motion Picture Event that is Downton Abbey.”
I just can’t ship Hownton Tabbey, y’all. I can’t, and I won’t.
3: does anyone in the whole family think this is a good idea!?
I mean, they do eventually, but if they were to use their Thinky Hats (e.g. their brains which they seem to occasionally lose), they would not approve.
Robert must see that, if Mary marries, she should marry someone focused on protecting the estate — not on his own needs. Yes, she has Tom for that (more on that later), but Henry Talbot is no true partner for Mary.
Who could see that more than Carson? Carson must know this is horrible. That he won’t work for “his Lady Mary.” That their marriage is doomed for failure from the start.
Violet naturally doesn’t approve! Sure, she fakes it to make Mary “happy.” But she must be going senile in those moments, because anyone with even a bit of intelligence would see that Talbot could never make Mary happy.
I’m not going to go down the whole cast, as it is rather lengthy, but suffice to say, I don’t think anyone in the family should support this union.
Cora might not care but then she is American. You can’t trust Americans.
4: Everyone keeps telling me he’s perfect for Mary. Therefore, he is not.
During that whole last painful season (when, in my opinion, only Edith was really rewarded properly), everyone and their uncle is like, “WOW YOU AND HENRY SHOULD BE TOGETHER YOU’RE SO GOOD TOGETHER.”
Like even Tom, who I would have previously considered utterly uncorrupted and amazing in every way, buys into it. (See below my possible thought process on this.)
Anyways, everyone is all like, “Gah, Mary, stop ruining your own happiness!” and “Gah, Mary, just marry Talbot already. It’s even in your name. ‘Mary’ him.”
Here’s my conclusion about this: it’s all a conspiracy.
As a Christian in the modern world, I consider it my duty — nay, my calling! — to be suspicious of anything anyone tells me.
The fact that every character in the show is telling me that Mary and Henry should be together CONCLUSIVELY proves without a SHRED of doubt that they are NOT meant to be together.
I don’t know how I can be any more reasonable or clear than that. I just don’t.
5: There is only one acceptable ship here, plainly.
That ship is Mary and Tom.
Okay, okay, before you get all up in arms, hear me out. They would be really good together. And I cannot hear any other ship pre-movie.
After the movie, um … I really, um … I really love Tom/Lucy. But Lucy would’ve found herself another hunky Irishman if Tom were already married to Mary at that point.
So since the whole situation wouldn’t have come up, let’s just go ahead and ignore Lucy when it comes to this ship.
Tom and Mary are perfect for each other. They share similar life experiences. They bonded over losing Sybil and then over being single parents and then over running the estate together.
They work together constantly, and in perfect sync, and just … they’re soooo good together.
But the reality of this is iffy, right?
Speaking of the whole “Talbot is so good with you” conspiracy, Tom played into this, right? So he doesn’t want her if he’s suggesting she marry other men, right?
So there are a couple reasons Tom might hold back.
First of all, Mary is really cruel. So Tom probably didn’t want to deal with that drama of working through all her bitterness to find her soft side. He might’ve wanted to — might’ve seen that softness at times — but the show itself didn’t allow him to.
Also, with Mary being fairly traditional, she probably remembered that until 1907, it was illegal to marry your dead wife’s sister. So that might have caused issues with the family.
Still, who are Mary and Tom to be held back by antique traditions? Both of them, in their individual ways, have rebelled against the status quo again and again.
What better way to make that final rebellion than to cause dear Violet to faint (and then after she recovers she’ll probably be super into it because, like me, Dame Maggie Smith would be sure to recognize a great ship when she saw one)?
And I’ll say this: Tom has the chemistry with Mary (just look at their little fights here and there), he’s good for her, he’s good for Downton Abbey, and they have just … so much in common?
Talbot isn’t good for Mary like Tom is. Tom is just such a good influence on her! They level each other out.
And yeah, maybe Mary doesn’t give Tom an outlet to express his political views. But who’s to say Lucy does?! Lucy literally works directly under a woman whose only job is to TAKE CARE OF THE QUEEN, soooo yeah? Royalist much?
And anyways, politics isn’t everything. Even Tom admitted it when he broke up with Miss Conceited McSnottypants.
So just think about it. It works better than you’d imagine, doesn’t it?
Here’s further proof: the writer played with it but decided it wouldn’t work. For STUPID SHALLOW REASONS that I do not agree with. (See here.)
Like that would be the perfect character growth for Mary, my dear sir?! HOW DARE YOU!!?!?!?
But before I get carried away, let’s talk about my final reason for wanting to shoot Henry Talbot.
6: I JUST DON’T LIKE HIS STUPID FACE.
Like, look at that stupid face:
How dare he be with my Lady Mary?!
Look at the presumptuousness! I didn’t give you permission to be touching her, you jerk!
He has a stupid face. I don’t like it.
And that’s it.
That is why I would like to riddle the bleeding carcass of Henry Talbot with shotgun shells.
So. Can we agree that Henry Talbot should be shot?
I advise reading this excellent article written while the last several episodes of this lovely show were still airing. It basically recaps all my frustrated feelings over the way they dealt with the last bit of Mary’s arc.
I also ~somewhat~ approve of this one which is not one, not two, but TEN people Mary could’ve married instead of Henry. Yeah. (NOTE: this does, somewhat tongue-in-cheekily, suggest Anna (& another woman), but … I forgive it because its heart was in the right place. To quote the article, “Those moments in front of the mirror were more intimate and meaningful than any scene Mary shared with Henry.” I quite agree.)
If nothing else, you can’t say that my blog is ever boring, exactly.
Have you ever watched Downton Abbey? Or will you ever watch Downton Abbey? If you have (or, I guess, if you haven’t), do you hate Henry as much as I do? WHY DOES HE EXIST THAT PASSIONLESS WELP OF A MAN GAH!