In HBO’s ‘The Gilded Age,’ every character is looking for something. Someone wants more money, someone wants a place amongst the elite, and someone just wants to find someone they can settle down with. The paths of these characters collide as each of them tries to find what they are looking for in the other. In the midst of all this are Marian Brook and Larry Russell. Both of them have been trying to figure out their own path outside of their families, and both of them have been unlucky in love so far. Having lived through similar experiences, they can sympathize with each other, which makes them great friends. But will this friendship take any other form? SPOILERS AHEAD
Marian and Larry’s Romance Will Take Flight in Season 3
When Marian Brook came to New York, she knew that she would need to find a suitable match for herself. At this point, she was still unsure whether her aunts would want her to stick around, but she also knew that she couldn’t depend on them forever. But she has no money, and this doesn’t make her prospects any better. So, she tries to find happiness wherever she can. In Season 1, she almost elopes with Tom Raikes, and in Season 2, she almost marries Dashiell Montgomery.
When Marian refuses to marry Dashiell, Aunt Agnes tells her this is strike two. The next time, she will have to be completely sure of what she wants because if she’s not, then strike three will mean that she’ll have to make peace with the fact that she may never get married. Agnes had made it clear that whoever marries Marian would not receive anything from the Van Rhijn money. The only thing that Agnes would pay for is Marian’s wedding, and that’s that. But with Oscar losing almost everything, it turns out that she won’t be able to do that either. Luckily, Aunt Ada has backup.
Still, whatever comes next, Marian will have to be very clear about her feelings, and this is where Larry Russell comes in. There has been a chemistry between them since they first met. They immediately became friends, and even though Agnes didn’t approve of the Russell family, it didn’t stop Marian from taking up Larry’s every offer to visit the Russell house on every occasion. Marian is liked by Mrs. Russell as well and, despite no money, belongs to the old money crowd. Because the Russells don’t want money, the only thing that Mrs. Russell would want from her son’s marriage would be someone who elevates their status, and Marian could be just that.
Earlier in Season 2, Larry got involved with Mrs. Blane, but their romance was scandalous due to the age gap and the fact that Mrs. Blane was a widow. Even if society didn’t frown upon their relationship, Mrs. Russell knew that things wouldn’t work out for them in the long run because when Larry was in his prime years, Mrs. Blane would be an old lady. Why bother wasting time on something that was already doomed? At that time, the only demand that Mrs. Russell made of her son was to date someone of appropriate age, and Marian certainly falls into that category.
Moreover, if Marian and Larry got married, it would bring Agnes and Ada into the circle as well, and by far, Agnes had managed to stay away from Mrs. Russell, no matter how hard the latter tried to win her over. So, if Larry tells his mother about wanting to marry Marian, Mrs. Russell would have to look for reasons to object to the union. In fact, from a strategic point of view, it would be a great way to get into the old money crowd by marrying into it.
It would certainly have been a problem for Agnes, but considering that she doesn’t have any money anymore, she is not in a position to make life decisions for anyone. Moreover, she’d rather Marian marry rich and settle down well rather than stay single and penniless. Aunt Ada would, of course, support Marian no matter what and might even offer some dowry on her part to sweeten the pot for the Russells.
In the end, it all comes down to what Marian and Larry want. Larry has liked Marian since the beginning. He wasn’t very happy when she got engaged to Dashiell, and when he found out that the engagement was called off, he expressed his happiness by kissing her. The fact that Marian was pleasantly surprised and not immediately horrified shows that she might not be opposed to the idea of being with him. After all, they have been great companions so far, and Larry has proved to be a good friend and a gentleman on all counts.
Marian also seems more attached to him and more open about her feelings with him than she was to Dashiell. So, even if she doesn’t instantly fall in love with him, the simple idea of his companionship might be enough to persuade her to say yes when he asks for her hand in marriage. The money certainly helps. Considering all this, we can say that the third season of ‘The Gilded Age’ will focus on Marian and Larry’s romance and might even have their wedding in store.
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