'The Gilded Age' Season 2 Theories Promise More Sparring Between Mrs. Van Rhijn & Mrs. Russell

- The Gilded Age -
'The Gilded Age' Season 2 Theories Promise More Sparring Between Mrs. Van Rhijn & Mrs. Russell

In the grand season finale of The Gilded Age, Agnes Van Rhijn did the unthinkable... and crossed the street. The stakes may be low most of the time on the HBO period show, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of theories about The Gilded Age Season 2 out there.

The show was renewed for Season 2 on Feb. 14, so it's guaranteed that there will be more of Mrs. Bertha Russell jostling for social power while Mrs. Agnes Van Rhijn sits across the street and emanates judgment. Creator Julian Fellowes will not discuss any specifics about Season 2, telling Variety following the finale, "I never talk about next year's plots. I apologize, but it's an absolute rule, because it gets you into such trouble." But let's give it our best shot, shall we?

1. Peggy Will Be Reunited With Her Son

Viewers knew Peggy Scott had a secret, but even she didn't know that the son she had with her husband Elias Finn is still alive. But now she's off to Philadelphia to find him and if this tip from Reddit about a casting call for a young child is any indication, she's going to be successful in finding him. Once she reunites with him, hopefully, she can come back to New York City and have her mother help raise him as she continues to pursue her career as a journalist (and flirt a little more with T. Thomas Fortune).

2. John Adams Will Become Engaged Before Oscar Van Rhijn

Oscar still has grand plans to wed Gladys Russell and told his lover John in the finale that, "Nothing will change." But clearly, that's not true and John has been getting jealous. John also seems to be a hit with the women of New York, more so than Oscar with Gladys (who now that she's out clearly wants to make the most of it). So, in a way to make Oscar jealous, could John start making marriage schemes of his own?

3. Ada Gets A Romance

Unlike And Just Like That where Cynthia Nixon's character turned out to be a bizarre villain, Nixon's Aunt Ada was one of the heroes of The Gilded Age. So let's give this spinster a romance! There was a hint of a romantic prospect for her in Episode 3, "Face the Music," with Cornelius Eckhard III, but Agnes sniffed out that he was only interested in Ada for the money he thought she had. But there must be some wealthy widower in New York who could woo Ada and give her a chance to live out from under her sister's thumb? Plus, just imagine the sniping comments Agnes would make about a suitor for Ada.

4. Mrs. Van Rhijn Will Quarrel With Mrs. Russell

Speaking of sniping, Agnes might have played nice for Mrs. Astor's sake at Bertha's ball, but she said she was reserving the right to quarrel with Mrs. Russell later. After a season of snubbing her, it will be a delight to see Christine Baranski and Carrie Coon's characters go verbally toe-to-toe.

5. Marian & Larry Russell Will Start A Courtship

It was inevitable that the adventurer Mr. Raikes was going to be a scoundrel. And Larry Russell is right there across the street to help Miss Marian Brook pick up the pieces of her broken heart — although any romance between them is bound to be a slow burn... a very slow burn with other prospects popping up for both of them. But perhaps their courtship will be one of the reasons why Agnes and Bertha verbally spar in Season 2. Because just as Agnes will think Larry's new money is unsuitable for Marian, Bertha will think Marian's lack of enormous wealth is unsuitable for Larry.

6. Watson's Creeping On Mrs. Robert McNeil Will Be Explained

By Episode 8, "Tucked Up in Newport," it was revealed that Watson has been standing outside of Mrs. Robert McNeil's house. But viewers still don't know why. If she was a former lover of his, you would think she would have recognized him. So maybe they were childhood friends? Another scenario could be that Watson is Mrs. McNeil's father. (Michael Cerveris doesn't look it, but he's 61.) With her, he gives the name Mr. Collyer, so perhaps that was the name she had at birth. Either way, with the Russells being accepted in polite society, their paths are going to continue to cross and viewers better find out why he's been standing outside of her house all season long.

7. A Downton Abbey Crossover

Fellowes teased to Deadline that he'll "never say never" to a Downtown Abbey and The Gilded Age crossover. The most fitting characters to pop up in 1880s New York would be the Levinsons — Cora's family. If a young Cora herself didn't show up, there's always her mother Martha, her brother Harold, or Cora's aunt who was mentioned in Downton Abbey to be living in New York City. Give the people what they want, Fellowes!

8. Bertha & Mrs. Astor Will Become Besties?!

Mrs. Astor mentioned that she could destroy Bertha after she blackmailed her into attending the ball with all of her fancy old money friends. But Bertha's response seemed to intrigue and amuse Mrs. Astor rather than infuriate her. And it helps that Ward McAllister is a fan of Mrs. Russell's tenacity. (The real Ward McAllister eventually fell out of favor with his wealthy friends, but that's not until 1890, so he has a few good years still left.) Could Mrs. Astor unwittingly become fond of Mrs. Russell? Well, since she had such a triumph in the Season 1 finale, I suspect that Bertha will experience some stumbles in Season 2. But Donna Murphy's Mrs. Astor seems like she'll be more of a regular fixture of Season 2 than she was in Season 1.

9. Mrs. Fane & Mrs. Chamberlain Will Become Besties?!

This one might be even more of a stretch than Mrs. Russell and Mrs. Astor, but Mrs. Fane did seem to have a modicum of respect for Mrs. Chamberlain after she helped Marian. Aurora was critical in helping Bertha get accepted into society, could she do the same for Mrs. Chamberlain?

10. A Maid Will Scheme

Although Turner may be gone, there's still Armstrong around. And knowing Fellowes, there will be another maid introduced in Season 2 that's bound to cause trouble.

11. Mr. Russell Will Experience A Business Failing

A chance encounter by Marian helped Mr. Russell get out of his train wreck situation, but as George actor Morgan Spector told Den of Geek, "I think this was obviously a time of enormous volatility economically, and so the risk that George faces in the first season of losing everything that he's ever built... that never really goes away." The Russells' status depends solely on their money. So while he wielded his money over other businessmen in Season 1, expect him to face a fierce competitor who challenges him in Season 2.

12. A New Neighbor Will Move Onto The Street

Now that Agnes has crossed the street, there needs to be more new blood to move onto East 61st Street. Could the new neighbors be people that the Van Rhijns and Russells have equal disdain for?! For the Season 2 finale, I wish for these two families to unite in their snobbiness.

Images: Alison Cohen Rosa/HBO, PBS

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