I know there's lots of speculation that Rose is going to hook up with Branson next season. But since she seems to be Sybil 2.0, I could see them putting her together with Jimmy as another class-crossing love relationship. That would cause all kinds of tension, upstairs and downstairs, and it would likely get Thomas plotting new nefarious schemes.
I like this idea a lot better than any Branson/Rose speculation. While I think Branson may be attracted to Rose's spirit, I think he needs someone a bit more mature now. I could see Branson either falling for an upper class woman (who many may see as above him) or a working class woman (who many would see as a step down from his current position and may alienate him from the family further) and he's gotta figure out which direction he wants to move in.
But Rose and Jimmy are really on right about the same level and I could see them attracted to one another and both are silly enough to go for it and try something. I think Thomas would try to genuinely help Jimmy by warning him away, but Jimmy would probably blow him off, telling him he's just jealous (probably true) and would cite Branson as an example of a relationship like that working out (Jimmy never seemed all that in love with work and he'd be more than happy to trade his livery for white tie and tails and join the family in the dining room). Thomas would then probably turn to scheming to keep them apart, and it will probably blow up his relationship with Jimmy since Thomas' schemes generally go awry, but Thomas will also somehow find himself promoted to co-butler or something since failing upward also always seems to be an outcome of his schemes.
While Branson will obviously play a larger role in helping Robert run the estate, I'd kinda like to see Mary try to take Matthew's place at the table. That would be more interesting than just seeing how quickly she remarries. She's smart and obviously eager to keep Downton afloat, so I'd like to see her try.
ETA: Alfred really needs to become Isobel's new cook. He's got the makings of a true foodie (though it was odd that when the servants got to eat all the food meant for Edith's wedding he was thoroughly unimpressed and just wanted some cheese. Maybe that meal woke his palate up). I would love him Alfred to become a better cook than Mrs. Patmore, only to see the look on the DC's face when she realizes that Isobel managed to land a better cook than even the main house.
Edited by kostgard, Feb 19, 2013 @ 5:35 PM.