Marian Brook and Larry Russell stand outside a house in 'The Gilded Age.'

I’ve Been Waiting for This ‘Gilded Age’ Moment Since the First Season

In the last episode of season 2, The Gilded Age cranked up the heat on the slow-burn romance I’ve been wanting to see.

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Back in season 1, Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson) left Pittsburgh after her father died to live with her two aunts, Ada Brook (Cynthia Nixon) and Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski), in New York. Coming from old money, Agnes saw that Marian could make a good marriage match and step up on the ladder of society. Marian, however, is looking more to marry for love and live her own life. She became close friends with Peggy Smith (Denée Benton) whom she met on her travels to New York. Since Peggy became an employee of Agnes, they get to hang out a lot. I love their bedroom gossip scenes. The other friend she made is her across-the-street neighbor and son of a robber baron, Larry Russell (Harry Richardson).

Marian’s messy love life

Marian may be lucky in most of her life, but she hasn’t fared that well in love. In season 1, lawyer Tom Raikes (Thomas Cocquerel) fell for Marian when he took care of her deceased father’s estate or lack thereof. Mr. Raikes followed Marian to New York and courted her in secret. The two were supposed to elope until Tom saw what kind of lifestyle he could have in New York. He then dropped Marian and opted to marry someone with a larger bank account. So Tom Raikes ended up being kind of a rake.

***Spoilers for The Gilded Age season 2***

In season 2, it seemed like things were going to go well for Marian and the dashing widower Cousin Dashiell (David Furr). Dashiell cares about Marian. He’s well-off and nice. His daughter Frances also likes Marian since she is one of her teachers at school. But as much as they weren’t awful together, they weren’t right for each other either. Marian saw her life as a teacher or helping people in some way. Dashiell thought she would want to be a stay-at-home mom, just like his dead wife. When Dashiell talks about his wife, Marian sees he is still in love with her and there is no way they could make it work. She ends the engagement, not sure what she’s going to do with her life.

The perfect slow-burn

Since season 1, Larry and Marian made a good pair. Instead of lusting after each other, or going after the other for social standing, they genuinely liked one another. They talked about their love lives and took walks together when they needed to step out of their daily routines. Honestly, before things got serious with Tom Raikes, I thought Larry was the obvious choice for Marian. While Marian was busy with her paramours, Larry found someone else to fall for. Until his mom said the older widow would never be a good marriage match for him. They’ve both loved and lost since becoming friends.

Over season 2, the friendship between Marian and Larry grew. In the last episode, Larry invited Marian to the climatic night of the Opera Wars. At the end of the night, or rather in the morning, Larry walked Marian home. Marian said she wasn’t sure what she was going to do with her life now. Larry said he hoped they could stay friends, even if she had to move. Marian agreed they were too close to not be friends. Then they leaned in and kissed. It was light, sweet, and perfect for the buildup.

When they end the kiss, Marian lets out this adorable “Oh.” That one sound summed up how pleasant it was for these two to finally kiss! I want Marian to figure out her life path and not feel tethered to the traditional way of doing things. Of all people, Larry would understand that. I could see them getting married and still carrying on their work lives without pausing and wondering what society would think of them. Hopefully, we will get a third season of The Gilded Age to see just where this romance goes.

(featured image: Max)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.