Just a few confounding weekends stand in the way of American audiences and the fourth season unveiling of "Downton Abbey" on PBS -- at least for those who haven't found a way around bureaucracy.

In the Season 3 closer, perpetually unlucky-in-love Lady Edith found a career and potential for romance (albeit, with some red tape); widower Branson fell victim to the charms of a new maid; Anna danced for Bates; and Lady Mary was left a widow soon after giving birth to the heir just as the fate of the Downton Abbey estate was about to perk up.

PHOTOS: 'Downton Abbey's' cast without costumes

We caught up with some of the women of "Downton Abbey" -- Elizabeth Dockery (Lady Mary), Joanne Froggatt (Anna), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes) and Sophie McShera (Daisy) -- early last summer to talk about life on "Downton" and to discuss what's to come in the fourth season, which premieres in the U.S. on Jan. 5 -- about four months after its British roll out.

As might be expected, the death of Matthew (Dan Stevens), and all it bears, looms over Season 4.

"It's six months on, and Mary is still very much in mourning," Dockery told us. "She refuses to change from wearing black. She's basically in this kind of limbo -- she can't really function properly."

VIDEO: Interviews with the women of 'Downton Abbey'

Of course, Lady Mary can't very well be single! Viewers have been prepped to expect suitors will come a-knockin' by Episode 3.

"It's Cora's priority for Mary to meet someone and to tie up again," she said. It's important [Mary] has a husband because she has a child who is the heir to Downton."

For more on what lies ahead -- including Dockery's grossed-out reaction to speculation of a Lady Mary-Branson hookup -- and a bit of reflection, check out the videos at the top of the post (or the link above). You just might catch Logan reading aloud some steamy Mrs. Hughes/Carson fan-fiction; and Froggatt playing coy about a Baby Bates.