Moment of Goodness: Matthew Proposes to Mary, Downton Abbey II
We had to wait until the very last scene of Season 2 of Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey to get the most satisfyingly romantic moment of the entire series so far. Matthew finally proposes to Mary. Matthew and Mary had been through so much: her stubbornness and sordid past; his engagement to Lavinia; her troubled relationship with Mr. Carlisle that was based on blackmail; his time off at war and his subsequent bout with paralysis. There was also the tremendous guilt they both felt for sharing a romantic moment while Matthew was still engaged to Lavinia. And then, of course, there was Lavinia’s (all too convenient) death. While the list of reasons why they couldn’t be together kept multiplying, that didn’t stop their love from growing and enduring. It doesn’t matter how long both Mary and Matthew lived in the land of denial, we all knew they were meant to be together. And in this Christmas special, they made it official. First, Matthew had to get over that ridiculous vow he made to the memory of Lavinia. He felt he and Mary didn’t deserve to be happy since they were too selfish to resist that kiss in Part 6. As for Lady Crawley, she had to get rid of the awful Mr. Carlisle. There was no love there. She simply tried to tolerate him and he treated her like another one of his possessions. No different from one of the papers he owns.
A fabulous scene that paved the way for Mary’s freedom was when her father confronted her about her reasons for staying engaged to Mr. Carlisle. Cora had told him the truth about that fateful night when the Turkish diplomat died in Mary’s bed. I was so happy to hear Lord Grantham tell his daughter to forget about the effects the scandal would have on their family. He knew she needed to get out of the relationship. She could even travel to America and to her grandmother to wait the scandal out. Mary decided that’s what she was going to do.
The night of the Servants Ball was when the Moment of Goodness happened. Mary went outside to stand in the cold and be with her thoughts. Matthew found her and you just knew something magical was going to happen when he said: “Would you stay if I asked you to?” That’s when I got a big smile on my face and it never went away until the Downton Abbey show title page dissolved onto the screen. But first, Mary needed to know if Matthew had forgiven her lustful indiscretion with the Turkish diplomat:
Mary: “You mean you’ve forgiven me?”
Matthew: “No I haven’t forgiven you.”
Mary: “Well, then…”
Matthew: “I haven’t forgiven you because…I don’t believe you need my forgiveness. You’ve lived your life. And I’ve lived mine. And now it’s time we live them together.”
Mary: “We’ve been on the edge of this so many times, Matthew. Please don’t take me there again unless you’re sure.”
Matthew: “I am sure.”
Mary: “And your vows to the memory of Lavinia?”
Matthew: “I was wrong. I…I don’t think she wants us to be sad. She was someone who never caused a moment of sorrow in her whole life.”
Mary: “I agree.”
Matthew: “Then will you?”
Mary: “You must say it properly. I won’t answer unless…you kneel down and everything.”
Matthew: “Lady Mary Crawley. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
What a joyous and romantic scene that unfolded, right? It was snowing and beautiful and a wonderful kiss followed Mary’s acceptance of Matthew’s proposal. They broke apart for a few seconds and then he picked her up and spinned her around. I’m just going to live in the moment and not think about what’s going to come next for this couple. For the time being Mary and Matthew are perfectly happy. They are soulmates who finally got it right. It took them long enough but they finally got it right. Great ending to this part of the Downton Abbey saga. As far as I’m concerned, it made up for many of the flaws of this season. As soon as that proposal happened, I was in a happiness haze. Now I cannot wait for Season 3.
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