Thursday, June 7, 2012

Proposals Gone Right: The One With Bated Breath

This year we got to witness one of the best proposals gone right I've ever seen. It's easy to think you can never again be impressed by a proposal on screen these days, but Downton Abbey proved it's not a hit show for nothin'. Because not only are you a little unsure whether or not your wildest dreams are actually about to be realized, but it's also such a splendid display of character development (which is one of my favorite things after PROXIMITY, which rules the land of favorites). And get this: you know how last year I had a breakdown when I realized none of my favorite proposals gone wrong involved the man on bended knee (something I have always been very particular about when envisioning my own i.e. "I will say no if he doesn't get down on one knee!")? Well it turns out that this proposal is the only one of my favorites (gone wrong or right) where the gent actually did this. What does this mean? I'm having an existential crisis!!!!!!! Maybe I don't care whether Richard Armitage my man kneels before me anymore? If you witnessed my initial reaction to this proposal and, thus, lost all sense of hearing, I AM OBVIOUSLY LYING.

Ahem... Anyway, Mary and Matthew have been in love for aaaages (in short: ten we-blissfully-look-just-as-gorgeous-as-the-day-we-met years). Their relationship started off in a most cringe-worthy way, but the love-hate relationship quickly turned to true love. It was all very romantic until Mary ruined everything, allowing Matthew to slip through her lacy fingers. We all watched this happen with unadulterated wine-induced fury as we ripped apart Dove Promises wrappers before inevitably scrolling down pages of cats up for adoption through veils of tears with the Dawson's Creek soundtrack blaring in the background. In the second season they both got engaged to other people, but once Matthew's fiancée conveniently died of Influenza, he was free to step right in and beat the shizz out of Mary's vile Richard. And then propose to her the next day! THIS IS A STORYBOOK ROMANCE!
Matthew: Would you stay if I asked you to?
Mary: Matthew, you don't mean that. 
Mary: You know yourself we carry more luggage than the porters at King's Cross. And what about the late Mr. Pamuk? Won't he resurrect himself every time we argued?
Screw Pamuk! Oh wait...
Matthew: No.
Mary: You mean you've forgiven me?
Matthew: No, I haven't forgiven you.
Er... *head scratch*
Mary: Well then-
*slapping your season one self*
Matthew: I haven't forgiven you because... I don't believe you need my forgiveness. 
What?! What?! What?! Can it be?!?! *scoots to edge of seat*
Matthew: You've lived your life and I've lived mine. Now it's time we live them together.
PERFECT MAN IS PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And P.S. How refreshing is this after the controlling vile Richard?!
Mary: We've been on the edge of this so many times, Matthew. Please don't take me there again unless you're sure.
Will you please stop talking?!
Matthew: I am sure.
He is sure!
Mary: And your vows to the memory of Lavinia?
Who cares about Lavinia right now?!
Matthew: I was wrong. I... don't think she wants us to be sad. She was someone who never caused a moment's sorrow in her whole life.
Thanks, ghost Lavinia!
Mary: I agree.
Stop talking.
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?
Mary: Yes!
That kiss! Their utter relief that they've finally made it to this moment! The twirlage! I caaaaaaaaan't!!!!

This is by far one of the most in-your-face sappy proposals gone right ever, but rightfully so because this happy ending did not come for free. Mary has not expected this to happen. She prepared herself for a move to America after breaking off her engagement with vile Richard, but more than that, she has been battling an inner turmoil over Matthew for years. She knows she made the wrong choice when she decided to wait and see if there might be a new heir to Downton and that she has to live with the consequences. From the moment when they break off their engagement up through World War I and its aftermath, she has held her tongue and kept her ALL CAPS FEELINGS to herself. Which is very unlike her! Because it's OTP true love! While obviously/heartbreakingly in love with him, she has remained brave and strong in her quiet manner; not waiting for him to choose her, but waiting for some change or glimmer of hope. But Matthew, who has hidden behind his guilt over Lavinia's death, finally comes to his senses before she has a chance to leave the country. He sees that a life with his one-and-only is an option and finally chooses happiness. 

Like I said, this proposal is entirely the fruit of extraordinary character development. It's amazing to see how far they come, but I love how they're still the same kiddos they were on day one at the same time. Mary's not so much changed that she's going to let Matthew get away with not getting down on one knee. And Matthew's not so much changed that he's not going to do exactly what she wants in that moment. HEARTS IN MY EYES!!!!!

On a scale of meh to ZOMG *GRABBY HANDS*, I give this proposal an emphatic, "MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!" Flawless proposal is flawless. Imagine your life being so long intertwined with someone else's, but never being on the same page. To find that you are, at last, in sync? PASS THE SMELLING SALTS! I GET TO SPEND FOREVER WITH MATTHEW CRAWLEY AND HIS ICY BLUES!!!!!!!! I just watch this one and transform into a fit of squeals and hand clapping. Eeeeeeeeeeep!!!!!!! Love exists, y'all! YAY!

P.S. I just need to point out that when they broke off their engagement at the end of season one, this happened:
Mary: Would you have stayed if I had accepted you?
Matthew: Of course.

And then this happened during proposal #2:
Matthew: Would you stay if I asked you to?
Mary: Oh Matthew, you don't mean that.

Oh but he does! Anyway, I just love this symmetry! Love, love, looooove!

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