Downton Abbey
Season 4, Episode 3

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B | 62 USERS: B+
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The Proposal

Speaking of people who have just heard unwelcome news, Mrs. Hughes, just having had the whole Edna story from Branson, remarks that "this is a sorry tale." Branson takes the blame, but Mrs. Hughes thinks it's only partly his fault. He tells her he couldn't think of anyone else to turn to, and she remarks that it's "not the most flattering invitation I've ever known" (hee) before wondering what's to be done. Branson desperately wonders if he should beg Edna to leave him alone, but Mrs. Hughes replies that they're not quite there yet. Poor Branson, always getting roofied or whiskeyed or what have you.

Mary, reflexively fixing her hair as she goes, enters the library to find Lord Gillingham, who confesses he took the same train as she, but rode in third class so as not to be noticed. If ever there was a declaration of love! And indeed, he goes on that he didn't want to speak to her with all the others around, and without much further preamble, he asks her to marry him. The only initial response is the loudly ticking clock -- Thomas would be so proud that it doesn't flinch despite the surprise of the moment -- but Mary quickly recovers to tell "Tony" that he doesn't even know her. He demurs, pointing out they've known each other since they were kids, but she basically tells him that doesn't count and now he wants to spend the rest of his life with her? He stands firm, though, telling her he loves her, and then Jimmy James enters in answer to the ring Mary gave moments ago and Mary asks him if he might bring them some tea.

After Jimmy James goes off on his errand, Lord Gillingham resumes his pitch by saying he never met Matthew, but while he's sure he was "a splendid chap" ("He was," replies Mary), the fact is Matthew's dead while he's alive, and I am sure literally no one has seen this but that line reminds me of Crispin Glover in River's Edge. He tells her they could be "so very happy" together and Mary, starting to look confused, asks about "Miss Lane Fox," whereupon Lord Gillingham replies that he might come to love her, but he's certainly not in love with her. "You fill my brain. I see you when I close my eyes. I can't… I can't stop thinking about you." Do go on! Honestly, it sounds like infatuation, but on the other hand people have gotten married for far less around here, and the fact that they're an excellent paper match makes the thing not so easy to dismiss, so it's not hard to see why Mary would reply that he's very persuasive. He tells her that they could put off the actual wedding (probably for the sake of appearances as much as emotions), even for two or three years, if only she'll give him her promise that they'll do it eventually, and this is way more romantic than when Edna said kind of the same thing. Lord Grantham then enters and affably asks Lord Gillingham if he left something behind, and Lord Gillingham has the good grace not to answer in the affirmative and gaze soulfully at Mary; instead, he claims he had some business nearby. Lord Grantham asks if he'll stay, and Lord Gillingham is only too happy to -- he brought a bag just in case, although he'll only impose on them for the one night. Mary smiles in the background, probably happy for the chance to get her head together before she has to make any big decisions.

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Downton Abbey

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