Completely agree! She was such a bitch to him in the first series, then once she’s realised she wants him, expects him to come back to her. Err, no. He has a life too, and it doesn’t revolve around her, or Downton.
Don’t hate me too much, fandom :(
I’m probably not going to say anything new here that hasn’t already been said in a far more eloquent, articulate, and coherent manner, but I just have to get this off my chest so I can get on with the rest of my day.
“She was such a bitch to him in the first series.”
Yes, how dare she not take an immediate liking to a previously unknown relative who is set to inherit what should be hers, but isn’t due to the fact that she was born a girl. How dare she bristle towards someone she overheard saying that he expects her parents to “push one of the daughters” at him because he’s a bachelor and the future heir. How ridiculous of her to resent a man who her elders are now recommending that she marry as a convenient solution to all their problems, “an answer to every one of [their] prayers”. And this suggestion comes at the heels of the demise of an engagement that was brought about with the same thought in mind. How bitchy of her to feel wounded by her father’s gushing affections for this man, the son he never had. The son she never was.
Yet despite all of this, she begins to soften towards him, learns to admire him and the life he leads and the work he does. She is so honest with him at the fair in 1x04, plainly telling him that it’s her life that makes her angry, and not him.
If Matthew gets his feelings hurt and trampled by Mary’s actions (and I’m referring to pre-1x06), I don’t think Mary is to blame there. He falls hard and fast for her long before she does for him. She is not at fault for his infatuation with her.
When Mary and Matthew are finally on the same page with regards to their affections for each other, Mary feels she can’t accept his proposal without being completely honest with him about the incident with Pamuk. He deserves to know the truth. She doesn’t want to “[catch] him with a lie.” Bitch.
I can understand Matthew’s confusion, his frustration, and his hurt when Mary hesitates to give him an answer. I can see how he would mistakenly perceive this as meaning that perhaps her feelings for him aren’t that strong and are not entirely true. But that’s HIS flaw, HIS mistake to think Mary to be so weak and so fickle that her reason for delaying her answer is because his prospects could change if the child her mother was carrying would be a boy. When he left her (HE left HER) at the garden party, he should have been able to see how broken she was, how he was breaking her heart. But he could only see his dreams being shattered and thought little for her. And tbh, I get that. He was hurt and angry and wrapped up in his own feelings. I just wish he could have shown her more mercy, given her more credit. Shown some regret. Apologized. He may have done a little of that in 2x08, but it wasn’t enough. But we’re not talking about that now.
“then once she’s realised she wants him, expects him to come back to her.”
Are we even watching the same show? I am going to borrow/requote heavily from myself from a rant I wrote after watching 2x08 here.
Mary deserves a trophy made of all the treasures in the world for her marathon of endurance and self-composure in Series 2. Theoretically speaking, she is the one who should have died from a broken heart, not Lavinia as Matthew believes. Mary’s heart is so broken and so burdened she might as well be dead. She has had to live with Matthew’s decision to throw her over because he misunderstood her hesitation as a lack of love. She has had to live with that pain for years. She has had to watch him announce his intentions to marry another woman while her yearning for him still singes her heart. But she never expects anything from him. She does nothing to imply to him that he should return to her. She does the complete opposite. She befriends Lavinia for Matthew’s sake, comforts her while her own heart breaks in silence. That afternoon after she talks to Lavinia in the garden, she sees how much Lavinia loves him, and she honors and respects that. She swallows her own feelings and walks away. She pursues the prospect of marriage with someone else because she needs to move on with her life and knows Matthew is moving on with his. She forces herself to smile and breathe and live and convince everyone around her that she is happy and she has moved on. In the silence and privacy of her room, she falls to her knees and prays to a God she barely believes in to keep him safe. Mary is so burdened by her need to conceal her love and her concern for Matthew, it is a testament to her bravery and her character that she has the strength to stand at all.
And if Matthew fails to recognize and acknowledge this strength, I will cut someone.
So no, she never expected him to come back to her. Even when his feelings for her are reawakened after Violet’s conversation with him and he kisses her and she gives in to feelings that never left her and have been repressed for five years, she does so knowing that that moment is probably all they will have.
When Matthew is consumed with guilt and grief and lashes out at her at Lavinia’s grave, and she says “Of course it’s the end”, she knew it was the end all along. She never needed him to tell her that. I don’t think she ever believed otherwise. As much as she wants him, and as much as I hope Matthew wants her in some repressed part that he has buried and forgotten, I don’t think she ever truly believed that they would actually end up together. Which makes everything all the more tragic. And also makes you all the more wrong. I’m just sorry you’re blind to the humanity that bleeds through her.
“He has a life too, and it doesn’t revolve around her, or Downton.”
As the presumed future heir to the bloody place, pray what else should his life revolve around?
“Don’t hate me too much, fandom :(“
I don’t hate you, just the things you choose to think are true.