I get really attached to characters. It is a sickness. When I read The Hunger Games the first time through, I nearly had a mental breakdown during Mockingjay. Harry Potter is an old friend. I’d have gone with the Darkling even if it did mean selling my soul. I stopped reading The Sweet Far Thing when Kartik died. I attended the Bennett/Darcy wedding and threw rice.
The list goes on and on. So, with this evidence, my attachment to the characters on the Masterpiece Classic show Downton Abbey should come as no surprise to anyone. I watched the first two seasons in the span of a week. The highs and lows of Matthew and Mary’s romance was enough to make me sick with worry.
Then, at the moment when all things had finally come together, tragedy struck. Sybil’s death was bad enough, but I had no idea what was to come later. The rest of the season we wrapped up some lingering threads. We saw Bates freed, Thomas redeemed, O’Brien set in her place. And then came Christmas and Lady Mary ripe with pregnancy.
I did a search for gifs of Matthew and Mary for another blog post and inadvertently discovered the news that Matthew Crawley dies in the Christmas special. I searched again and again and again, trying to find information to contradict the news. Alas, there was none.
So, I bought a TV pass on Amazon and watched the episodes that hadn’t already aired on PBS. It took me a couple days to get through the Christmas Special.
My sense of dread was distracting, and was made no easier by the foreshadowing throughout the episode. From the previous episode ending with a slow shot on Matthew, Tom and Robert happily winning cricket, to the touching scene between Mary and Matthew as they held their new heir, to Roberts speech about the incomprehensible blessings being reigned down on the family.
My heart was beating like a mad drum in my head until the very end. Then it was over, and I was drained. I was a hollow shell. I realize this is dramatic. I know it is television. Bite me.
Dan Stevens, the actor who has portrayed Matthew Crawley for three season, was my favorite on the show. His subtly and presence was grounding in a show that is, at times, hard to relate to. I understand the actor wanted to move on, and the grueling schedule was hard on his family life. He explains, here, his many reasons and why we should try to forgive him.
I am inclined to be sour for a few more days though. If you are struggling, like me, to let go, here is a suggestion of how to cope.
When you have reached acceptance, at which point I assume you realize we can’t change the outcome, but rather are thankful for the time we had with Matthew, I’ll applaud you. I’m not quite there yet.
However, Julian Fellowes has yet to fail us, even if she did kill Matthew in a head on collision. And we have the Crawley heir to support now.
We’ll be up and about in no time.
With little shame, a glass of wine looms in my future as part of my coping mechanism. I didn’t put together the tribute to Matthew below, but I support it.
RIP Matthew Crawley. You husky eyed thing.