LM and MC 4E, you guys! Finally, FINALLY, after what we can now admit was a crazy season two, filled with a whole bunch of crazy stuff, Matthew will take Lady Mary’s hand in marriage. This week’s Downton Abbey is exclusively about that.

Yes, OK there were other things. The Christmas Special was wonderful because it stuck to what Downton does best: classic O’Brien/Thomas Smoke Break Schemin’, atmospheric downstairs B stories, and a million open cans of whoopass care of the Dowager Countess.

But first let’s talk about what matters most:

The Ballad of Matthew and Lady Mary These two have been dancing slow circles around each other all season, casting longing glances over the shoulders of this partner or that. Rosy cheeked plot device Miss Lavinia Swire was quickly disposed of in the Spanish Flu epidemic of last week, but what to do about Cartoon Villian Sir Richard Newspaper? He essentially escorted himself out of the storyline by perpetually being a huge jerk in front of everyone else. As much of a frigid bitch as Lady Mary may be sometimes, she does not deserve the cutting threats delivered in a stage whisper at dinner, or the withering stares from across the hunt in the afternoon. If you so much as lay a finger on Lady Mary, you best be prepared to hold your own against an army of Crawleys. The family could take no more of Lady Mary’s public eye rolls or bare to see her tender wrists caught in Sir Richard’s steely grip. What little leverage Sir Richard has – and lest we forget that little detail, he can break the story about the dead Turk in her bed– is dashed when Papa advances daddy-daughter relations about a hundred years and tells his girl she should be happy. “Go to America, find yourself a cowboy in the Middle West, and get buckwild. You’re young, you’re beautiful, you’re a Crawley. Your mother and I only want what’s best.” You go Papa, way to be progressive. After all the will-they-won’t-they this week (and this season, my god) Lady Mary and Cousin Matthew finally find themselves in the world’s most flattering snowfall, the perfect moment for a proposal. Cousin Matthew sort of botches the first attempt, but I have to give Lady Mary snaps for demanding exactly what she wants of her man. To all the stone faced, cold hearted, unapproachable strong ladies out there: we should take note. If we want a man down on his knees, all we have to do is ask. Congrats you guys!

The Trial of Droopy Dog OK, if The Good Wife has taught me anything – and it has: I’ve got the legal knowledge of your basic 1L at a mid-tier law school – it’s that the Bates Murder Case will not be cut and dry, dear Bates will not go straight to his death, and we will get some kind of retrial, at least for the sake of billable hours. Jowly Jones himself, Mr. Bates has sad and brooding down pat, and his newfound Mrs. Bates, Anna, swoons like a champ upon his sentence to death. You’d think with a lawyer in the family (Hey, remember? Matthew had a job. He used to be a contributing member of society.) that this case would have gone maybe something closer to OK. Instead, it was an absolute shitstorm Every witness just blasted holes in Bates’ defense and even his own staunch supporters essentially tied the knot in his noose with their testimony. Come on Mrs. Hughes! Lord Grantham! Keep it together. Oh well. Next time. Looks like we have a retrial to look forward to in season 3.

Lady Rosamund’s Suddenly Relevant Marital Status Lady Rosamund, who apparently is kept in the attic and rolled out only for special occasions along with the living nativity scene we put out front, and that kiddie pool that ruins the grass, apparently needs a husband because she’s old. The Dowager Countess is, of course, all for marriage, but not to whoever the suitor du jour is. He’s a gold digger with some serious debt, and a taste for maids. He’s yet another in a long line of so-called gentlemen to be found in the arms of the help at Downton. It seems Lady Rosamund may just be lonely a little bit longer. Speaking of sad, hopeless cases: Edith! My god! Girlfriend can’t catch a break. First, her backup man reveals a dead arm and then a dead heart! He’s so not into her. And she was already naming their kids in her head. She’s not in a position to turn down someone who calls her “lovely.” Come on, Edith. You can drive. Respect yourself.

Downstairs Drama

–       Two seasons’ worth of character development is heaved on Daisy in this one episode. She gets a dad, some good advice, and some balls, all in the course of the 90-minute special. Daisy is now William and his Chin’s Sad Dad’s new daughter, and apparently the precursor to workers’ unionization. She’s become so self possessed, finally!

–       Maids at a shooting lunch? Hardly. Carson still refuses to break good form. He has weathered this storm well.

–       Downstairs becomes an ongoing sixth grade sleepover once someone breaks out a Ouija Board. The staff uses it to send dirty messages to one another they’d rather not say out loud.

–       Downstairs in the biblical sense: Sybil’s pregnant! In Ireland! Angela’s Ashes references are just too tempting. That was fast. A little Fenian bundle of joy on the way.

O’Brien and Thomas Smoke Break

This week’s smoke break features O’Brien giving what appears to be harmless advice, “Don’t be an asshole, do something nice, make people like you.” Thomas’ interpretation: steal a dog, lock it in a shack. Thomas, don’t do that.

Dowager Countess Zinger! Of the Night: (Too many to pick just one.)

–       Alas I am beyond impropriety.

–       Sir Richard: I doubt we will meet again. DC: Do you promise?

–       Don’t worry about the vase. It was a gift from a dreadful aunt. I’ve hated it for half a century.

–       Just keep me upright, and we’ll avoid all that.