Downton Abbey S2 Scripts: Christmas Special. The shooting party.
Another comment by Fellowes on love and the love between Matthew and Mary. Interesting that Fellowes intends Carlisle to feel threatened simply by the ease between Matthew and Mary - I had always seen his anger as arising from suspicion that there was “something going on” or about to go on between Matthew and Mary. I prefer the scene the way Fellowes meant it, with Carlisle not liking the friendship and ease.
This is good stuff here, astute comments from Fellowes and also indicative of more nuanced characterization than I gave the writing credit for.
This kind of relationship ease couldn’t develop between Mary and Richard because she was in love with Matthew already and remained closed off from anyone else. “Cold and careful…” (That’s not a criticism of Mary; when you’re in love you’re in love.)
Your comment about the characterization crystallized in my mind the thought that Fellowes’ intent with Carlisle in this scene is much more interesting than my first impression because his Carlisle is a much more interesting man: he is astute and perceptive of the emotions and relationships of others. Of course that makes sense when I think about it; as a businessman and newspaperman, that quality would have helped Carlisle rise to his position as a successful publisher. Fellowes has another comment about Carlisle and Iain Glen and I’ll get it scanned and posted later today.
I’ve always found Carlisle’s characterization very nuanced and very subtle.
I think the anger Carlisle felt against Matthew and because of Mary was born from both frustration and jelousy. Frustration because, as he says in the CS, “I have tried Mary. Give me that. I’ve done everything I can to please you.” In his mind he’s done everything a good husband-to-be has to do, and he did this in good grace, eager to please the woman he so clearly loves, but on the other hand his love is possessive, bordening on abusive, and it often equates affection to buying things, which is something maybe the old Mary would have been interested in (but I’m not totally sure), but not the Mary who is, very consciously at this point of her story, in love with Matthew.
I’m not faulting Carlisle this, but it’s a basic misunderstanding that’s probably due to the way he had to force his way into society, bargaining and fighting for everything he owns.
Also, it frustrates Carlisle that Mary is still in love with a man who does not love her back (at least officially, but I believe Carlisle being the perceptive man he is at some point had an inkling of the feelings bubbling just under the surface on Matthew’s part), who is even, in his eyes, a villain in that he owns Mary’s heart without deserving it, just as he was given a title and money, and a certain amout of power to come no doubt, without even trying to achieve any of it.
But this said, jelousy is very easy to come into the equation too.
Carlisle is in love with Mary, and she so clearly prefers another man, openly even, and that easiness between the two of them is just natural, plain for everyone with eyes to see, so of course Carlisle would wonder if something might come out of it.
I don’t think he feared a full blown affair, but he was certainly afraid of this closeness, and of what this would probably mean if ever Matthew and Mary did get close enough, maybe in a moment of emotional distress. It’s no wonder he rushed down from London as soon as he hears Lavinia was ill (which Mary calls him upon "what? You thought that if she died Matthew would fall in my arms?"), and after all he was not in the wrong to suspect, because, as a friend of mine pointed out, Matthew and Mary did come together as soon as the circumstances gave them a moment alone, dancing and kissing, and who knows what might have happened had Lavinia never come down.
I’m not laying judgement on any of these characfters.
In the square JF drew in S2 I don’t think any of them was completely at fault, just as none of them was completely innocent, not even Lavinia, who knew, had known for some time but tried to ignore it all. That’s one of the things I found so compelling about S2, despite all its faults: Carlisle and Lavinia were love interests, meant to separate the starcrossed lovers, the soulmates, but as love interests they were incredibly layered and credible, and even without too much screen time, they came to life very easily.
As every great, classic love, Matthew and Mary’s romance was distructive for the people around them and for themselves, till they finally were given the chance to live it freely.
I will never forgive Carlisle some of the things he did, his arm-grabbing, his ruthlessness in looking for spies to control Mary, his ensnaring her with blackmail and threats (I do think his opinion of Mary changed once he knew her secret: yes, they were on equal footing in entering the marriage now, but they were not equal anymore. A shift of power that ultimately brought Carlisle to reveal his darkest side and cost him whatever affection could one day have come from Mary’s part), but I never doubted that he too was a victim of a situation he had no control over.