free Mr. Bates!

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't watched the season finale of Downton Abbey, stop reading and go watch it ASAP!

Holy crap. I don't think I've been that emotionally wrapped up in an episode of TV since the series finale of Friday Night Lights. What a roller coaster. The Bates and Anna scenes were heart-wrenching... there's something about a strong stoic man shedding a few tears that just slays me. And what the hell, Lord Grantham?? Shut your trap already. You're ruining everything. You deserve whatever evil mischief Thomas throws your way now that you've foolishly made him your valet. (Though I'm VERY relieved that Isis didn't freeze to death in that shelter... I was having a hard enough time composing myself during that episode without a dead dog thrown into the mix.)

And then there's Cousin Matthew and Lady Mary. I told Jared after the Bates' verdict that Matthew and Mary HAD to get together... they can't kill off Bates AND continue to drag out the Matthew and Mary will-they-or-won't-they saga. It's just too mean. Thankfully, Julian Fellowes took pity on my poor heart and gave us all the proposal we've been waiting for. But, really Mary? Insisting that Matthew get down on one knee and ask you properly? You're lucky he's asking at all! Not only do you NOT have to marry Sir Richard and all his douchebaggery, but you get to marry the future Earl of Grantham, an all around great guy and war hero, and someone who loves you in spite of the Mr. Pamuk debacle. Count your lucky stars, say yes, and help your former parapalegic future husband up off the ground before he hurts himself. Sheesh.

I can't believe we have to wait another year to see what unfolds at Downton. Rumor has it there will be TWO weddings next season - Matthew and Mary, but who else? Lady Edith and Anthony? Lady Edith and anyone who'll ask her?? There will also be a guest appearance by the always amazing Shirley MacLaine as Lady Cora's American mother. The scenes between her and the Dowager Countess are sure to be epic. (Btw, how tremendous was her "Do you promise?" zinger upon Sir Richard announcing they would never see each other again? Easily one of the best written and acted characters on TV.)

Those of you who watched - what did you think of the finale??