Why William and Eliza’s Fake Proposal Story in ‘Miss Scarlet and The Duke’ Season 3 is Important

William and Eliza MASTERPIECE Mystery! "Miss Scarlet and The Duke" Season 3 Episode Six – The Jewel of the North The season comes to an explosive climax when Eliza receives a bomb in the mail. Who sent it and why? Eliza teams up with Duke, Moses and her old enemy Patrick Nash to find out who is behind the deadly delivery. Shown from left to right: Stuart Martin as William "The Duke" Wellington and Kate Phillips as Eliza Scarlet For editorial use only.
Courtesy of Element 8 Entertainment and MASTERPIECE Photographer: Sergej Radovic

Miss Scarlet and The Duke Season 3 is, unfortunately, the show’s weakest season, but despite the hiccups, it features some of the most crucial moments necessary to develop our main characters. It’s about William and Eliza and a fake proposal with very real feelings at the helm. This is the season where we finally get to learn that Moses’ last name is Valentine, and even though William doesn’t admit it aloud to Eliza, being called out on loving her by his girlfriend, Arabella, is enough to hold us over until Season 4

Still, though we don’t get much development between the crime-solving partners in crime, Miss Scarlet and The Duke Season 3, Episode 6, “The Jewel of the North,” gives viewers an unforgettable scene between William and Eliza that we’ll be replaying over and over. While the two are posing as a couple looking for a ring, William takes the attempt to sell the story of how he proposed up a couple of hundred notches. It’s not about how he did it, but it’s what he says that shows a clueless Eliza, himself, and the audience just how in love he is.

William and Eliza in Miss Scarlet and The Duke Season 3

I took her hand and told her she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. And that whatever else I was unsure of in my life, the one thing that I knew was that we were meant to be together.” Since Season 2, we’ve known that William is head over heels in love with Eliza. We have concrete proof of it (despite his lack of understanding) in “Pandora’s Box.” The fascinating thing about both William and Eliza is that they don’t like being put on the spot—it’s not something either of them does well with, especially when their personal lives are concerned. But this moment was almost effortless for William, and Stuart Martin does an exceptional job of showing us why by allowing viewers to see that even though he hasn’t fully processed his feelings, these words aren’t fabricated.

They’re real.

They aren’t a reflection of what their covers think of each other, but the truth of William sees Eliza—the most beautiful woman, the one thing he’s certain of, the one he’s meant to be with. Despite all the bickering, working with Eliza is the best (and most frustrating part of his day). She’s his beginning and end. And while we don’t yet know how she feels despite his feelings being fully displayed, it’s undoubtedly not unrequited. William’s barely figuring it out, but Eliza still has a ways to go. There’s much she needs to work on alone before even daring to welcome love into her life, but she certainly wants it—and her reaction to Arabella and William is the small glimpse of authentication we have for now.

Eliza in Miss Scarlet and The Duke 3x06

Further, William and Eliza’s fake proposal is also the concrete sign that we’re going to get a real one someday. This show isn’t our first detective fiction or our first romance. We know the game. More often than not, scenes like this test the waters as they attempt to show what matters to our favorite characters and why. This isn’t our first sign that William cares about Eliza more than he can bear, but this is certainly the most glaring showcase of the detail that there could be no one else for him. She’s the one. In every way, on and off the field—at Scotland Yard or at home. To blatantly tell her that he misses their dinners and to lose himself in this fantasy of the places her eyes take him to almost makes up for the lack of scenes we got this season.

Because despite how short the moment is, it’s significant in all the lines it blurs, the thresholds it crosses, and the truth it brings to light. This moment in Miss Scarlet and The Duke Season 3 was William wanting more, showing us everything that he can’t keep concealed anymore, and the show almost inadvertently promising that this is the step forward we’ve been waiting for.


One comment

  1. Agreed. I’m a PBS Passport member, so I got to see S3 almost as soon as S2 ended, and I was so thrilled…until I watched it and honestly, the two eps without William were just sheer drudgery to watch. I don’t care for Nash, not because of any shipping, but because he and Eliza just don’t have the same spark of interaction. Too, Nash reminds me too much of what Eliza *could* be if she lets her ethics slide — and occasionally, she’s very close to doing just that. For all William’s flaws (and he has many) he is, in some ways, Eliza’s conscience when it comes to ethics, just as she’s his when it comes to social issues and equality.

    Nash is just kind of skeezy. Not very eloquent, but that’s the way he strikes me. Also, I like Moses very much, and his interactions with Eliza are generally hilarious, but this season he was becoming dangerously close to becoming an overpowered Gary Stu character. When it gets to the point that *any* character is the automatic go-to, constantly coming up with ‘Oh, yes, so-and-so just *happens* to know this’ when there’s no real logical reason — that’s lazy writing, and boring.

    I also think the writers are making a very, very big mistake with the storyline. I get that they’re afraid of jumping the shark, I get that they worry about what can happen with a HEA romantic storyline, but by the same token, if you keep dumping cold water on genuine character chemistry, you make the story boring, too. They came dangerously close to that this season. Don’t get me wrong; I was actually glad for the introduction of Arabella, because William needs to demonstrate that he’s not just Eliza’s lapdog. He wants a certain life for himself, and he wants to be happy. She’s made it clear so far that she’s not interested in a life with him; he’s respecting her wishes, but also at least trying to go for what he wants, too.

    I truly loved the first two seasons, but if the showrunners keep dumping cold water in S4, chances are, that’s the last one I’ll watch, which is just sad. Without that spark and friction, honestly, the show gets boring. Eliza can’t carry it on her own any more than William could.

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