We open on the Face Rock. This would be the same rock that Elizabeth was climbing earlier. I’m not two sentences into this recap and I have to link. Grr.
On a tiny but toothsome set meant to represent Lambton, Elizabeth returns from yet another walk. Sigh. Hannah calls to her from an upper window, explaining that some people have dropped by; when Elizabeth looks bothered, she adds, “One of the gentlemen is Mr Darcy.” Elizabeth brightens. I wonder if Hannah knows about Darcy’s torrid love affair? She could’ve gotten it from her youngest brother, the Pemberley undergardener. Maybe the servants chase away the doldrums by repeating the wild escapades of their masters to each other. Or maybe not. Maybe Hannah is caught between the charms of a poor, disreputable, but dashing shepherd, and a more respectable but absolutely evil shopkeeper, and has no time for triviality.
Upstairs. Mr Darcy, waiting with his sister, leaps to his feet when he sees Elizabeth. They bow. She hopes he hasn’t been waiting for long, and he replies, “Not at all,” and gives her a smouldering non-expression. Darcy introduces the women in his life; they both say they couldn’t wait to meet each other. Mr Bingley is downstairs, wanting to see Elizabeth. “He insisted on accompanying us,” says Darcy with an exasperated non-expression, like, you know how Bingley gets. See? If Darcy had said something like that two episodes ago, we’d assume that he can’t understand why anyone would want to see Elizabeth. But now we know that Darcy’s just being Darcy. Elizabeth desires to speak with Bingley, so Darcy hurries off to by no means suspend any pleasure of hers.
The girls grin at each other. Elizabeth asks about her music; Georgiana shyly disclaims any proficiency, then cracks me and Elizabeth up by repeating Darcy’s praise of Elizabeth’s performance. Apparently “he has rarely heard anything that gave him more pleasure.” Elizabeth agrees to play for her, but warns her that Darcy has craftily hyperbolized her performing skills. “Oh, no!” says Georgiana, shocked. “That could not be so. My brother never exaggerates. He always tells the absolute truth--except that sometimes I think that he is too kind to me.” Georgiana really likes her brother--and has a self-image problem. Elizabeth is jealous, because she never had a big brother who bought her pianos and was too kind to her. “I should have liked to have a sister,” Georgiana hints.
Bingley appears, exclaiming about the pleasant surprise, etc. He finds out that Elizabeth is well, and Bingleys, “Good, good. Excellent.” He asks after her family very particularly. Elizabeth replies that all her sisters are at home, except ... Bingley: “Yes?” ... Lydia. Aww. Bingley stays smiley anyway, because he’s Bingley. Miss Darcy sneaks off to speak with her brother, as Bingley reminisces about the last time they met, “on the twenty-sixth of November! When we were dancing, at Netherfield!” Elizabeth grins. Darcy interrupts because his sister wants to ask her something. She shyly requests that Elizabeth come to dinner. Elizabeth accepts with alacrity.
Ahh. The Look. The women of Britain melt under The Look. Elizabeth is singing Mozart and accompanying herself on the piano; not easy to do, folks. She doesn’t sing very well, but is playing considerably better than the last time, so I guess she’s more familiar with this piece. Or has been taking lessons from Mary. Darcy, Bingley, Georgiana, and the Gardiners listen with pleasure; Mr Hurst is drunk; the Bingley sisters wear “kill me now” faces. Hee. I guess that this is what Darcy meant by, “We neither of us perform to strangers.” None of Elizabeth’s friends care that she can’t play very well, and Darcy’s friends don’t care that he has no social skills. By the way, “pleasure” is understating Darcy’s emotion here; try “ecstasy.”
Elizabeth finishes on a cord she kinda messes up; everyone claps. Elizabeth and Georgiana exchange piano shop-talk while the others have an inaudible conversation in the background; Elizabeth admits she was faking her way through the song, but loves the instrument. Georgiana says she doesn’t “deserve it.” “I’m sure you do,” Elizabeth replies. “Your brother thinks you do, and as you know, he is never wrong.” She gives Darcy a smouldering look. He looks surprised. Which is lucky for me, because if he smouldered back, the TV would spontaneously combust. Elizabeth gets Georgiana to play, as Darcy watches protectively from his couch. Georgiana disappoints me by playing with some serious technical rubato; with all the fuss that has been made about her piano-playing, I expected much better. But maybe it’s nerves, because as the piece becomes more difficult, she gets more into it. Miss Bingley calls Elizabeth over, asking about the militia in Meryton. She pretends that she sympathetic; Elizabeth plays dumb, and Miss Bingley mentions someone in particular. Darcy shifts uncomfortably. “I understand that certain ladies found the society of Mr Wickham--” Georgiana hits a sour note-- “curiously agreeable.” Darcy almost stands. Elizabeth saves the day by babbling about turning pages, and runs back to Georgiana’s side. The music recovers. Darcy relaxes. Elizabeth, almost shyly, gives him The Look. Darcy is in ecstasy, I tell you, ecstasy! Maybe we should leave these two alone. An invisible chorus of strings joins the piano; then woodwinds; they Look. And Looooook. And--phew! We cut away before I die.
Did you notice that Bingley, Mrs Hurst, and the Gardiners were in the previous scene, and did nothing?
The Pemberley People see the Gardiners and Lizzie off in her carriage. Darcy’s non-expression is particularly non-expressive. I can see that being a problem once he and Elizabeth are married. Imagine them in couples therapy: “I never know what he’s thinking. He never tells me what’s on his mind! At least the sex is good.”
Pemberley Insides. I believe these Insides are a set, and not a museum. Darcy flops down on the couch and has a cigarette. Okay, he doesn’t. Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst snark about Elizabeth having gone suddenly ugly, or getting a really bad fake tan, or something. Darcy thinks she’s just tanned, “hardly surprising when one travels in the summer.” Miss Bingley begins to criticize microscopic flaws in Elizabeth’s beauty, allowing that “Her teeth are tolerable, I suppose,” which never fails to make me smirk. I love Miss Bingley. I admit it. There’s no excuse for the way she treated Jane in London, or all the Elizabeth snarkfests, but she’s so feisty! She goes after what she wants. However, she’s not too bright, because she still hasn’t learned that talking constantly about your rival is the wrong way to make your crush forget about her. She oversteps a now-sacred line by harkening back to Elizabeth’s “fine eyes.” Darcy is getting angry. Bingley tries to be supportive, but only gets out, “I think–” before his sister runs over him. The Bingley sisters quote Darcy saying, “I should as soon call her mother a wit,” like it’s a famous Darcyism (along with the “fine eyes”). Miss Bingley notes that Darcy gradually changed his mind about Elizabeth, and even thought she was “pretty.” Dear Miss Bingley: if you wish to enrage a deadly animal, go to the zoo, climb into the tiger cage, and pull his tail. You’ll be much safer. Yours truly, the recapper. Darcy, with veiled anger in his oh-so-sexy voice, agrees that he thought she was pretty, but “That was only when I first knew her.” Miss Bingley is happy. Darcy continues, “But it has been many months now since I have considered her one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance.” Smackdown!
Pemberley Insides at night. This is the portrait gallery, so this was filmed on location. Darcy strides along with a candle. Someone pants, and I thought was Darcy, but it turns out he’s walking a dog. It’s in the middle of the night and Darcy is fully clothed. Did he need to take the dog out? Does he have a lousy group of servants who won’t do their job after eight? Is he having another all-nighter? If so, why hasn’t he changed? Does he always put on his coat and cravat before using the bathroom in the middle of the night? Are his zippers stuck? Explain! Darcy enters the piano-room, and leans against the mantelpiece. Colin Firth does a good job of communicating sexual frustration without actually bothering to move or alter his facial non-expression. He acts via telepathy. He looks at the piano, and--aaiiiee!--Elizabeth appears over it. She’s haunting him again!
The sun rises on the Contrived Grandness of the Pemberley Outsides. Inside, Darcy is spastically dressing and bothering the servants with nervous, contradictory commands. (“No, no–the green one. Yes, that’ll do. Never mind.”) He rides off.
Lambton Inn. It looks like the Gardiners and Elizabeth are going on a walk, or something, but Hannah interrupts with the mail. Mr Gardiner pronounces her a “good girl. Very obliging.” I agree. I hope that Darcy hires her as a maid, or something; then she can be with her youngest brother, the undergardener. Elizabeth wonders why the letters took so long to reach her, and notes that the older letter was lost, as Jane didn’t write the address very clearly. She begs off the walk, and the Gardiners leave her to her letters.
The first begins normally, and therefore boringly. Blah blah blah. Lizzie turns the page, and after a few sentences, the tone wildly changes. Jane says that something bad happened. To Lydia.
Flashback to Longbourn at night. The Regency equivalent of the Pony Express knocks on the Bennet door around midnight, frightening the inhabitants (imagine being a messenger who’s available twenty-four hours a day; I imagine the jobs were mostly taken by young men without families. Regency college students, if you will). Mr Bennet takes the message and pays the messenger. Behind him appears Mrs Hill, who, with her hair down, looks a lot like my high school art teacher. Weird. Kitty appears, looking like the La Tour portrait of Mary Magdalene, and the whole family (sans Lizzie) gathers around to hear Mr Bennet read the letter aloud. While Mr Bennet’s mouth moves, Jane voice-overs that Lydia has disappeared with a soldier (everybody gasps); to get married (everybody looks horrified); to Wickham! Mrs Bennet nearly collapses, and Mary and Jane help her to a chair. Kitty helpfully holds up a candle, but looks unsurprised. Mr Bennet cocks an eyebrow.
Jane voice-overs that she’s willing to believe that Wickham has been “misunderstood.” Elizabeth says, “I wish I could believe it,” then does as my English teachers urge me, and takes a moment to predict the outcome before continuing the letter. Jane writes that Wickham knows that Lydia has no money, so he’s not fortune-hunting. Elizabeth allows that; but, “Can Wickham love Lydia? Marry Lydia?” Then Elizabeth’s memory lies. She flashes back to Wickham saying, “There is one lady I should be very loathe to part from,” and then turning around and giving Lydia the eye. Which didn’t happen. Jane continues that they expect the kids to return soon from Scotland (which had relaxed marriage laws, and was often the sight of elopements–the Regency Las Vegas, if you will).
Elizabeth tears open the next letter, and begins to read, her chest heaving. Literally. Jane voice-overs that it seems the love-birds haven’t tied the knot after all. “Great God, I knew it!” Elizabeth exclaims, pleased that her active-reading method resulted in her correctly predicting the end of the story. Or maybe she’s horrified that her sister has just ruined her life. Whatever. Jane adds that the extremely unhelpful, negligent, and pervy Col. Forster (my opinions, not hers) told them that “Wickham was not a man to be trusted,” and Elizabeth hears Darcy’s voice saying, “She was then but fifteen years old.” And Lydia, you see, just turned sixteen. Next year, Wickham will seduce a seventeen-year-old. He likes them eleven years younger. Oh, ugh. I wrote that as a joke, then had the scary thought that maybe Wickham likes them eleven years younger so that he can pretend they are Georgiana, and he can pretend to be Darcy. That’s just unholy. Moving on. Jane says that the kids were headed towards London, that Mr Bennet has gone to look for them, and that Elizabeth should come home immediately. “Oh, yes!” Elizabeth agrees. “Where is my blood-relative?” She starts to the door, but it is opened by the excellent Hannah, showing Mr Darcy in.
Once again, he doesn’t notice her distress, too busy bowing and being polite. Elizabeth interrupts him, apologizing, but saying that she has to find her uncle instantly. “Good God, what is the matter?” Darcy says, forgetting himself completely. That’s the closest anyone will come to cussing in this mini-series, so enjoy it, kids. Recovering, he suggests that he or Hannah get the Gardiners, because she “is not well,” and when she protests, he takes her by the elbow and sits her down, while saying, “Come, I insist. This will be for the best.” Normally that attitude disgusts me in a male (or any human), but he is being practical (and it is Darcy), so I’ll let it go. He calls Hannah back by saying, “Hello there! Have Mr and Mrs Gardiner fetched here at once. They walked in direction of–” he looks at Elizabeth. “The church,” she says. “The church!” he repeats unnecessarily. Hannah yessirs him, looking astonished, and scampers off. Go, Hannah, go!
Darcy abandons his hat and cane to sit beside Elizabeth, unconsciously leaning towards her and taking her hand. They are about as physically close as they’ve ever been, though neither realize it. Darcy, using the Voice of God, asks if she needs a doctor. As she assures him she isn’t sick, he realizes he’s holding her hands and awkwardly lets go (crap!). Darcy’s next suggestion is that she get drunk, as, “True (sic), you look very ill!” Elizabeth repeats that she isn’t unwell, she is “only distressed by dreadful news which [she’s] just received.” She sobs. Darcy looks miserable and puts his fist to his mouth. He’s still wearing the pinky-ring. Elizabeth recovers and apologizes for crying, and Darcy mumbles “No, no,” intimately and makes another abortive move to hold her hand. Just kiss her already. Elizabeth says that the news “cannot be concealed from anyone.” Bull! Think before you open your mouth, Elizabeth! Speaking very slowly, the opposite of spontaneity, she says, “My youngest sister. Has left all her friends. Has eloped. Has thrown herself. Into the power. Of. Mister. Wickham.” Darcy nonreacts. As Elizabeth begins to spin the sad tale and relate Lydia’s doom–doom, I tell you!–Darcy breaks eye contact with her, and abruptly stands and turns his back to her. Elizabeth self-flagellates, and it’s possible that Darcy thinks that she blames him, but whatever. I don’t care because Darcy’s cold behavior isn’t fooling me for a second. “I’m grieved indeed,” Darcy says, in the most ungrieved manner possible. “Grieved--shocked--” he adds, unshocked. “But is it certain, absolutely certain?” he adds, turning around, using the tone of voice one might use while confirming the toppings on the pizza one has ordered. Elizabeth gives him the details, and adds, “They are certainly not gone to Scotland.” Darcy, still businesslike, grills her for more. Elizabeth can see nothing but doom. Doom, I tell you! She can’t see how Wickham can be persuaded to marry Lydia. She can’t see how they’ll even be found in London. Gee, Elizabeth, if only you knew a rich, capable bachelor who is willing to do you a favor, and had some experience with elopements. And preferably, one who knows a thing or two about Wickham’s personal habits and haunts. But Elizabeth is wholly without such a friend, and concludes, “She is lost forever, and our whole family must partake of her ruin and disgrace.”
“I’m afraid you have long been desiring my absence,” Darcy says. Elizabeth closes her eyes like someone has died. The sad, sad music of Oh, Knock It Off, We Know Darcy Will Rescue Lydia plays. Darcy, focusing on the important thing, realizes that Elizabeth can’t make the dinner with his sister, and Elizabeth requests that Darcy not tell anybody about Lydia. They say goodbye, he grabs his hat, and throws her a particularly unexpressive non-expression over his shoulder. “I shall never see him again,” Elizabeth says. Feh. Why doesn’t he just tell her what he’s doing?
Tiny but Toothsome Lambton Exterior Set. The servants are panic-packing the Gardiner’s stuff. Mrs Gardiner reasons that Lydia’s “friends” will probably be able to hush up this little aberration in decorum, i.e., giving it up for a no-good Redcoat and disappearing in London. Mr Gardiner agrees. Elizabeth despairs. “Look at it any way you like,” Mr Gardiner says cheerfully, “the temptation is not worth the risk.” “Not, perhaps, of risking his own interest,” Elizabeth non-sequitors, “but I do believe him capable of risking everything else.”
The Insides of Pemberley That Are Probably a Set And Not a Room in the Asshole Museum. Darcy, displaying some really contorted body language, is preoccupied on the sofa, while Georgiana plays the piano rather better than she did the other day. Question: does Darcy ever have anything else to do other than sit on the sofa? Other than letter-writing? And showing up unexpectedly? And bath-taking? And pool? And fencing? And swimming? And horseback-riding? And bird-killing? My god, he’s athletic. His abs must be ... oh, right. The recap. Sorry. “You are very quiet this evening, Mr Darcy,” Miss Bingley says. “I sincerely hope you are not pining for the loss of Miss Eliza Bennet.” “What?” Darcy snaps. Everyone stares. He apologizes and leaves the room. Scene.
Yes, that really was all the scene.
Longbourne garden. The little Gardiner children are playing, completely unconcerned with the plight of their cousin. The Gardiner’s carriage pulls up, and they crowd around their mum, as Elizabeth hurries in. Jane and Elizabeth embrace, then Jane briefs Elizabeth on the situation as she removes her Christmassy green and red traveling combo. They rush upstairs to Mrs Bennet.
Who is dramatically sprawled on her chair, in her nightclothes. She greets her brother, and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mrs Bennet “blame[s] those Forsters.” I blame Col. Forster’s Child Bride. She’s creepy. Mrs Bennet predicts that Wickham will kill Mr Bennet in a duel, the Collinses will throw them out of Longbourn, and they will be dependent on Mr Gardiner. Mr Gardiner cheerfully insists that nothing bad is going to happen. His ever-present cheerfulness leads me to believe he isn’t any smarter than his siblings, just better married. Mrs Bennet blabbers about her health, and duels, etc., then adds, frantically, “And tell Lydia not to give any directions about wedding clothes til she has seen me, for she does not know which are the best warehouses!”
Darcy. In a carriage. Having mysteriously grown a goatee. Or is that a shadow? I think I hear the bird of torture on the soundtrack, but it could be the carriage-drivers yelling at their horses.
Longbourn dining. Mary is pontificating, but I actually like this one, so I’ll transcribe it.
Mary: This is a most unfortunate affair, and will probably be much talked of.
Elizabeth: Yes, thank you, Mary. I think we’ve all apprehended that much.
Mary: But we must stem the tide of malice, and pour into each other’s wounded bosoms the balm of sisterly consolation.
Jane: Mary, pass the potatoes to our Uncle Gardiner.
Mary: Beg your pardon?
Kitty: Oh, never mind, I will. (Passes the potatoes)
Mrs Gardiner: Thank you, Kitty.
Kitty: And that’s the first kind word I had from anyone since Lydia went away. It is most unfair, for it is not as if I have done anything naughty. And I don’t see that Lydia has done anything so very dreadful either.
Jane: Kitty! Please!
Mary: Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we must draw from it this useful lesson: the loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable.
Mrs Gardiner: My dear Mary, this is hardly helpful.
Mary: For a woman’s reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful, and therefore, we cannot be too guarded in our behavior towards the undeserving of the other sex.
Elizabeth: Yes, thank you, Mary.
That’s the most realistic of all the sisterly interactions, I think.
Longbourne Parlor. I think. It could be a Boudoir. Jane is sadly posing by a window. Elizabeth closes the door behind them, and asks for whatever details she doesn’t already have. Jane looks like something off a Grecian urn here. Jane, in the heights of irrationality, blames herself for Lydia’s elopement. She says she should have told about Wickham. This is so crazy I think that it must be a symptom of Jane’s post-Bingley depression. Elizabeth says Jane is no more to blame than Darcy. Jane takes the elopement note Lydia left for Colonel Forster’s Child Bride out of her book, where she’s been using it as a bookmark. Well! That’s odd. As Elizabeth reads, we flash back to ...
... Brighton, where Lydia, wearing a preposterous combination of a feathery hat and a boa, waves at Wickham from a building or a warf, or something. Wickham makes a “Get down here, now!” gesture, and she trots down some stone steps, they smooch, jump in the carriage, and Wickham has her on her back before the carriage has even begun to move.
“Thoughtless, thoughtless Lydia,” grumps Elizabeth. She points out the letter proves that Lydia thought she would become the first Mrs Wickham (or perhaps the next Mrs Wickham, but you never know). Elizabeth asks how her parents reacted to the letter. Not well. Jane mentions the Lucases helping, and Elizabeth flips out. “Let [them] triumph over us at a distance, and be satisfied!” Elizabeth, I believe Darcy lives in Derbyshire. Why don’t you tell him this? Jane calls her on her lack of charity, and Elizabeth apologizes. I notice that both Jane and Elizabeth are wearing little crosses, so they must be worried about vampires. Elizabeth explains she’s upset because Lydia’s folly will ruin more than Lydia’s reputation, and storms out.
Lizzy’s Boudoir. She’s dressed for bed, suddenly. She looks very pre-Raphaelite beauty in the mirror. And–aiiie! Darcy appears in her mirror. That’s just freaky. Then there’s an extremely close shot of Elizabeth’s face, which is freakier. Jane enters. I laugh because I suddenly remember a critic describing her as “bovine.” She has her hair down in this scene. She says she’s figured out that Elizabeth meant that the whole family’s reputation has taken a hit, and “That our chances of making a good marriage have been materially damaged by Lydia’s disgrace.” Do these women think of nothing but marriage? I know that’s sacrilege to ask during a Jane Austen film, but, really. Do these women think of nothing but marriage? Elizabeth melodramas that they’re doomed. Doomed, I tell you! She mentions Darcy, and Jane kind of grins. Elizabeth explains that “[h]e happened upon me a moment after I read your letter,” as if her telling him about it was a slip-up. But if it was, it was the slowest slip-up ever. Elizabeth’s regrets make me wonder if she would’ve told him about Lydia if she had time to think about it; if she had left Pemberley without telling him about Wickham, he could’ve still heard about it through the grapevine (thank you, Mr. Collins), and rushed off to save the day without this ridiculous “He doesn’t love me!” plot twist.
Anyway, Elizabeth complains that Darcy isn’t interested in her, and he’ll make sure that Bingley stays away from Jane. Jane puts on a brave face about Bingley, and laughs with her about Darcy, because there’s no way Elizabeth wanted Darcy’s attention. No, of course she didn’t! Ha ha ha! *sob*.
London. The Seedy Side. Darcy is talking to a very short innkeeper or butcher, apparently asking after someone, then is distracted by a pint of ale. Hee.
Longbourn. Kitty, having reverted to childhood behavior in Lydia’s absence, is playing on the lawn when she sees a carriage approaching. She points out Mr Collins to Mary, and hides.
Longbourn parlor. The three oldest girls receive Mr Collins, explaining that their parents are busy. The three sit in a row on the bench. Mr Collins has come to condole them, which he really wouldn’t travel fifty miles just to do, but this scene is funny and the alternative would’ve been yet another letter voice-over, so whatever. Mary, very seriously, says, “It has often been said, that a friend in need, is a friend, indeed.” He begins on Lydia’s sad state, and says, “The death of your sister would’ve been a blessing in comparison.” Jane restrains Elizabeth to keep her from lunging at Mr Collins’s throat. Mr Collins makes about fifty social blunders in fifteen seconds. He reveals that Charlotte told him of the affair (and she probably got it from her family). He reveals she criticized the Bennet parenting. Mr Collins supposes that Lydia is naturally bad. Mr Collins admits to gossiping to Lady Catherine about the whole bloody affair. Jane and Elizabeth try to get rid of him by standing in unison, but he plows on, and they sit again. Kitty peers in the window. “...who, as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly said, will connect themselves with such a family?” he finishes, and moves to sit down. Elizabeth stops him by standing, and saying, “Who indeed, sir? Now, perhaps, in view of that consideration, you may feel that it would be unwise for you to stay any longer now.” Mr Collins looks like he never thought of that. “I always feel that a clergyman cannot be too careful,” Elizabeth says cheerfully. Mr Collins thanks her for her quick thinking, and leaves.
Mr Collins hesitates beside his carriage, probably trying to figure out what just happened. He finally hauls himself into his seat, proving that Charlotte’s exercise really has improved him. The sisters reactions are what you’d expect. That is, Elizabeth is sure that Mr Collins came to mock them, Jane decides to think the best, Mary thought he was very proper, and Kitty finally comes out of hiding. Mrs Philips appears, and dramatically demands to see Mrs Bennet.
Gardener sisters pow-wow. Mrs Philips has been gossiping about Wickham, and has gotten the scoop. He’s run up debts. “Oh, sister!” whispers Mrs Bennet. He’s gambled. “Oh, sister!” He’s gotten drunk. “Oh, sister!” Gotten in fights! “Oh, sister, stop!” “They say there’s hardly a tradesman in the town whose daughters were not meddled with!” “Oh! And now he’s meddling with our dearest girl!” Bwa-ha-ha! That’s even better than the “I would dance with both your sisters, at once, if I could–!” line. The women pretend that they distrusted Wickham from the start. “My poor, poor Lydia!” Mrs Bennet says, so we can ironically segue to Lydia. Only Lydia is kind of pitiable, so it’s not so much an ironic segue as just a segue.
Lydia is looking out a window, tapping her fingers and humming. She asks when Wickham will take her home, and Wickham, looking totally sloshed, tells her to keep away from the window. Paranoid, much? He lies about having to settle his business. Lydia is okay with that; she says she can’t wait to see the jealous looks on her sisters’s faces. “Kitty will be so envious.” Wickham, next time elope with someone older. Lydia imagines making her sisters her bride’s maids, and Wickham gives her a vague smile. He’s probably been constantly drunk since they left Brighton. It would be necessary to put up with Lydia. Lydia runs her fingers through Wickham’s hair, complaining that she never has an opportunity to show him off “at plays or assemblies.” Wickham kills a few more brain cells, as Lydia says, “Lord, it makes me want to burst out laughing, when I think that I have done what none of my sisters has. And I, the youngest of them all!” Goodness. Forget the double dancing. Forget the meddling. I think the subtext just became text.
Longbourn. Jane brings Mrs Bennet the news that Mr Bennet is coming home. Without Lydia. Jane continually refers to “her” uncle, as if Mrs Bennet would be confused about whose uncle Mr Gardiner is. Strange usage. “But who will fight Wickham, and make him marry her if he comes away?” Mrs Bennet cries. I thought you didn’t want Mr Bennet to fight. Make up your mind, Mrs Bennet. Business with smelling-salts.
Longbourn lane. Mr Bennet arrives home. It’s raining and he’s wearing black, and it could well be a funeral procession for Lydia’s virginity. Mr Bennet says, “Not now, Jane,” and then, slightly softer, “Not now, Lizzy,” and disappears into the Reading Room of Refuge.
London slums. Mr Darcy strides along, and is stopped by a beggar girl/prostitute. Again, not something you see in your run-of-the-mill JA adaptation. Darcy asks her for directions and pays her, and she runs off to buy booze. Mr Darcy strides up to what is, in my opinion, a whorehouse, and raps on the door with his cane. Mrs Younge answers the door and loses it when she see Darcy in “kicking ass/taking names” mode. His non-expression is unintentionally hilarious. She tries to close the door in his face, but he forces it open, and darcys, “Mrs Younge ...”
Longbourn parlor. Jane trades Elizabeth trying to get their dad out of the Refuge for Jane bringing their mom her tea. Mr Bennet appears before they can put their plan into action. He sits heavily, looking like he’s aged ten years. He greets his remaining daughters. Elizabeth worries about his health, but he tells her that he should be feeling lousy. After all, he was a really lousy father. “No, Lizzie, let me for once in my life feel how much I have been to blame,” he says, seriously. “I’m not afraid of being overpowered by the impression,” he jokes. “It’ll pass away, soon enough.” Mr Bennet responds to Elizabeth’s questioning, and believes that Wickham and Lydia are still in town. Kitty remembers that Lydia “always wanted to go to London.” Mr Bennet half-sadly and half-jokingly observes that Lydia must be happy, and goes on being small and old. It’s very sad. He’s remembered riot act Elizabeth read him about Brighton, and realizes she hasn’t said even one tiny little “I told you so.” He’s very proud of her. Elizabeth just looks guilty, not realizing that her little journey of self-discovery resulted in Mr Darcy looking up old acquaintances in London. Jane goes to take tea to Mrs Bennet, and Mr Bennet begins complaining about how over-the-top Mrs Bennet’s confinement is, and says he’ll keep to his bed when Kitty elopes. “I’m not going to run away, papa,” Kitty says, calmly. “If I should go to Brighton, I would behave better than Lydia.”
“You? Go to Brighton?” Mr Bennet thunders. “I wouldn’t trust you as nearest as Eastbourn, not for fifty pounds. No, Kitty, I have at last learnt to be cautious, and you will feel the effects of it. No officer is ever to enter my house again! Or even to pass through the village! Balls will be absolutely prohibited, unless you stand up with one of your sisters. And you are never to stir out of doors until you can prove you’ve spent ten minutes of every day in a rational manner.” Kitty looks so upset that he softens. “If you’re a good girl for the next ten years, I’ll take you to a revue at the end of them.” Kitty cries.
London. Luckily, the London Orchestra is playing nearby, and the strains accompany Darcy’s desperate detection. He has a little piece of paper in his hand, on which are either directions, an address, or a really difficult brain teaser he’s been trying to work out. To keep the budget expenses down, this bit of London is mostly blurry background beyond Darcy’s closeup. Lydia, bored in bed (and wearing a nightgown and a bathrobe), gets up, complaining because Wickham won’t take her out. Wickham kills more brain cells. Lydia sees someone she knows out the window. Wickham, alarmed, hazily asks who it is. Lydia babbles on a bit, and he snaps, “Who. Is it!” Lydia looks hurt for a microsecond, then says dramatically, “Mr Darcy!”
Regency Pony Express. Hill–yay, Hill!–answers the door and pays him. She sees the return address, and hurries the letter to Mr Bennet, who puts it in his in-tray like it’s no big deal. As soon as her back is turned, he takes it up.
Gardens. Mrs Hill, who’s been doing laundry, tactfully asks Jane and Elizabeth if they know Mr Bennet received word from the Gardiners. Upon hearing it came thirty minutes before, the girls, who have no sense of whatever it was that made Mr Bennet act discretely, run off, and find Mr Bennet in a grove. Mr Bennet gives them the letter, and tells Elizabeth to read it aloud for the benefit of the viewers who haven’t read the book. Elizabeth reads that Mr Gardiner has seen both Lydia and Wickham. “It is as I always hoped! They are married!” exclaims Jane. “They are not married,” Elizabeth continues. D’oh! But they will marry if Mr Bennet will meet certain requirements, namely Lydia’s five hundred pounds inheritance in writing, and a hundred pounds a year. “What about Wickham’s debts?” Elizabeth asks. “Read on,” Mr Bennet says. Apparently, he’s not as hopelessly indebted as supposed. “Read on, Lizzie!” Mr Bennet says. Elizabeth reads that he will still have money left over after paying his debts to support Lydia. “I cannot believe it,” Elizabeth says apprehensively. “Ha. Read on,” Mr Bennet says. The lovebirds will be wed from London–Jane interjects that Kitty will be upset–and Mr Gardiner needs an answer soon. Elizabeth can’t understand it at all. “He must truly be in love with her, I think!” Jane exclaims. Elizabeth urges her father to actually answer the letter. Mr Bennet just wants to know two things: How much money Mr Gardiner gave Wickham, and how Mr Bennet will manage to pay him back.
Lizzy’s Boudoir. Or possibly Jane’s Boudoir, because Jane’s hair is wet, and she’s drying it by the fire. Elizabeth regrets telling Darcy about the affair. Jane reassures her that Darcy won’t gossip, but that’s not what’s bothering Elizabeth. What’s bothering her is that she loves Darcy. Bleah. We know. We knew since she gave him that sappy look over the piano. You can’t share That Look and then expect the audience not know that you’re in love. I’m even going to ignore Darcy’s floating head at the conclusion of this episode.CounterData.com
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