Wowzers, the third installment of Lost In Austen certainly packs a huge amount in. The action moves from Longbourn to Rosings to Pemberley; there's the requisite shirtless Darcy scene; and we get more alternative versions of Pride and Prejudice when Caroline Bingley and Georgiana Darcy make some startling revelations.
The episode begins with a series of unhappy events: Amanda tries to get back through the door, but to no avail; Mr Bennet, who is sleeping in the libarary, tells Mrs Bennet how angry he is about Jane's situation; and poor Jane is stuck with creepy Mr Collins. Fortunately, he is in a “period of abstinence” so they haven’t done the deed yet. Could an annulment be a possible way for Jane to escape his clutches? We cut to Bingley telling Darcy he still loves Jane — is there hope for their happy ending?
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- Mrs Bennet wants Amanda out asap, and Mr Bennet wants Amanda to reconcile with Jane, so she gets back in to her normal clothes and heads in to the village. Wickham helps her get a suitable dress and teaches her how to behave in society (fan use etc). Amanda says she has to “unbugger” the situation and heads off to visit Jane. She apologises to Jane at the parsonage and they hug it out. Although Mr Collins doesn’t want Amanda to dine with Lady Catherine de Bourgh at Rosings, she name drops a French princess (thanks to Wickham’s previous lesson in who’s who) and gets an invite.
- At Rosings, Lady Catherine is wonderfully offensive to Amanda about her background and complexion, but Amanda gains the upper hand by name dropping, and stands up to Darcy’s questioning, who is there with the Bingleys. Amanda and Darcy bicker but later calls on her and grabs her as if to kiss her, then storms out. Ooh, this is the brooding Darcy we know and love! Jane overhears and says Darcy loves her, and when Amanda says it should be Elizabeth, not her, Jane says Elizabeth has made her decision to cut all ties and Amanda deserves happiness. Could Amanda and Elizabeth stay in these other worlds permanently?
- Mrs Bennet takes Lydia to visit Jane and they all dine at Rosings. Lady Catherine is brilliantly rude to Mrs Bennet, lining up the younger Bennets to marry Mr Collins’ brothers. Amanda tells Darcy he should get an occupation of some kind, and when Caroline says Amanda should perform for them Amanda’s thoughts about her accidentally come out and she says “bumface”! She manages to get around it by saying it’s the name of a card game. Lady Catherine tells her she’s good at games, but she can’t have Darcy, and when Amanda says she doesn’t want him Lady Catherine tells her that what she wants terrifies her and therefore she doesn’t know herself.
- Bingley lays in to Darcy in a wonderfully melodramatic way for stopping him marrying Jane, as he can see she still loves him. Darcy goes to Amanda and tells her he knows he was wrong for keeping Bingley and Jane apart. He invites her to Pemberley, bu Mrs Bennet overhears and assumes he’s inviting her! So they’re all going along.
- Pemberley is beautiful, of course, and Darcy shows his kinder side as he talks with his sister, Georgiana. Wickham is there (he's been out drinking with Bingley) and Amanda tells him the house rules “Lydia: hands off. Georgiana: hands off big time”. Amanda thinks Wickham is after “frosty pants” Caroline – with all their witty repartee I can’t help but wonder if these two will end up together. What do you reckon? The party have a shooting day and Jane tells Bingley (who is still drinking) that what is done is done, and he should marry and be happy. Poor Jane, and poor Bingley too. Later on Bingley offers his drink to Lydia, but they're interrupted. What's going on here then?
- Oh my god, I love it — standing at the water feature, Darcy grabs our modern day heroine and says “Amanda: it means she who must be loved” and tells her he loves her. She responds by asking him to dive in and so we get the Darcy-in-a-wet-shirt moment, woop! She asks him which incarnation of her he loves, the spiky version or the new fanning simpering version, and he replies that he finds both disagreeable, but loves her nevertheless.
- Amanda finds Mrs Bennet crying over Jane’s loveless marriage. Buoyed up by Darcy's revelation, Amanda tells her women can change their lives, and says she will buy Longbourn for the Bennets once she is married. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when a drunken Bingley punches Darcy and an interfering Caroline tells Darcy to find out more about Amanda's past.
- Amanda finds Darcy's sister, and Georgiana tells her the true story: her nurse had a thing for Wickham, so she took them away to find him. Georgiana fell in love with him and offered herself to him, but he said she was just a child, so Georgiana told Darcy Wickham had ravished her. That's quite a departure from the original, but I really enjoy these alternative versions of events, what about you?
- Darcy and Amanda talk about his concerns about her past, and she tells him she loves him and that every instant of her past contains him, even when she was living with Michael. He says he cannot marry a “woman like her”, even though he admires her courage for telling him the truth, but it has cost them both everything. No! I want them to get together! Amanda rips up the copy of Pride and Prejudice she brought with her and scatters the pages over the grounds. Darcy then finds the pages of the book. Ohmygoodness, will this send him in to an existential spiral?!
- Caroline finds Amanda and says that Bingley told her Amanda’s secret, and that she shares it. Ha! Caroline says she will marry Darcy, but she actually wants Amanda, who says to herself Jane Austen would be surprised to find she’d written that — wouldn't she just! Amanda goes to Wickham and discovers he allowed his name to be sullied to protect Lydia (thus impressing Amanda no end). The episode ends with Darcy thinking that Amanda is this "Austen" woman and that she wrote the book! Amanda angrily tells him a few home truths and then runs off, saying to herself that she loves him and wants to die. I can't wait to see how this is all going to end in next week's final episode.
So there are my opinions on the third episode. I'd love to hear your views, so share your thoughts with me.