Last night's final episode of Lost In Austen was full to the brim, giving us yet more action and tying up lots of loose ends. The action even moves to the present day, but I'm glad the majority of the finale focuses on the world of Pride and Prejudice.
So the episode begins with Amanda distraught over Darcy's rejection. Within minutes, Darcy announces his engagement to Caroline Bingley (who we know has no interest in him, or any other man for that matter). Mrs Bennet runs from the room in tears, but not over their announcement; she's just found out Lydia and Bingley have run off to Hammersmith to sample this brave new world Amanda talks about, in the hopes of beating their ennui. As Amanda says, it should be Wickham, and we have another departure from the plot of Jane Austen's novel. How will this all turn out?
To find out what happens next, and leave your own comments, just read more.
- Mrs Bennet blames Amanda for the situation, and Jane says Bingley's intention must be to marry Lydia. Yeah right! They head back to Longbourn to get Mr Bennet, only to find Mr Collins' three brothers making themselves at home thanks to Lady Catherine's interference. When Amanda makes it clear to the Bennets that there won't be a wedding, Mrs Bennet is hilarious in her hysteria (Alex Kingston's finest hour in this role) and Mr Bennet finally gets involved, with the three of them heading off to Hammersmith.
- Their carriage rolls in to Hammersmith, which is positively countryside-ish, and just as Amanda is about to come clean to the Bennets, the (not so) wicked Wickham turns up and saves her bacon, making up a story about her parents being out of town and the house being shut up. What's this, Wickham saving the day again? As Amanda says, Jane Austen must be "spinning in her grave like a cat in a tumble dryer". Heh.
- They all head over to the inn to find Lydia crying. Bingley explains that nothing has happened — she is simply bored, as he is to, as Hammersmith is not the exciting destination that Amanda had talked about. Darcy arrives and tries to cover for the pair, but Bingley tells him there's no need as they've been "philosophising" not "making the beast with two backs" as Mr Bennet thinks. Bingley and Mr Bennet duel, with the latter hitting his head and bleeding profusely. The writer can't kill Mr Bennet, surely?
- Once again, Wickham saves the day as he knows a woman who can put stitches in. Amanda is grateful but still sure that Wickham is wicked, telling him: "You are a bastard, but you are the right bastard at the right time". He responds by telling her that everyone will eventually prise her fingers from the yacht and watch her drown, except for him. I'm loving this new version of Wickham! I wonder what Jane Austen would make of him?
- Amanda tells Darcy that she needs to find Elizabeth and walks out of the door in to ... modern day London! It's a real jolt from the world of Pride and Prejudice, and I'm not overly keen on it, but I guess it had to go back to the future at some point to tie up all the loose ends. Amanda returns to her flat and finds boyfriend Michael there, who's sold his bike to pay for their honeymoon. He's being quite sweet and saying they don't have to get married, they can just go on holiday and see how things go, and it looks like Amanda's pleased to see him. No Amanda, no! End up with Darcy!
- Michael and Amanda are on their way to find Elizabeth Bennet (who's got a job as a nanny) when they see Darcy in his top hat looking thoroughly bewildered in the busy London street. He tells Amanda he's been blinded by pride and says he loves her and would follow her anywhere. Awww. Amanda still has the plot of the book on her mind thinking Darcy and Elizabeth should be together, and tells him they must find her. They get the bus and find a short-haired Elizabeth watching the TV (with no sound) and doing the ironing.
- Elizabeth sees Amanda's wearing her dress and, in a laugh out loud moment for me, says it wouldn't fit her now as she's macrobiotic! Once Amanda's told her about her father's accident she rushes around turning off the appliances, because her employers are concerned about their footprint, but she stops in her tracks when she realises who Darcy is. She tells him she is his wife, that they've been married for 200 years, and she shows him a website with a picture of Colin Firth's wet shirt moment!
- I was concerned about how the show was going to deal with Elizabeth in contemporary times, as I don't really think there's any way of doing it without it being a bit predictable and tedious. I found this part alright, and it could have been a lot worse, but it certainly wasn't a highlight for me. What about you?
- Michael and Darcy trade insults outside the house and throw a few punches, but Amanda splits them up and they all head back to her flat and the portal in the bathroom. The door won't stay open for Elizabeth, it will only open for Amanda. Her flatmate Pirhana refuses to go with her, and boyfriend Michael says he'll leave for good if she goes through the door, but she goes through nonetheless, taking Darcy and Elizabeth with her.
- Phew, we're back in Austen's world. Elizabeth feels awful about Charlotte Lucas moving to Africa to become a missionary, but soon puts her out of her mind as she tells Jane she must marry Bingley, and nurses her recovering father. Thanks to Wickham's friend, Mr Bennet has survived, and they're all back at Longbourn. Darcy goes to bed as he's feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, and Amanda goes to see him while he's asleep. He's clutching a piece of paper, and she kisses him goodnight.
- Wickham tries hitting on Amanda, to no avail, and the next day Darcy is back to his cold self, asking for a carriage to be summoned to take him home. Still trying to follow Austen's plot, Amanda gets Elizabeth to walk with Darcy so the two can get together, but Elizabeth explains to Amanda that she has been changed by what she's seen. Bingley tells Jane that he had no bad intentions towards Lydia, and she gives him a flower and says that they will think of each other on this day each year and remember the love they shared, and then kisses him. They're a bit wet really, but quite sweet.
- Lady Catherine turns up (with Caroline in the carriage) and has a go at Mrs Bennet for not making proper use of Mr Collins' brothers. Mrs Bennet has a go back, and Jane sticks up for them too, with Mr Bennet cheering from his sofa and saying he'll sleep in the bedroom again instead of the library. Lady Catherine then lays in to Amanda outside, asking her what it is she wants. When Amanda says she wants Jane not to be married to Mr Collins, Lady Catherine says that as long as Amanda leaves she can arrange an annulment as they never consummated the marriage. Hurrah, just as I hoped back in episode three.
- Lady Catherine and Caroline drive off, but Caroline's crying about not getting to see anyone. Wickham, who tells Amanda to chase gaiety, offers his handkerchief to Caroline as she drives past. Would these two be good together? Jane is annoying devastated about the annulment, thinking that it will look awful to society, but good old Bingley turns up and says society can go hang. He'll take her to America and they can be recreated. So these two have got their happy ending; what about Amanda, Elizabeth and Darcy?
- Darcy and Elizabeth arrange to meet at Pemberley and he says goodbye to Amanda, telling her he is minding his duty. They're both obviously heartbroken that they have to part, and Elizabeth isn't interested in Darcy anyway, telling Amanda that she could learn to love him. Amanda advises her to keep talking; from talking comes the love.
- As Amanda makes her way back to the portal to the modern day, she pictures all the key moments with Darcy, at the first ball and the wet shirt moment in the lake (natch). Just as she reaches the door she finds the piece of paper he was holding as he slept; it's the bus ticket, with the words "Not one heartbeat do I forget" written on the back. Love. It.
- We then cut to Elizabeth waving off Amanda as the latter takes the carriage to Pemberley. Elizabeth asks her father if she can go back to Hammersmith and he lets her go. Amanda arrives at Pemberley and walks over to Darcy. They have a nice little banter and then have a long old kiss, with the final shot being Amanda's big grin as she looks over his shoulder. I am SO glad this didn't end with "and then she woke up". I kept expecting a twist like that right up until the credits rolled, and am relieved it continued in its crazy, surreal way right up to the end.
So there are my opinions on the final episode. All in all I really enjoyed this series, and would love to see more kinds of innovative ideas like this on TV. I'd love to hear your views, so share your thoughts with me.