The middle instalment is always the dark one. It’s the rule!
As the murder investigation gets going, you’re going to want to punch a few characters as their stubbornness and obsession with class and title almost ruins them – Darcy himself being the worst offender! It’s a good thing I like angst (and am great with anticipating a good grovel), because there’s a lot of tension at Pemberley now!
It has occurred to me that Matthew Rhys’ Darcy is almost exactly how I picture Marcus, Lord Westcliff, Lisa Kleypas’ biggest player in her various historical romance series, and the hero of It Happened One Autumn. He’s a little shorter than the other men, but built strongly. Not gorgeous, but with an intensity that draws you to him. Always taking care of family history and title, and sometimes so intent on doing the right thing he messes things up for those closest to him.
Though this isn’t Pride and Prejudice as we know it, I think Rhys’ Darcy is my favourite of all the men I’ve seen tackle the character.
Elizabeth Darcy is not in a good place in this episode. She’s been completely emotionally abandoned by her husband, and we get to see the thing many have been wondering about since Pride and Prejudice ended: how does she actually cope in society so elevated and so much snobbier than what she is used to? The show gives us a few flashbacks (including a couple of recreated scenes from P&P), and I really appreciated it. She might be happy in her marriage, but most people she now mixes with are obsessed with class and rank.
The second episode of Death Comes to Pemberley gives us a look at another Pride and Prejudice main player: Elizabeth’s sister, Jane. Alexandra Moen was good in the role; exactly the way you’d expect an older, married, contented version of Jane to be.
I can’t stress how much I think Lydia has been over-publicised and over-praised (largely by Doctor Who fans). Yes, the character might be the comic relief, but she’s also ridiculous, and sticks out like a sore thumb considering the manners of the early 19th century.
Emotionally frustrating, this episode does exactly what it’s supposed to: make you need to see the final instalment just to know things don’t turn out as badly as they currently seem to be.