Death Comes to Pemberley: The Plot Thickens

142630_600Previously on Death Comes to Pemberley: Lizzy and Darcy just wanted to hold their annual ball, but then Lydia showed up screaming her head off, Wickham was found with a dead body in the woods, and things got complicated really fast.

Darcy looks down at his sleeping son. The boy wakes and smiles up at his dad and Darcy smiles back, tucks him in, and heads out.

Lizzy washes her face and gets ready for the day, pausing to look at the letter fragments she fished out of the fire. She looks out the window and sees men poking around at the edge of the woods. A little later she goes to play with the kid and seems disappointed to hear that Darcy’s already been to see him and gone.

Downstairs, the doctor’s getting ready to leave. Darcy thanks him for all his help.

Upstairs, Lizzy asks Reynolds to gather all the servants in the ballroom. Mrs B comes out of her room, squealing and babbling (and we learn that all the Bennet girls are, in fact, married off now, so that’s one mystery solved). Lizzy tries to calm her while Mrs B bitches about her nerves. The doctor comes back upstairs and she presents him with a whole list of new symptoms. He already looks tired of this woman.

In the kitchens, everyone’s hard at work getting food ready for the ball. Bidwell calls them to attention and announces the ball has been cancelled. Disappointment all around, and the chef very nearly throws something in disgust.

Wickham gets a visitor in prison: Colonel Fitzwilliam, who growls at him for letting this happen. Wickham insists he did nothing wrong and Fitz warns him to keep his mouth shut if he knows what’s good for him. Wickham grins and asks if it’ll be better for him or better for Fitz, because apparently these two are relying on each other more than ever before. Oh? What could possibly compel Fitz to start working closely with Wickham? Wickham tells Fitz to pass along the word to Darcy that he wants better accommodations, even though, for jail, his space is pretty ritzy. Fitz yells at Wickham for failing to realize what’s at stake for Darcy, his family, his estate, and all the people who work on it. Wickham reminds Fitz that they both have reasons to keep quiet, and Fitz, disgusted, gets ready to leave.

From the jail to the glittering splendour of Pemberley. The servants gather in the ballroom and Darcy steps in with Lizzy to address them. He gently breaks the news that death came to Pemberley, hence the cancellation of the ball. He adds that, if anyone has any info to share, they are to step forward, and furthermore, Hardcastle will probably be speaking with most of them. Lizzy chips in, thanking them for all the work they put in for the ball and how sorry she is that it’s been in vain. She urges them not to be worried or afraid for the future.

Darcy meets Fitz coming back and Fitz tells him Wickham’s an ungrateful wretch. He also offers any help he can possibly extend to his cousin. Darcy thanks him.

Lizzy wanders around the ballroom and remembers her first Pemberley ball, when she overheard some nasty pair mocking her father’s tiny estate and Lydia’s coupling with Wickham.

Lizzy goes into the dining room and says she’ll have to write to all the guests about the cancellation. Darcy insists there’ll be no scandal, and that Pemberley will carry on as it always has. Georgiana offers to help with the letters, and Henry volunteers as well, though I don’t know that would have been considered socially appropriate, as he’s not in any way connected with the family. Wouldn’t it have been a little strange to get a letter about the ball’s cancellation from some fellow guest you didn’t even know? Fitz breaks in and says he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for Georgiana to have anything to do with this, and that furthermore she should go away from Pemberley for a while, until the whole thing blows over. He and Darcy start immediately planning for her to go to Rosings, though Georgiana protests that she doesn’t want to go. Henry pipes up that Georgiana can speak for herself, which gets Fitz’s hackles up. Georgiana begs to be allowed to stay, and Darcy allows it. Lizzy just sits there. This is a bizarrely spiritless Elizabeth Bennet. Henry apologises for speaking out of turn and Darcy shortly tells him to apologise to Fitz. Why? If anything, Fitz was the one being rude to Henry. And what’s Fitz’s deal anyway? The way he’s being portrayed in this doesn’t jibe at all with how I remember him in the novel. In P&P, if I recall correctly, he was a fairly easygoing, likeable, charming, nice guy. This man is dour, pissy, and kind of obnoxious. He’s like the worst of Darcy from P&P’s beginning. It’s like an entirely different character. And I don’t think we can put it all down to him having been changed by his experience in Ireland, if that happened after P&P, because he almost certainly would have seen action before he met Elizabeth in the original novel if he were a colonel (you didn’t just buy your way into a commission that high), so unless he witnessed serious atrocities, this just isn’t quite right. This is one of the reasons I hate it when a different author ‘finishes’ another author’s work. At least one character, and frequently many, gets screwed up.

Hardcastle returns to the house to continue his interviews. He wants to start with Fitz, but Darcy, for some reason, tries to talk him out of it, saying that Fitz is his cousin, like that automatically absolves him of any wrongdoing. Hardcastle insists, because he thinks it’s rather odd that Fitz wanted to go riding late at night. He’s also puzzled by Denney’s jumping out of the carriage in the darkest part of woods he was unfamiliar with.

Poor Hardcastle goes to speak with Lydia and asks if she knows of any reason why Wickham and Denney might have quarrelled. Lydia assumes that Denney had the hots for her, and Wickham didn’t like it. Hardcastle sceptically asks what makes her think this and she says it’s because Denney has always ignored her, which is a sure sign of deep, deep love. Well, now I understand why her marriage to Wickham seems to be working out, to some extent. And on a totally unrelated note, the actress who plays Lydia looks like Nina Dobrev’s doppelganger.

Lizzy tells Darcy about Fitz burning the letter and thinks the man’s being totally sketchy. Darcy doesn’t want to hear it and leaves. Once he’s gone, Mr B makes his presence known (they’re in the library) and sort of apologises for not being more obvious earlier. He sighs about Wickham’s crappiness as a human being but doubts that he’s capable of murder. He mentions he’s sent for Jane, which she’s glad to hear. He mentions that Lydia was out in the gardens trying to distract the constables from their investigation, which amuses Lizzy, because interfering with police work is hilarious.

Joan and her friend are called to give their account of the woman in the woods to Lizzy and Hardcastle, but these girls are about as emptyheaded as Lydia and offer absolutely nothing useful at all, beyond the fact that the woman was wearing a green and purple bonnet. And I’m sorry to be a brat here, but since they make such a big deal about it, I feel I should point out that the dyes for both bright green and that plummy purple probably didn’t actually exist at this time. Those came about later, in the 1830s or so, I believe, which is why around that time clothing got really hideously garish for a while. The girls are dismissed and Lizzy tells Hardcastle she’s pretty sure this woman exists as an actual person. Hardcastle believes her, but says that no woman could have done Denney’s wounds.

Outside, Darcy watches Georgiana walk with Henry and looks pissy.

Jane arrives and is happily greeted by Lizzy. A little later, Darcy comes in and sees Jane unpacking. He greets her too, surprised to see her there. Her room’s just across the hall from Lydia’s, so they both get to hear Lydia prattling on about how Lizzy was always after Darcy’s fortune. Jane marches over and tells her to be quiet, and then Lydia notes Darcy’s presence and giggles. Darcy, kick her out of your house right now. He stomps off and is intercepted by Lizzy.

The Darcys sit down with Hardcastle and Fitz in the sitting room and Fitz gives a full account of his late night ride. He explains that he had a late meeting with a lady, though he doesn’t give a name. In flashback, we see it’s the lady in purple. She asked for Fitz’s help in a matter concerning her brother, who served in his regiment. He said nothing because he wanted to protect her reputation and is certain the meeting had nothing to do with the tragic events in the woods. Hardcastle already knows about this, because the people at the inn remember him and the lady. Fitz also confesses he gave Wickham the £30 that were found in his hat, in part as payback for Wickham having acted very honourably towards Fitz’s fallen godson during the Irish campaign. Now the £30 is no longer a factor, Darcy thinks there’s no motive, but Hardcastle’s going forward with the inquest.

The Pemberley crowd goes to church, along with all the estate workers and villagers. Lydia puts on a big show of pretending to weep and feel faint, so Darcy has to walk her in. He does not look amused at her antics. He helps her into the family pew and growls to Elizabeth that this is intolerable. Darcy, seriously, just send this idiot woman away! During the sermon, Elizabeth tries to take her husband’s hand, but he pulls his away. Seriously, what’s up with these two? Why’s he so angry with her? Because she’s Lydia’s sister? She can’t help that! And, again, he’s the one who arranged the ultimate marriage between Lydia and Wickham. It’s not Lizzy’s fault all this happened.

After church, Jane tells her father she plans to take Lydia home with her. He also launches Mrs B her way, because why shouldn’t Jane be made to suffer more? Henry quietly tells Georgiana that, despite the distressing circumstances, he really can’t leave without having a private word with her. She quickly tells him that his hopes aren’t in vain, but for now, they need to put their own needs aside for Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s sake.

Darcy, Lizzy, and Jane go to the Bidwell cottage, Darcy remaining in the carriage. Lizzy knocks on the door, and when it doesn’t open right away, she goes around the side and sees Louisa nursing the baby through a window.

Mrs Bidwell lets them in and Lizzy delivers a basket of food and asks if the Bidwells want to come stay nearer to Pemberley and out of the woods of death for a while. Mrs Bidwell doesn’t want to go anywhere, because she’s sure the murderer was a poacher caught unawares or something like that. Lizzy goes to deliver a book for Will, but Mrs Bidwell stops her, saying he was sick all morning and is now sleeping. She calls in Louisa and Jane admires the baby. Louisa looks over at Lizzy, terrified. Later, as they leave, Lizzy glances back at the house and sees Will peeking out of a window. She understates to Jane that that was peculiar and admits she saw Louisa nursing the baby. Jane’s shocked. Lizzy notices that Darcy’s not in the carriage and goes to look for him, finding him out in the woods, looking down at that Darcy headstone we saw earlier. She asks who the dead man was and Darcy just says he was a discredit.

Back at the house, Lizzy asks Georgiana about the headstone. Georgiana tells her that the man was their great-grandfather, who was a gambler who made reckless investments and nearly lost Pemberley. He eventually built the cottage in the woods and went to live as a hermit out there. Okaaaaaay. Yeah, a lot of people who like to gamble and party heavily later make the choice to live in a picturesque cottage as a hermit. He later shot himself. Darcy Sr took his kids out there once and warned them about putting personal inclination before public duty. Good lesson, dad!

Lizzy wanders about the grounds and flashes back on Darcy’s first, highly insulting, proposal to her. In the present, she starts to get upset. Jane finds her and Lizzy admits she’s afraid that Darcy regrets marrying her. She says he’s been incredibly distant and that their marriage brought Wickham back into his life. She’s afraid of having brought discredit to the Darcy family. Jane reassures her that Lizzy and Darcy love each other, and when two people love each other, they face these trials together.

Louisa walks through the woods until she reaches a tree that has a heart and the initials FDY carved into it. She cries.

At Pemberley, Jane puts Lizzy to bed and tells her she just needs some proper sleep.

Darcy goes to visit Wickham in jail, passing by far less commodious cells than the one his brother-in-law is in. He flashes back to a scene we actually didn’t get in the original novel: his discovery of Wickham and Lydia after their elopement. One he’s alone with Wickham, Wickham wastes no time shaking him down for a hefty amount of money.

Darcy’s shown into Wickham’s cell so the two can immediately begin baiting each other. Darcy mockingly observes that prison agrees with Wickham, though he prays that he’ll be acquitted. Wickham’s confident he’ll prevail, as he’s a war hero and all, and produces some memoirs of his time in uniform that he’s recently finished. He also hints that he’s hard up for money, and instead of telling him to suck it and sort out his own damn debts for a change, Darcy offers financial support without any sort of limitation, which is incredibly stupid. These people are going to be coming to him for large handouts forever. Wickham mentions the Riley kid and says he keeps seeing him in his memories. He tells Darcy he didn’t kill Denney and Darcy believes him.

Back at Pemberley, Lizzy finds Reynolds and asks her to make some discreet inquiries about Louisa and this baby that clearly isn’t her sister’s. Wow, Mrs Reynolds does everything, doesn’t she? It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn she’s Mrs Hughes’s great-grandmother or something like that, they both seem to be far more multifunctional than your average housekeeper.

Hardcastle finds the heart and initial on the tree in the forest and one of his men finds a large rock with blood on one edge.

Jane, Lydia, and Mrs B head to Jane’s place, leaving Lizzy in at least a little peace. No sooner are they gone then Darcy informs her that Col Fitz is heading back to his regiment soon, but on his next visit he hopes to ask for Georgiana’s hand. Darcy continues that it’ll be Georgiana’s decision, ultimately, but that both Darcy and Lizzy would be delighted if she says yes. Lizzy tells the men that Georgiana’s inclinations lie elsewhere. Fitz dismisses that as a passing fancy and Darcy adds that the young man’s from a good family, but they hardly know him and he’s not sure he can ensure her happiness quite as well as Fitz. Lizzy doesn’t agree and leaves the room. Darcy follows her so they can pede-fight over this, which seems a bit absurd, because if it really makes Georgiana that miserable, she can just say no. They keep saying it’s ultimately her decision, after all. Lizzy calls Fitz an arrogant, secretive man, which is true in this version, but again is nothing like the Colonel Fitzwilliam from the original novel. Ugh, I actually liked him in Pride and Prejudice, but I hate him here. Even my husband, who has never read or seen P&P saw about three minutes of Fitz in this and declared he didn’t like him. He’s not supposed to be unlikeable! And didn’t Lizzy once have a bit of a thing for him, back when they first met? She seems to have forgotten all that and is now determined that he can never make Georgiana happy. Lizzy accuses Darcy of being primarily attracted by Fitz’s fortune and Darcy won’t apologise for considering that. After all, he does have to make sure his sister can be kept in the manner to which she has become accustomed. That’s just being responsible, really. Darcy says that love can grow with time. Lizzy reminds him that he didn’t follow that view himself, and that furthermore, they discussed this and agreed…I guess that Georgiana would be allowed to make her own decision? But she is being allowed to make her own decision, so I’m a little confused as to what Lizzy’s problem is here. Darcy says they no longer know what lies ahead, and if this scandal gets worse she may never find a husband at all. Lizzy thinks spinsterhood is preferable to a loveless marriage and Darcy hits below the belt by saying that sentimental waste is the worst of all. Woah. Lizzy demands Darcy retract his consent to the match, but he’ll do no such thing and counterdemands that she apologise to Fitz for her rudeness. She refuses.

Hardcastle appears and asks to borrow Darcy for a moment. They go out to the woods and Hardcastle shows him the initials in the tree. They match Darcy’s, but Darcy insists he knows nothing about it and thinks this is someone making mischief.

Louisa is brought to Lizzy and admits she had a boyfriend named Freddie Delancey who went to London and never returned. He’s the father of her child, of course, and she cries and begs Lizzy not to tell her father about it. Her mother knows, and sent her to Birmingham so they could hide the pregnancy. She explains that Freddie’s with the local regiment and he went to go borrow some money so the three of them could go away together. Elizabeth smiles kindly and promises to make some inquiries with the regiment. Louisa’s grateful. Reynolds tells her to be on her way and then hopes she’s done the right thing, bringing her to Lizzy. Lizzy promises she has, but she’s afraid this Freddie may be long gone.

Henry returns to Pemberley after a ride or something and is greeted by Georgiana, who looks like she’s about to cry. He asks if something’s wrong and she informs him that she can no longer receive or communicate with him. Did Fitz talk to her already? I thought that was going to wait until he returned from his regiment. Or did she overhear the ruckus earlier? Completely thrown, he starts to ask why, but she cuts him off and refuses to say. He asks if he this has something to do with Fitz and she asks him to please ask no more questions, because her mind’s made up. Like the nice guy he is, he manages to smile and wishes her every happiness. I’m still a little confused by all this. Once he leaves, Georgiana collapses to the floor, weeping.

Darcy’s getting ready to go out. Lizzy passes him in the hall and shortly tells him Henry’s leaving. Darcy knows. He tells her that he’s heading to the inquest and she doesn’t even give him a backward glance. She goes right out to the porch to comfort Georgiana, but Georgiana says she just wants to be alone. Lizzy ignores that and insists they can fix this, but Georgiana fiercely tells her that she’s a Darcy, and that Pemberley wasn’t built or sustained by people doing what they want. Ok, now I’m just getting weary. First off, G, stop being such a damn martyr. Everyone keeps insisting that you have a choice here. You can say no! Also, the continuation of Pemberley is not dependent on you. Your brother, who runs the place, has an heir, and will probably have more, so it’s pretty secure these days. I don’t see why you marrying Fitz makes a huge difference. Or why you marrying Henry would make a huge difference. It’s not like marrying either one of them would create or avert a scandal or anything. This subplot is stupid and just seems to be here to further assassinate the character of Colonel Fitz and to add yet more unnecessary tension to the Darcy marriage.

Darcy arrives at the local inn for the inquest and is met by Henry, who looks like he could use a strong drink or eight. Henry kindly offers whatever help and support he might and Darcy sincerely thanks him. Henry shows him to the seats he’s saved and they take them just before Wickham’s brought out, to jeers from the crowd. Hardcastle’s presiding. Three jurors show up a bit late, having been held up by their various occupations. Hardcastle informs them that their job today is to decide whether this case should proceed to trial. The first witness, the coachman, is called.

Lizzy throws on her coat and gets ready to go out, but first she gets a letter from the local regiment that seems to upset her a bit. Reynolds appears with a basket lunch for Darcy and Elizabeth takes it and also decides to take Louisa Bidwell with her. Why? Just because.

The coachman plays right into local superstition by bringing up the ghost in the woods and how the horses could sense death on the wind. Darcy declares this whole thing ridiculous. Hardcastle steers the coachman back to the actual facts and he tells the same story we’ve already heard a few times. Hardcastle dismisses the man once he’s done, and then calls Wickham to give his account of the night. Wickham says he felt responsible because he’d been drinking and therefore couldn’t keep Denney from running into the woods. Hardcastle asks why Denney ran into the woods instead of keeping to the road and Wickham says he doesn’t know. One of the jurors rises and asks why Wickham’s been forbidden to enter Pemberley, if he’s not a violent man and Hardcastle asks Darcy to respond. Darcy only says that he’s always known Wickham to be a non-violent and peaceable man. The doctor is called up and asked if the stone that was found in the woods could have been the murder weapon. He says it’s possible, given the weight and shape of it. Wickham jumps to his feet and says he dragged Denney through the woods and there was probably blood everywhere. ‘But then, you’ve never been on a battlefield, have you, doctor?’ he asks. I fail to see how that’s relevant here. If there was blood everywhere, surely the doctor and the constables would have noticed. And the man’s attesting to the fact that the shape and size of the rock is consistent with the wound, which is probably a determination he could make whether or not he had battlefield experience. Hardcastle tells Wickham to stand down and dismisses the doctor. The jury is asked to retire and consider their verdict.

Lizzy and Louisa arrive at the inn and Lizzy takes this opportunity to tell her the local regiment’s never heard of Freddie Delancey. Now that this girl’s world has been well and truly rocked, Louisa’s sent in with the basket and a message to Darcy that Lizzy’s waiting outside.

Inside, Henry says they need to take heart at the fact that there’s no hard evidence, but it would have been helpful if Wickham had been at least a tiny bit contrite. The jury returns, just as Louisa comes in. She takes a look at the gathered men, her face collapses, and she runs out. Lizzy catches her and the girl gasps that she saw Freddie. And she ran? Why? Hasn’t she been looking for this guy? Lizzy convinces her to accompany her back inside and ID the man.

The jury has decided that Denney was murdered by Wickham, so I guess this’ll proceed to trial. Lizzy and Louisa come in and Louisa, of course, indicates Wickham and completely falls to pieces as he’s dragged away.



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