After trudging through a slow and a tad too serious Episode 3, the production has redeemed itself by finishing up with a grand finale. Episode 4 has found its original pace with its fast sequences to wrap things up, offering unexpected and entertaining twists and turns.
One thing that screenwriter Guy Andrews remains consistent with is his attempt to mix things up as much as he can, like Lydia eloping with Bingley, Wickham turning wicked schemes into timely rescues, Mrs. Bennet coming to her senses and confronts Lady Catherine de Bourg, and ultimately, the big ultimate, Elizabeth Bennet swaps places with Amanda Price not for a moment, but for good. The laughs and fun derived from these “post-modern moments” are all based on juxtaposing time and mixing up of characters and story lines. The whole production is an effective deconstruction of an all-time classic and its adaptations.
The most fun of them all, of course, is Amanda coming back through the portal and see Elizabeth Bennet in 21st Century London, with a new pixie hairdo, working as a nanny, computer savvy, environmentally conscious, and fully liberated. What more, she enjoys modern, post-modern rather, life so much that she intends to stay for good. And once she sees Darcy, who follows Amanda to the modern world, Lizzy right away knows who he is, thanks, as we all do nowadays, to all the webpages about Colin Firth’s wet shirt scene.
Darcy on the other hand is totally lost in the future. Here the scene is almost a replication of the one from Kate and Leopold (2001), where Hugh Jackman portrays a late 19th Century English nobleman travelling through a time portal and lands in modern day NYC. Darcy is even wearing a similar long, blue coat like Leopold, mesmerized by the tele and the busy urban traffic. And the ending too, a similar twist as Meg Ryan’s ultimate choice at the end of the movie.
What would Jane Austen think? “Turns in her grave” as Amanda puts it? As a satirist and a fan of the burlesque, Jane might have a good laugh too I think. I’m sure she was confident and self-assured enough to know that parodies of her work, at best, remain only as they are, spin-offs and re-makes of something that is inimitable. No matter how you deconstruct Jane Austen, you would always come out admiring the ingenuity of the brilliant mind behind that original creation.