In the 49th episode of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lizzie tries to convince everyone that she isn’t paranoid, effectively convincing everyone who hasn’t read the book that she is, like, totally paranoid. She thinks that Darcy is behind the Bing-leaving-town incident (oh, Lizzie), and she is wary of the general trend of leave-townishness that’s been going on. First Charlotte, then Bing and Caroline and Darcy, then Jane, and now?
George Wickham appears in Lizzie’s room. You will notice that with the male characters we have seen on screen (Bing Lee, Ricky Collins, and George), they all have different methods of showing up. Bing barges in on Lizzie once before learning to knock. Mr. Collins enters Lizzie’s room suddenly and without announcing his presence over and over again, which is creepy and totally not okay.
And then we have George. George Wickham, who walks straight through Lizzie’s open door, creeps up behind her, and places his hands over her eyes. If Collins had done this, Lizzie might have filed a restraining order, so it’s clear that she trusts George significantly and WANTS to be around him. She likes the guy. While she knows deep down that he’s a bit of a flirt, I think she also wants desperately to ignore that and to think that maybe, just maybe, there is something special about her that makes him behave differently.
That’s why she looks so crushed and simultaneously so unsurprised when he tells her that he’s leaving town. Initially, sure, she’s shocked. But as realization rapidly sets in, her expression becomes one more of defeat than of pain (especially if you compare this to Jane’s reaction to Bing leaving in the episode “Snickerdoodles”).
Her faith in George and the subsequent loss of that faith is essential to Lizzie’s relationship with Darcy. So much of her identity is caught up in the way that she perceives and judges others, and so it is only in changing her opinions that we see HER change. This is not a new or original observation; it’s in the title of Jane Austen’s book! Lizzie and Darcy both are proud and prejudiced, though for different reasons, and George Wickham of all people is at the axis of Lizzie’s journey of self-discovery.
But what about George? Again, I’m assuming you all have read the book, so we all KNOW what happens to him. But I have to give Wes Aderhold and the writers (particularly Margaret Dunlap, who wrote this episode) credit where credit is due. Wickham might not be the greatest guy ever -
- but we are not supposed to HATE him. He’s charming! And handsome! And a very, very effective liar. Not since Tom Riley’s portrayal of Wickham in Lost in Austen, in which Georgiana is actually made out to be the liar and Wickham just a lovable rogue, have I actually kind of felt for the guy. Not to excuse his impending douchery - for he is definitely about to be a Dickham - but I think that Lizzie’s relationship with George would be completely changed for the viewers and for her characterization if he were entirely unlikable.
Ultimately, we’ll have to see what the writers decide to do with George and Lydia and how Lizzie reacts to that in turn, but if past is prologue, I know that we are definitely in good hands.