Gigi Darcy and Pemberley Digital
=I’ve made it no secret how much I’m enjoying The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and over the past couple of weeks, the series has been supplemented by a few videos from the perspective of Gigi Darcy, as she provides a demo of Pemberley Digital’s new Domino platform, just as the drama goes down.
In theory, expanding Gigi’s role in the story was an excellent idea. In the books, she’s nothing more than Darcy’s shy little sister who was manipulated by Wickham and barely says a word. We get little sense of her feelings or motivations during the entire thing. So giving Gigi not only more of a personality and role in Lizzie’s videos, but also a platform to express herself and her side of things during the Great Wickham Hunt, had the potential to be wonderful.
Shame about the execution.
Let’s handwave over the nonsensical set-up for her videos (including lots of personal drama in a corporate demonstration, and then the demo ending as soon as the search for Wickham does?), and instead look at the way that Gigi and the others act in these videos. Although unprofessional, I thought the first one, with Gigi chatting and joking with Fitz, was cute, and showed us a fun friendship that we otherwise might not have been able to see. And then things kind of went downhill. We have Darcy forbidding Gigi from being involved in the search for Wickham. Understandable overprotective big brother behavior, perhaps, but it shows that he hasn’t grown or become any more understanding since the day when he waved a check in front of Wickham’s face to get him to leave his sister. He has no faith in her own emotional strength or understanding, doesn’t trust her to understand herself, and refuses to allow her to play a role in something that she deeply believes involves her, and although Gigi argues with him, her attitude throughout the videos implies that he’s in the right, and she’s in the wrong.
But the problems really came to the forefront in the final episode, which aired last Friday. Darcy’s attitude made me like him a lot less, but if this was a narrative where Gigi gained agency and her brother realized he had been wrong to be overprotective, then at least there would have been growth and a valid point at the end of it. Instead, after accidentally helping them track Wickham down, Gigi spends her final episode apologizing for breaking her promise not to get involved. A promise she was pressured to make, one she didn’t believe in, and one that she clearly needed to break, both for herself and for a good outcome. Fitz jokingly chides her (although his comment that she “contacted someone she wasn’t supposed to” strikes me very negatively, like she’s a young teenager forbidden from hanging out with the bad kids or something) but then says they can’t protect her, which is weak but at least something. And then she talks to her brother, who refuses to tell her how the problem was resolved… because, as she accepts, he’s protecting her. But from what? From the knowledge of how her brother solved a problem that she was deeply emotionally involved in? Meanwhile, Darcy continues to try and “make amends” for Wickham, but… what exactly is he making amends for, if it wasn’t being a jerk to his little sister at the time?
The series does end with Darcy telling her he’s proud of her… but she wasn’t given much space to do things to be proud of. The way they caught Wickham through Domino wasn’t Gigi’s plan, and the moment feels empty after episodes of stern disapproval, almost as though she’s a young child that he’s patting on the head and sending off to play. A storyline that was supposed to give Gigi depth and agency just sets her up as a child who needs the approval of her brother and friend to do anything. It makes for uncomfortable watching.
I do love the series as a whole, but I’m far from disappointed that the Permberley Digital side of things is over.