as someone who’s graduating soon and going into clinical psych, taliesin calling fcg a “first year psych major who is clearly the problem” has me on the FLOOR like. that’s it that’s fcg’s whole deal i love it so much
like aside from asking all the stereotypical shrink questions, fcg is clearly coming at things from the angle of “i have an idea of what’s Healthy and i want to FIX people” instead of meeting people where they are and working with them to get to know themselves better and it! makes so much sense!! because they’re a robit who has been programmed to help others and they clearly have some very black-and-white thinking going on and ofc that would apply to their programmed purpose
and wrt to the moment fcg had with imogen last episode, it fits so well that they crossed a boundary without hesitation in the pursuit of that programmed purpose and honestly it didn’t seem like they were all that sorry when imogen confronted them?? and i’m so excited to see where that goes (and don’t get me started on the implications of imogen’s (understandable!) reaction to it or we’ll be here all day lol)
i’m also really excited about their existing relationship with ashton, who has also now been confirmed by taliesin to 1) not like telling anyone anything about themself and 2) like to think they know themself and really don’t. that’s just another confrontation/point of conflict waiting to happen on both their end and fcg’s end and i can’t wait aaa
I’ve been thinking about the development of Elizabeth’s feelings for Darcy in P&P, and one of the things I find really intriguing is how incredibly careful Austen is in her handling of their physical attraction to each other.
A lot of takes on Darcy’s initial attraction to Elizabeth focus entirely on the physical element, but Austen’s description of it folds together his attraction to her intelligence, her expression, her body, and the “easy playfulness” of her manner. Of these, the earliest mentioned is his realization that her face is “rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes” and her eyes are the physical feature that he seems to dwell on the most.
At any rate, Darcy’s attraction to Elizabeth is established early on (Ch 6) and continues as a thread from that point on. And—I mean, even in 1813, it’s one thing to show a man in his twenties being attracted to the pretty heroine. Austen is a lot cagier about Elizabeth’s feelings.
The narrative is structured so that we know Darcy is physically attractive from his entrance in Ch 3, when the narrator refers to “his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien” along with his wealth. But we’re not in Elizabeth’s head at that point, and iirc, she isn’t shown as saying or thinking anything about his physical attractiveness until she blushingly agrees that he is very handsome forty chapters later.
Even there, Austen leaves the dialogue to stand on its own and tells us nothing of what Elizabeth actually feels about it. The conversation moves to Darcy’s personal virtues, which reveal the critical fact that Darcy is consistently kind and good-natured in the domestic sphere. So Elizabeth’s concession that Darcy is physically attractive is narratively linked to the suggestion that he would make a safe husband, emotionally speaking (although her concession comes first, which may be significant).
Between the initial, omniscient narrator-type description of him and Elizabeth agreeing in Ch 43, we do get references to his looks a few times, but during the period of Elizabeth’s dislike, it’s always either through implication or through someone around Elizabeth rather than Elizabeth herself. So Bingley, for instance, jokes about how Darcy is so much taller than he is, but the narrator only remarks on Elizabeth’s assumption that Darcy is offended by this.
We know that Elizabeth looks for a resemblance to Darcy when she first sees Lady Catherine, and finds it, but this isn’t explicitly linked to her conclusion that Lady Catherine might have been handsome in her youth.
Then there’s the introduction of Colonel Fitzwilliam, when he arrives with Darcy, as “about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly the gentleman.” Obviously the contrast is with Darcy, who is handsome but has less gentlemanly manners, but this isn’t explicitly spelled out. Austen simply says that Darcy “looked just as he had been used to look in Hertfordshire” and moves to the manner of his compliments to Charlotte.
We do get an explicit contrast later, when Darcy, Georgiana, and Bingley come to Lambton (so, after the critical revelations):
Miss Darcy was tall, and on a larger scale than Elizabeth; and, though little more than sixteen, her figure was formed, and her appearance womanly and graceful. She was less handsome than her brother; but there was sense and good humour in her face
Austen breezes past this to Georgiana’s manners and Bingley’s arrival. There are a couple of discussions of Darcy’s appearance earlier at Pemberley, but entirely held between Mr and Mrs Gardiner, who admire his figure while Elizabeth is consumed by embarrassment. She mentions that it was obvious that he had only just arrived via horse or carriage, but not how she knows this or what she feels about it beyond repeatedly blushing.
Then they meet again, he interacts with the Gardiners for awhile, and Elizabeth and the Gardiners leave. The Gardiners discuss the encounter including Darcy’s appearance, and Mrs Gardiner—who at this point, still thinks Darcy has mistreated Wickham—first concludes that Wickham is handsomer, then immediately re-considers and decides that Darcy has perfect features, but not Wickham’s angelic countenance. She (Mrs Gardiner) goes on, “He[Darcy] has not an ill-natured look. On the contrary, there is something pleasing about his mouth when he speaks.”
Elizabeth does not opine on Darcy’s mouth, lol, and instead defends Darcy’s moral character as far as his financial dealings with Wickham are concerned. We don’t hear much more of it apart from that, and in general, we see Elizabeth’s reactions to Darcy more than we hear about them:
Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of both were overspread with the deepest blush.
She blushed again and again over the perverseness of the meeting.
The colour which had been driven from her face, returned for half a minute with an additional glow, and a smile of delight added lustre to her eyes, as she thought for that space of time that his affection and wishes must still be unshaken.
Darcy had walked away to another part of the room. She followed him with her eyes, envied everyone to whom he spoke, had scarcely patience enough to help anybody to coffee; and then was enraged against herself for being so silly!
The colour now rushed into Elizabeth’s cheeks in the instantaneous conviction of its being a letter from the nephew, instead of the aunt
She had only to say in reply, that they had wandered about, till she was beyond her own knowledge. She coloured as she spoke
I do not personally think there can be much reasonable doubt about whether Elizabeth is attracted to Darcy during this phase of the book. But the narrative does dance around it enough (for understandable 1813 reasons, I suspect, given that Elizabeth either dislikes or hates Darcy for a significant portion of the book) that it’s not at all clear when she begins to finds him attractive, especially given that she does not actually see him between receiving the letter and acknowledging his attractiveness at Pemberley. So I think there are multiple valid interpretations or headcanons one could come up with for that.