In episode two, we find the Bennet's preparing for a visit from Mr. Bennet's cousin, Mr. Collins who, as we know, will inherit the Bennet estate upon Mr. Bennet's death due to the entails laws which applied in Britain at the time that the original "Pride and Prejudice" was published.
Mrs. Bennet is unhappy about the upcoming visit until her husband informs her that Mr. Collins, according to his letter, wishes to make some kind of 'ammends' to the Bennet family. Upon meeting the portly, dense and extremely talkative clergyman, everyone except Mrs. Bennet soon sees him for the absolute fool that he is. Mrs. Bennet is too busy trying to marry him off to Lizzie to notice his idiocy. His constant chatter about his Patroness, 'The Honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh' (Barbara Leigh-Hunt) and her magnificent home, Rosings Park, soon drive the Bennet family to distraction but Mrs. Bennet is very keen to keep the family home within the family and so, she encourages the silly man and his nonsense.
Meanwhile, the Bennet sisters make the acquaintance of Mr. George Wickham (Adrian Lukis) who is a soldier, quartered with the rest of his company at Meryton, a nearby town. The two youngest girls are very taken with the dashing soldiers and Elizabeth finds herself very drawn to Mr. Wickham who surprises her greatly when he says that he grew up on the Darcy estate, Pemberley, a magnificent property and residence which is worth a great deal of money. Mr. Wickham tells her that he and Darcy grew up together as boys due to the fact that Mr. Wickham senior was the elder Mr. Darcy's steward. She is incredibly shocked, however, to hear that when old Mr. Darcy died, his son refused to honour his father's promise to place Mr.Wickham in a parish for, apparently, he wished to make the church his career.
Wickham's tales of Darcy's treachery do not surprise her in the least and in fact, they give her more reason to dislike himand his 'kind'. However, she has more to worry about than Darcy when Mr. Collins, urged on by an excited Mrs. Bennet, proposes to her and doesn't seem to quite 'get it' when she politely refuses to accept him. Mrs. Bennet is crushed as Mr. Collins leaves the house, hurt and angry but Mr. Bennet is delighted, confiding to his daughter that he would have been very displeased if she had agreed to wed such a stupid man.
Yet another brilliant episode, made more so by the hilarious comedic skills of David Bamber in his excellent portrayal of the bumbling, boorish Mr. Collins. Must-see television!