ROMANCE. I am enjoying season two of Sanditon just fine, but I would be very into it if I were 15. So many people are agonizingly pining for each other in silence! To a teenager, that is the essence of true love! You don’t talk to the other person; you stare at them with sadness in your eyes when they’re not looking.
Speaking of teenage notions of love, Alison is all in on Captain Carter. She says he has the soul of a poet and saved 50 soldiers from drowning. Does that sound real, Alison? Does that sound like a true story? Charlotte does that thing where you’re pretending to talk about the other person’s problems, but really you’re just talking about your own, and she’s not even hiding it well. She tells Alison that it can be hard to tell what a man’s true character is, then abandons pretense and changes the subject to how Colonel Lennox told her to be wary of Mr. Colbourne (to whom, again, I shall informally refer as “Alex”). Alison thinks Lennox definitely seems like a trustworthy person, because Alison is terrible at judging people.
If you’re not keeping track of the budding relationships here, we have:
- The Charlotte/Lennox/Alex triangle
- The Alison/Carter/Fraser triangle
- Georgiana and Charles (and maybe Arthur, but only with Charles?)
I love all of them.
Edward remains the turd in the sandbox of Sanditon, as we discover he is paying Lady Denham’s servant to give him Esther’s letters from Lord Babington. Now that he knows he has a son (as opposed to a useless daughter), he has a plot, and that plot is to propose to Clara and set up his son as a beneficiary of the family wealth. Clara almost resists this scheme (growth!), but Edward, being himself, points out that Esther could abandon Clara at any moment, and then she would be begging on the street with her son. I mean, it’s not not a possibility, and I’m not sure what I would do in this situation. Maybe go to Esther and say, “So Edward stopped by and proposed to me and also has been stealing your letters from Lord Babington; I’m concerned I’ll be penniless and without a roof over my head and am telling you this at great risk to my own well-being.” Esther has been well intentioned for over a season now! But if I were Clara, I would also probably be wary of her since she has a right to be really mad.
Captain Carter is determined to propose to Alison, which seems so fast?? Fraser is sad about this because his argumentative banter and solemn looks from afar haven’t won Alison over yet. Fraser is clearly better but seems to consider it not his place to tell Alison that Carter did not, in fact, fight Napoleon because he is a tiny baby soldier man and wasn’t around for that. All this comes to a head at Lady Denham’s garden party, the new Event of the Season! I wish I lived somewhere where there was an Event of the Season every week.
Before the party, Georgiana tells the Parkers et al. that Sidney was in Antigua because a man claiming to be her father’s relative tried to claim her inheritance, saying she was unfit to receive it. Sidney caused this man’s suit to fail, but now there is pressure on Georgiana not to be morally licentious (read: do basically anything), which might cause the courts to doubt her “fitness” to receive a bunch of money. Georgiana points out that if she were white and a man, the courts would not care, which is true, but we are stuck with these double standards. FOR NOW.
This is a bummer because Georgiana is clearly bored with her life and wants something new and different, and here comes Charles Lockhart, Byronic artist, trying to sweep her off her feet and literally telling her he wants her to bare her soul so he can paint her true self.
Lady Denham’s garden party is so eventful; if I were a town gossip, I would be delighted. Let’s look at the events:
- Captain Carter proposes to Alison while they are in a rowboat (Fraser, of course, looks on sadly). In her excitement to accept, she falls off and into the water. Ah, now the man who saved 50 others from drowning can let his heroic self shine forth! Instead, he uselessly wobbles a paddle at her, which she cannot grab hold of, and she goes under. She wakes up on the bank next to an out-of-breath Fraser and realizes Carter was lying all along. To recap: an engagement, a near-drowning, a rescue, and a broken engagement. And this is only one set of characters!
- Georgiana convinces the entire party to boycott Lady Denham’s massive cake that she had made to spite the sugar boycott. Charles is very hyped about this, and they go to a quiet corner so he can capture her fiery, passionate self and then, of course, almost kiss. Miss Hankins and Mary interrupt them. Miss Hankins is clearly oblivious to what is going on, but Mary is troubled. So a mass boycott of the very host of the party, followed by an heiress almost kissing an artist.
- Augusta is finally introduced to society when Alex escorts her to the party, but she asks to have her corset laced too tightly and then faints. If someone fainted at a party I attended, that would be the main thing! But you almost forget about it this episode because there is so much else.
- Alex and Lennox have a very Darcy versus Wickham exchange, which is maddening as a 21st-century viewer, because you’re like, “Charlotte! Lennox is clearly Wickham and therefore you should not trust him when he says negative things about Alex!” But this is an Austen-inspired story, and as far as we’re aware, her books don’t exist in this universe, so Charlotte can’t know any of this. Alex and Lennox end up having an archery contest, which happens between Darcy and Elizabeth in the 1940 Pride and Prejudice adaptation (it goes very off script), and then they each have Charlotte take the final shot. She does excellently for Lennox and very poorly for Alex, making Lennox the winner. Alex storms off with Augusta, and Lennox looks obnoxiously smirky about it.
As a viewer, it’s so frustrating to watch Alex and Charlotte politely dance around each other, which means their dynamic is Peak Period Romance Vibes. When this season started, I did not think I’d be into Alex and Charlotte as a pairing, but I have most definitely come around, and now I want them to make out in a forest or something.
I am deeply invested in all these relationships and also in Esther and Clara becoming friends and raising a baby together, but how will they wrap it up in only two more episodes?? Or WILL they, since there is one more season of Sanditon promised? Two people I like had better kiss each other or I will burn Sanditon to the ground. Even though that’s exactly what happened last season.