How is young speaks-as-she-finds Charlotte getting on in her new job doing the filing for Mr Tom Parker, entrepreneur of Sanditon? What is Georgiana Lambe’s secret? Will Sidney give himself a talking to? Have Edward and Esther got it on any further? And flint-hearted sex-minx and schemer Clara, what should we make of her?
Not sure this episode answers all those questions. But without further ado let’s plunge in. What follows is a plot précis (sort of) of what happened in Episode 3 but, in Eric Morecambe’s immortal words, not necessarily in the right order.
In an effort to save Sanditon from his creditors, Tom Parker hires Doktor Fuchs (I am not joking you) who specialises in hydrotherapy and sports a very Under The Top Tchermann accent and an Over The Top propensity to kiss ladies’ hands.
Clara offers to play guinea pig in Herr Doktor’s ground-breaking hot shower bath and deliberately scalds herself on the copper, thereby ruining Parker’s plans, and enticing Edward to step forward and carry her off from the nasty pipework wearing only her underfrillies (Clara that is, not Edward, and she was actually wearing a very plain undershift to denote how poor she is). Incidentally, some practitioners proposed hydrotherapy as a treatment for mental illness. No good for Clara, I think, as she is clearly a psychopath, for which there is no cure available.
Sidders is being a Very Naughty Boy. Five bottles of wine with his mates and a shedload of fags, and ending up sleeping in the bar, growing grainy ‘moutarde de Dijon’ stubble, you get the picture. I think we are supposed to assume he is Troubled By Something. Personally, I am hoping it is his gayness, as I want Char to end up with Young Stringer – more of him anon.
In her efforts to see off Clara, Esther digs her considerable nails into the burn Clara has just gone to all that effort of acquiring. When Clara, who appears to be constructed out of asbestos, fails to emit even a tiny squeak of protest, Esther realises she has been bested and retreats in damp-eyed astonishment. We can only hope, for Esther’s sake, that the threat she made in Episode 1, to poison this monster, is part of her Plan B.
What else? Oh yes. Georgiana Lambe outrages public decency, including the creepy vicar, by painting a rude (or something) watercolour while on a school outing to the beach. The whole scene put me in mind of this:
As we, sophisticated and worldly-wise as we are, are not even allowed to see what she did I can only assume it was Extremely Inappropriate.
Finally, almost, the producers promised us an accident in this episode. I was just sitting there thinking that Clara’s altercation with the water heater did not really cut the mustard when what happens? An actual accident. Young Stringer’s Old Dad, Old Stringer (I assume), who, we are assured, is a master mason and only roughing it as a hod-carrier because Tom Parker is too tight to stump up for a proper workforce, falls off the scaffolding, or something, and gets covered in bricks. Result: a nasty open leg fracture and Char and Sidders doing first aid.
The big strong men haul Old Stringer off to Parker’s beautiful shiny home and what do they do? Do they shoo out the cook and plonk him on the old oak kitchen table with its easy-to-clean surface? Do they heck. Or do they cart him off to the drawing room and let him bleed on the Chippendale? Of course! That’s how nice they are underneath it all. Then, Herr Doktor (who has not yet left town in ignominy after the shower bath incident) rushes in and proves he is not a quack but actually a skilled emergency surgeon and after roping in Sid and Char as nurses sets the broken leg in a trice. Char and new best friend Sid announce to Young Stringer that all is well with Old Stringer and ‘The leg is saved!’. If only someone would tell those doom and gloom merchants on 24 Hours in A&E how easy all this medicine really is. Of course, I might be a bit previous and will have to eat my words if Old Stringer later dies of scepticaemia, but I’m not expecting to.
What’s that at the back? Are we nearly there? Yes, actually we are. Char has what can only be described as a stroke of genius. And what is it? Only an idea to Save Sanditon, that’s all. What’s the idea? A regatta! With boats and things! Oh yah! I say, it’s briwwiant. So briwwiant that Tom Parker tries to pass it off as his own idea, and Sid, bless him, makes sure Char gets her due credit. (Yeah, right.) Anyway, she is given a new job of Events Coordinator and a salary of £20k in equivalent money (I made that bit up).
What does happen is that Tom Parker proves how nice he really is and promises to be a good employer to ‘the men’, pay full National Insurance and give them EU-style holidays. So Old Stringer’s leg has not been broken in vain.
I am hoping we’re off to the West Indies in the next episode, but fear we may only get as far as London. But as I am becoming a little claustrophobic in Sanditon, lovely as it is, even that will be a welcome change of air.
Oh, nearly forgot, Georgiana has promised Sid that she will be Good From Now On… but she’s been kissing a portrait of her secret boyf, so I am fairly sure she is telling porkies.
Hydrotherapy contraption – I am guessing this is based on documented fact, so full marks.
A person belonging to the working classes being offered surgery in the drawing room. Doubtful.
After Sidney rising prettily from the sea last week, it’s a big fat zero this time.
Fidelity to the original
Can’t even see land.
Read my recap of Episode 2.