Folks, we’re still in Sanditon! On the sandy beach!
Basically, four things occurred:
THE CRICKET MATCH
The set piece is a village cricket match – Gents v Men – (which says a lot in itself). The whole event is very touch and go because hopeless Tom Parker hasn’t paid the Men, who are threatening to down tools and not play, which, as you know, would Not Be Cricket.
It all looks glorious. The sun’s out and the Gents sport fetchingly tonal beige breeches and waistcoats. The hunky Men (well Young Stringer is hunky) are in manly shirts and neckerchiefs. The Gents guzzle the wine and sandwiches in the gazebos, but the Men are sober and respectable.
When Tom Parker is out (Leg Before Wicket, if you must know transl. for non-cricket-playing nations, he broke the rules accidentally by putting his limb in the wrong place), and throws a strop about it even when the umpire (creepy vicar) changes his mind, plucky former tomboy Char steps in to play for the Gents and Stringer bowls like a girl especially for her. And yes, women DID play cricket in the Georgian era but not usually with men or even Men.
Note: Two strange absences: (1) No visible betting. Cricket was all about the ‘sport’. (2) Sand. For all that the match was played on the sandy beach at Sanditon, there were none of the usual discomforts of English beach life i.e. sand in the sandwiches, sand in personal crevices. A detail, I know, but…
THE MARRIAGE PROPOSAL
Look, if Esther doesn’t want Lord Babington, I’ll have him. He’s deffo growing on me. Funny, sensitive, keen to do the right thing and actually very handsome. Also he can see Our Esther for the sadly neglected unloved vulnerable wit, brain and kind soul that she is Underneath It All. They go off to ride horses and he pops the question. She’s tempted but after a sesh with Evil Edward refuses his offer. Bad move, Est! Let’s hope that you have a rethink.
Following on from the above theme of absences… Georgiana has been in secret correspondence with that Otis Molyneux and Char hatches a plot to help her sneak off to meet him from the 4pm coach. But Char forgets the time because Stringer is running towards her with a silly look on his visage so G goes alone and lo! and behold she is reportedly bundled into the coach to London by two men. Oh my goodness! Next thing, Sid is shouting at Char again and Char is throwing caution to the wind and going to London unaccompanied in search of her friend.
As I spent years researching elopements and abductions in the Long 18th Century, I will be most interested in how this develops in Episode 6.
THE IMPENDING DEMISE
Looks like Lady Denham has had a stroke and could be on the way out. What will happen to her money?
Cricket: Nicely done but Char would not have been allowed to participate. Mary and Tom, you are in loco parentis. What were you thinking?
Miss Lambe’s possible abduction: Perfect and very Austen, I would have thought, but let’s see what transpires in Episode 6.
Side note: Esther’s bare arms and long curling hair look makes her look like she’s stepped out of 1950s Vogue. Intentional?
Zero, except for Esther’s bare arms.
Fidelity to the original
Jane Austen’s own title for the work was The Brothers. I think the relationship between Sid, Tom and Arthur needs to be more centre stage.
Predictions for ending
My money is on Char and Stringer, Esther and Babington, Mrs Griffiths and Creepy Vicar (they so deserve each other), Edward and Clara (ditto), Arthur and Georgiana (he positively beamed at her on the beach, she’ll come round). Sid will turn out to be Not the Marrying Kind or he dies young. He’s a smoker, which in films/tv means he is doomed. Have you not seen Jurassic Park?