We’re galloping along at an amazing speed. Plus there are stunts (well, one).
So, off Char pops to London alone, as you do, in search of her abducted friend Georgiana Lambe, armed only with Otis’s address on a scrap of paper. Of course London is all lurching drunk poor people who want to molest her in dark alleys and when one actually assaults her he gets short shrift from a passing stranger, who turns out to be
What a hero.
Otis is not such a hero, however, having ‘sold’ the declared love of his life Miss Lambe to a horrible man to pay off his gambling debts. During the frantic search for Miss Lambe we discover that not only is Sid a smoker and a drinker but he’s also a user of sex workers (‘The usual, Mr Parker?’ or words to that effect from the brothel-keeper).
Sid find out that poor Georgiana is in a coach with a fat bloke heading for Scotland and the famous anvil. Who goes to the rescue?
He does! (Plus Char)
And who leads a terrifying chase in a chaise and performs a leap worthy of the best Tom Cruise, bringing the coach to a halt and rescuing Georgiana from a fate worse than death?
Georgiana is safely carted back to civilisation and prescribed a hot bath and a quiet night. Sid and Char are all fired up by the excitement and there’s a party on! Just as well Char’s packed a golden gown and her curlers in her reticule, just in case.
Meanwhile, near Sanditon, Lady Denham is fading fast so Evil Edward goes looking for her will, only for Clara to beat him to it. In a moment of intimacy, they conspire to deprive the donkey sanctuary of its inheritance and salivate together over the prospect of the riches coming to them and when that’s finished they promptly get down to business on the floor. Urgh!
While Edward lights a post-coital cigar Clara does what she does best: sexual blackmail – if she doesn’t get a bigger slice of the pie she’ll tell Esther about their little moment. But it’s not over until the fat lady sings, that is Lady Denham is Not Dead Yet.
At the aforementioned ball, Char and Sid dance together in a flirty way and we can all feel the love. Earlier, we learn that Sid was disappointed in love by a certain ‘Eliza’ who chucked Sid and married for money. The beeeaatch! Looking like Sid is odds-on favourite now.
But then Char confides in a random woman called Susan that she’s confused (a mode her face has displayed in every scene through the six episodes). She feels attracted to Sid, she continues, but angry with him at the same time. ‘Ah,’ says Susan. ‘That means you are in love!’
Nonsense, I say, Susan! What Char is describing, in my humble experience, sounds very much like the state of being married (first few years anyway – it’s all mellow companionship now, I assure you).
But would you believe it? Everything comes crashing down. Eliza’s at the ball. And she’s widowed! And who’s laughing and joking with her?
Only Sid, that’s who.
Will Char’s tentative dreams be squished? What about Stringer?
In other news:
Tom Parker continues to try to save Sanditon and his marriage.
‘Abduction is a hanging offence,’ states Sid when confronting the driver of the coach containing Miss Lambe and her monetary potential. Common misconception. Abduction was a misdemeanour not a felony. If Georgiana had been proved to have been forcibly married in England and then forced to have sex (and the marriage had been annulled), that would have been rape, a hanging offence indeed. In practice men were hanged for the rape of a child, but rarely of a woman. See my book The Disappearance of Maria Glenn for more on this.
Charlotte’s hair: Full marks for the updo.
None. But there was that sex on the floor if you like that kind of thing.
I am seriously not happy about the messages Sanditon is sending out.
If Char ends up with Sid, she will be playing the part of wife-as-medicine. Take this unhappy borderline depressed man with a sensitive soul but self-destructive behaviours (smoking, drinking, whoring) and add a sweet gentle woman and lo! a good man will emerge. If the bad man comes back, she didn’t do her job properly.
Abused people (Clara) become sexually promiscuous.
Fat people are either sweet but ridiculous (Arthur) or evil (the man who wanted to marry Miss Lambe for her fortune).
I reviewed Episode 1 of Andrew Davies’ Sanditon (ITV) for the Historical Writers’ Association.
Read my recap of Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4 and Episode 5.
Liz Johnson says
Love your comments … Don’t forget the stereotype that thin, unattractive males with poor eyesight generally become vicars who are weak willed and defer to the social hierarchy (but singleton females love them for it anyway), and the anomaly that for a daughter so close to her father, Charlotte has not written home once. Also, how is it that Tom’s children adore him when he’s never around?
Naomi Clifford says
Totally agree about the vicars, Liz. But speaking as the daughter of a somewhat absentee father, the adoration of Tom’s children does make sense to me. Yearning for what you can’t reach. And yes, Charlotte’s family seems to have disappeared altogether. I expect they will reappear at her wedding to… well, we seem to be going towards Sid but I still prefer Stringer (despite his difficult antecedents including his socially unacceptable father – an inverse of Pride and Prejudice perhaps…).
There was never ever an explanation of the dress. She didn’t have space for it in her reticule. I know it might have been Mary’s but it was another plot weakness along with the nonsense of her wandering about in dark alleys instead of going straight to Tom’s.
Is Charlotte’s hairline at the ball her natural hairline. It looks a bit alarmingly high! Anyone else notice this or know anything about Regency hair fashions?