We’re on the home stretch now, folks!
All the main characters have decamped to Sanditon for the regatta. Hurrah! But after the shock revelations that Sid’s heart has been broken by Mrs Campion, Char is in a mood. It doesn’t get better when the said ex turns up in Sanditon, all London airs and beige clothes, and mistakes Char for the help.
So, naturally, Sid feels the thing he really should do to fix things is console Char with an erotic boat trip and a mini feel-up. Heave. Ho. Etc.
But lo! Who else tips up? Susan, the random woman dishing out the old Anna Raeburn to our Char at the glittering ball in Ep 6, that’s who! And, would you know it, fragrant Susan is a Lady Somethingorother AND, apparently, a mistress of the Prince Regent. She’s not here for the Toffs v Plebs boat race. Oh no. She’s here to Take Char in Hand and Put Things Right (maybe).
Meanwhile, over on the dark side…
You know in my recap of Episode 6 I said Lady Denham was Not Dead Yet. Well, I never spoke a truer word.
While Esther, dressed in a symbolic gown of green, is recapping to her on Edward and Clara burning the will and getting down and dirty on the floor, thinking she was more or less talking to the air, Lady D is actually listening. Then she (Lady D) rises as if from the grave, denounces the very very guilty parties and sends ’em packing without a farthing. Luckily, Esther has wished Lady D well in heaven, so she’s OK (maybe).
Back to the action.
Arthur prises Georgiana Lambe out of her bed where she is being bored to death with Bible readings by the Creepy Vicar and takes her down to the regatta for a spot of fun and cake. She says she resents being stared at by the masses for her reputation-shredding escapade with Otis and the abductor. He sensibly says she is constantly stared at so what’s the diff?
Stringer clumsily but sweetly makes a sort of advance towards Char, but she doesn’t even see it and thanks him for being a great shoulder for her broken heart (this metaphor has gone a bit wrong, but bear with). Then it’s the boat race and may the best man win. There’s a lot of in-out-in-out etc from the coxes. And the best man does win, except he is not Sid.
So, Sanditon looks saved, mostly by Sue, who might return with The Prince in tow. More hurrahs! Bonus: Tom and Mary Parker’s marriage is saved because he won’t go bankrupt.
Lord B goes to see Esther and offers to be a supportive friend in her hour of need without bothering her with that love stuff. She has a cry, and we love her for it (he does too).
Final scene: Char alone in the Sanditon project room feeling wistful. Enter: Sid. Blah Blah, he says, I’ve sent the snobby ex packing back to London and I am a better man when I am with you, or words to that effect, Your Honour.
Please, I beg you, costume department, stop with the long hair and put a bonnet on Charlotte. She’s looking like a woman of the street.
Good. We had naked Sid in the distance emerging from the sea, where he had gone to sort out his head. Plus a bit of manly chest and lower leg.
Difficult. Obviously nothing’s over until it’s over, and I feel there’s going to be a curve ball thrown in from left field because that is the job of the scriptwriter, but this is where we appear to be heading:
Esther and Lord Bab marry after lots of psychotherapy and couples counselling.
Char and… jury’s still out, I’m afraid, until Sid can show he has genuinely changed and wants children (he’s great with the nephs and nieces). Perhaps Stringer is not developed enough as a character to be properly in the running.
Georgiana Lambe moves in with Arthur and Diana and lives to a long age, single and happy. She leaves her fortune to street children.
This was hilarious. Thank you!
Naomi Clifford says
Thank you, Rina! I love writing it up.
wendy boyd says
Dear Ms Clifford,
I am enjoying your reviews of Sanditon!
“Arthur prises Georgiana Lambe out of her bed where she is being bored to death with Bible readings by the Creepy Vicar and takes her down to the regatta for a spot of fun and cake. She says she resents being stared at by the masses for her reputation-shredding escapade with Otis and the abductor. He sensibly says she is constantly stared at so what’s the diff?” You know, Arthur is growing on me. In all his ridiculousness, he comes out with the most sensible comments. Like when the Brothers Parker are strolling down to the river with Tom foreseeing no possible reason why Sid should not marry the woman who jilted him for elderly money, and Art points out that he wouldn’t trust her as far as he could throw her. And for goodness sake, why Sid even spends as much time with her as he does with all the nastiness she aims at Char does not reflect too positively on him. But of Romeo more anon.
“Char and… jury’s still out, I’m afraid, until Sid can show he has genuinely changed and wants children (he’s great with the nephs and nieces). Perhaps Stringer is not developed enough as a character to be properly in the running.” Jury’s still out? Jury is long since at home having dinner with the family having been unanimously convinced by the flirty dance at the ball! That with the ensuing obvious complication-of-the-ex and Char’s blatant jealousy meant the only possible outcome would be a CharSid wedding. And this is Jane Austen, or at least an attempt. All Austen books end with the lead female marrying the guy who became pretty obvious pretty early. And if anyone needed a nail in the coffin it was Char’s devastating chat with Stringer in this episode.
Stringer? Definitely the better man, someone who is Char’s emotional peer, able to lift others and see hope rather than despair despite his father’s constant set-downs. But he was never an option. Perhaps if Char had fallen in love with him early she would have had the guts to defy society, risk rejection by her family and friends by marrying someone who is her “social inferior.” But in her naivete and her depth of class training it never even occurs to her that he is an option or that he would think of her romantically – thus her obliterating candidness. It’s almost as though she doesn’t think of him as a man, whereas Sid’s manliness is, well, exposed to her rather directly.
And on that note, I find it interesting that her romantic interest in Sid first becomes evident after she catches him in the altogether and can’t quite unsee what she has seen. We then catch her checking out his portrait and looking a bit flustered. Usually men are credited with being attracted to women based on sight whereas women are said to be attracted to men based on emotional intimacy (thus the gender weighting of the porn industry). But these guys are the opposite. Charlotte running about with her messy hair is not going to pull him in with her looks. (And oh, how I agree with you on the crimes of the costume and hair department! Maybe her country father let her run around like that on the farm, but for goodness sake, surely Mary Parker would have sent the maid up after a couple of days and given her charge a nudge. Even Lady Denham could have brought forth a few choice comments to nip that in the bud.) Clearly the filmmakers are desperate to convince us of how sexy Sid is with all the superfluous nudity. (I mean the one in this episode added nothing to the plot, it’s not as if he had to get naked to think, it was blatant eye candy.) Because why else is she falling in love with him?
Ok, I like Sid as a character, he is to me the most interesting character because he is such a perplexed mess, (although I am increasingly intrigued by Esther’s character). Beyond physical attraction, I think Char falls in love with him because he is mysterious/confusing (which has made her think about him a lot), and then because she starts to see him taking the lead and leaping to the rescue (Stringer’s dad, rescuing Georgiana), showing his generosity, kindness and compassion (paying off debts, Otis/Georgiana farewell), and generally hinting that he has painful feelings which arouse her own compassion and curiosity (and arguably the old “mothering instinct” of wanting to take care of those in pain, a frequent reason why strong women marry messed up men). And then as a totally inexperienced, naive young lady, this big, strong, manly man starts gazing with his dark, gorgeous, puppy dog eyes into hers, paying her compliments and flirting like the dickens and dancing the flirty dance and basically there is no hope for her at all. And no hope for Stringer, if there ever was any. We may not like it, but it is more realistic, actually, especially for this time period.
But frankly, when he felt her up on the boat ride she should have slapped him. I mean, this was in between his canoodles with Mrs C, so it’s not like she had any assurances that his intentions were honourable. Please #metoo for goodness sake!
“Esther and Lord Bab marry after lots of psychotherapy and couples counselling.” Love this! I must say, I feel like Esther changed too quickly from villain to heroine in the series, but perhaps if I watch it again I will see the development more clearly. Lord Bab evolved in likeability most pleasingly, I’ll be glad to see him happy. But he and Char will have similar roles: both married to really scarred people in need of a lot of emotional support and patience. Lord Bab has a lot of emotional stability, he will cope well, I think. Sid and Char will fight a lot unless/until they learn to communicate better and overcome some of their insecurities. Perhaps we will see some positive development in that direction in the final episode.
“You know in my recap of Episode 6 I said Lady Denham was Not Dead Yet. Well, I never spoke a truer word.” Yay! It was far too early for her to die. She is the Maggie Smith of this series. Will she die at the end, though, leaving her money to…Sanditon, the donkey sanctuary and now Esther? Or will she figure that Lord Bab’s money is enough and for her gratitude for Esther’s enlightening words not disowning her will suffice? She might not have to die and leave Tom her money because Lady Susan (I love her) is going to bring Princey (yes she must be sick in the head but I love her anyway) and Sanditon will fill with money that way. While we certainly hope for some curve balls in the final episode, let’s face it, it’s going to be a happy ending for all the good guys, because this is Jane Austen.
And how much is it Jane Austen? The bones they’ve thrown to the modern audience are basically added sex and nudity. OK, there’s talk of slavery and there are “black” characters. But the black lover/activist turns out to be a naughty gambler, so you can’t argue it is portraying multiracial characters with modern egalitarianism. Char is spunky and has some forward thinking ideas, but she isn’t falling in love with an architect or rescuing street urchins (see Georgette Heyer’s “Arabella” for a more convincing Regency social activist). She argues for compassion but not really for women’s rights. So honestly, it is Austen sexed up. Personally, I find it rather insulting that they think modern audiences will only be enticed into Austen’s world if you add sex and nudity. Insulting, but neither new nor surprising. I am enjoying Sanditon and find that stuff totally superfluous. I wonder how many others feel the same…
“Georgiana Lambe moves in with Arthur and Diana and lives to a long age, single and happy. She leaves her fortune to street children.” Yes, or finally succumbs to the sensible Arthur. But one episode won’t suffice for that. I think she might go back to the West Indies. Some long-lost relative will turn up and relieve Sid of the burden. Either that or he will start up a household with his wife and his ward, who are closer in age to each other than to him…a little too weird? Georgiana is the biggest loose end. How about the ubiquitous Lady Susan taking her in? She’ll do a much better job of marrying her off, just look how she’s served Char…
Keep up the reviews!
“But frankly, when he felt her up on the boat ride she should have slapped him. I mean, this was in between his canoodles with Mrs C, so it’s not like she had any assurances that his intentions were honourable. Please #metoo for goodness sake!”
Oh what a Bam Bam
Fabulous insight from both of you
I can’t wait for Sunday’s episode
Caribbean Woman ☘️
Naomi Clifford says
Gosh, Wendy. And I have enjoyed your comment. Your insights are wonderful.
“And this is Jane Austen, or at least an attempt. All Austen books end with the lead female marrying the guy who became pretty obvious pretty early. And if anyone needed a nail in the coffin it was Char’s devastating chat with Stringer in this episode.”
I still don’t trust Sid entirely and am reluctant to let Stringer go. A match with him would put Char is the independent, mind of my own, semi-democratic camp, but you are so right, Wendy. I can see Sid has good qualities (generosity, tossing nephs and nieces in air, remorse for being a bad guardian, hairy chest etc) but he appears to lack that thing that makes women goes weak at the knees: humour. I need to see more of this in Episode 8. He needs to be a laugh. Arguably Stringer does not have this either… Perhaps poor disappointed Stringer will choose a life partner from one of Charlotte’s millions of siblings going spare back home.
Speaking of which, for Episode 8, my money is on a crisis at home compelling Charlotte away from Sanditon and Sid going in hot pursuit.
Wendy Boyd says
Yes I’ve thought that might happen as well. Plus it would give him the chance to ask Char’s dad’s permission (as I think he is still meant to at this time, or am I wrong?) and to bring back a bride for Mr Stringer. It would also be a nice way of bringing the story full circle.
Please let’s get Sid and Char off to the altar please!
Sidney is the one for Charlotte – after his confession on Sunday that he is a better man when he is with Char etc and wanting to give them a chance to have a go at their relationship by sending his snotty ex back to London (where she belongs); we should give them a fighting chance to move ahead together. ’
Naomi Clifford says
Yes, totally agree that is where we are heading, Eviedee. And I have reluctantly dropped the torch I hold for Stringer.
I do think it is a shame, however, that women are portrayed as the sticking plaster for men’s imperfections. I would like to see Sid a better man first and then for Charlotte to consider him.
Let’s see how and what he does in the final episode…
Thanks for your comments; I too do believe that Sid will really need to pull out the stops for Char next episode to show he is over Snooty Fox (Eliza), and as I said before to give their relationship a fighting chance.
I just love Sid though; having to admit you are over an “old” flame is a big deal, particularly if it was the love of your life! Good for Charlotte, hope the writer gives us the finale that we are all waiting anxiously for!
Team Babington all the way! If he and Esther dont get together by the end of Ep 8 Ill cry into my bonnet. But I do have hope since Lord B meaningfully asks in Ep 7 ‘ can a womans feelings change in a single day?’. Yes lord B, in this series they certainly can!
Really enjoy your comments Naomi. Does anyone else think Lord Bab and Esther are FAR more interesting characters than Charlotte and Sid? I thought the Lord Bab/Esther exchange I the last episode was the most romantic yet! Never mind Sid’s slightly suspect seduction techniques of poor Charlotte in the canoe – Lord Bab showed himself to be a true hero; dubious moral character at the start of the series (like Sid), he has shown that he is man of real depth and honour. I liked his fur-lined cape too – definitely a thumbs-up in the fashion stakes. Esther too has become a most intriguing character who blatantly has a softer, more vulnerable side. I’m hoping for Lord Bab and Esther spin-off myself. What I think we’re lacking with Charlotte is a real context of why we should care about her so much. In Pride and Prej, we’re almost instantly given the context of the family’s financial predicament, and why it’s so important they marry well. We hardly know anything about C’a family, though we know she’s not from wealth. On that note, has anyone else wondered about her outstaying her welcome with her hosts in Sanditon? They’ve been on the breadline and it must have crossed their mind if maybe it was time for her to go-home?! And how exactly have her and Sid fallen in love with one another?! Not sure I’m believing it…
Naomi Clifford says
You have articulated one of my issues. Arguably Lord Bab has been on the same journey Sid is currently on – youthful wild days, heading for settled middle-aged responsibility and babies. But Esther is now Lord B’s saviour from his bad side. And I too am struggling to appreciate Char. She is a good egg, not a fusspot, hates slavery etc but, although I am enjoying the series immensely, I feel strangely emotionally uninvested in the main character.
Stephen Morse says
Loved reading this page !
I am male, 71 (sounds ancient, but I’m not), and I’m just loving Sanditon (and anything Jane Austen). I also have a crush on Charlotte :-).
Naomi Clifford says
Thank you for your encouraging words, Stephen. Charlotte: See my reply to Genevieve. But she does have lovely hair.
Wendy Boyd says
Ok, after watching episode 8, I just want to quote an article from the Radio Times about whether there would be a second series of Sanditon:
“That remains to be seen! The broadcaster hasn’t yet announced a decision – watch this space for updates.
But ahead of the show’s launch, Andrew Davies told press: “We would love it to come back as a second series. Lots more story to tell.”
As for what might happen next, he revealed: “I do have a few ideas.
“And in fact the way we end series one, I hope we’ve ended at a point where the audience is going to say: well you can’t end it at that!””
Well that is exactly what my husband and I shouted at the telly, so they had darn well have another series!!!
Naomi Clifford says
“That remains to be seen!”
That merely means he’s not allowed to say!
PLEASE let us have your review on Episode 8 (what??); SERIOUSLY VERY DISAPPOINTED…
Naomi Clifford says
Hi Evie – Episode 8 is here!
Suleika Malcolm says
Lord Bab and Esther might be more interesting characters, but the writers and producers of Sanditon have invested much more viewing time and build up in the Sidney/ Charlotte relationship over the eight episodes. It was a very cruel and devastating ending last night. Surely we all want to see true love triumphing at the end of a story started by Jane Austen! Sidney turns out to be an emotionally totally ‘fucked up’ person (pardon my English, but it is the only way to put it). He had just realised,with the help of his brother Arthur’s comment in episode 7, that he could never trust Mrs. Campion ever again and that Charlotte’s down to earth, honest and caring nature had helped him to break through the hard veneer, he had build out of self preservation around himself for years after the trauma of being jilted by Eliza. He had found his truest self again in her company. There certainly was enough sexual attraction between him and Charlotte too.
So how could Sidney then jilt Charlotte, whom he really loves and who really loves him, just to save his brother’s finances and grand scheme of Sanditon? A brother who has not proven to be learning from his financial mistakes and who might never ever learn to be responsible in the future either?
I rest my case.
This is a bit of a late comment but I don’t think Sid did anything in the boat which Charlotte didn’t rather like. He wasn’t canoodling with Mrs. C, he was already realising he’d made a mistake there and if you follow the dialogue when he pursued Charlotte to say sorry to her after Mrs. C’s rudeness, it was actually quite clever.
:…..stop with the long hair and put a bonnet on Charlotte. ” No, wrong. The bonnets are ridiculous and so old-fashioned. It makes a young women look like an old women. Males are balding in their 20’s, they should wear hats but females absolutely not: why should they cover their glorious hair covered heads.
Naomi Clifford says
But this is supposed to be 1817, when respectable women never went out without their bonnets and shawls. Regency hairstyles, for women of Charlotte’s rank, were tightly curled in styles we now find rather unappealing; daytime hair was perhaps a step down from the very controlled styles Charlotte sports at the various balls in the series. While I accept a degree of creative licence is necessary to make Charlotte look attractive by 2019 standards and that absolute historical accuracy is unattainable (and undesirable), Charlotte’s free-flowing locks are, to me at least, jarring. Contrast Charlotte’s hair with Elizabeth Bennet’s in Andrew Davies’ 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice.