Sanditon 1×08 Review

Spoilers Ahead

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Source: PBS.com

“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Where do we even begin, darling readers? Welcome to the final Sanditon weekly rundown for the season. This is a tough one. I’ve got my tea ready and I hope you’ve got yours, too because we’ve got a lot to cover. This is a season that focused on sincerity and until its final episode, it delivered. It’s a show that wasn’t meant to end at the very moment it did, so here’s to hoping the viewership at PBS is enough to grant us a second season or even a crowd funded film. Firefly got it, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries got it, Timeless did it. It’s possible. Sanditon is an incredibly special show that turned the Jane Austen universe upside down in a way that worked wonders — regency era had a lot of fire and spark in the midst of the seemingly put together world of high tea and country sides. This is an episode that touches on past episodes so intricately, it’s gut-wrenching. For what it’s worth, we were forewarned about all this, as mentioned in previous episodes, the narrative has been leading to these very moments with the seeds it’s planted throughout. What goes around comes around, we’re always told to be careful what we wish for, but to be human is to make mistakes — to be human is to feel every emotion through and through until our time comes.

“Without a quality of affection, marriage can become a kind of slavery.”

This is a love story. Sanditon is the story of a small, resort town full of colorfully complex nincompoops. (Lady Denham’s words, not mine.) and it’s a story of agency, profoundly broken characters finding solace with one another when they’re given the chance to choose the kind of life they want to carve out. It’s a great adventure that touches on the trials of love reminding us all of how precious it actually is when we find it — romantic or platonic.

Our tales of romance kick off with Esther and Babington on a carriage ride together, granted she was forced to go by Lady Denham, but by the end, it isn’t something she regrets. Babington continues to be an absolute angel through the journey, and while she says he doesn’t make her happy, it isn’t hard to smile in his presence. And then it happens again. He makes her laugh. It’s undoubtedly what gets to me most about Esther and Babington. A broken woman full of hatred as a result of the darkness she’s lived through laughs so easily with Babington because of the goodness he continues scattering into her life. And upon insulting him on his driving skills, he allows her to take the reins. Say it with me — agency. A sign of the fact that in this relationship, he’ll never control her or manipulate her into doing things as he wants them. He’ll respect her beliefs and her desires because the very sound of her laughter is the very thing he’s longed for. The scene ends with a stunning montage of the shared joy that’s experienced in the other’s company that gorgeously reflects just how much light is present in both their lives. Be still my heart. Be still.

However, since this is Esther we’re talking about, she’s going to deny having appreciated the carriage ride, but it’s a lie Lady Denham sees passed because she’s able to see the brightness in her eyes and the color in her cheeks. It’s a moment that surprisingly gives Lady Denham the chance to open up, stating that “it is infinitely better to be loved than to love.” And there it is — the pain that’s darkened her, forcing her to become the stoic, guarded woman that she now is because she knows what it’s like to be dangled and taken advantage of. It’s so similar to how Edward would treat Esther, except in this case, Lady Denham’s Rowleigh was left secured, too. These types of choices serve as a running theme of the episode that tells us money’s broken a number of relationships. And in Lady Denham’s case, she’d choose to ensure she’s also secure even if that means marrying despite the absence of real love.

It’s a conversation that inspires Esther to be more open to the prospect of marriage even when she isn’t entirely in love with Babington. And while that’s something not all the women in Sanditon are in agreement with, for Esther it works. It works because it’s a chance at a happiness that’ll at least give her the kind of freedom she deserves in order to build herself back up. She may not be madly in love with him but there is some sort of a quality of affection present. Cut to the dance where we actually see Esther find joy in the shared moment with Babington — it’s expected now that he’d be her partner through it. But good things don’t last too long, and a drunken Edward appears not only ruining Esther’s joy but getting in the way of what would’ve been a proposal for Sidney and Charlotte. I hate him. I really do. Get him out of my face. He screams about their incestuous relationship to all listening and leaves Esther in tears after she demands that he leaves. I hate him. Did I mention that before? And Esther’s face in this moment is so hauntingly harrowing, even Lady Denham understands. She realizes that he’s been her Rowleigh all along, and when Miss Griffith’s asks her not to judge too harshly, she responds with “I don’t judge her at all.” A statement I really wish Esther heard, but nevertheless, Anne Reid’s performance is so full of range in this moment. She’s been there and we see her empathy as clear as ever when she walks away.

Babington finally confronts her and reiterates the fact that he’s in love with her in spite of what she fears others will think. “My dear girl, don’t you know that I’m in love with you.” Did Mark Stanley destroy anyone else with the sincerity he brought to life in this moment? I was wrecked. He doesn’t care about the reputation she believes is tainted, all that matters to him is that she at least likes and trusts him. It results in one of the sweetest moments between Mark Stanley and Charlotte Spencer because there’s so much vulnerability both characters are bringing to the table interwoven intricately with the fierce banter that’s always there. It’s a moment that reminds us just how much show runners care about honoring Austen’s legacy in ensuring that women be both loved and respected as partners, not property. “I don’t wish to be your property” “Good, because I have no wish to own you.” The fact that Babington doesn’t get tired of reiterating that he just wants to make her happy is everything — the belief and understanding that she’s faced great betrayals is what makes him that much more admirable as a man because he’s looking into all parts of her and doing everything in his power to make sure she never forgets that all he wants is to walk through life by her side. He could never constrain her, but instead, he’d give her all the space she desires because to truly love someone is to give them the freedom to be as they choose. It’s this very conversation that finally allows her to agree to his proposal, kissing him to seal the deal. And now we’re all crying.

There’s a lot to appreciate about Esther and Babington, but what I personally love is the fact that despite the financial security he could offer, that’s not the sole reason Esther’s agreed to marry him. While she may not be as in love with him as he is with her, she’s willing to learn because she likes him enough to break her walls down. She likes him enough to take a risk in trusting that he’ll stay true to his words because he’s proven that he sees beyond the surface, which is as far as most people have gotten. She’s marrying him because though she isn’t fiercely in love, he makes her laugh more than anybody else could. And for that reason, this marriage is a real partnership, a learning experience for both, the conscious choice to love someone through everything. Cut to their wedding. I don’t know who’s happier, the fans watching or Lady Denham. It’s probably Lady Denham, let’s be real — she was after all the captain of this ship. Their infectious smiles had me straight up weeping, folks.

Lady Esther Babington. The detail that she’s finally in a lit room and openly happy is so symbolic of where she’s been. The previous mention of Denham place being dark and cold makes this moment that much more beautiful because as a person who was deserving of light in her life, she received just that. And from the very beginning, the foundation of their relationship has been about highlighting the importance of a woman’s agency. It’s been about patience and courage. So much of this episode reminds me of one of my favorite prayers: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” There’s a lot none of these characters could change, but when it came down to it, despite how deeply she loved Edward, Esther needed the courage to choose to put him behind her. She chose to understand that though she may not be in love with Babington, his belief in her is enough to give him the chance he’d been tirelessly asking for. And as for Babington, it’s evident that in spite of his efforts, he couldn’t change the love he had for Esther, he couldn’t change her, but in choosing her as she is, he’d inadvertently chosen the happiest path for himself as well. If this was an entirely different time and different circumstances, I wouldn’t want Esther to “settle”, but as we’ve seen throughout their interactions, there’s always been something there. He makes her laugh. (Let’s never forget that very first time.) At the end of the day, we can be certain that she’s at least in the company of a man who’ll go above and beyond for her. A man who’ll never cheat her, break, or control her but a man who’ll walk through her side completely baring all that he is in order for laughter never to leave her. To respond to his “not unhappy to find yourself here, I hope” with a kiss is illumination of the very fact that she isn’t. She’s happy, purely and incomparably for the first time in a long time, and somewhere tucked deep underneath is great love for Babington’s entire being that’s growing.

That said, let’s dive in to the other lovebirds. The series giving Babington and Sidney the chance to talk about the women they love in a moment of genuine sincerity is nothing short of remarkable because men aren’t given the chances to be vulnerable with their friends as often. TV tells us that men don’t share their feelings as frequently, but staying true to Austen’s legacy, the men she’s written have always had opportunities to dissect their feelings with one another. They’ve both been tamed by the women they are in love with, and let’s be real, they both needed it. They’re both so utterly captivated and the “I hope you receive a favorable answer, old friend” broke me. We could’ve had joint weddings. Ugh.

Sidney comes to Trafalgar House clearly a nervous wreck who hasn’t slept all night but is glowing, nonetheless. Love. Love is apparently the strongest necessity in a skin care regimen when needing that perfect glow. Cut to the cliff tops where he basically starts spiraling in the calmest demeanor possible and starts discussing the weather. He asks her if she’s excited for the ball like a giddy schoolboy who’s about to ask a girl out to homecoming. It’s adorable. He asks about her family. Yes, good. We love a caring man. But then he finally just rips the band aid off and I shouldn’t laugh as much as I do when it comes to this scene because it’s so stinkin’ sweet, but…“I woke up this morning, my head full of the conversation we had last night.” YOU. WALKED. AWAY. What conversation are you referring to exactly? It kills me because they’re both referring to a conversation and I just…A conversation doesn’t equate to confessing your feelings then walking away abruptly without letting the woman finish. Sir. Pull yourself together, man. It’s so precious.  I lose it every time during this moment. I’m sorry I’m apparently five and can’t help it. My head full. It was full of a lot of things alright, probably dreaming of her responses and what she’d say in return, when you know he could’ve just waited a hot second to find out. But it’s okay, we’ll let it slide. For all the doubters, this is utter proof of how soft his little heart actually is. Okay okay — pulling myself together now for some deeper analysis.

But ultimately what this goes to show is that the very man Tom believed had disappeared after his heartache had returned. (Uhm guys. “Possibility of Love” just came on shuffle. Oof, we love it when the universe works like this. I should note that I have an entire playlist full of all sorts of instrumentals, so it’s not just the Sanditon soundtrack.) Sidney on the clifftops is an entirely different man from the one we met in the Pilot. He’s so gentle and compassionate, it’s heartwarming. He’s open and vulnerable and he’s completely in love. And there’s no further dialogue following the mention of “last night’s conversation”. It’s just, Charlotte, not Miss Heywood, but Charlotte…the use of her name for the first time. From their very first meeting to this, each performance Theo James and Rose Williams have put on has led to this very moment of authenticating what astounding scene partners they really are. James’ choice to touch on Sidney’s vulnerability along with the decision to have him search her eyes for the agency to move forward was incredible. In those moments of quiet sincerity, both actors made it clear that moving forward was a desire both characters had, which led to an explosive kiss along the clifftops. Raise your hand if this is now your favorite Jane Austen first kiss scene because hello yes, it’s definitely mine. The extended cut with the view of the cliffs?! I’m not fine, far from fine. I’m wrecked.

It’s Sanditon ball time except it’s really some twisted game of let’s interrupt Sidney and Charlotte as much as we can. Dances back then were weird — if you know someone has a partner, or in this case, a potential partner, wouldn’t you, I don’t know maybe let them dance together instead of constantly interrupting both of them. Yikes. It’s hilarious because as Stringer learns that Sidney’s the reason Charlotte’s decided to perhaps stay, he continues to ask her to dance. And I sort of get it, one last chance, but I just, insert the confused man gif. He tells her about the situation in London knowing she’d be happy for him, which she is, and thus undoubtedly making the ending that much more heartbreaking for him.

Stringer’s not the only person with something to say, Georgiana confronts Sidney at the ball, too — questioning his motives with Charlotte and essentially, asking him to stay away so he doesn’t ruin Charlotte’s life as he did hers. Sidney responds with the honest truth that he has no intentions of hurting her, which now makes me hurt, because he genuinely didn’t.

After all the dances with people other than Sidney, Charlotte finally finds a way to escape and finds him waiting at the balcony where it all began. (The novel clarifies that Sidney asked her to meet him there through a faint whisper on the dance floor and I really wish we got this scene on our screens, too.) Deep breaths. No crying yet, folks. It’s so stupidly precious how nervous both of them are in this moment, but it’s riveting how much more mature and collected Charlotte appears to be. She’s no longer the naïve woman he lashed out on at this very spot, she’s his equal — his compass. They both apologize for the things they’ve said, the ways they’ve dismissed each other, and for the first time, they’re both entirely unveiled. “I’ve never wanted to put myself in someone else’s power before.” Ooh, boy here we go. I had a lot to say about this scene back in early fall when I first watched the episode. 

“I have never wanted to put myself in someone else’s power before. I have never wanted to care for anyone but myself.” is as profound a declaration of love as the three official words could say. If this is just the first season, I can’t even imagine what will follow, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not ready for the emotions it’ll put me through it. (Just kidding, I’m 364% ready. Bring it. Give me season two stat.) There’s a great deal to be said about the bravery the affirmation conveys because such vulnerability coming from a man as jaded as Sidney promises far more than any ring ever could. And that’s essentially what makes me so hopeful for what’s to come. While words without actions can be insignificant, there’s still great prominence when the choice to be unreservedly sincere is coming from a man who’d long before promised never to love again. Sidney Parker, detached, damaged, despondent, made the conscious choice to give love one more try because the woman who stands before him brought a sense of indescribable purity back into his life — innocence and eagerness. The yearning to live beyond his needs in order to ensure that the best version of himself is worthy of her time and adoration. Any and all declarations take courage, there’s no questioning that, but it’s what he means that screams beyond the words he speaks. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for Charlotte, no ocean he wouldn’t cross, no deal he wouldn’t make, no place he wouldn’t go. At the end of the day, it’s all for her. It’s all for her because his sole ability to love again is entirely due to her goodness, her innate curiosity, and the fearlessness in which she alone challenges him with.

I talk about vulnerability a lot in all my reviews, it’s essentially what’s always been the most riveting part of any form of art that leaves me utterly satisfied even when wanting more. “I have never wanted to put myself in someone else’s power before. I have never wanted to care for anyone but myself.” This isn’t just the confession that a woman has bewitched a man to his core, but it’s a man’s choice to remind a woman that she is his strength — in all his days of highs and lows, no one has come close to knowing the real Sidney Parker as Charlotte Heywood has. It’s a reminder that come what may, she’s everything to him, and knowing how deeply the heartbreak in his past crushed his spirit, this sincerity not only showcases the immense capacity to love within him, but the softness in his character. If he’s using words such as never, it elucidates the fact that even beyond what he’s experienced, with Charlotte, it’s far more — it goes beyond anything he ever believed he was capable of feeling, which is entirely telling of how profoundly engulfing his feelings are.

On another note, performances allow us to see more deeply into the spirits, and in this case, the quiet intimacy we’re watching unfold is entirely due to the work Rose Williams and Theo James are putting in — the acute embodiment of their characters that’s allowing us to see that intimacy is far more than a sweet first kiss on a clifftop. Intimacy in this case is serenity, it’s the ease in being completely and utterly at another’s power. It’s a quiet conversation being had entirely through longing looks and fretting hands. It’s Williams’ choice to match his sincerity with glowing laughter and indulgent eye contact. It’s James’ split deep breaths that reflect the angst in a man who’s never been more vulnerable than he is at this moment. Once charismatic and too boastful for his own good, he’s now entirely undone, wholeheartedly captivated and content — nervous, aware, and profoundly in love, in finding his soul’s perfect equal, it’s become easier for Sidney to be his best self, and we’re able to see that entirely in his vulnerability around Charlotte.

We all know how the conversation would’ve ended if they weren’t interrupted, we all know the words he’d say and the promises they’d make to one another. But there’s great beauty in patience because if they couldn’t stand to be a part for a single night, the long nights away is bound to only make the hearts grow fonder.

We all know that if Charlotte had asked him to choose her during their parting that he’d drop to his knees right then and there, but part of loving someone with every fiber of your being entails a selflessness they’re both now learning to live with. Despite the fact that they’d choose one another over and over again if need be, part of loving someone is making certain you’re at your best even when they’re not with you. And that’s what makes the affirmation that much more enamoring because we know without a single doubt that every choice Sidney Parker has made since has been entirely for her. She’s asked him to care for his family’s affairs more thereby, resulting in his choice to do whatever’s necessary to help his brother. There are great things to come. I’m certain of it. And it’s entirely due to a few words that are said with profound weight and enveloping vulnerability. There’s no going back after this, no one can and no one will match what the other’s done for them.”

All hell then breaks loose and nothing’s the same following this moment. Waterloo Terrace catches fire and I’m still haunted by Stringer’s face when he watches it all go down. It’s brutal. Leo Suter’s character has had a smile on his face more than any other on the series and to see his entire being crumble with a single expression broke me. It’s heartbreaking knowing that this all happens in the same episode he and his father get into an argument. And the moment that happened, I had a horrible feeling something like this would follow — nothing good ever comes from leaving the house angry. It’s a darkness Stringer will carry with him for a long time, which is so sad to ponder upon knowing he’s such a gentle spirit. Plus, knowing he isn’t taking the apprenticeship in London to honor his father’s legacy is that much more gut wrenching because not only is he grieving, but he’s stopping himself from following his dreams. I hope he finds his way there somehow. No one deserves happiness more. He and Charlotte both grieving together is such a stunning showcase of their friendship — two people who’ve always been there for each other and always will be. Two people who’ve just genuinely cared for and listened to one another.

Tom is now 80,000 pounds in debt because he’s a genius who didn’t invest in insurance. And thus, naturally Sidney is the one who sets out on a quest to find a solution. As frustrating as this all is, it serves for a fantastic moment between the Parker siblings in the middle of a burnt ground – symbolic and beautiful of their relationship, but also acutely representative of the fact that in the midst of all this darkness, they’ll always have each other. The closeness they’ve found in each other, especially the past summer is what’ll be the very foundation of their triumph.

Tom and Mary in the church was yet another stunning moment to showcase the great partnerships in this series. She believes in him in spite of everything. She loves him deeply. And once again it’s proof of the fact that he should’ve always trusted and confided in her because she’s the very best part of him. So much of Tom falling apart throughout the season was because he’s done everything alone, he’s made decisions alone, and he’s chosen to keep everyone at arm’s length despite that being Sidney’s supposed specialty. If he’d just been more transparent, none of this would’ve happened. If he wasn’t so self absorbed, goodness the man has a lot of growing to do, and I really hope we’re given the chance to see it.

The saddest part about all this is that even while they’re speaking to Lady Denham about rebuilding the Terrace, Charlotte and Sidney are already partners. They’re going off of one another’s words, trusting, and taking things on together. That’s why when he leaves, you know well enough that all he’s doing is because of the man she’s inspired him to be. In the past, Sidney would’ve complained tirelessly on end about Tom’s irresponsible nature: he wouldn’t be as eager to do everything in his power to help him, but it’s the very thing Charlotte has said was lacking in him. She’s his motivation after all, his reason, and that’s why his decision hurts that much more because even as he’s leaving, he knows this isn’t going to be an easy task. And their goodbye, that final stolen moment of the two of them standing forehead to forehead is now so poignantly somber, I’d need another three pages just to talk about it.

My dearest Charlotte. Hold the tears. Deep breaths. The very fact that he’s completely honest with her is so important to consider. Sidney Parker isn’t the enemy here. Money is, as once said on the show, it’s like a cancer. This wasn’t his choice. There was no other way. And she understands that, which makes it that much more difficult because Charlotte isn’t selfish by nature. She knows Sidney’s the kind of man who’s true to his word, he’s fiercely loyal, and especially loyal to his family. She understands that this is more than just Tom — it’s Mary, it’s the kids, it’s the entire town of Sanditon. But goodness it doesn’t make the pain easier and Rose Williams’ cry is excruciating. It’s so hauntingly raw and breathless, it made me actually cry harder. To know that you could’ve been engaged but instead circumstances forced you apart from the one you love most? Good grief. Williams embodied a woman in pain so well in this moment, I don’t remember the last time an Austen heroine cried this hard. 

It’s brutal when she later sees him at Babington and Esther’s wedding and he asks how she’s been. It’s brutal because we could see how drastically his demeanor has changed again. There’s a dryness between him and Eliza — the guards that were once down are now up again. There’s a stiffness in his body, pain in his voice, and the very openness we saw in his being throughout the beginning of this episode is replaced with rougher edges. He’s just as broken as she is and it shows. That’s what floors me about the series because we’re shown just how much they’ve impacted one another as Williams and James’ meticulous acting choices bring to the surface a thousand words at a time — there are conversations being had in silence that are breathtaking; more apologies and endless declarations. Tell me their souls aren’t weeping because mine is.

Charlotte’s goodbyes to the town are just as heartbreaking because she’s become family to them. She should be there. The kids love her. And her response to Mary’s “I hope you won’t regret coming to Sanditon” is gorgeously reflective of all that she is as a being who’s incapable of not seeing the best in others. “It was the greatest adventure of my life.” It takes us back to the Pilot again when Esther states that she believes she’ll come to regret ever stepping foot in Sanditon, granted she doesn’t, but the pain that follows her adventures was written from the start. And we all knew Sidney wouldn’t let her go without a goodbye didn’t we?

“Think too badly of you? I don’t think of you at all Miss Heywood. I have no interest in your approval or disapproval. Quite simply, I don’t care what you think or how you feel. I’m sorry if that disappoints you, but there it is.”

It all comes back to haunt him in the end and that’s a darkness that’ll take Sidney Parker long to recover from. He stops her carriage to say a hundred and one things but lands at one: “Tell me you don’t think too badly of me.” This is rough. He’s not even asking, he almost demands it because it’s killing him. And even though she says she doesn’t, he does. We’re looking into the eyes of a breathless man who’s now filled with a plethora of self-hatred because he has hurt the one woman he cares most for with the kind of pain that’s broken him before. Sidney wouldn’t wish what he’s lived through on his worst enemy, the entirety of the series has shown us just how compassionate he actually is despite the jaded spirit, but he’s now brought colossal pain to the woman he’d give the world for.

And that’s just it, again, if she even dared to ask him not to go through with it. If she had said choose me. He would have, without question, right then and there. “I don’t love her you know.” The emphasis on the her shatters me because until this very moment, he’s not told Charlotte how much he loves her. He hasn’t had the time to utter the three words because he was too busy promising it to her in other ways. He’s doing everything for Charlotte, for the man she believes him to be. It’s not a marriage, it’s a bargain – it’s imprisonment. Charlotte’s selflessness would never allow her to be happy at the prospect that he’s in embarking on a loveless marriage. That’s why she says you must try, because she knows that “without a quality of affection, marriage can become like a kind of slavery” and she doesn’t want that for anyone, especially the man she loves. We see tremendous growth in Charlotte here because today, she understands that sometimes you have to marry for money. You have to do all that you can and while it’s not something she’d ever do, she can’t judge another for it.

I want to give Rose Williams and Theo James all the awards during this scene because while I’ve watched it numerous times at this point, I still hold my breath through the entirety of their exchange. The painstaking choices each actor makes to exhibit just how much these characters love each other is poignantly moving and undeniably memorable. Sidney’s trying to say goodbye but physically he keeps going closer to her instead. She wants to scream thousands of words but instead she’s quiet. It’s interesting because the couple that does marry, both halves aren’t entirely there, it’s beautiful nonetheless, but Charlotte and Sidney are completely captivated by one another. The kindred spirit they’ve found in one another has healed every darkness in their beings, every pain, every uncertainty. They’ve grown incomparably as people by loving each other — they’ve found home in one another and watched it burn down along with the Waterloo Terrace. They’d found serenity in each other but because of the world around them, they couldn’t move forward. Salvation. He’d found a new beginning with Charlotte, hope and light all wrapped in one. A woman who’d awakened love in him because he’d awakened fire in her.

The race is not yet run, but the temporary finish line is the darkest pause their lives will take. To think, that even when Tom’s debts are somehow paid off, when he no longer needs to engage himself to Eliza, recovering from the pain he’s caused Charlotte, truly forgiving himself is going to take longer than anything else ever has. If you ask me, I don’t even think he’ll ever get there. It’ll take a miracle to forgive himself, to truly be able to look in the mirror and not hate himself. It’s one thing to hurt himself, to drink his life away into oblivion day after day, but it’s another to cause Charlotte, the very reason for his beating heart, pain. This is, without question, the hardest burden Sidney will ever carry. Charlotte could move forward from her broken heart, knowing what she understands will be easier for her than for him. There’s a lot human beings can forgive themselves for, but to forgive ourselves for hurting those we love most, there’s no darkness quite as engulfing as that. A darkness that’s clearly already taken Sidney’s entire being captive.

Where once upon a time he stupidly wanted to escape her, he’s now entirely lost without her. His physicality is actually so hard to even write about, big kudos to Theo James for mastering such defeat because he’s exposing a whirlwind of emotions through his expressiveness and body language. The man who’d once saunter around on the streets with a cigarette at hand is entirely destroyed — he’s an entirely different person. And Rose Williams’ performance is just as masterful with the tears Charlotte’s trying desperately to hold in. He’s challenged her, loved her, and broken her, but she loves him through it all engulfed with prodigious pain for a number of reasons including the understanding that he’s entirely miserable, too.

“Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” Rainer Maria Rilke’s famous quote is all I can think of it to help us all get through the feelings of uncertainty surrounding the lack of renewal news we’ve gotten. I’m staying hopeful. You can pry this show out of my hands, I’m not letting go. I’ve watched so many cancellations be undone, I won’t lose hope no matter how long it takes. Sanditon is summed up so beautifully with the quote above. This story isn’t finished and the darkness doesn’t mark the end or make it any less remarkable. If anything, this series does a stunning job of reminding viewers that life isn’t a fairytale — Austen has always said that in the end, her characters will find happiness after the suffering. Life is unbearably painful at times, no one’s ever fully happy, I’m gathering that’s impossible on earth, but there are bouts of serenity in the midst of the chaos that help shape us into the people we’re meant to become.

Charlotte, Sidney, Stringer, Georgiana, the Parkers, Esther, Babington, and even Eliza will all find serenity at some point. Perhaps Lady Susan can step in and save the day. But the reality is, the road to happiness is long and winding — life isn’t a walk in the park and sometimes it gets horrifically dark and ugly. But it’s all a part of the journey and it’s going to make these characters much stronger versions of themselves because we have to feel the terror in order to appreciate the beauty. Tragedy isn’t beautiful but the aftermath of a triumph always is, and it’s what makes life the sensational rollercoaster that it is. Sanditon will arise from the ashes as will the opportunities to fix the broken spirits. Someday, they’ll be given the chance to dance again.

Further Thoughts:

  • Arthur and Georgiana’s friendship is so incredible.
  • Why weren’t we given the chance to see Charlotte and Georgiana say goodbye?! How did that moment just slip!? She was Charlotte’s closest friend in Sanditon. It makes no sense.
  • Charlotte comforting Esther made for such a sweet moment. I want to see these two bond more.
  • Griffiths and the Reverend need to just leave this town. I cannot. CANNOT. Stop talking. What in the name of all things holy does she see in him? Someone explain.
  • “She is not half the woman you are, Charlotte.” Damn right, Stringer. Dammit. We gotta find this man an amazing girl.
  • HOW IS TOM STILL SO OBLIVIOUS TO WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH SIDNEY AND CHARLOTTE. HOW DOES HE NOT KNOW?!?!
  • Diana thinks Arthur is in love with Miss Lambe and that upon their marriage she’ll be left alone, but he states he’ll never marry, he doesn’t have understanding for women. It was such a sweet vulnerable moment between the two. My heart ached for Diana a bit.
  • Charlotte confides in Georgiana about her feelings. She isn’t happy about it. She still doesn’t trust anything that comes out of Sidney and I really wish she would, but alas, he’s gotta prove himself.
  • Will I ever get tired of Sidney using Charlotte’s first name? No. Will it ever stop making me openly weep? No.
  • Also loved that Charlotte was wearing blue again like in the Pilot. Ugh. It all goes back to the Pilot episode so beautifully.

What are your thoughts on Sanditon’s season one finale? Is there anything you’d like me discuss further? Let us know in the comments below and I’ll happily do so.

Thank you all so much for the ardent support this season with our reviews. The Sanditon sisterhood is one of a kind in the world of fandom and I’m infinitely grateful for every single one of you. I made the conscious decision to write this review as though it’s a season finale as opposed to a series finale. This isn’t the end. I’m holding on to the hope that we’ll be given the chance to go back to the town of Sanditon at least one more time. All I know is that there’s more to this story, and I’ve got a lot of words left in me still. I’ll write about this show again. Thank you again, darlings. Cheers.

ByGissane Sophia
Check us out on Twitter@MarvelousGeeks_

 

14 thoughts on “Sanditon 1×08 Review

  1. ap says:

    Excellent observations, thank you! i must’ve missed it but what blue clothing mirroring in the pilot & the finale are you referring to? 🤞 for a continuation so they can tie up all the loose ends!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Martha says:

    Your writing was more beautiful and touching than the show. I think if a production company read what you have written, they would be inspired to make Season 2 possibly. You need to post this somewhere where it can be noticed by the Powers That Be. It also cheered me up after just watching Ep 8 on the West Coast of US. S & C’s love endures in our hearts as do each of these wonderful characters. That is now what the final episode of S1 means to me. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Evie McConnell says:

    Your review is stunning, accurate, beautifully written and it made me weep. Ugly tears too. This story cannot be finished. James and Williams acted themselves out of their skins and portrayed their characters exceptionally. This just cannot be the end.
    Please keep writing about them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. LShields says:

    My many thanks for putting on paper what we are all collectively feeling. The cast, craft and care that went into the making of Sanditon would all need to come together again to continue any further production. Theo James & Rose Williams are a must as are awards. Andrew Davies a must. The fact that PBS knew what they were getting us into is pretty pathetic. But, thank you again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hannah Corder says:

    Love your observations – Thank you!
    Here’s my take on The Rev & Mrs G – he’s basically a kind hearted, not too bright verbal bumbler with a gift for conversational blunders. It’s endearing.
    Mrs G is a sweet natured spinster governess who has likely never been shown the least appreciation, let alone romantic intent.
    She enjoys his companionship and is flattered & dissarmed at the final ball, by his lovely compliment. Finally he finds the right words.
    And her face is a picture.
    Being prone to conversational blunders and having always been a bit of a wallflower, I rather like their story! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an interesting take! Thanks for sharing it with us. Ms. Griffiths is actually a riveting character to me. She could be frustrating at times but she genuinely cares and means well. That much is painfully obvious in the way she careers herself. My problem with the Reverend is his means of teaching. I’d imagine that someone with his anointing would be able to word things better. Because I’d consider Arthur to be a character prone to conversational blunder, too but he doesn’t go as far the Reverend does in just being so painfully forward in all the wrong ways about the word of God if that makes sense. Whatever else he says doesn’t bother me as much as when he speaks from the Bible. His character vs. his teaching I see as two completely different parts of him. I absolutely adore your take and appreciate this outlook on them. Again, thanks for sharing with us and bringing in another perspective.

      Like

  6. Christina Pecoraro says:

    Your insights here are deep, beautiful, authentic. Make me want to see the episode several times more, with them in mind: beauty and terror. You’ve taken us far below the surface of things. . . where the unsaid speaks as eloquently as the most provocative of utterances — and as you point out, there are many. The epiphanies in Sanditon are, in a word, piercing.
    Given to the spiritual as profound humanness, I find them as worthy of meditation as sacred scriptures.
    Music, dance, color, silences… and to repeat, the unsaid (because unsayable?) all deliver an unfolding story still unfinished. Thanks so much for opening the door to the mystery of love, and leaving it ajar.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jasmin Kuehnert says:

    You’ve left me positively speechless. Your dissection if this episode is impeccable and so truly from the heart that left my already broken heart shredded. Thank you. Let’s remain positive that we will be gifted with a season 2.

    Liked by 1 person

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