Sanditon 1×02 Review

Spoilers Ahead

Sanditon_EP2_1

Source: PBS.com

Sanditon’s second episode gives viewers plenty to sit with, good and bad — a jam packed hour full of some riveting moments that touch on the theme of class and judgement bitterly. It’s an episode full of some of the most cringeworthy statements along with some of the most relatable ones, but most exquisitely, it’s a testament to friendship, and Austen’s way of writing steadfast female friendships. If I were in charge of titling the episode, I’d call it “Paddling in the Sea”, for it’s best to describe the first steps into an astounding friendship and the exposure of Sidney Parker’s being, physically today and emotionally tomorrow. It’s an episode that does a remarkable job of shifting plates and allowing viewers to start seeing more sincerity in the characters. Thus finally, it’s an episode that spends a lot of its time discussing the panoramas of marriage and what it truly means to choose a partner.

To kick things off, these are the times I’m glad we no longer live in regency era because goodness every word out of Lady Denham’s mouth during the luncheon had me cringing so hard. (And I love period dramas immensely, but they’re just … so … white … and entitled.) But this is the very episode that lets us see into the hearts of those who matter most because Charlotte, Sidney, and Arthur all coming to Georgiana’s defense is the very showcase of how good natured their spirits are. Sidney’s especially which officially gives viewers a glimpse into his character’s true nature. He didn’t want to be Georgiana’s guardian, but let’s be real, not many would be in the right headspace to be anyone’s guardian during their mid-twenties. And while he grumbles about it, he doesn’t miss the opportunities to remind her of her value, something women in regency era, especially black women, aren’t reminded of as often as they should be. “You know you’re worth far more than Lady Denham and all her circle put together.” Sidney Parker might waste away his days at bars and boarding houses with smoke and self-deprecation clouding him, but at his core, he’s a man who’s fully aware of the strong women he’s surrounded by. It’s also a fantastic showcase of the fact that Charlotte was right in throwing him under the bus about being too cruel despite stating that he doesn’t care. “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.” And oh how badly this’ll bite him later on.

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Sanditon 1×01 Review

Spoilers Ahead

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Source: PBS.com

Welcome to the Sanditon weekly, darlings — grab a cup of tea and join our analytical discussion into the beautiful chaos inspired by Jane Austen’s unfinished novel of the same title. (These articles won’t cover the entire episode, viewers have already seen it, no one needs a retelling from another, instead, these reviews will break down the episode’s theme and character arcs and of course, there will be heaps of odes to romance.)

Sanditon’s first episode isn’t the strongest Pilot per say, but the sufficient glimpse we get into the lives of the auspiciously polite and the deliciously outrageous is a great start. It’s a pilot that promises ambitious choices, exhilarating surprises, and a much tastefully racier side to classic literature. It’s bold, it’s funny, and it’s downright beautiful in every way. But most importantly, it’s the opening to get to know our remarkable heroine in an episode full of some jaw dropping moments, gorgeous scenic shots, “abrupt and inattentive” love interests. Austen’s story’s often have common themes sprinkled throughout, and in the case of this untitled episode, let’s deem it “the one with all the telling”. In the first episode, we’re told a lot about the townspeople, and while normally I’d be opposed, in this case it works in foreshadowing a lot of what we’ll see in the upcoming season. The seeds planted in the beginning come to pass seamlessly in the finale and that’s the kind of writing I’m here to commend. When it comes to Sanditon, some will regret their stay while others will love every minute of it. It’s evident from the very beginning that there’s a long and winding road to the clifftops where magic will arise, and it gives viewers the chance to recognize that there’s going to be a lot of twists and turns before a happy ending is reached.

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2019 Year-End Reviews: Episodes

This isn’t a critical review of what makes an episode flawless, it’s a list of the TV episodes I found myself either revisiting after completion or the ones that I couldn’t look back on  that continued to haunt me long after the credits stopped rolling. These are the episodes that left me in complete and utter awe. They’re the episodes filled with the most evocative performances and the most beautifully moving moments that touched my heart in a way I won’t forget easily.

1. “Pandemonium”
The Good Place 

One year later, and I still think about this episode at least a few times a month. It is without a doubt my favorite episode of The Good Place and the one I could potentially write an entire thesis on. “Pandemonium”, and especially the final few moments of the episode were utter chaos. “Embrace the pandemonium, find happiness in the unique insanity of being here, now.” There’s a great amount of happening in this episode like Michael panicking and then freaking out when he sees the soul squad together. There’s beauty in the montage created for Chidi and Eleanor. There’s beauty in Jason promising he won’t let Eleanor down. There’s beauty in Eleanor taking charge even while she’s afraid.There’s beauty in Tahani realizing what she’ll have to do when face to face with the person who’ll bring out the worst in her. There’s beauty in the humanity that’s found its way into Janet’s life. And there’s beauty in Michael’s faith in his Soul Squad.

The episode is simply put, special. It forces us to look within ourselves and confront the whys. It forces us to question existence, life, and even the afterlife. But it’s the perfect, most unique way of saying, smile because it happened. And I feel it’s safe to assume that we all know that’s nearly impossible to do, anything but the words we actually want to hear in a moment of sheer of frustration; however, it is what it is. Life is pure, unbelievably unfair chaos sometimes, and the only way to get through it is to embrace what’s bound to make us better. As mere mortals who are incapable of understanding what the afterlife entails, it’s also easy to just believe that we’d grow just fine without trials in our life, but the reality is, we don’t know that. We don’t know why life has to be the way that it is, but we’re here because of it, and there’s a whole lot of beautiful in between those tragic moments, which The Good Place captures perfectly in “Pandemonium”. While it is without question one of the saddest episodes on The Good Place, it succeeds in also being the most hopeful.

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2019 Year-End Reviews: Romantic Relationships

In the words of Louisa May Alcott: “Love is a great beautifier.” Whether it’s platonic or romantic, the love we share with others plays a vast role in making us better humans. Some of the couples on this list were tragically set for an unhappy ending, but that doesn’t change the fact that what’s happened between them is still moving and magnanimous. The stories were healing, beautifully sincere, and some of the best written romantic arcs I’ve seen in a while.

1. Sidney Parker and Charlotte Heywood
Sanditon

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The slow progression of this stunning relationship is the kind of romance dreams are made of, and with further progression, I’m almost certain they might become my favorite Austen couple. (No one tell Emma and Knightley.) There’s so much I could say about Sidney and Charlotte, and the unyielding, beautifully touching love they have for one another. There’s something so achingly immaculate about a man whose heart was shattered and darkened opening up to a woman whose innocence brought him back to life. Sidney wasn’t unkind out of malicious intent, but because the cruelty and rejection he faced stripped him bare and broke him at his core, it took the parts of him that felt entirely too much and instead awakened an anger in him. The past took no pity on him, and as a result, his instincts resulted in, attack first, explain later because that’s easier than to unveiling his heart and risking pain all over again. Then, in came a woman with an innocence that tore him to shreds not because she’d broken him further, but because she’d taken the parts of him that had been darkened and restored light into them. A restoration that took time because the severity of the damages done were viscous, and an awakening that opened up parts of him no other human had ever gotten close to. That’s why “I’ve never wanted to put myself in someone else’s before” is so profoundly poignant as a declaration because it bares him more than the afternoon at the coves ever did. It’s Sidney Parker at his most vulnerable, promising that in spite of what lies ahead, the all-consuming adoration Charlotte’s awakened in him will be the governing force behind his every act.

Charlotte doesn’t get to tell him just how much she adores him, but we know as viewers that his flawed, incomparably quiet tenderness is something she’s completely grateful for. He challenges her ideals, breaks down her walls, and most importantly, he listens to her. He respects and values her good opinion, and in the same way, she values his. When given the chance, she’d do anything in her power, go above and beyond just to adore him. If the events of the finale indicate one thing, it’s that both Charlotte and Sidney have never known pain greater than the parting they faced. She’d never be so selfish to tell him to stay and inspired by her scolding, he’s doing the very thing she once told him, too. (Look after his family.) They’re each other’s everything. (I think about Sidney’s inability to respond to Charlotte’s: “Is that all that I am to you? A source of amusement?” To which it’s so clear, he wants to say that she’s in fact, everything. It’s written all over his face and it’s heard in his breathless stutter.) Come what may they’ll find their way back to each other, anchored at sea is their unceasing love for one another that’s stronger and deeper than anything they’ll ever experience, and a love like that withstands all sorts of trials.

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2019 Year-End Reviews: Platonic Relationships

We celebrate the gifts that are our families and friends far too infrequently. There’s a specific day set in calendars for couples, and Leslie Knope coined the perfection that is Galentine’s Day (February 13), but even still, while it’s progressive and amazing, it’s just not enough. If a TV show or film doesn’t have a solid, incredible friendship or some sort of platonic relationship, I can’t get into it. As someone who’s so inspired by the people in her life, it’s the one thing I look for in the media I consume. It’s the one thing that keeps me engaged and invested. It’s the one thing that results in excellent character development.  And this year especially, I’m happy to report there were too many gorgeous relationships to choose from. I’d rather have too much than not enough to even fill this category, which is always a bummer. We are not created to be alone as human beings, it’s the relationships we form throughout our lives that effortlessly shape us into the people we become and when we’re surrounded by people who believe in us, there’s nothing we can’t do.

1. The Rose Family
Schitt’s Creek

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When I first started Schitt’s Creek, I could have never imagined how much I’d adore this family and how far they’d come. The Roses are exceptional because they’re absolute weirdos in the most normal way in this ridiculous town, but they stand out because of the love that’s come into their hearts throughout their stay in Schitt’s Creek. This doesn’t just include the immediate Rose family, but Stevie, Ted, and Patrick, too. The family that once only wanted towels and a car out of this town have extended their hearts to the people around them, welcoming them with open arms and a promise to never abandon them. It’s Moira’s belief in Stevie as an unofficial second daughter. It’s the family’s undying love for Patrick and Ted. And it’s Alexis realizing just how much she’s grown to love spending time with them. The series wouldn’t be as brilliant if it weren’t for the family growing to appreciate one another without ever changing their outlandish dynamic and calling one another out on their craps.

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2019 Year-End Reviews: Characters

Out of all the articles that release for our end of the year celebration, discussing my favorite characters is somehow the one that always brings on the tears. A well written character whose arc guides the story is the reason I love television so much. The opportunity to see these people live and love and bend and break all while being incredibly human and learning through their journey never fails to be inspiring. It’s a celebration of humanity that allows us to see ourselves, as viewers in a whole new light.

1. Charlotte Heywood
Sanditon

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Charlotte Heywood, in this version of Jane Austen’s Sanditon, might just be my favorite regency heroine, for there’s so much to say about her innate goodness and strong resourcefulness. Charlotte Heywood is the leading example of “having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness”, but perhaps the most captivating part of Charlotte’s tenderness is that it’s woven intricately with the will to stand up for what she believes in. She’s anything but quiet and observant – she’s hardheaded, too, but her choices come from pure intent and unbelievable altruism. Charlotte’s the type of person who’d choose someone else’s happiness above her own time and time again out of the sheer belief that it’s what’s right, it’s how it should be. It’s why she can never marry for fortune because the belief that she’d be prisoning herself and thus, her partner is something she can’t live with. And it’s that very heart that makes it so easy to fall in love with her — just ask Sidney Parker. Charlotte could turn even the most jaded of souls who’ve been tainted by life’s heartbreaks into a softened man who’d do anything to ensure he remains on her good graces. Charlotte’s openness towards Georgiana, and the genuine desire to make sure she knows she’s loved speaks so highly on behalf of the  person she’s aiming to be. A woman who will do everything she can to make the small world she is a part of a little brighter. She isn’t afraid to speak up and she isn’t afraid to apologize. She is willing to learn and grow. Some people are born with a lot of goodness in their bones, some learn to choose it, Charlotte is both, for learning who she is and who she wants to be is something that I hope we’ll get to see more of when Sanditon is renewed for a second series.

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2019 Year-End Reviews: Performers

We don’t all agree on everything, but I feel it’s safe to assume that the majority of us in this community of writers are under the rightful belief that this has been a stupendous year for performances. Especially where limited series are concerned. Vulnerability isn’t an easy emotion to master when acting, but the people who’ve excelled this year mastered it with impeccable and inimitable nuances. Some of these names are familiar ones, but a large majority of the performers in this category are new faces to Marvelous Geeks. Their performances have stood out beautifully throughout the year making my absolute honor to write about them.

The Actresses

1. Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Fleabag

fleabag
I’ll be frank, I didn’t see the appeal in Fleabag while watching the first season, but the moment season two began, I was floored and ready to give every single award to Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Waller-Bridge is simply put, a mastermind — the brilliant meticulous decisions in her performances throughout the year have been strikingly moving and filled with flawless range. We see prodigious growth in Fleabag throughout the season, while Waller-Bridge ensures that her charm is stapled inflexibly and rightfully in every corner. The work she does in “Episode Four” alone is unparalleled and should stand as the very example of what it means to find the balance between comedy and drama. In Fleabag’s ways of breaking the fourth wall, Waller-Bridge enlightens viewers with brilliant ease that connects us further to the unbelievably relatable chaos inside her mind. It’s in her eccentric mannerisms and potent transparency that make her such a vulnerable character we’ve all found ways to connect to. Fleabag isn’t perfect, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s performances surely are and her expressive features deserve a category on their own, for the breakdown of every compelling look could result in a full length novel. Waller-Bridge leads the audience towards captivating profundities and astonishing pinnacles throughout the course of six episodes, which alone deserves continuous praise for its exclusivity in the world of television.

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This Week’s Most Exquisite TV Moment

November 10-16
“The Funeral to End All Funerals” | The Good Place

janets

Source: NBC.com

“This is the whole story. No one is beyond rehabilitation. Brent spent a year being an absolute diaper load of a human being, and the points total tells you that. But what that number can’t tell you is who he could have become tomorrow.”

The most unsurprising fact at this very moment is that throughout the final season of The Good Place, there have been far too many great scenes to choose from, and there was no shortage of  great scenes in “The Funeral to End All Funerals.” Kristen Bell’s direction of the episode felt incredibly important for Eleanor because there’s not a single scene in the latest episode that didn’t feel like a punch in the gut in all the right ways. How this show manages to make me openly weep every single time is still so astonishing. For instance, Bell’s voice breaking while maintaining stoicism as Eleanor said “wake him up”, all the eulogies and how these merry band of misfits healed one another through the entirety of their journey? “The Funeral to End All Funerals” was a masterful episode, but we’re all still thinking about the scene right? You know the one, the one with all the Janets, another perfect performance by D’Arcy Carden and what it meant for humanity. 

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This Week’s Most Exquisite TV Moment

November 3-9
“Daisy” | Madam Secretary 

Look at the gif above without crying, I dare you.  It’s still hard to grasp that it’s the final season of Madam Secretary, but so far, the series has been delivering one strong episode after another, give or take a few minute mishaps. The second we learned that Elizabeth McCord was President of the United States, I couldn’t wait to see the moment where we’d see the reactions to her win. And it was the kind of moment undoubtedly well worth the wait. “Daisy” wasn’t an easy episode to watch, but without exaggeration, I openly wept from beginning to end, but absolutely lost it all during this final  scene.

I don’t mean to turn this into a political post to discuss my own personal opinions — but this was the very reaction I’d expected a lot of us to have during the 2016 elections if we had elected the first female President of the United States. And perhaps that’s why I had such a visceral reaction to this episode because for a moment, it felt real, it felt hopeful, and it was executed with such heartfelt, palpable reactions you couldn’t help but choke up. The raw energy in the performances  leaves much room for discussion, but simply put, it was remarkably moving in all the right ways.

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This Week’s Most Exquisite TV Moment

October 13-19
“Episode 8” | Sanditon

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We’re officially back in business with fall TV and so far, everything’s been utterly pleasing where this writer is concerned, but this week especially, I have not stopped thinking of the Sanditon finale since it’s aired and I’ve only rewatched it about 12 more times after that. (More, it’s definitely been more.)

First and foremost, I need you all to know that period dramas own my soul. That said, the slow but worthwhile progression of a Jane Austen love story is my absolute favorite because when it finally comes down to conversations between the pair we’re rooting for, it’s worth every pining moment — every dramatic event. There are plenty of moments throughout Sanditon’s finale that tug on the heartstrings, but I’m thinking blissfully about Sidney and Charlotte’s conversation on the balcony. And dare I say this might just be my favorite declaration after Mr. Knightley’s “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”

“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.

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