Welcome to Sanditon weekly, darling readers – what flavor of tea are we drinking today? (I’ve got the perfect lavender/blueberry mix.) The series’ untitled fourth episode is a dim ride with little progression, but perhaps, one of the most important arcs throughout the season. It’s an episode that focuses heavily on some chief flaws we all have as human beings – the choice to form judgements based on assumptions and frequently disregarding a universal truth, which is that there are always multiple sides to a story. It’s almost frustrating how many assumptions are thrown around in this episode, but it’s integral in this universe because Sanditon is one of Jane Austen’s more inclusively adapted pieces, it’s aware, there’s goodness stained with malice, and it’s centered around deeply complex human beings, thus demanding an episode like this.
First, let’s get into Lady Denham calling Clara out for being dramatic about her hand. “You’ve had more than your measure of sympathy.” You tell her — finally. It’s bizarre how hilarious this episode actually is amidst the serious ground it covers, but the balance makes the heavier pills easier to swallow. Lady Denham also calling Esther out for not marrying Lord Babington is ultimately all of us, let’s be real. In due time … in due time. But now, part of the episode’s darkness comes from Clara proving our previous beliefs to be true by admitting that she was sexually assaulted by an uncle on numerous occasions. And the choice to actually say this to Esther upon learning about her relationship with Edward is fascinating because for a moment, she’s looking after her. There’s a genuine sincerity in the way Lily Sacofsky carries Clara when she says that Esther can be free of him. It’s honest and open despite her endgame still being the inheritance. It’s hard to believe that a woman who has known great pain wouldn’t look after another if they’d admitted to defeat, and while there’s still great darkness in Clara, something tells me that if Esther hadn’t loved Edward, the ladies teaming up could have been good for both of them. Edward is the villain in all this for a number of reasons, his selfishness and manipulative nature at the top of the list.