Welcome to Sanditon weekly, darling readers — the tropey-est, most exhilarating episode yet, we’re two away from the season finale and things are getting deliciously captivating. It picks up right where we left off last week with Charlotte on her way to London in hopes of finding Georgiana, except what she finds instead is Sidney on the same mission. And who doesn’t love an unplanned trope filled mission? All that was missing the necessity to share a bed because they were stranded somewhere with no other option, but I get it, I get it. It isn’t very Austen-esque. Lady Denham is now bed ridden and once she reveals that she’s already got her will ready to go, Edward and Clara make it their goal to find it. It’s the episode where we finally meet Lady Susan, a character who’s able to steal the entire show in the less than five minutes of screen time she has. To be that legendary, I wish I could relate.
It’s an episode that solidifies the fact that in spite of the tough exterior, Sidney Parker really is a good man — a sincerely warm being with a great amount of compassion flowing through his veins. At his core, he’s a giving man, as Tom explains in detail, he wasn’t always a conundrum. As we learn towards the end of the episode, Sidney was once engaged to be married, but because she left him for an older, wealthier man, it broke his spirit entirely. And after all the debts he acquired on a self-destructive path following his heartache, he set off to Antigua in hopes of finding something more. But as we learned last week, the man that left for Antigua returned possessed by guilt, regrets, and overpowering heartache. And that very man is the Sidney Parker we know today, the one who’s trying desperately hard, but failing to succeed as a result of the bottled rage that lives inside of him. (Is anyone else crying because I’m already choking up here imagining just how much the heartbreak destroyed him.)
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.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”
“Do you suppose it’s possible for us to belong to someone before we’ve met them? If so, I belong to you or you to me, or me simply to the spirit I found among you in Guernsey. […] And hope that if books do have the power to bring people together, this one may work its magic.”
Yes, yes I do suppose – and that’s certainly the case with a film as remarkably captivating as this one. If you know anything about me, I hope it’s how much I adore a story of triumph and adventure cobbled with a romance that’s to be treasured for all eternity. I’m a complete sap, that’s a given, but The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is the first period-drama film I’ve ardently adored since Jane Austen adaptations. And that seems oddly fitting because the film’s very own hero/writer is a fan of the beloved Miss Austen, too. Win win. The film takes us on the kind of enamoring adventure of finding oneself through another’s story, and isn’t that how we all find inspiration every now and then? The stories we hear, the people we meet, and the journeys we embark on. The film adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow’s novel of the same title is an exquisite masterpiece filled with a stunning cast and pleasant twists to the story’s original format. The riveting cinematography, astounding performances, and thought-provoking themes have given us something truly great to hold onto.
P.S. let’s just go ahead and declare the summer of 2018, the summer of Lily James, because she’s doing it all, captivating our hearts one wanderlust evoking movie after another. (The first I’m referring to is Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again if that wasn’t obvious.)