As it turns out, Georgiana was kidnapped in Episode 5! She didn’t willing get into the carriage in Sanditon. Oh, no. She was whisked away to London by some scoundrels looking to receive payment for a gambling debt. Whose debt? Why, Mr. Otis Molyneux’s!
The horrid Mr. Howard intends to make the unwilling Miss Lambe his wife so that he can get her money. The analogy, though, between wife and slave should not be overlooked, as Miss Lambe is said to have been “sold” to Mr. Howard by Mr. Beecroft, whom Otis owes money. While Otis had no idea his beloved would be absconded with and “sold” into wife-slavery, that is what the episode suggests about becoming an involuntary wife. The metaphor is double, though, because of Miss Lambe’s biraciality, the possibility that her mother was a slave, and certainly the fact that she is sold by one white man to another as a wife-slave.
This makes me think of the popular 18th-century analogy of wives as slaves. Episode 6 reminds me, of course, of Mary Leapor’s Essay on Woman (bolding mine for emphasis):
Woman, a pleasing but a short-lived flow’r,
Too soft for business and too weak for pow’r:
A wife in bondage, or neglected maid;
Despised, if ugly; if she’s fair, betrayed.
‘Tis wealth alone inspires ev’ry grace,
And calls the raptures to her plenteous face.
Pale lilies fade and, when the fair appears,
Snow turns a negro and dissolves in tears,
And, where the charmer treads her magic toe,
On English ground Arabian odours grow
Yet, with ten thousand follies to her charge,
Unhappy woman’s but a slave at large.
Here Leapor clearly connects marriage to enslavement. She also makes the metaphor one of color as she suggests to fall prey to this bondage is like a blackening of the skin. (Highly problematic, Leapor! Racist language.) The final lines of the poem express that being a woman in general is a kind of slavery, but at the heart of the “essay” is Leapor’s claim that marriage sucks…for women.
Thankfully (from the episode’s and Leapor’s vantage point) Sidney Parker gets to play superhero and rescue Georgiana from the horrid Mr. Howard and an unwanted marriage. However, Sidney also removes the option of marriage to Otis, which looks less attractive to Georgiana because she thinks maybe Otis liked her money more than if not as much as her person.
In this episode we appear to see the end of Georgiana and Otis’s relationship, but we also see…or so we think…a turning point in Sidney and Charlotte’s.
Sidney tells Charlotte she is more than equal to any woman at the masquerade, and he doesn’t want to dance with any other woman but Charlotte. Awwwwwww.
How did these people know how to dance to all of these dances? They just fall into like they’ve been doing each dance forever. Also, it’s kind of funny that Sidney looked like he wanted to devour Charlotte during the dance scene. He looked hungry.
The viewer is feeling optimistic until we see what he sees: his first love at the ball. Poor Charlotte learns in the space of one day that Sidney’s first love betrayed him by marrying some old dude and then that he has died and Eliza (the first love) is no longer out of reach for Sid. Dammit! Sidney actually looks happy when he is talking to Eliza.
I haven’t said anything yet about the other plotline in this episode–namely the Edward and Clara scenes. I’m so over those two. Please make it stop. They are gross. I’m betting that you feel the same way. 😀
What will the next episode hold? I’ll let you know what I think. What did you think of episode 6?
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