Sanditon, Season 3, Ep. 2

A lot happened in this episode. No time to waste, right? It’s the final season.

I have warmed up to Lord Henry Montrose. Well, I started warming up last episode, but in this one I’m definitely finding myself in fan territory. While we could say, hey, don’t use Georgiana to get your mom to quiet down, he seems generally interested in her well being. He’s turned into a great friend to Arthur, which is awesome cuz I want them to fall in love. The scenes with Montrose and Arthur were sweet, and I like a little sweetness every now and then.

I also like saltiness, and Georgiana’s speech she wrote and read to Mary and Charlotte was amazing to hear. So bold. So confident. I felt so bad for her when lawyer-brother Colbourne was interrogating her, but I knew he was just trying to see if she would crack under pressure. I knew he didn’t believe the things he was saying about her mother and her. But what he said was not far off from attitudes held in England and elsewhere.

Georgiana’s mother was not a free woman; her father was. Georgiana’s father was white; her mother wasn’t. The assumption is that her mother was enslaved or in servitude of some kind, but we really don’t know that because we know so little about her mother. And for Georgiana to receive such scrutiny for her own romantic affairs might also be connected to racism and the hypersexualization of women of color. Would someone say to a white woman what the lawyer said to Georgiana (in imitating what Lockhart’s lawyer would say)? Maybe. Maybe not.

Sanditon is not afraid of crossing lines, and I love that. From the first episode of season 1 when we saw men in the nude and a man receiving a hand job to the first episode of season 3 where we saw Lord Montrose emerging from a bathing machine in the middle of a kiss with a man, this series has injected sexual desire into the Austen-inspired landscape in a way that I find refreshing, though it is certainly shocking to some (many?) Austen fans.

Sometimes, though, the sexual/sensual tension does not need to involve bodies engaging in taboo behaviors or bodies unclothed. In this episode, the gloves were the focal point of desire.

First there was the scene in Xander Colbourne’s house where he bent down close to Charlotte and picked up her glove. He was close enough to kiss her, but that was not going to happen. The glove became the proxy. He so delicately touched it. As he handed the glove to her, their bare hands could have touched. The camera zooming in on this symbol was on point! It was so 2005 Pride and Prejudice hand flex!

Second: the scene on the beach. While listening to the beautiful opera singer’s beautiful song for the heartbroken, Colbourne and Charlotte, who happened to sit next to each other, actually touch hands, but Charlotte’s is gloved–though the gloves are not thick, leather gloves, but embroidered gloves. Hence, her skin is exposed to the elements, and in this case, a portion to Alexander’s ungloved hand. This was like a sex scene! More than a hand flex. It was like the two of them were making love. They knew they *shouldn’t* be touching in public. So inappropriate. But they *had* to; they couldn’t resist.

Of course, Charlotte is in love with Colbourne and not Starling. They’re both farmers, but they’re nothing alike (paraphrasing Charlotte). She could never be happy with Ralph. On the contrary, it would oppress her to be married to such a simpleton. She’s no Harriet Smith. She has a mind of her own. I hope she ends up with Xander. If not, I’m gonna be pissed.

Who else will end up together? This is the game I’m playing. (I mentioned this in my previous blog post.) Let’s see: Beatrice and Dr. Fuchs (such a sweet letter), Lady Denham and Mr. Pryce (actually a cute couple), maybe Samuel Colbourne and Lady Susan (who was dumped by a king, but from what I know of the king he was a jerk and not especially attractive, so she dodged a bullet, right?), maybe Lord Montrose and Arthur, and maybe Augusta Markham and Edward Denham.

I don’t want to like Edward Denham, Sanditon writers. I see what you’re doing with this rake reformed trope, and I’m not here for it. Nope. He’s bad. Leave him there in all of his badness. Don’t tell me he’s gonna fall in love with Augusta and become a good man.

Finally, I want to address the American singer, Miss (?) Greenhorn. What a delight. I’m so glad they cast a woman of color for this role, and apparently they did so because they were thinking of a famous Black singer named Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield who was born around 1819. Of course, Sanditon is probably set in 1819, so this couldn’t be a representation of her in her time, but maybe an homage? After all, Greenfield was known to have sung for Queen Victoria.

I was glad to see Arthur tell Miss Greenhorn the truth, and that she respected him for it and performed even though George IV didn’t show up (because he is an ass). Her performance brought the crowd (and this blogger) to tears, but what really got me crying were her words of encouragement: I sing this song to the brokenhearted (paraphrasing) was a great reminder that hearts are broken for all kinds of reasons. Georgiana’s heart has been broken not only by two men whom she loved and hoped to marry, but by a dead father, an unscrupulous cousin (one of the men with whom she fell in love), and the world itself. She was afraid to go to the recital because of what she thought everyone would think of her. But she went. And she was inspired by the singer to stand up for herself in court. That’s my girl! 🙂

Can’t wait to see what happens in episode 3!

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