Sanditon, Season 2, Episode 6

Usually I watch an episode twice before blogging. I didn’t want to watch the season finale again, so I waited almost a week before watching it again. So that I could cool down. In this blog post I will make a list of things I loved and hated about episode 6.

Loved:

  • Captain Fraser. I have loved everything about that character for the entire season. Once I realized he was the Colonel Brandon to Alison’s Marianne, I figured she would end up marrying Fraser. I didn’t think he would give up his position to become a farmer, but OK. Works out better for Alison, I guess.

  • Arthur being Arthur.

Hated: everything else.

  • I hated the Charles Lockhart reveal. I appreciate that there was a hint about a despicable cousin in a previous episode, but the way this plot line worked out felt a little too cruel for comfort. Do we have to keep punishing our heroines? (See my next # about Charlotte.) While at first (in the first couple of episodes) I was getting a weird feeling about Lockhart, the writers did a good job of convincing me and Arthur and Georgiana otherwise. They did this through Arthur’s voice and some clever wordplay and fine acting.

    But what really gets me is that the writers made a point of having Georgiana speak of her own hardship on multiple occasions, from her childhood to her love for Otis M (and let’s not forget she still dreams of him because she has no one else to dream of), and then they punched her in the gut in the last episode.

    OMG when Charlotte, Allison, and Georgiana are talking at the beginning of the final episode and say soldiers are not to be trusted (cuz, Colonel Lennox, but not Captain Fraser), and maybe they should stick to artists, that hurt. It really sucked to see the artist as a the con man. But is he only a con man (“a man without scruples”–as Sidney’s letter says) as the episode suggests? Just some heartless, racist bastard who never cared for Georgiana, even after getting to know her? It’s really hard to tell.

    The portrait he painted of her is gorgeous, and the entire season’s message of being seen as you are was really powerful. WTH did the writers have to undercut that? They didn’t really wrap things up with enough time or grace to give this fan a satisfying ending. If he was just a jerk, show him being a jerk at the end; if there was something more, like he realized that he was a racist asshat and actually fell in love with Georgiana, let us know. But no. It’s a weird street scene and it’s quickly over.

    In watching the portrait reveal a second time, and hearing Lockhart say “have I captured you?”–of course meaning captured your likeness–it hits differently knowing that he is trying to steal her fortune. Ouch. I guess the street scene where Georgiana confronts Lockhart is supposed to show us that he’s a bad guy because he calls Sanditon “stifling” and the Parkers “preposterous.” He does seem awfully nervous even before Georgiana shows up and says he didn’t know if she would show up. So that must reveal something about his intentions. Georgiana’s words repeated back to Charles surely is meant to kill any affection the viewer has for Lockhart.

    The thing I wonder is why the writers go there. My theory that Georgiana is a version of Olivia Fairfield from the 1808 novel, Woman of Colour, holds up somewhat in that her cousin ends up trying to take her fortune. In the Woman of Colour Olivia’s cousin is not a bad guy, but he is already married, so….

    Like Olivia, Georgiana really doesn’t deserve the treatment she gets in the end. The writers do a good job of exposing racism this season, even more so than in the first, but damn. Poor Georgiana. At least we find out her mother is still alive…, but whoa, whut? Her dad lied to her about her mother dying in childbirth? He fabricated a story for what reason? OMG, this stings at the end because while Georgiana’s mother is supposedly alive (and I have a theory about this that I won’t spill here), it appears that all Englishmen and white planters are assholes. Fine. OK. (Well, not Arthur. Arthur seems to have fallen for Lockhart harder than Georgiana did in the end! He is a sweetheart.)
  • Then there’s Colbourne, whose actions make me think of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”: “Why men great til they gotta be great?” Why is this guy so stupid in this episode? I stress this episode because he has been frustratingly obtuse in most of them, but I didn’t expect this ending for him. I know it’s a series that wants a third season, but the way this episode ends with Charlotte and Colbourne was really disappointing. Yeah, we were bummed when Charlotte didn’t end up with Sidney in season 1, but at least he married that other girl so that he could save the family. Well, maybe that still sucks. Ha ha!

    I mean, the kiss under the tree between Charlotte and Colbourne was so juicy. Clearly he has passion. So what’s wrong with this guy?

    Hell, even Lennox does the right thing when he learns that Leo is his daughter. And the viewer is led to believe that he feels something in the moment. While at first it seems like he says no I’m not your daddy to avoid accountability, we realize that he’s actually doing the kid a favor. In the camp scene where Lennox and Colbourne chat about Colbourne continuing to be Leo’s daddy, upon a second view of the episode, I am intrigued by what the writers are setting up: Lennox insists that Colbourne did not treat Lucy well. He says he hopes Colbourne treats Leo better than he treated Lucy. On a first view, I was like, naw, you’re the one who used her, but now I wonder. Was Colbourne awful to his wife? Did she have a good reason for staying in London and having an affair? We don’t know her side of the story, and Lennox’s was made to appear false, but now I’m not sure.

    Why couldn’t Colbourne offer his wife “comfort”? On Twitter someone said maybe he’s impotent. I’m not ready to go there, but what was his problem?

    <<<Cue random Colbourne riding a horse on a beach scene (ooh, so broody, so tortured)>>>

    When Colbourne tells Charlotte that he only feels “shame and regret” about letting his passion slip out and use his position as “master of the estate” over her, I was truly yelling at the screen: stoooop. Then he fucking fires her and he says he’ll tell the girls that Charlotte left of her own accord. Ass-hole. Watching Charlotte leave while crying made me want to cry. Rose Williams acts this part so well. I felt that emotion right there with her.

    When “Xander” tells Mrs. Wheatley that he has done this “for her sake,” I again yelled, no. Stop it. It seems that Colbourne enjoys closing himself off–it’s his comfort zone. When Colbourne listens to Augusta’s reasoning about Charlotte and rides to town to see her, the viewer is surely all woo-hoo! yay! but, no, this doesn’t go the way we want it to go. I thought that Colbourne was going to ask her to marry him, but Charlotte stops him. What?! She has been yanked around and has had it. She is leaving Sanditon. Does Colbourne try to stop her from leaving? Nope. But clearly she learned something from him, for she also lies about her feelings, saying she mistook her emotions for “affection” (aka, love). So, they are both stubborn. But when she says she couldn’t feel emotions for a man who has disrespected her as he has, I was like, yeah, I hear you! Dodged a bullet, Charlotte? “Enough!” she says. And we are like, yup.

    And where are the Colbournes going at the end of the episode? Will we see them again in season 3?

  • And….then….boom! At Allison and Captain Fraser’s wedding reception, we hear that Charlotte’s gonna marry Ralph Starling the FARMER! Aw hell no! Great way to end the episode, I admit, but gee whiz.

  • OMG, Clara’s character was all over the place this season. The writers seem to be split on how they see this bad girl. As a reminder: she shows up pregnant, and we don’t get any proof of the child being Edward’s. Then she aims to get Lady D to take care of her (which she does). Then she has the baby and can’t stand to be in the same room with him. Then she agrees to marry Edward for the sake of her son (supposedly). Then she allows Edward to continue to drug Esther. Then she does the right thing and tells everyone that Edward has been drugging Esther. Finally, after not marrying Edward and not wanting to be sent to some remote cottage far from Sanditon, she leaves her boy with Esther because she again supposedly wants him to have a better life…without her and with a rich family, though not the Denhams.

    I don’t know if I’m buying this–just as I thought Lockhart and Colbourne were problematic in their eventualities, I am not convinced that Clara is as selfless as this season makes her out to be. I mean, remember season 1. Did she really transform because of motherhood? Really?

So what’s next for Sanditon?

From an interview with the actors: Masterpiece asks Crystal Clarke (who plays Georgiana), “What might we expect in Season 3, and what do you hope for Georgiana?” and she replies, “You’re going to see parties, you’re going to see glam. It’s exciting. It’s a highly caffeinated Sanditon.” Ha! Love that last bit, Crystal!

Rose Williams (who plays Charlotte) replies to a question about the revelation that Charlotte is going to marry Ralph, and says, “I found it very hard to shoot because I didn’t like her decision. I felt like, I can’t believe she’s doing this. This is so far from what I wanted for the character that I was like, ‘These words …’ I found it very hard to say those lines—I could barely say the words—because I felt so frustrated for this girl. Why have you done this? You’ve worked so hard to create this independence and now you’ve just given in. What are you doing? That’s how I felt.” SAME, Rose. SAME.

When Masterpiece asked Ben Lloyd-Hughes (who plays Colbourne) what might we expect in Season 3, he says, “I think Season 3 will bring even more excitement, romance, fun, and tears in both forms. I think one thing for sure is that this is not the end of the story. We know that, 100%, and that is really exciting.” What do we know? That it’s not the end of Colbourne’s story? Beats me.

Anyway, I really enjoyed watching both seasons of Sanditon, even though both seasons’ finales had WTF endings. At least there will be a season 3. After all, when Charlotte got dumped at the end of season 1 and then I heard that Sanditon was canceled, I was really frustrated. Now I offer a plea:

Dear writers of Sanditon, whenever the show is really over, please don’t treat Charlotte and Georgiana like shit. Give them happy endings. It’s what we all want.

Sanditon, Season 2, Episode 5

Kisses! So many kisses! Let’s start with Georgiana and Charles Lockhart’s.

I love that Georgiana let her hair down–physically and metaphorically. She wanted Lockhart to paint her how she wishes to be seen, and she clearly wishes for him and everyone to see her unconfined. With her hair down, she can be seen with “the hair [her] mother gave her.” (FWIW, her father gave her education and an inheritance, she says, which is “both a blessing and a curse.”) When Lockhart started talking about what he would do with money (travel, eat, drink, be a libertine basically–minus the sleeping around I guess), I was a little concerned that maybe he was trying to get Georgiana’s money. Then he said he wasn’t painting her for the money, but for love, and as she rushed to him and kissed him we all oohed and aahed, did we not? It was so dreamy.

And their dancing at the ball was a joy to watch! But whoa that scene on the veranda. Lockhart wants Georgiana to go away with him to Europe. “As your concubine?” she asks, and he says “As my wife!” Hmm. Really?

Then there’s the awful, forced kiss by Colonel Lennox at the ball.

Sure, he’s a fine dancer, but he’s also a liar, cheat, mansplainer, and prick. Why does he want Charlotte to be his wife? Is it because he actually thinks she will make a suitable
companion? Does he even like her? Or is this about stealing her away from Colbourne? I like how this episode repeats the visual imagery of Charlotte and Lennox chatting at the top of the stairs/balcony, like we saw in season 1 with her and Sidney, but I hate that it’s with the vile Colonel who practically forces himself upon our heroine as he pretty much says she will marry him. She says she does not wish to marry, and he says, ok, girl, it’s time to stop playing games–as if she does not mean what she says. Hate that shit. He also talks down to her about her job and her “squalid” life, and we are having none of that! What an ass. “Be sensible of my rank,” he says, and as she pulls away from his kiss, I breathed a sigh of relief. Thank god that is over!

When Colbourne enters the ball and he and Charlotte make eye contact, the gazing is ripe with all of that sexual tension. Then their dance. Sheesh. The camera angles, the breathing, the hands touching. This was like a sex scene. Charlotte says she felt more alive dancing with him than she has in a while. I can see why!

It’s so wonderful when Colbourne finds Charlotte at the bottom of the stairs after she flees Colonel Pushyface because we want to see her with Colbourne! I’m glad Charlotte and Colbourne finally had it out–finally, he tells her the truth instead of bottling it up and putting on that stern facade. And, wow, I didn’t see it coming that Leo is Lennox’s child. I should have seen it coming with the fact that Leo was obsessed with the military and all, but nope. Missed that. And poor Leo overhearing it while eavesdropping!

But oooh when Charlotte grabs Colbourne’s hand (without gloves one, I might add), and then they kiss. Fireworks! (well, not literally) What a way to end the episode.

I gotta say that I’ve been on Team Captain Fraser the entire season, and it was nice to see him and Allison get cozier and dance. Again, so much cuteness in this episode. So much tension, but in a good way.

And it was nice to see Captain Carter watch them dance, but kinda weird because he didn’t seem to mind it. Did he give a rat’s ass about Allison ever? He obviously could see that Fraser is in love with her the whole time, even though she has been blind to it.


But there’s more than kissing and dancing in this episode that is worth discussing. I’m amazed by the crazy-ass poison plot that is going on in this episode with that evil Edward Denham. He is such a bad guy–absolutely no redeeming qualities. At least Clara has been rehabilitated this season. Edward has gotten worse. But the stupid Dr. Fuchs says that Esther’s behavior is a sign of hysteria. OK, Dr. Freud. Let’s not go there. And the crazy woman holding the baby scene reminded me a bit of Jane Eyre again–very Bertha Mason.

I want to conclude by saying how much I have loved Arthur getting more screen time this season. When he tells his brother I told you so about Colonel Lennox, I was like, yup! When Mr. Parker tells Arthur he is no replacement for Sidney but a wonderful brother who has been there all along, I got a little teary-eyed, and if you didn’t: what’s wrong with you?

Speaking of Lennox–what a jerk. He’s such a Wickham to Captain Carter’s Willoughby. Captain Fraser is our Colonel Brandon. Good job, writers, for giving us some of Austen’s characters, even though they have different names. FWIW, Colbourne is such a Darcy.

Sanditon, Season 2, Episode 4

Everyone loves a good phallic showdown, right? Men who hate each other and will show their competitive nature with a pointy object is right up Sanditon‘s alley, eh? It’s fun to watch men show off their skills at a garden party, huh? 🙂 What about giving a woman a chance to make her mark?

That’s what Colonel Lennox claimed he was doing when he offered Charlotte the bow and arrow, and she met the challenge by hitting the bullseye without a problem when she was shooting on behalf of Lennox. Woo-hoo, Charlotte! Also, her “this is not the first time I have used the bow” is a superb response to a mansplainer.

But…when Colbourne asks her to shoot on his behalf we see that she is thrust into this tug-of-war between two sourpuss enemies, and we should know that this will not end well. When I was watching this scene I thought that maybe Charlotte would shoot as well on behalf of Colbourne as she did with Lennox. But she flubbed the shot. Yes, it went way off the mark. Why? Because she felt comfortable shooting on behalf of Lennox, whom she doesn’t really care for, and nervous shooting on behalf of Colbourne, whom she secretly adores. Although, no one likes it when he tries to tell her what to do after the competition is over. She tells him he doesn’t own her, and she’s right!

There are other notable things from episode 4 that I’m not going to say much about but want to spend a hot second on:

  1. Clara + Esther + baby + nursing scene: all the feels there.
  2. Captain Carter = a Wickham/Willoughby who is just a conventional phony playboy who can’t swim. He also looks like he should be in a boy band rather than the military.
  3. Leo hugging Augusta wearing her mother’s dress is like hugging the mother Leo never knew. Also: all the feels.
  4. Women wearing corsets that are so tight they pass out (re: Augusta at the garden party) = wtf

Yet again, the element of this episode that intrigued me most was Georgiana’s plotline. The beginning of the episode reveals why Sidney was in Antigua: he was there to speak on behalf of Georgiana’s inheritance. (I sure have said on behalf of a lot in the blog post!) A relative (?) of the deceased Mr. Lambe apparently claims that she is “unfit” to receive the inheritance because of her “maternity”–suggesting that the daughter of an enslaved woman is not worthy of the inheritance. He even “questioned [her] moral character” and her mother’s.

Why? Because of her mother’s class/status? Because of her mother’s and her skin colors? What would morals have to do with any of this? Hell, we don’t even know if Georgiana’s mother was in a consensual relationship with Mr. Lambe. If history tells us anything, the answer would be no, or possibly suggest a coercive relationship.

Regardless, Sidney’s “efforts” affected the case against Georgiana, and the unknown person of interest did not win his suit. This is all well and good, but Georgiana brings up an interesting point: if this (still unknown to us) relative thinks her unworthy of the inheritance, there might be more who believe the same and try their case. Here we see Georgiana having to see herself through the Lambes’ eyes, but more than that she cannot escape being seen as a Black woman, despite her biraciality, who is the daughter of a deceased enslaved woman (and of course also a dead white planter/enslaver). She cannot escape, it seems, the prejudice against women of color, who are deemed immoral without any knowledge of the their character. Racism through and through.

But this episode also introduces a really interesting moment when Mary Parker says to Georgiana, “You must prove them wrong in how you live your life, in how you conduct yourself,” and Georgiana is like, whoa, what are you claiming? Is Mary really suggesting that Georgiana can somehow affect the way they see her? “You are suggesting the fault lies with me?” she asks, and “Were I white and a man, who would question my legitimacy?” What she is saying here is that a white, male, illegitimate heir would not experience such prejudice.

The viewer needs to hit pause and think more on what Mary is insinuating without consciously realizing it. The ‘they think you’re bad, so you must be extra good’ lesson might not sound problematic if it weren’t coming from a white woman and spoken to a young woman of color who just explained the racial prejudice she has endured. Mary is trying to help with her a “don’t flame the fire” suggestion, but it just feels like Mary is getting at something that we are all seeing in viewing the show: Georgiana wants to live her life her way, and Mary is saying no you can’t do that. Get in line, Mary is implying. Find some boring, rich, landed white guy to marry and all will be well. Well, not for Georgiana, dammit!

You see, Mary doesn’t want Georgiana to marry some artist, but clearly the series is pushing these two together, even though Georgiana still dreams about love lost (Otis Molyneux, who introduced her to the sugar boycott).

I have become particularly fond of Miss Hankins and especially her reaction to Lockhart’s drawings in his studio. This Miss Bates-like character cracks me up with her oh I can look at nude drawings because Adam and Eve were naked before the fall, and that was all a part of God’s “true vision of us.” LMAO. But there’s more to this than a good laugh. We are watching Lockhart looking at Georgiana (clothed, I should add) and seeing her as if she were nude–not sexually, but in her “true” state for who she is. A part of her problem in the sketching scene is that she is not being true to herself. She stands rigidly, unsmilingly. She seems downright uncomfortable. As if the clothes, the posture represent a social facade put on to play a part.

When Lockhart says, “I’m not asking you to bear your skin…but to bear your soul,” I really feel that he sees the external (clothes, skin, skin color, etc.) as a sign of person, but not the person. When he says soul it might make us think of religion, but that’s not what he means either. He’s talking about essence–what makes you you. But he offends her (and decorum) when he says that she is offering up a “Miss Lambe” when he really wants to see “Georgiana.” We know that men were not supposed to refer to women with their ‘Christian’ names (first names) unless they were intimate with each other. (We actually see this in another couple in the show: Allison and Will, her captain.) But I don’t think even that is what bothers Georgiana when she says, “You will address me as Miss Lambe.” She is bothered by actually being seen by Charles Lockhart. Everyone else sees a Miss Lambe. He sees beyond it.

Probably the funniest line in the episode is when Lockhart says she is so stiff that he might as well be drawing Lady Denham! Comparing the two is the ultimate burn. When he says he is looking for “passion,” “emotion,” and “honesty” (Lady D isn’t too keen on those three things) and asks her to tell him something true about herself, something like a childhood memory that makes her feel happy, we know that that’s not gonna work. “Talk of your father, your mother” leads to “they are both dead.” A dead end indeed. “What did you dream of last night?” actually sparks something–and it’s precisely what eventually gives way to her opening up about how she has locked her heart. But he doesn’t call it a heart that is locked. He refers to her wearing a mask, and he says her mask has slipped when she shows real emotion in response to his question. It’s a really clever scene.

Let us not overlook the sugary garden party scene with its multitiered cake and Lady Denham’s insistence that Georgiana enjoy the cake. Again the lovely Miss Hankins thinks Lady D forgot the sugar boycott. As if? Georgiana, and everyone else, knows better.

And good lord when Lady D said “pineapple,” I almost died! She reminded everyone, including the viewer of the wretched scene from season 1 with cutting into the rotten pineapple–a poignant symbol of so many things, but first and foremost racism. This cake is the new Sanditon pineapple.

It’s wonderful when everyone follows Georgiana and the Hankins’ lead and refuses to eat that cake. Lady D is so Marie Antoinette (let them eat cake) and everyone else is so guillotiney in this scene! 😀

Lady D can’t believe that Arthur won’t cut the cake–that no one will cut the cake–and offend the hostess “for the sake of this absurd sugar boycott.” As she asks when will “we” (meaning she and white English nobility) hear the end of it (the boycott?), Georgiana reminds her “when every last slave is freed.” This conversation dovetails nicely with episode 3, for Lady D refers to Georgiana as the richest woman in Sanditon in this scene (something Georgiana said to her in the previous episode), and Georgiana refers to herself as someone who is the “beneficiary of the very trade” she wants to boycott (which Lady D said in the previous episode).

As Georgiana says, she “cannot change the past,” but she can “speak for those who cannot.” She reminds everyone at the party that they are complicit in the “evil trade” (human trafficking) as well. Georgiana lays down the guilt trip (and rightly so) as she reminds the English men and women around her of all the men and women on the plantations who have no choice but to harvest the sugar for it to be exported to places like England. So if everyone wants to eat cake at this damn party after this, they will show themselves to be assholes, no doubt. As everyone handed back their plates, and Georgiana gave Lockhart a “that’s right” look and he smiled (and Esther laughed) I smiled.

The true love story of this season is Georgiana Lambe and Charles Lockhart. The almost kiss between them is so sweet, but interrupted, alas.

Finally, three things:

  1. I’m concerned that Augusta is gonna run off with Lennox (who reminded us/her that she looks like her mother, who was a twin to Lucy Colbourne)
  2. Lockhart’s jacket at the garden party. OMG.
  3. It was deja vu to watch the Sanditoners play croquet after watching Bridgerton, season 2, amirite? And when Fraser comes out of the water with a wet shirt: very Anthony Bridgerton and Mr. Darcy.

Sanditon, Season 2, Ep. 3

Things really take off in this episode. Get it? Take off! (I know, I’m awful!) We’ve got a hot air balloon ride that is almost a disaster. There was supposed to be an elephant, but when that attraction fell through we ended up with a military hot air balloon ride. Um, what? I haven’t found any evidence of the British military using hot air balloons in 1820, but there were balloons at this time and there is evidence of hot air balloons having been used by militaries in the 19th century. But it certainly wasn’t the product of “British ingenuity,” as Mr. Parker claims.

Whether or not it’s accurate matters little compared to what the hot air balloon ride shows us about Charlotte and Col. Lennox. Charlotte takes risks; she is adventurous. She’s the girl we want to be. Lennox can see that in her, and we can feel him getting ready to sweep her off her feet. Not that she is that into him….but after the balloon ride we get a glimpse of the Wickham in Lennox. He reveals he had a past encounter with Colbourne, and it feels very Wickham-Darcy rivalry in the making. We get a hint: it has something to do with Colbourne stealing Lucy (Colbourne’s deceased wife) from Lennox. At least that’s what he says.

This episode also shows us much about Charlotte’s adventures with Colbourne. Let us not forget her taming the spooked horse (spooked by the gun shots of the soldiers–symbolic, too, right?). Charlotte’s a natural with animals (and men) who need to be tamed. Remember her affect on Sidney? (Ooops. Too soon?) And the cornflowers scene is also super cute, and later her gazing upon them in her bedroom suggests that she has feelings for Colbourne. And why not? He’s kinda dreamy.

And then there are the scenes with Esther and Clara, who ends up going into labor! I see where they are going with this plot line, as Clara seems to show signs of postpartum depression and won’t take her son from Esther. Esther needs a baby. Clara doesn’t want a baby. Problem solved? Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

But the most interesting parts of this episode–for me at least–are the Georgiana scenes. If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m fascinated with how Georgiana is developing as a character. She is nothing like Austen’s Miss Lambe. Oh, no. She is like the 1808 Woman of Colour’s Olivia Fairfield. Like Olivia, she shows white English people how she has been viewed and how she wants to be seen.

In a conversation with Arthur, Georgiana says that when she was growing up in Antigua she was gazed at as a curiosity because of her biraciality: she was “never allowed to forget [she] was neither one thing nor the other.” When she came to England (her father’s country) she saw her “difference reflected in the eyes of every person [she] met.” Georgiana has a lot to teach Arthur and Sanditon‘s audience about what it feels like to be stared at constantly and to not fit into one racial category.

I appreciate that Arthur says in response that he “cannot speak to [her] experience,” and tries to connect with her in this moment, as he says he has always been overlooked. It’s a bit tricky, as it kind of feels like the writers let a white man take over this crucial moment. It might have been nice if he could have just stopped at I cannot speak to your experience, but the purpose of the scene is actually to praise the artist, Lockhart, who has seen Arthur and Miss Lambe for who they are and how they’d like to be seen. That said, the writers do a good job of bringing the dialogue back to what Arthur calls “views and prejudices.” We see a lot of evidence for these in the episode.

Georgiana’s scene with Charlotte also helps me see the connection between Olivia Fairfield and Sanditon‘s–not Austen’s–Miss Lambe. Georgiana reveals that her father’s plantation was sold when he died and that she received her inheritance, but nothing else. Her father was her only family; her mother died in childbirth. She knows nothing of her mother but what her father told her. According to him, “she was a woman of beauty and grace, and he loved her.” Was she enslaved? Was she a free woman of color? We don’t know. If we turn to Woman of Colour for a precedent, we might find that Georgiana’s mother was enslaved.

This episode includes more “boycott sugar” scenes: this time the old clergyman, his sister, and Georgiana have taken to the streets to hand out pamphlets. Of course, Lady D has to play the part of a “Karen” and call Georgiana out for her “misguided sugar boycott.” As Georgiana tells her that “the movement”–not “her” movement, but “the” movement–is taking off across England, Lady D tells her “it will change nothing” because “such decisions are made in Parliament, not by naive young women.” Damn! But as our wonderful critic, Georgiana explains that Parliament has failed, so the people must take matters into their own hands. While this doesn’t sound like seditious language, per se, Lady D’s response clear signifies that it is close as she claims that Georgiana “would support such a cause, given [her] origins.” *What a racist beeotch!*

This reference might be connected to the Haitian Revolution, not something about Antigua, but it doesn’t go unchallenged by Georgiana, who reminds Lady D that she, not Lady D, is “the wealthiest woman in Sanditon.” Ouch! Stick it where it hurts! But that hurt doesn’t sting for long, for Georgiana is reminded of her “origins” as Lady D retorts, “Where did that wealth come from? Are you not biting the hand that feeds you?” Crystal Clarke’s clenched jaw speaks for Georgiana’s rage, but the scene ends there without further words. The writers leave it there for the audience to consider. Where did Georgiana’s fortune come from? Yes, her father, but where did his fortune come from–clearly the production of sugar and enslavement.

Lady D has a point about how sugar production is tied up in white people’s enslavement of Antiguans and people transported, most often from Africa, to the island, but we are not supposed to agree with her that Georgiana is a part of this problem. No, Georgiana is a product (a victim) of the system (and systemic racism), and her protesting sugar consumption in England does not make her a hypocrite but an advocate for the eradication of slavery.

There is one more reference to enslavement in this episode, and that’s when at the fete Lockhart tells Georgiana that Mary Parker is her jailor, that she is tethered. While this is definitely balloon language, it hits differently after the previous scene with Lady D. In showing Georgiana breaking free from the tethers in a later scene, her visit to Lockhart’s studio reveals that she is taking control of her life and how she wants to be seen: he can paint her on her terms.

Finally, I’m wondering this: how many of you noticed the name of the bakery in the background about 36 minutes into the episode? It’s called “Chawston’s Bakery.” Nice way to slip in a Chawton easter egg. Even though there is a Chawston, England, I feel like this must be a Chawton reference. I wonder how many other easter eggs there are in Sanditon?

I Finished Bridgerton, Season 2

When Bridgerton season 1 aired, I blogged. When Bridgerton season 2 aired, I was traveling to a conference, attending a conference, traveling home, and then getting caught up on work (I mean, I have a job, y’all). I watched the entire season while doing this and could not muster up the time or energy to blog.

But that’s only partially an excuse. I didn’t blog episode by episode because I found myself not wanting to blog after each episode. I found myself wanting to sit with each episode, enjoy it, and move on to the next one. I didn’t feel that way about the first season.

So, let me tell you about my Bridgerton season 2 viewing experience, and you can tell me about yours. I also must say that I have not read the books and likely won’t ever read them because I am reading too many other things. I enjoy watching the show for what it is, not an adaptation of Quinn’s series.

OK, SPOILERS. Do not read this post if you haven’t finished the season. Do. not. Assuming you’ve finished season 2. La la la la!

I watched episode 1 of season 2 and honestly thought I might not watch the rest of the season. It felt unoriginal. It felt trite. It felt like I didn’t need it in my life. But I decided to watch episode 2, and with each episode in I started to feel like I wanted to watch the show. By episode 5 I was a born-again-Bridgertonian. I recall posting this about episode 5 on social media: “HOLY SHIT.”

I was not a fan of Anthony in season 1. I hated his character and plot line in almost every way. Then season 2 took aim at Anthony, and I loved it. I loved it when Miss Sharma, hereafter referred to as Kate, called him out on his BS. I was totally here for it. I fell in love with Kate Sharma. But I also started to warm up to Anthony. The dead-father-stung-by-a-bee thing didn’t do it for me. The save-the-mother’s-life wasn’t what did it for me.

The way that we saw Anthony conforming to pre-established, constrictive notions of his place in the world and how damn difficult it was to be himself (whatever that could have been) did it for me. The way he struggled around Kate did it for me. Jonathan Bailey’s breathing did it for me. The flex of a cheek did it for me. The stares into Simone Ashley’s eyes did it for me.

But all that wouldn’t be possible without Simone Ashley. I loved how she played this part (everyone actually acted with such expertise this season). The romance was believable, but the tension created by these actors provided viewers with a space to say, “I see you.” I see you fulfilling a duty, playing a role, being responsible, whatever. I also see you struggling to want something, someone so much that you are ready to burst.

I loved that about this season, and I didn’t feel that with season 1. Before y’all start yelling at me about that, just know that season 1 was a tour de force, and season 2 as well in many ways, but season 2 just felt different. There wasn’t as much humping, that’s for sure. Season 1’s humping was kind of ridiculous IMO. The almost sex scenes were so much sexier, again IMO. The actual sex scenes in season 2 were delicious.

While the second season could have handled some things better (i.e., colonialism, imperialism, racism, sexuality, dog breed, some of the clothing, etc.), it reminded me of Austen’s world more than season 1. Here’s why:

I was feeling Pride and Prejudice so much in Anthony and Kate. The ball where Kate overhears Anthony bragging. P&P. The way she called out Anthony for his assholery. P&P. The desire to be with someone society says you shouldn’t be with. P&P. The disaster of an ending episode where everything good was crammed into the last 10 minutes (a la happy ending for the lovers). P&P. This felt so Austenesque to me, and while a lot of fans were disappointed, I was sitting here smiling, thinking about how Austen would be like, yeah, that’s how you do that.

I don’t want this post to turn into something super long and analytical. I write merely to say that I expected to dislike season 2 (because it was focusing on Anthony), and I ended up loving it. I expected not to feel any connection to Austen (besides the Regency thing), but I did, and it made me happy.

I’d also like to say that I loved having more Danbury and Queen C time. Also, thanks for showing so much snuff.

2022 ASECS Presentations

For those of you who can’t make it to my talks or just want to review the slides:

Jane Austen and Her Contemporaries, Ten Years Later: A Reflection and a Workshop on an NEH Seminar (Doctor Is In Workshop) I, March 31, 11:30 a.m.

Overview of the seminar and my outcomes.

I’m also sharing a link to a video (with captions available in settings) that includes thoughts from three of the NEH Austen seminar participants and the summer seminar organizer, Devoney Looser.

Teaching Austen and Intersectionality Panel, April 1, 8 a.m.

Why We Should Teach Woman of Colour alongside “Sanditon”

Sanditon, Season 2, Ep. 2

I watched episodes 1 and 2 back-to-back, so I almost revealed some details from the second episode in my post on the first one. Oops!

Did you miss my first post? Check it out here. Also, there will always be spoilers in my posts, so if you haven’t watched episode 2 yet, don’t read this post!

Carrying on as if you have watched it ….

It’s interesting that the writers really play up the spinster element in this episode. The eldest “charge” Augusta (age 18, probably close in age to Charlotte!) complains that Charlotte couldn’t possibly teach her to become a marriageable lady because Charlotte has no experience herself. Isn’t that what you’d find with most governesses? Isn’t that why you become a governess–you’ve got no other options or you don’t want to marry? The spinster/governess role is constantly critiqued in the show, to the point that it’s even framed as a burden and the figure as an outcast. Alison, too, gives her sister a hard time about it. When Charlotte has to sit at the spinster end of the table at the mess dinner, it’s like, wow, she’s already doomed!

There’s this fun gender game being played in this episode, and the problem of biased education is exposed. Colbourne wants Charlotte to teach the female children how to be “young ladies” while Charlotte wants to expand their minds. Clearly, book smarts is for lads only. Ladies don’t need that kind of stuff. Where would they use it anyway? They’re not going to be governesses! No, they need to know how to embroider and play the pianoforte, how to sing and dance. Make yourself useful, why don’t ya–look pretty, sound pretty, make pretty things!

I am also interested in how the writers poke fun at clothing as one of the initial ways we read gender when we meet someone. In episode 1 there’s this short-haired kid in a faded red coat following the soldiers down a path and acting like one of them–this kid is so enthralled with the soldiers that they end up almost dying by being trampled by a horse during a parade. Luckily, quick thinking and acting Charlotte saved the wannabe soldier from an early demise, tends to their wound, and takes them home (where she overhears that a governess is needed–remember?). In the first episode we learn that the boy is not a boy, but Leonora, a girl living as a boy: Leo.

Is this a trans character? Yes. But that part is stomped on as well, for the father insists “she” wear a dress. Episode 2 shows the child in such constricting attire, but it clearly undercuts the father’s edict when we see Leo still wearing the hat and boots and playing soldier. That doesn’t stop daddy-o from demanding that the governess teach her some lady skills, though. Even with a dress on, we still see Leonora, aka Leo, acting more Leo than Leonora. For example, Leo says “damn” and “silly dress. I wish I could wear my short britches.” Even Charlotte realizes it would “be more practical” for the outdoor activity.

By the end of the episode, Leonora is back in Leo’s clothes (and daddy’s furious). Leo throws Charlotte under the bus by saying Miss Heywood said a girl can wear whatever suits her purpose, and worse, a girl can be whatever she wants to be! Feminism! Charlotte also stands up to Colbourne like a badass bitch. Hell yeah! Oh, and you can tell he’s falling for Char after he yells at her and she doesn’t give in. This is sooooooo Rochester & Jane Eyre .Everyone in the Colbourne household–even the patriarch himself–bets Charlotte won’t last a week as governess. Spoiler: she does, and he’s glad.

That said, there’s something really profound about the way this episode handles grief. From Charlotte’s grieving of Sidney to Colbourne’s of his wife to Augusta for her parents to even Leonora’s dismissal of grief for a parent you never knew, I was impressed by the way the writers captured how hard it is to live without your loved ones and to be happy. The end of the episode gave me hope.

On to other things and characters in the episode ….

Georgiana has had her “fill of suitors”–they keep coming, she keeps rejecting them, and she tells Mary not to let any more call on her. But she still has to go to the mess dinner and be civil because that’s what ladies do, she tells Charles Lockhart. (Un)fortunately, she falls into the trap set by Charles and Arthur to get the two some time together. Charles is fascinated by her, he says. But why? Is it her beauty? Her disdain for him? Her money? Is he just an artist looking for a subject or a man after her fortune?

I gotta admit that I’m warming up to Charles based purely on the actor. Isn’t he great? That Napolean-abolition speech was funny, too, and his banter with Georgiana is enjoyable. However, the lamb/Lambe stuff is kinda forced. He talks about his lamb dinner is tough and cold, and later he calls her the lamb wandering from the flock. Like, we get it. OK. Y’all know puns. Fine. 😀

I appreciate how we’ve got Augusta who desperately needs to marry to get out of her uncle’s house and Georgiana who doesn’t want to marry because she knows that she’ll lose all of her power once she does. (And she’s right about that! Once a hubs gets his hand on her money, he’ll treat her like crap. We’ve seen this time and again in stories from this time period. Want to read one? Lucy Peacock’s short story “The Creole” gives a good example.)

And we know what happens when women of a certain class marry: they need to produce heirs. Lady Babington (Esther) has suffered a miscarriage, almost died, and has been told that she will not be able to bear a child without high risk to her own life. She has to do whatever she can to have a baby, though, including going to Dr. Fuchs and a midwife for some herbs. What else can she do? Here we have another one of those oppressive results of marriage: if she can’t give him an heir she’s worthless..

Ugh. There’s so much subtle misogyny in this episode, and it’s intentional of course, like when the captains are sparring at the camp and one of them tells Georgiana and Alison “Ladies, this is no place for a young woman.”

At least Colonel Lennox isn’t such a tool. He’s really growing on me. While dancing he gives Charlotte some good battle advice for dealing with her charges. And she definitely earns some ground in this episode. She even lies for Augusta, which wins her some points.

And then there was Clara…

This episode ends with a bang! Clara Brereton returns destitute, pregnant, and claiming the baby is Edward’s. Is it? Probably not given the end of last season. We’re not supposed to trust Edward or Clara, so who knows. The best part of this scene is the look on Lady D’s face–she looks like she’s about to drop dead!

Side note: did anyone notice that the actresses are wearing a lot more makeup this season?

Hope you enjoyed the episode and this post! Once episode 3 airs on PBS I’ll post again. Want to read my posts from 2020 on season 1. They’re on this blog, too. Just search for them.

Sanditon, Season 2, Ep. 1

It’s been a couple of years since Masterpiece’s Sanditon first aired on PBS, and a couple of years since I blogged about it episode by episode. I’m excited to be blogging again about this Jane Austen adaptation.

So, let’s get two things out of the way. 1) There are going to be SPOILERS in these posts. 2) I am not here to give you a plot summary; in these posts I talk about some things that happen in the episodes and what I think about them. Got it? OK. Read on!

Spoiler 1: Sidney Parker is dead.

I was wondering how the show was going to deal with Theo James’s decision not to return. I honestly didn’t expect them to kill him in the first minute of the first episode. Well done, Davies, well done. Why was Sidney in Antigua, where he contracted yellow fever? How does this impact Georgiana’s future? There’s suspense, and the fans are surely here for it. I kind of wondered when I saw this death date, though. 1820? Seems a little too late for this Regency era show.

Spoiler 2: Mr. Stringer now lives in London. I had also heard that Leo Suter was not returning and wondered if the writers were going to give him a proper exit or just pretend he never existed. I am pleased to say that he got a mention: he’s now in London and is successful. Yay for him, but I would have liked to see his character develop. Maybe there wasn’t anything to develop.

Spoiler 3: The writers decided to replenish the dearth of suitable suitors for Charlotte by bringing soldiers to Sanditon as well as giving us a new brooder. First, the soldiers.

The colonel is OK. He seems like a forward-thinking dude. The captains are also OK. One is like a cute schoolboy while the other is like the guy always stuck in the friend zone. Then there’s that asshole, Edward, who somehow joined the military. He’s as despicable as ever. I was surprised to see him, TBH. I thought he was being written out of the show. I am also wondering if the writers got their timing wrong again. If it’s 1820, England is not at war with Napolean, so….

Spoiler 4: And then there’s Mr. Rochester–I mean Colbourne.

Yeah, I wasn’t expecting Sanditon to turn into Jane Eyre, but there you have it. When Charlotte decides to become a governess and suddenly looks all plain Jane (not to mention smacks of spinster Jane Austen) I was like, really?? OK. Then the man she works for is a widower and all broody, and I was like, oh, no you didn’t! Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, same thing….same name, same time period….no, that’s not right. Hmm. Two authors (Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë) worlds apart, whose worlds are drastically different, are now in the same adaptation. I guess this must be what the writers think fans want.

Spoiler 5: I guess the writers also think we need another new man to follow because they also added a Byronic artist named Charles Lockhart. Oh, I see what ya did there: lock heart. Who will unlock it? Well, that would be Georgiana. Right? (or Arthur?) Because Georgiana and Charles are both characterized as headstrong and break with conventions they must naturally be a perfect match. Feels very Lizzie and Darcy to me.

Spoiler 6: I was thrilled to see, I must admit, Georgiana getting more air time in the first two episodes (I’ll blog about the second one later). I don’t know about the way she is being cast as the instigator of the sugar boycott–like somehow because she is a Black woman she must be leading a movement? I get where the writers are going with this re: Antigua plantations, sugar production, commerce, enslavement, and abolition, and I’m glad they also show white people taking part in the boycott. I just don’t know how I feel about the writers making it seem like it’s all about Georgiana individually–like the sugar boycott is some personality trait associated with her being Black. Maybe I’m misreading what they’re trying to do here.

Also, it’s no surprise to see the show again putting her into an agonistic relationship with sugar-loving Lady Denham, whose presence in season 2 seems absolutely uninteresting. The Georgiana/Lady D conflict in season 1 was great, but what’s left in season 2? Unless the show seriously, thoughtfully takes account of the horrors of enslavement and colonialism and how the production of sugar is contingent on the consumption of it, this plot makes it look like a bunch of outcasts (Georgiana and the spinster woman) pushing some kind of liberal agenda.

I also was unsure if the show’s writers intentionally chose to name Lord Colbourne’s housekeeper Mrs. Wheatley because the character is Black. Was this intentional casting of a Black actress in a part for a Black character? If so, was the name supposed to evoke Phillis Wheatley? Would any of the viewers make this connection? So many questions. One thing is for sure: this series is still going by traditional casting where the characters are mostly white and the actresses/actors are mostly white, and most of the people watching who like things to be “historically accurate” (as the gatekeepers call it) won’t get their feathers ruffled by seeing a person of color play a part they think represents a white character. So, the only people of color we get in Sanditon are: a wealthy heiress from Antigua and a housekeeper.

Spoiler 7: I didn’t say anything yet about the introduction of Charlotte’s sister Alison, so let me add that she seems to be there to hearken to Pride and Prejudice (she’s like a Lydia, maybe? in the bedroom scenes it feels very 1995 P&P.) and maybe to Sense and Sensibility, where she’s the Marianne. Meh. Don’t care.

Finis: I’m glad they kept Arthur in the show. And it was fun to hear two pronunciations of Dr. Fuchs’s name. The bit about Esther’s pregnancy woes hit hard. That was some real shit right there. There was also some interesting cross-dressing in episode 1, too, but I’ll say more about that in my next post.

All in all, the first episode made me want to watch another, and that’s cool. 🙂

Long time no blog

I haven’t blogged in a while, and I miss it. Maybe you have too?

Maybe you wonder what’s up with What Professors Wear? Well, let me tell you.

Here’s my first day of school outfit:

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I wore a white and black striped cotton blazer (from The Gap) with a black and white striped cotton shirt underneath and some black jeans (not shown here, but the brand is D. Jeans, and they’re skinny jeggings) with my black Bean Boots. Felt great. Also wore my mandated mask, and decided to pose with Jane Austen, who wears her mask too. You’ll see my Austen pin on my jacket because I taught Austen on day one of the semester. Yes I did. Juvenilia!

Day two of in-person teaching looked like this:

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Not sure what this aesthetic is: I came up with “Lazy Maine-ah wearing pink fleece tights and dragon scales necklace.” Yeah? Fitting for teaching my monsters class.

Day three:

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I had to compare this with the pic from last year:

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Last year I was going for the Coraline look.

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This year–no Gaiman cosplaying. Just me. I dunno. I feel like I look younger this year–which is weird but interesting.

Day four: I forgot to take a picture! Oops! I wore my Bean hunting boots with Gortex lining, some dark blue Michael Kors jeans; a navy, lavender, and light blue striped pullover sweater similar in style to the yellow one shown above (cowl neck and front pocket pouch); and some clip-on earrings. I don’t often wear earrings, but I felt it yesterday.

I’ve also been teaching on Zoom on the days I don’t teach on campus. I haven’t taken any pictures, but I have learned some lessons: I need to wear short-sleeved shirts when I teach on Zoom. I get super hot at my home office.

How about you? What have you been wearing? Anything new?

Blogging Hiatus

When I first started blogging it was all about professorial fashion–well, my professorial fashion mostly. I called my blog “What Professors Wear”–a riff on “What Not to Wear” (TLC show). I wanted to show people that you can wear stylish, fun, comfortable clothing and shoes to work. No stuffy suits. No lame khakis.

But the pandemic threw a wrench in my desire to blog. I posted here and there over the course of last year and part of this year, but I abandoned my blog this fall. I simply couldn’t find the energy to write the blog posts. I kept taking pics and posting them on Facebook and Instagram. I enjoyed putting together outfits and trying out new things. I just couldn’t seem to motivate myself to write.

And I have felt terrible about not writing because I love writing.

So, I’m back and ready to share an update. I decided last month to share some of my fashion tips for women who have gone “flat” through cancer-related mastectomies to a group I am a member of on Facebook. It’s called “Fantastic Flat Fashions.” Thousands of women are in the group, and many post pictures of their outfits or clothing they find on the internet that they believe would be good for “flatties”–that’s the word we call ourselves because we are breastless.

Here are two posts I shared recently:

I heard from a lot of women that they had not considered buttoning the top button and wearing a brooch in the center. Most people wear them on the side (left or right) of their chest. The women in this group also enjoyed the boxy vest idea. A lot of vests accentuate the torso and chest. This one hides them.

It made me happy to share these ideas with my fellow flatties. We have been through so much, and many of us have felt like a lot of styles of clothing have been taken away from us unless we wear prosthetics, which I did in January 2019-March 2020, even though they were uncomfortable. I didn’t want to draw attention to my flatness and make people feel uncomfortable by wondering what was going on with my body. Silly, I know, and I’ve moved beyond that. Finding the right clothes for me helped with that.

So to all of you reading this post, just know that you should dress for yourself and no one else. Yes, you should expect others to look at you no matter your body type. But your priority should be to feel comfortable in your own body. Body positivity for the win!