This espisode will air on PBS Masterpiece April 3, 2022. It is already available to watch on PBS Passport for paying members.
Welcome back as I recap episode three. You might want to get a glass of wine, a comfortable chair, and remain undisturbed. In this episode, the audience gets a deeper glimpse into the mysterious Mr. Colbourne and his past relationship with Colonel Lennox. There are many heartfelt scenes, glances, touches, and a wayward niece and daughter. To top off the excitement, someone new arrives on the scene.
The episode opens with Colbourne riding on the cliffs, but the sound of the militia doing target practice off in the distance spooks his horse. Then it quickly shifts to Alison and Charlotte, beside each other in bed, where Alison asks the question, “Who are you dreaming of?” Charlotte is definitely still dreaming of Sidney.
The young Captain Carter seeks advice from Captain Fraser regarding his budding relationship with Alison. Since he knows that Fraser is far more learned in books and writing than he is, he’s leaning on a fellow officer to impress the young lady rather than being himself. His lack of honesty will not fare well, no doubt, as he continues down a path of attempting to impress Alison with falsehoods.
The news of the day, though, is the Sanditon Midsummer Fair! (Not to be confused with Midsomer Murders, however, though at times we do want to murder Tom Parker.) Tom is excited about his schemes to bring another celebration to Sanditon that he can take credit for and receive glowing accolades. This time, he has procured an elephant to impress everyone. Interesting choice of animals, since he’s usually the elephant in the room at any given time while amongst others. Of course, no one seems to discuss his personality flaws to call him out so he continues to blunder his way through life. Even though Arthur does try to reason with him, Tom discards his advice as usual.
The Colonel happens across Charlotte walking on the beach as she heads for her new position and they walk together for a moment. He inquires about her new job, and she tells him she is still having difficulty with her charges despite his advice on strategy.
Esther and Lady Denham are enjoying morning tea when Clara arrives at the table, bemoaning how Edward took advantage of her the night she lay with him on the drawing-room floor. Thankful, of course, for Lady Denham’s kindness in allowing her to stay, Esther isn’t buying any of the excuses or falsehoods she speaks. To her surprise, Clara learns that Edward is in Sanditon, and Lady Denham declares she will summon him to answer for his actions. We all know where that will lead – denial, blaming Clara, and on and on.
Surprise! Georgiana visits Charles Lockhart, complaining that he drew her picture without permission. He had sent it to her earlier that morning, and in a rage she confronts him. Georgiana asked, “What do you want from me?” He responds, “Isn’t it obvious. I want to know you better.” Oh, gee, I thought it would have been fun for Lockhart to say, “I’d like to paint you like one of my French girls.” Yes, he wants to paint her, but she hasn’t decided yet if she cares to have him do so.
Charlotte is back with disrespectful Augusta, who starts the morning off spewing her displeasure. Leonora has disappeared, and poor Charlotte has a thousand acres to roam in hopes of finding her hiding place. As she begins her search, Charlotte walks by the stables where Colbourne is attempting to calm his spooked horse to no avail. Against his advice, she approaches the animal. Like a skilled horse whisperer, to Colbourne’s astonishment, she calms him. It’s an interesting scene, and be forewarned Colbourne is in his puffy white shirt with an open collar. This scene could definitely lead some women into an excited mental state having been spooked by a closer glimpse of Colbourne. I suggest that you take a few deep breaths and a glass of wine to calm yourself.
Tom is upset! He’s worried about being a laughing stock. Tom, I hate to tell you that you already are the laughing stock of Sanditon. The elephant cannot make it to the midsummer fair! We learn from his bemoaning that any money he spends must be accounted for and subjected to the scrutiny of Lady Denham and Eliza. Well, that’s unexpected. Where will these constant references to Sidney’s widow and her money lead us in the future?
Audiences are treated with another scene of Charlotte and Mr. Colbourne, who comes running after her as she continues to search for Leonora. Honestly, Ben Lloyd-Hughes will go down in history as the sexiest Regency-era man able to run, while slipping on a tailcoat simultaneously. He looks dashing in this scene since he’s not brooding. Colbourne thanks her for helping to calm his horse, and wonders if she can use those same skills to tame his wayward niece and daughter. Charlotte talks to him about gaining their trust, and after a few other scenes, you find them walking side-by-side in the beautiful thousand-acre estate he owns, helping Charlotte look for Leonora. It ends up in a pause under a tree as they are both drenched in rain. I shall not say anything more so you can enjoy the scenes for yourself. Colbourne, however, makes a cryptic statement to Charlotte about himself that confirms the further mystery behind the man.
Alison and Captain Carter are taking a chaperoned walk together in Sanditon, while he continues to brag about his heroism that never happened. Poor Alison is being duped by this handsome man in uniform. When will the truth come out about his character? Will Captain Fraser spill the beans out of his frustration?
We learn from a short conversation with Miss Hankins, as she informs Mary that she’s learned that the shopkeepers in town are up in arms about the army running up vast amounts of credit and not paying their bills. Perhaps we see the hidden corruption brewing beneath the surface. And who do we suppose will be stuck with these bills? I can only assume Tom.
Alas! Edward has arrived at his aunt’s home and is soon to learn that he’s about to be a father. Reaction? Lies! It’s not mine! You probably lay with others! On and on the two go back and forth with accusations to denial. Why do we get such pleasure out of watching this dysfunctional bunch? Edward is thrown out; Lady Denham worries about the family’s shame. And Edward, brilliantly played by Jack Fox, continues to be a rat only dressed in fancy redcoat this season. He’s even elevated his depravity to stealing mail! And he’s so concerned about his reputation!
Eccentric Tom is running through town tearing down promotional flyers for the fair that showcase an elephant as the main attraction. Colonel Lennox happens by and suggests something to save the day. Arthur has ideas as well, but you know Tom, just pushes his brother aside to keep the glory for himself. Kris Marshall does such a great job of letting us love him as an actor, but we continue to moan over Tom Parker’s character.
Arthur and Georgiana have a very telling moment together over tea, as they express their inner struggles and disappointments of not being seen for who they are. (A problem most of us can relate to!) Georgiana expresses her deep-rooted hurts over how she has been betrayed throughout her life. Our wonderful Arthur, so aware that he has spent his entire existence being overlooked even by those closest to him, praises Charles Lockhart because as an artist, he sees him for who he is.
Alison is off in the countryside, picking wildflowers when Captain Fraser happens upon her. Another couple caught in the rain, have a moment together. Alison continues to gush over Captain Carter, while he looks on still holding the knowledge of who his comrade really is.
Get another glass of wine, if you’ve finished the other, or at least take a sip to calm yourself. If you don’t drink alcohol, perhaps a box of chocolates will have the same calming effect.
The next scene is Charlotte, Augusta, and Leonora having a picnic. Leonora is picking wildflowers and running back to Charlotte and Augusta inquiring as to their names. Augusta, who doesn’t need to be taught anything by Charlotte, is quite adept at identifying the various blooms. They ensue upon a conversation about Lucy, Colbourne’s dead wife, who we learn was the twin sister of Augusta’s mother. Colbourne happens to stroll by not wanting to intrude but eventually decides to join them. Leonora is happy to have a moment with her father and brings him the blooms of cornflowers. It’s a pleasurable scene between the four of them, that ends in everyone finally smiling! Charlotte is bringing life back into this mausoleum of a family, and they are becoming aware of her special qualities.
The baby is coming! Bad timing, as Lady Denham has left the house and the servants to attend the fair. Esther is the only one there to help Clara through the screaming and painful event of giving birth.
Charlotte, a bit late to the fair, arrives to see the glorious military observation balloon! If you need to read up on your history about military ballooning during battle, follow over to Wikipedia to get educated. Tom invites someone from the crowd to take a ride, and everybody declines too afraid. Just like season one when Charlotte yells, “I’ll play!” our heroine yells, “I’ll make the ascent!” Tom won’t hear of it, but the Colonel is happy to take Charlotte as the third woman in history to ever ride in a military observation balloon! As the balloon rises to the heavens, we learn that the Colonel isn’t fond of heights, while Charlotte is enthusiastic and enthralled as ever over the view. When a mishap is about to occur, Arthur comes to the rescue! I remember when they filmed this scene on Brean Beach, it was quite interesting to watch how the magic of the camera brings this to life on screen. Charles declares, “You’re a hero, Arthur!”
After all the excitement, Colonel Lennox warns Charlotte about Colbourne, telling her to keep on her guard. The question taunts us, however, is he another Wickham telling a half-truth to make himself look good in Charlotte’s eyes, or is the story true? Let’s pause here before I continue. If you don’t want to know what he said, skip ahead. If you do, read at your own risk.
Some years ago, there was a young lady who meant a very great deal to me. She had fierce, bright spirit, much like your own. Her name was Lucy. Colbourne stole her from me, Miss Heywood, and then for reasons I do not comprehend, he destroyed her.Colonel Lennox, Season 2, Episode 3
Did you read it? Take a deep breath.
The episode closes with Georgiana making another trip to Lockhart’s residence, Tom making another trip to the gambling table (brace yourself), and Captain Fraser giving Captain Carter a rather stern warning about his lies.
It’s a well-done episode packed with emotion from start to end, raising questions and speculation galore. It’s hard to believe only three more episodes remain for us to enjoy.
Come back next week for another recap as the storyline progresses into what we have been told holds many twists and turns, leading to a cliffhanger finale. Such torture!
Bye for now!