Welcome back! It’s time to write about episode four and the jaw-dropping character revelations coming your way. This episode has already aired on PBS Passport and will air on PBS Masterpiece on April 10. Want to know what happens? Get a cup of tea, a cookie (or biscuit for you Brits), and join me as I recap the episode. It’s a real eye-opener.
The opening scene has the Colonel and a few of his men racing down the beach, and Captain Carter asks for a word with his superior to get permission to ask for Alison’s hand. Charlotte and Alison have a sisterly walk on the beach.
A few quick scenes pass, but most notable is our resident snake-in-the-grass, Edward, paying one of Lady Denham’s servants to steal incoming and outgoing mail for him. Hope the man gets fired. What unloyal servants will do for a few shillings!
Georgiana arrives with news from Antigua. She received a letter explaining that a man arrived who claimed to be a relative of her father, and argued that because of her maternity, she was unfit to receive her inheritance, questioning her moral character and that of her mother. His suit failed in the Antiguan courts, but his identity is unknown. The mystery deepens and for now, Georgiana is still the richest woman in Sanditon. Thanks to Sidney who saved the day! There are also scenes of Georgiana sitting for Charles Lockhart, with Miss Hankins as a chaperone.
Clara continues to struggle to be a mother as the crying baby gets on her nerves. Lady Denham is giving Clara a small cottage with a leaking roof to go hide in with her baby. After all, her garden party is coming, and the scandal must be covered. In further scenes, Esther does her best to encourage Clara to bond with the child, but she continues to have difficulty. Esther cannot understand how Clara can be so aloof and unthankful for the gift of a baby. Later on, Esther cannot figure out why Lord Babington isn’t answering her letters. Well, he is, but the letters are in Edward’s pocket.
Charlotte arrives at the estate to find the spinet unlocked and tuned. Augusta plays the piano, and dancing lessons are next. Leonora knows a few tunes and sits down at the piano and plays while Charlotte teaches Augusta to dance. Colbourne walks by the door and hears the music, stops, and peeks around the door jam to watch. He walks into the parlor, and Charlotte says they could use a gentleman. Colbourne chuckles at the thought, and states, “I won’t be persuaded to dance, I’m afraid, not under any circumstances.” (Well, we know that later on in episode five, the circumstances change.) Augusta looks disappointed, but Colbourne tells her that he’s decided they will attend Lady Denham’s garden party. Hallelujah! The man is going to leave the estate and rub shoulders with society. When he finds out that Charlotte will be in attendance, the says:
Augusta, of course, is only worried about what to wear. Her uncle suggests that she pick something from her aunt’s wardrobe for the occasion. As Augusta tries on one of the dresses, Leonora suddenly runs to her, throws her arms around her waist, and hugs her cousin. Why? Well, get the tissues out. Augusta asks, “What are you doing?” Leonora looks up at her. “This is my mother’s dress. So, in a way, it’s like I’m hugging her, isn’t it?”
Tom is trying to convince the Colonel about the possibility of a barracks, but he’s not interested. He then brings up the matter of the shopkeepers going unpaid, asking that he settle the monies owed. Lennox, however, shrugs it off reminding Tom that, “every gentleman has his debts,” including Tom owing him one hundred pounds from his gambling, saying that it’s rather bad form for Tom to bring it up. Tom, for the first time, sees the dark side of Lennox, which frankly oozes through his words, facial expressions, and actions. His true character is about to shock all of you.
The garden party has arrived. What a glorious setup! What a beautiful buffet table! (As soon as Arthur sees it, he runs off in that direction.) What a delicious-looking tiered cake! There are flowers, and games to play, and everyone is dressed in their fine day dresses and bonnets. The men in hats. Crystal glasses are filled with sparkling drinks. As Lady Denham greets the arrivals one by one, a surprise guest enters – Alexander Colbourne and his niece Augusta. Among the guests are a few redcoats, including Lennox.
Naturally, the focus of this garden party is Colbourne seeing Lennox in attendance, but not before seeing Charlotte looking beautiful in her blue dress and bonnet. Let’s just say when the men lock eyes, the tension level rises. The birds stop tweeting. The insects fly in the other direction. And if looks could kill, the two men would be dead at Charlotte’s feet. Lennox walks over and says cooly, “Mr. Colbourne,” and Ben Lloyd-Hughes does a brilliant job of displaying his disdain. Charlotte’s eyes glance back and forth as the interaction continues, watching their male egos clash. The shocking fact that Lennox knows Miss Heywood doesn’t sit well with Colbourne.
The garden party is a very eye-opening event as the men continue to compete not only for Charlotte but with each other during archery. Let me just say that there is so much packed into these scenes, I dare not bore you with mere words on a page. It needs to be seen. The gasps need to proceed from your own lungs, and eventually, when you hear Lennox declare these words, you will fall off your chair, recliner, or couch, wherever you may be sitting.
You know what they say. All’s fair in love and war.
But then, I’ve known both and you’ve known neither.
The event leads to Colbourne leaving hastily with Augusta. Charlotte runs after him. In desperation to protect Charlotte from Lennox, in a raised voice he forbids her from seeing Lennox again since she is his governess. Of course, his words do not sit well with Charlotte, and he angrily climbs in his carriage and leaves. Lennox returns to her side, with a smug look on his face that frankly turns your blood cold.
A lot more happens at the garden party – Georgiana gets one over on Lady Denham; Lockhart spirits Georgiana off and tries to steal a kiss; Augusta faints and Lennox says something to Colbourne that makes your skin crawl. As Lady Denham would say, “Despicable!”
While this is all going on, behind the scenes Edward is about to embark on a dastardly scheme against Esther by spiking her medicine with laudanum, taking her down a dark mental path of instability. Hold onto your bonnets, for you thought Edward was dark in season one? He’s really gone to the dark side in season two out for revenge, and in the midst of it proposes marriage to Clara.
During all this, Allison is off in a rowboat with Captain Carter. His eloquent proposal leads to a near tragedy, and Captain Fraser saves Alison’s life. Carter’s true colors are revealed in a shocking display of cowardice.
All I can say is that after I watched this episode, Lennox’s behavior is shocking and shows his true colors.
Having been a keen archery shot in my youth (for real), I was about to find my bow and take a shot at Lennox! However, I have a fairly new television, so I restrained myself, but I’m afraid my verbal skills as a lady were sorely lacking. However, that doesn’t prevent me from taking my own fantasy shot with a little Photoshop to help.
It’s such an emotional fifty-three minutes and five seconds, that I dare say I lost sleep the night I watched it! Everyone’s performance is wonderful. Ben Lloyd-Hughes does a stellar job of displaying Colbourne’s secretive and troubling thoughts. Tom Weston-Jones turned from this charming man into another creature altogether in a split second. Brilliant and disturbing. After episode four airs, there will be a lot of returned merchandise at Etsy for tee shirts that have “Team Lennox” on the front.
I can’t praise the writers enough, and if you’ve yet to see episodes five and six, I can only say the best is yet to come. Stockpile the tissues, make sure you have enough wine to calm your nerves and get ready. The season isn’t over until you see Charlotte’s face in the last frame.