After the shock of episode four and the revelation of personalities, arrives episode five, which will reveal Colbourne’s past. The garden party ended in Colbourne’s outburst, while Lennox smugly stood at the sidelines. Regardless, Charlotte’s emotions are being stirred nonetheless, despite the not-so-sugar-sweet ending. I wonder what Lady Denham did with all that cake! Episode five has aired on PBS Passport for paying members and the general public will see it Sunday, April 17th, on Masterpiece PBS. Hold onto your bonnets, ladies. The truth is coming out.

The episode starts with anxiety-ridden Tom declaring to Arthur that the shopkeepers won’t supply the goods for the ball because they haven’t been paid. Another financial conundrum for Tom. Will they ever end?

Poor Esther is drinking Edward’s concoction (the devil) and getting worse by the hour. This episode is a spiraling decline of her health and sanity, thanks to his meddling. Letters still don’t arrive, having been stolen. Her aunt doesn’t help the matter, saying perhaps Lord Babington has run out of things to say. Esther is drinking laudanum, poured into the tincture bottle given to her by Dr. Fuchs. Little does she know that Edward is slowly poisoning her body and mind. You see her in many situations, drugged, confused, lethargic, and no one understands what is happening to her except Edward and Clara, who are taking part in the deceit all for the sake of their son’s inheritance. Clara is a reluctant participant but is under Edward’s evil influence to gain his inheritance. When Edward, later on, drops the hint that Esther is clearly losing her mind, Lady Denham begins to believe the lies like a gullible donkey.

Meantime, brokenhearted Alison is packing to go home! Nothing is left for her to stay, as she urges her “governess” sister to return with her too. Charlotte attempts to comfort her, with words of encouragement that the heartache will pass. In return, she thinks that Charlotte wants to stay in Sanditon not for the job or the girls, but for Colonel Lennox. Poor Alison keeps getting it wrong from men to sisters. {inserts facepalm} Charlotte denies it, but Alison pushes her agenda on Charlotte that one of them deserves happiness.

Tom tells Arthur that Lennox won’t make good on the shopkeepers’ debts until Tom pays up on his one hundred pound loss at the dice game. In a heated moment of frustration, Arthur speaks up about Tom’s fool-hearted gambling and for dismissing his advice. It’s quite a change to see Arthur stand up to Tom! Bravo! When he finds out that Mary doesn’t know about the situation, Arthur encourages Tom to tell her soon. In the meantime, he will speak to the shopkeepers one more time so the ball can occur.

Charlotte arrives at Colbourne’s estate, but when she sees him, she hides upon her arrival until he rides off. To her surprise, she finds Augusta at the piano, banging on keys, apparently upset that her uncle won’t allow her to attend the ball. Charlotte has a few unpleasant observations about her employer’s disposition when surrounded by happy people, which sets off Mrs. Wheatley who puts Charlotte in her place for her harsh criticism. Whoa, talk about the protective housekeeper! There is a relationship there, consisting of deep loyalty.

Later, Colbourne arrives while Charlotte is teaching Leonora, and tense words are exchanged regarding his behavior at the garden party. He says he regrets how they departed, but won’t apologize for his behavior. Once again, he tells her to “just stay away from that man,” which upsets Charlotte further. Colbourne is intent on protecting Charlotte, but as you will see later in the episode, the reason behind his concern is hidden for a reason. He’s not ready at this point to share the truth with her, even though he is definitely becoming emotionally involved with Charlotte as a woman. This is the only way he can protect her from a man he thinks is dangerous.

Augusta and Charlotte have words about her disappointment that she cannot attend the ball. She reminisces over her mother dressing for evening engagements and how she wished that she too could participate. Even though her uncle attended the garden party, as Charlotte reminds her, Augusta says the only thing it proved is that he is incapable of change.

Charlotte visits Colbourne in his office and immediately says that he cannot regret the intention of his words but regrets the way he expressed them. “Is that an apology?” asks Charlotte. He confirms it is and accepts it with words that she still does not understand. Charlotte stands before Colbourne with her arms crossed, which is that body-language indication that she has closed off herself again of any emotional attachment to this strange man who cannot explain the reasons for his actions.

Charlotte then approaches the subject of Augusta’s disappointment in not attending the ball, and she challenges Colbourne that everyone contends with their past. He looks at her and listens to the admonishment, as she tells him that it isn’t fair for him to constrain her life because of it. How can she ready her for society when he continues to keep her so confined? Charlotte declares it renders her position untenable, and Colbourne with a straight, but hurtful look in his eyes, replies, barely choking out the words and swallowing hard, “It seems you have some thinking ahead of you. You will inform me once you have made a decision.” Charlotte says nothing, leaves the office and slams the door behind her.

Captain Fraser encourages Captain Carter to make it right with Alison before she leaves to go home. He shrugs off any responsibility, showing another disappointing view of his lack of character. Instead, Captain Fraser visits Alison, encouraging her to stay in Sanditon rather than returning to go home. He said that he counseled Carter to tell her the truth, and asks for her forgiveness for his part in keeping it from her. She thanks him for saving her life, and tells him not to reproach himself for what happened. At the ball, Fraser definitely takes the opportunity to enjoy her company, and they share a rather lovely dance as well.

Mary is at Lady Denham’s estate, visiting at her invitation. While they are sitting playing cards, Lady Denham informs her that she has heard from a friend that the militia has visited other locations, ran up debts, and then disappeared. Well, pat me on the back for that one, because I got it right in a previous post after a little research. She tells Mary that she better let Tom know what’s going on because the shopkeepers will have little recourse.

Georgiana has weaseled circumstances her way to have an unchaperoned portrait sitting with Charles Lockhart. Charles says that if he had an inheritance he would travel the world and eat, sleep, and drink. He declares he’s not painting her for money but for love. Georgiana gets up and kisses him!

Now, audience, here comes a scene that we have all been waiting for for some time. Mary returns home to tell Tom what she heard from Lady Denham about the militia’s reputation. Tom fesses up to his stupidity of gambling and instantly blames Colonel Lennox for deliberately trapping him into it! When Mary finds out how much, her anger reaches a level we’ve not yet seen. “Have you learned nothing!” After everything they endured! After everything, Sidney had sacrificed! Clueless Tom replied, “What sacrifice?” Duh. (Let’s all hit him up the side of his head.) “Did you really never figure it out? Sidney and Charlotte were in love. He married Eliza to save you! And you threw all that way for a game of dice.”

Thank you, Justin Young, for finally giving Tom the ability to see how wretchedly blind he was about Sidney’s love for Charlotte. Naturally, Tom is devastated, and during the ball takes Charlotte aside to tell her that Sidney would have wanted to see her dancing again. Charlotte understands that Tom is finally acknowledging the sacrifice of Sidney’s happiness.

Arthur saves the day, and the ball is here! Yes, we’ve all been waiting for the ball, since we saw pictures of coming attractions of Charlotte and Colbourne dancing. But wait! He wasn’t going to attend! Alas, once again, Charlotte has reached a corner of his heart that no one else has been able to touch. A place that has been secretly hidden for nine years, behind closed doors, never to be spoken of again. However, tonight is the night, and Colbourne arrives with his niece at his side despite his dislike for society and dancing. He stands in the doorway and glances her way, acknowledging that he has come because of her words spoken earlier in the day. Augusta runs up to Charlotte and declares, “I don’t know what kind of spell you put on him! You must never leave us.” Colbourne approaches and announces his usual excuse, “I do not dance,” and Charlotte questions then why are you here? We all know why he is here.

The dance you’ve all been waiting for should never be compared to the dance that Charlotte shared with Sidney. There are no similarities in setting or music. This is a different man and a more mature, changed woman from her experiences. However, in one respect it mirrors the fact that they are realizing romantic feelings toward the other. The choreographed dance is beautiful, and Colbourne says he hopes she will return because she has restored them all back to life. When he’s not speaking to her, Colbourne looks at her with adoration. Charlotte looks at him with a hint of wariness as to whether to allow herself to reciprocate. At the conclusion of the dance, she excuses herself and leaves his side, having that familiar “befuddled” look on her face, questioning why she has emotions for him. All the while, Colonel Lennox has been watching at the sidelines, none too pleased with what is transpiring. Now it’s time to make his move, and like a Leopard stalking his prey, he closes in to take what he wants.

Before this scene occurs, Alison and Charlotte exchange quick words on the balcony and Charlotte admits to her, “I don’t understand. Dancing just now, I felt alive in a way I haven’t since . . . ” Single-vision Alison again, thinking she’s talking about Lennox, interrupts her, only for the Colonel to arrive on cue. He’s there on the balcony for a reason – to propose to Charlotte. Let’s pause here and talk about motives, ladies. Do you believe that Lennox really loves Charlotte? Frankly, he may admire her but I don’t believe he loves her. His motives have been tainted since his encounter with Colbourne. Right now, Charlotte is a tool that he can use to gain victory over his rival. If Charlotte accepts, he has won the battle and defeated Colbourne, causing the man he despises further pain. No matter what your preconceived idea of the romantic gesture this man is supposed to make, you can toss it over the balcony railing and kick it out the door. Another shocking display of Lennox’s power is unleashed on poor Charlotte as she refuses. He forces himself upon her in an unwelcomed advance, causing Charlotte to run down the staircase, bumping into Alexander Colbourne.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that a touching scene occurs between Arthur and Tom outside, but right now I’m more focused on what you want to know – the secret behind mysterious and reclusive Colbourne. Charlotte demands the truth from him, and he takes her and Augusta back to the estate for a private moment alone. As they sit together on the settee, he painfully unveils the story, overwhelmed by the guilt and shame he carries. He and Lucy had married young, and when he inherited the estate upon his father’s death he came back to the country. His wife, however, preferred London society and stayed behind delaying her return. During their separation, she had an affair with Lennox and became pregnant with Leonora. As he tells the story to Charlotte, poor Leo is eavesdropping at the door, hearing the truth of her conception.

Colbourne’s guilt over how he reacted to her unfaithfulness, by showing her no pity or compassion, and the words he spoke to his wife torment him. His wife became a “ghost of her former self,” and she recklessly wandered out on a rainy night on purpose, which led to her tragic death. Colbourne blames himself for her actions. Charlotte encourages him to forgive himself so that he can move forward. It’s a touching moment and one that leads to their first kiss.

Now we can talk about that kiss for hours on end, make slow-motion GIFs of it to continually enjoy, analyze the placement of his hand, the kissing of his lower lip by Charlotte, how he draws her into his body, and everything else until you’re overheated and useless for the remainder of the day. Yes, Colbourne is yearning to love and be loved, and like drinking life-giving water, takes a willing Charlotte into his arms and tastes once again the warmth of a woman’s lips. Charlotte returns his affections and for a brief moment, the drought he has endured for nine years pauses. Nevertheless, below the surface remains self-recrimination for his deeds of the past. In his mind, those unforgivable actions that haunt him include having failed as a husband and feeling responsible for the death of his wife. To add to his misery, there is Leonora, a child fathered by another man who is a daily reminder of his failures, making it difficult to love her as he should.

I have no idea how long they kissed on the settee because while their lips are locked, the episode abruptly ends. It’s scenes like these than leave you to speculate what happened afterward and what words were spoken. However, the fifty-minute and twenty-two-second episode gives us nothing more.

Now that you know the truth behind the matter, I’m assuming there are thousands out there that may have guessed this twist by the matching blue eyes that Leo and Lennox share. However, I don’t think any of us could have guessed the depth of Colbourne’s guilt and shame he carries for his actions or the wounds of his heart that still bleed. It’s a heartwrenching episode six that exposes the intensity of that despair and leads to the shocking conclusion.

Are you still enjoying the fresh sea air? Come back next time, when I write about episode six that will leave us hanging until 2023.


  1. Thank you. 🤩🥰👍🏽 💙💛🌻

  2. Amazing episode! If we’re voting I choose Colbourne’s kiss over Sidney’s. 😘

  3. where did you watch episode 5 i cant find it anywhere\

    1. Author

      It is available to watch on PBS Passport for paying members in the USA. They post the current episode airing and then the next.

  4. No thoughts on Lockhart’s proposal to Miss Lambe? I thought it was one of the sweetest moments of the episode. The way it almost burst right out of him and his face after she was pulled inside. So sweet. ❤️

  5. Colbourne’s kiss is so much better then Sidney’s. For 1, (yes I’m a film major) the spinning around of the camera during Sidney /charlottes kiss meant the viewers got little enjoyment from it and more sea sickness. Plus it was a very polite kiss. Colbourne’s kiss however, through the eagerness of the open kiss, and the hand grasping her face conveyed a passion and emotion we have long been waiting for.
    Secondly, I had Lennox pegged as a Wickham character from the get go…..will he follow suit and attempt to run away with an innocent woman, the same way Wickham led on Georgiana and Lydia Bennett. With the ultimate innocent (and gullible) young woman being Miss Augusta, would he attempt it?? I hope I’m wrong.
    I hope Clara comes to her senses and is kind to Esther. Edward needs to catch syphilis and suffer.

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