Sanditon season two has ended, and now we can pick apart Colonel Lennox again. For fun, I did a quick survey on Twitter, asking people to give me a one-word description of Colonel Lennox. Here are a few of the results. Some couldn’t limit their disgust to only one word.
- And of course, asshat or bastard
That’s just a small sampling. No doubt you get the drift. Not many are enthralled about the handsome Colonel Lennox that we ogled over during early-release photos only to find out in episode four he was a real dick.
We must admit that Tom Weston-Jones played the calculating Colonel to perfection. In the beginning, he had us all fooled as a possible love interest for Charlotte. I had a lot to say about him and the militia in my earlier post giving my mid-season two cents on how I viewed Lennox’s character, speculating on his background. If you haven’t read it, visit this post Mid-Season Character Analysis – Lennox and Historical References About the Militia. Of course, my analysis was based on the first three episodes, but it was the fourth episode that left me sleepless, tossing and turning in my bed. Then episode five arrived, with this rough handling of Charlotte on the balcony, which left me appalled, to say the least.
After viewing the entire season, it seems to me that perhaps his earlier interest in Charlotte had been genuine, but once he knew that Colbourne was in her life, his motivation changed. There may have been flowers at the garden party, but Lennox was definitely the noxious weed we all came to hate. When Colbourne hears his name and turns around to face the man who had an affair with his wife, everything changes. Rather than keeping his distance, Lennox smugly approaches and begins his insidious game of laying claim to Charlotte, while taunting Colbourne about Lucy, using the aftermath of Augusta’s fainting spell to his advantage. “She is the very image of her aunt. When she was in my arms it was as if Lucy had come back to me.” And to top it off after the archery competition, “All’s fair in love and war. But then, I’ve known both and you’ve known neither.”
Let’s talk about Lennox and Lucy. As far as I’m concerned, I think Lennox was no doubt a young predatory Captain, who saw a vulnerable woman in Lucy. As Colbourne accused him, “It was you who preyed upon her vulnerabilities. It was you who made a victim of her.” I do think by his surprised facial expressions while meeting Leonora that he had no idea that Lucy was pregnant when they departed. Abandonment, as Colbourne accused him of, could have certainly come after Lennox had his way with her. The fact remains that men do abandon women after seducing them, and perhaps Lucy wanted more from Lennox that he didn’t want to give. Did he love her? I have a hard time believing that he did, I’m sorry to say. I think Lucy was a means to an end. Nine years earlier, Lennox would have been facing war with Napolean. It’s 1820 now in the series, and in 1808-1814, the British were fighting Napolean in the Peninsular War. Whatever leave Lennox enjoyed in London at that time would have certainly ended as he was called to the front lines.
Naturally, Lennox deflects to Colbourne saying that when he met Lucy she was lost and abandoned by him, rather than taking responsibility for her downfall. Obviously, had he loved her, he would not have ruined her reputation or entangled himself with a married woman. Once again, he knows that his words will eat at Colbourne, and expertly gets in the last accusatory remarks to do as much damage as possible to the man who won Charlotte’s heart.
As Arthur explained to Tom while he bemoaned his interaction with Lennox, “Because that is what he does. He is a Colonel. An expert in strategy and setting ambushes.” It’s exactly what he did to everyone when you think about it – Tom, Colbourne, and Charlotte. When the darkness of his true character came out as he assaulted Charlotte on the balcony with an unwanted kiss and violently grabbed her wrist, it’s obvious that Lennox is exactly what Colbourne coined him – a dangerous man.
I would like to think that when Leonora confronts him about her parentage, Lennox, for a fleeting second, displayed an ounce of humanity. He knew that acknowledging that he was her father would, as he said, have no good come of it. Obviously, he was in no position to suddenly become a father figure to Leonora. Should we give him credit for this fleeting second or should we assume that he selfishly denied Leonora because he wanted nothing to do with her? I guess that is something we as the audience are left to discern for ourselves.
As far as his proposal to Charlotte, that in itself is another topic altogether. He only wanted one thing on that balcony, and that was to win the battle of gaining her affections so he could declare victory over Colbourne once again. I shudder to think of Charlotte married to a brute, who would have treated her poorly mentally and physically. No doubt, he would have been unfaithful as well, needing to conquer something else out of boredom after engaging in civilian life.
Well, the Colonel has gone to India and will not return in season three. We see that in episode six, things do not end well for him. He loses the challenge to Tom. His right-hand man has had enough of his foul personality and has resigned his commission to marry Alison. He strips Edward of his rank and pushes a fellow soldier in an angry display.
Is there redemption for this man? I guess we will never know unless he meets a powerful woman to put him in his place. Perhaps, we’ll have to leave that to the fanfiction writers, but it certainly won’t be me.
A brilliant analysis – 10/10 in school terms :-). I think his denying being Leo’s father had two dimensions : he didn’t want to create massive psychological problems for Leo, but equally didn’t want the responsibility of being a father – problem quickly solved by his denial. In all other respects, he’s a snake !
~ It’s been a while since I watched period dramas but Sanditon has won my heart. Before that, I was wrapped up in 1883 since I love westerns. Tom Weston-Jones played Col. Lennox brilliantly. He’s smug, arrogant, full of himself in his accomplishments (the battle with Napoleon), and prime military strategist. He and his battalion are ruthless in racking up unpaid debts, leaving shopkeepers angry wherever they went. He thinks he’s doing Charlotte a favour with a pitiful marriage proposal to rescue her from being Colbourne’s governess. He shirked his responsibility by denying that he was Leonora’s father (“what good would have come of it”) and blatantly lied saying Colbourne was her real father. Probably the thought of fatherhood would have put Lennox in a position he didn’t want to be in. He’s not adept at how to treat women, esp. when he forced a kiss on Charlotte. So glad Tom won the card game (with a wager) forcing Lennox to pay off the debts they owed, and rid the town of the interlopers, never to return. ~