I’ve put off writing about Charles Lockhart, mostly because his character is shrouded in duplicity. In addition, he’s coming back in season three, so I’m sure we will learn much more about this flashy artist who descended on Sanditon for one purpose. If you don’t know the shocking conclusion, you may wish to skip this post until you see episode six of season two of Sanditon. The Byronic artist turned out to be an “odious” man, meaning extremely unpleasant and repulsive.
Repulsive you say? Well, that is certainly not our first impression of Charles, walking naked from the water, grabbing his sarong and robe, and then strolling into town and greeting the Parkers and young ladies as he passes by. He’s quite the character from the first time we see him. No inhibitions. Not caring what people think. Not an ounce of concern that the sarong is tied far too low and his bare chest is enough to make the ladies blush, while Arthur watches him walk away with a glint of admiration in his eye. Yes, Charles gives us an eyeful early on in episode one, giving the audience high hopes that his character is going to be entertaining, to say the least.
Before we go any further, however, we must take a moment to talk about Alexander Vlahos’ wonderful performance. Also, let’s express our appreciation for the fun interaction we had with him on Twitter during the filming of seasons two and three of Sanditon. He loves the fans, and we adore him. Of course, we had high hopes he would be Georgiana’s love interest. Well, he was, until the truth came out that he’s a man attempting to claim Georgiana’s fortune – a man quite without scruple! Oh, dear, the writers have thrown us a plot twist that was a bit hard to swallow! I felt tempted to gorge on sugar-filled treats after hearing that news.
Lockhart did a fine job in deceiving most everyone. Of course, Mary had her doubts about him, thanks to her female intuition which she has shown throughout the series. What hurts more than Lockhart’s deception and attempt to steal Georgiana’s fortune, is his final preposterous declaration. Throughout the season, Lockhart acts genuinely interested in building Arthur’s self-esteem, recognizing his value by praising him, congratulating him, and encouraging him. Arthur trusted Lockhart, and frankly, the audience did too! It was wonderful to see the scene below, and I’d like to think that perhaps Charles Lockhart hugged him with sincerity. However, that thought crashed like a hot air balloon when at the very end he accused the Parkers of being utterly absurd or ridiculous. (Broke my heart!) Thankfully, Arthur puffed out his chest and stood up to Charles, declaring they at least possessed honesty and sincerity, which are more honorable qualities than Lockhart displayed.
Lockhart did have a plan and was quite devious when you think about it. He moves into town as if he’s a great new attraction to Sanditon – the resident artist. After realizing that his initial interaction with Georgiana got him nowhere, he uses Arthur to persuade her to trust him. She finally agrees to sit for her portrait. Poor Arthur thinks that Lockhart would make a fine match for Georgiana and switches the seating arrangement at the mass dinner to bring them closer. Lockhart systematically woes her during each interaction together, until Georgiana realizes she has feelings for him after he says he is painting her out of love. Finally, he tempts her to the very end until she relents and agrees to run away with him and be his wife. His plan would have succeeded had it not been for the arrival of Sidney’s trunk and the letter to Tom exposing his true identity.
Well, kissing cousins they are, which is a shock indeed. At the very end when Georgiana knows the truth and confronts him, Lockhart confesses his feelings were real. “Was any of it real?” asks Georgiana.
Yes! The more I have grown to know you, the more I have come to ardently admire you.
Oh, Mr. Lockhart, at the very least I would like to believe that these words are true and that you leave Sanditon brokenhearted because you loved Georgiana. Yet, your bid to still marry her regardless of that confession really means you get her money, so how can you be trusted? The question remains, are you really an unredeemable scoundrel, or will season three see you redeemed in some fashion? If Georgiana loses her fortune through another claim to her riches, will you marry her anyway?
Since what we know about Charles Lockhart is only one season revealed, I’m definitely going to have to return and do an update when this all plays out in Sanditon season three. Perhaps the paintbrush will reveal more of his character once his portrait is completed. I’d like to think there’s a chance of redemption for him.
In the end, I suppose we can give him credit for his artistic talent if nothing else. What I really want to know was who was the real behind-the-scene artist in the series who painted Georgiana’s portrait? Unless Alexander Vlahos confesses he has another talent besides acting, it remains a mystery. Did anybody check the credits to see if it’s mentioned?