**Some Spoilers Below**
At 5 p.m. PST, on March 19th, PBS Passport dropped the whole season three of Sanditon for contributing members to their local PBS stations. Like many others on Facebook and Twitter, I settled in for six hours of television, taking very few breaks except to grab a bowl of ice cream. Thank goodness I had a box of tissues nearby because I wept uncontrollably by the end of episode six.
Season three of Sanditon can be summed up in a few short sentences.
- It’s a story of second chances for many characters.
- It’s a story of new love for some characters.
- It’s a devoted nod to its original author, Jane Austen, who died before finishing the book.
The third season is by far the best. It outshines and exceeds in performances even over season two. It’s filled with comedy, revelations, tough decisions, longing, angst, and even the threat of demise. The ending, however, is like one big joyous package, wrapped up for each character and tied together with a loving bow from the writers and cast. They have given the Sanditon fandom the best of everything that will leave you teary-eyed, filled with thanks, and yet sorrowful that this beautiful series has come to an end.
Rose Williams and Ben Lloyd-Hughes gave stellar performances. Every gaze, every grazing touch, every conversation, and passionate kiss and declaration of love will leave you speechless. They understood the task, and gosh, did they deliver.
The story’s focus lies heavily upon Georgiana’s and Charlotte’s journey as they struggle with decisions about the their future. Georgiana’s inheritance is threatened again by the greedy Charles Lockhart, dragging her back to court. Georgiana eventually reunites with her mother and Otis, leading her on a new path in life.
Charlotte has engaged herself to Ralph out of duty and not love. She struggles with emotions in Colbourne’s presence, and Ralph notices. Eventually, it’s obvious that Charlotte is only marrying him because of family expectations and releases her from the promise of marriage. However, Charlotte’s feelings remain repressed because she has received misguided information about Colbourne.
Alexander Colbourne’s screentime has increased substantially. You’ll see a better father, uncle, and socially engaging person. Underneath, he’s still a love-sick, tortured man, filled with regret when he thinks he has lost Charlotte to Ralph. I cannot say enough about his performance.
Tom and Mary spare over Tom’s decisions for the town. Again, Tom’s focus is all on money and growth, and a part of his heart has grown cold against the struggles of the poor in the old town. Mary confronts him, and sparks fly. Only when the threat of separation arrives does Tom come to his senses.
Lady Denham is reunited with an old flame, looking to invest in Sanditon’s growth. It’s the typical Lady D sharp tongue between the two, and he gives back as good as she gives. A surprise proposal arrives, but making it to the altar may not be in the cards.
After ten years, Alexander reunites with his brother out of necessity to help Georgiana. We finally get the backstory of their brotherly relationship that went sour upon the death of their father and how Alexander inherited Heyrick Park. Samuel Colbourne is a welcome addition to the storyline with a great personality.
The wise Lady Susan arrives with her own heartbreak, but she’s always ready to support and guide Charlotte. She and Samuel Colbourne form an attachment as they try to bring Charlotte and Alexander together, which is heartwarming.
Love blooms for Dr. Fuchs and Miss Hankins, but her brother isn’t keen about the burgeoning affections.
Augusta falls in love with Edward Denham, who walks a thin line between potential redemption and returning to his old ways. It’s an interesting twist that makes you wonder if the snake can really transform into a redeemed man. There is quite a bit of light-hearted humor involved, too, about how Lady D goes about reforming her nephew. His eventual path will leave you scratching your head.
Arthur comes to a personal revelation about his character and propensity for grouse and establishes a relationship with Lord Montrose.
Lady Montrose has nerve problems, like Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, attempting to marry off her children to well-to-do matches since they are nearly destitute. Lydia Montrose keeps a secret from her mother, who tries to make a match for her daughter with Colbourne.
And adorable Leo still hopes Charlotte will one day be her mother. Her scenes are endearing as ever.
You will see all the nods to Jane Austen in season three from likeminded storylines from Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice. You’ll hear declarations of love like those Jane would have penned. You will witness passionate kisses that incite screaming or swooning from viewers.
The entire season three of Sandition is a tribute to Jane Austen’s storytelling and is filled with happy-ever-after endings at every turn. However, the bittersweet reality is that this is the end of the Sanditon story for its fans. A poignant acknowledgment to all its cast will arrive on your screen in slow motion as Charlotte walks about a crowded room, greeting everyone. It’s a moment for the audience to take a last look at the characters we hold so dear. It’s a reminder that a series that was once canceled found a new life because the fans persisted and insisted that the story not end as a broken fairytale. It was resurrected and reborn, written to touch the hearts and bring the type of Jane Austen ending we expect to receive in the first place. You will love every second of it, and the cliffs still play a massive part in the scheme of things, which is only fitting.
Come back as I post recaps of each episode of season three that will go into much more detail. I advise those who have not watched the entire season yet to keep a box of tissues nearby. You’ll need it.