Welcome back! Have you recovered yet? Episode four reveals some characters have great restraint under pressure while others face life-changing choices. The outcome of those actions and choices continues the story.
The episode opens with Georgiana having awakened on the couch. She’s fallen asleep after another night of partying, and empty glasses are on the tableside. Later she visits the Parker household to see Charlotte. We thought she was going home to Ralph, but alas she’s still hanging around Sanditon, avoiding the inevitable. As they speak, Georgiana makes light of her partying with Lord Montrose and his friends. Charlotte disapproves of her choices and asks about her future. In return, Georgiana turns the tables on Charlotte. Her wedding is only two weeks away – what about her future? Charlotte says she wants to make sure Georgiana has recovered from her ordeal before she leaves for home. By this time, we all realize that Charlotte is grasping for any reason to remain in Sanditon.
Alexander is saddling his horse when Samuel walks by the stables. He invites his brother for a morning ride, but Samuel declines. Afterward, he inquires why he hasn’t returned to London, but Samuel says he’s enjoying getting to know Leo and Augusta. And Lady Susan, Alexander adds. Samuel asks if Alexander will join Miss Lambe’s party to celebrate her victory. He’s aware that Alexander’s plea for Charlotte to stay and make a life with him did not have the outcome he had hoped. The subject of Miss Heywood attending returns the brooding look on Alexander’s face. He declares he must look to the future instead. Samuel asks if he’s going to pretend Miss Heywood doesn’t exist and suppress his feelings for her. “I believe that’s the motto on our family crest,” Alexander quips in return, walking away with the horse.
Edward leaves a note for Augusta in the stone fence, which she reads his words of love. He won’t allow her uncle to destroy their happiness and will find a way for them to be together. When Augusta returns, Alexander discovers her in the parlor with an orchid in hand, which he knows they don’t have in their greenhouse, but the Denhams do. He confronts Augusta for meeting Edward despite refusing to allow the courtship, and an angry exchange ensues.
Mary and Tom have another argument, as Mary gives him her proposal for the old town, but he refuses to look at it. She should run the household and not his business. Oh, boy. Here we go. Regency-era men putting women in their supposed place again.
Meanwhile, Georgiana is having a champagne gathering at the beach with Lord Montrose and his loud group of friends from Bath. Arthur and Charlotte stand by, not impressed by the change in Georgiana. Some townspeople on the promenade are shaking their heads disapprovingly at the spectacle. Arthur and Lord Montrose exchange a friendly word again.
Lydia and the Dowager Duchess attend the beach gathering and speak with Charlotte and Miss Lambe. Lydia thanks Charlotte for her advice regarding Mr. Colbourne and how well their conversation went when they talked of horses and dogs. Charlotte says she’s glad but cannot make eye contact with Lydia and is devastated as the Dowager Duchess spouts off how she will soon see both her children settled. Georgiana gives Charlotte an understanding glance.
Samuel and Lady Susan are strolling together, discussing Augusta’s taste for forbidden fruit and Alexander’s reaction to the situation with Edward. Lady Susan admits she was wild when young, having stolen her father’s carriage and driven it at “death-defying speed.” They moan about Alexander’s intentions to court Lady Lydia, while Charlotte is about to return home to get married.
Charlotte and Georgiana are alone talking, and Charlotte tells Georgiana that Colbourne confessed his love, and they kissed. (About time, Charlotte!) She keeps reiterating that she is committed to Ralph and her family and cannot break the engagement. Charlotte admits the obvious that she’s been putting off her return and doesn’t know how to tell Ralph. When she returns to the Parker home, Ralph is standing outside the door. He states he read in the newspapers that the trial was concluded, so he came to bring her home. Charlotte forces and weak smile but says nothing.
Leo and Samuel are having a sword fight! It’s great to see her have so much fun with her uncle. (And the audience has fallen in love with Samuel Colbourne!) Leo stabs him, and he falls dead at Augusta’s feet. They are trying to cheer her up but to no avail.
Ralph is in the Parker’s drawing room talking to Charlotte about how lost her father is without her and Alison there for the harvest. But everyone is excited about the wedding (except Charlotte and Colbourne, of course). Charlotte says she stayed for Georgiana, and Ralph asks if she’s ready to return. Charlotte states she wants to at least stay for Georgiana’s party that night to be there for her, but Ralph isn’t looking very happy about it.
Mary Parker is trying to convince Lady Denham that they have the responsibility to help people in the old town, and there is a fever sweeping through. Lady Denham uses her sharp tongue to shoot down Mary’s concerns.
Georgiana calls Samuel to her residence to complain about how the newspapers continue to gossip and speculate about her. She wants him to do something, but he cannot. The law doesn’t sway the press. He reminds her that as an unmarried woman, she will always be vulnerable to fortune hunters and gossip.
Arthur and Lord Montrose are walking together. Arthur speaks of the pheasant/grouse analogy, and Lord Montrose states he was afraid he shocked Arthur. Arthur, however, says it did, but he recognized something about himself he never dared to admit. He worries about what his family would think should they know.
Edward shows up near the Heyrick estate and runs into Leonora, who agrees to deliver a written message to Augusta. After reading it, Augusta meets Edward by the rock fence line. Edward says his intentions are entirely honorable, and he would ask for her hand if he could. Since her uncle would never give his blessing, the only way they could be together is to escape. He says he could never do that to her and then announces he bids her farewell. She runs after him, and he keeps telling her that he won’t run away with her, and he’s resolved to leave Sanditon because he cannot bear being around her if they cannot be together. It’s a tough scene to watch. You ask yourself, is he up to his old tricks? Is he manipulating her to run away with him? Does he really love and respect her? Keep guessing.
Mary has joined Charlotte and Ralph in the parlor, expressing concern for the old town. Charlotte suggests building a school for the children. Mary loves the idea! Except when Charlotte says “we” could educate the boys and girls, Ralph quickly jumps on the “we” and says she’ll be too busy teaching their children. Mary announces she has arranged to call on Mr. Colbourne to discuss her plan for the old town. She asks Charlotte to come and tell him about the school, and Ralph can go too! Charlotte tries to wiggle out of it but to no available when Ralph says he would like to see Heyrick Park.
Lady Lydia and her mother arrive at Heyrick Park. He shows them the stable, and Lydia has a moment with Hannibal. They then retreat for outdoor tea, and the Dowager Duchess remarks on his fine home. Augusta joins them. The Dowager is dropping hints left and right. Leo runs up to announce that a carriage has just arrived with Mrs. Parker and Miss Heywood in it and a man. Settle in for a most uncomfortable afternoon tea.
Colbourne excuses himself and goes to the foyer to greet Mrs. Parker. Keeping his composure, even after seeing Ralph, he welcomes them to his home like a perfect gentleman. Leo says, “You’re the man who is marrying Miss Heywood.” Of course, Ralph gloats a bit, saying he is the lucky fellow. Charlotte is trying to keep it together. Alexander is keeping it together but having difficulty keeping his eyes off Charlotte. Augusta invites them for tea along with the Montrose ladies.
Mary speaks of her proposal for the old town and mentions Charlotte’s vision for a school. Colbourne looks at Charlotte, declaring it an “admiral idea.” Ralph is watching his interaction with Charlotte and swallowing hard. The Dowager Duchess agrees it’s a good idea, after all she was a governess at Heyrick Park. Leo jumps in and says, “But then she left. And when she returned, she was engaged to Mr. Starling.” Her tone of voice is not one of approval but definitely disapproval. Ralph apologizes to Leo for stealing her. The Dowager is at it again, asking when she is to be married. Charlotte glances again at Colbourne, announcing a little over two weeks. Alexander draws his brows together. The Dowager wonders if Colbourne is keen to find Miss Markham a match, which sparks a few words from Augusta since he wants to find someone worthy. Embarrassed by her reaction in front of the guests, Augusta excuses herself from the table. Charlotte recognizing that she is clearly upset, goes after Augusta to join her.
Rowleigh asks Lady Denham to marry him. Her instant reaction is no. She wants to keep her title and fortune.
Augusta tells Charlotte she’s been exchanging letters and meeting with “him” a handful of times, but Charlotte has no idea it’s Edward Denham. No names are mentioned. She’s held under lock and key, and why does her uncle get to determine who she can and cannot love? Charlotte encourages her that they will find a way if they are truly meant to be together.
Back on the shoreline, Samuel meets Lady Susan for a wild carriage race down the beach! It’s fun to watch. Who wins? I won’t say, but the fact there is laughter between the two, it’s very entertaining.
It’s Dr. Fuchs and Miss Hankins, stealing moments together in the church. She’s learned some German. Of course, her brother interrupts the moment. Later at Miss Lambe’s party, she declines to dance with him. Okay, I’m mad at the Reverend. He needs to butt out.
The Dowager Duchess reports to her son about the successful afternoon at Heyrick Park. However, she has concerns about his behavior, having noticed him with Arthur. She attempts to push him to formalize his relationship with Miss Lambe. She tells him to cease his association with Arthur because she knows of his dangerous leanings. He has duties to marry and produce an heir rather than end up on the gallows. Shocked, he reluctantly agrees.
Miss Lambe’s party is underway. Edward arrives with Lady Denham. With Charlotte on his arm, Ralph approaches Mr. Colbourne, stating how ill they fit in with such company. He will be glad to return to the calm of Willingden. Colbourne asks if that’s the view Charlotte shares, too, acting slightly miffed. Uncomfortable and barely able to look him in the eye, Charlotte sheepishly replies, “Of course.”
Georgiana arrives with fanfare, and Edward and Augusta sneak off for a word. He wants to know if she wants to be rescued because he has a carriage waiting. She has nothing with her and hesitates, but he gives her an ultimatum. It’s tonight, or say goodbye forever.
Tom complains to Mary about sharing her proposal with Colbourne, and Mary snaps back that a woman can remain silent only for so long before she ROARS! Georgiana stops the dancing and announces her engagement to Lord Montrose. Arthur is devastated. Charlotte looks sick with worry.
Augusta pulls Charlotte aside for counsel. She wants to know if she believes that if a couple are meant to be together, they will find a way. Charlotte encourages Augusta to seize the moment, saying she’ll regret it for the rest of her life if she does not (no doubt thinking about her predicament). Unbeknownst to Charlotte, it’s Edward Denham. Alexander is talking with Lydia but glances at Charlotte talking to Augusta.
Colbourne dances with Lydia. Ralph dances with Charlotte. Both of them glance at each other rather than at their partners. Inside, you know Colbourne thinks this is the last time he will see Charlotte because she will be gone forever after the party. Ralph tells Charlotte that Colbourne is amiable, but when Charlotte is in his presence, she is different – ill at ease – withdrawn. She doesn’t have a clue what he means. (Charlotte, once again, suppresses and hides her true feelings. She knows exactly what he means.) When partners change, Charlotte momentarily dances with Alexander. Ralph is keenly aware of how they act around each other.
Everyone leaves Trafalgar House to see the fireworks. The last ones out the door are Reverend Hankins and his sister, who witnesses Augusta and Edward running hand-in-hand in the opposite direction. He frantically calls after them, but they refuse to answer and escape together.
Charlotte walks back into Trafalgar House and asks Georgiana how she can marry a man without love. She declares it’s not about love; it’s about securing her fortune and position in society. “What of your happiness?” Charlotte asks. Georgiana comes back, asking Charlotte about her future. She accuses Charlotte of condemning herself to a loveless marriage when she is in love with Mr. Colbourne. Ralph is suddenly in the doorway. Did he hear? By the look on his face, it’s clear he heard something.
While everyone is watching fireworks, Reverend Hankins and his sister are frantically looking for Alexander.
Meanwhile, Ralph and Charlotte are talking in the Parker foyer, and he’s upset. He wants to get her out of Sanditon because she’s not herself. When she comes back to Willingden, she’s miserable. He wants to know what is happening, but Charlotte doesn’t get a chance to answer because Alexander bursts through the door, wanting to know where Augusta has gone. Samuel tells her that they believe she has eloped with Sir Edward Denham. Charlotte is shocked it’s him. Alexander begs Charlotte to help him find her because Augusta will only listen to her.
Edward, Edward, Edward. What have you done?
My only thought is good! Charlotte can’t leave with Ralph yet. Charlotte begs Ralph to help Mr. Colbourne look for her, but he’s definitely tired of the continued delays in returning home. He’s not a happy farmer but reluctantly lets her go.
In episode five, more face-time between Alexander and Charlotte is coming your way, leading to the great “split” we all wanted to happen three episodes ago. You will soon discover that sometimes he takes a pending disaster to change the minds of individuals.