“Say you’ll help me find her.” Ralph is not pleased. Who would have thought that Ralph would still be around by Episode 5?
Naturally, Ralph is balking at Charlotte, running off with Alexander to find Augusta. One more day, Charlotte pleads. She promises to come back to him. Charlotte needs to stop making promises that pain her heart.
Colbourne and Samuel ride back to Heyrick Park to see if Augusta has returned to get her things. She’s not there, and Leo is sitting on the staircase like Augusta was sitting on the staircase when she disappeared in Season 2. She promised not to tell, but Samuel, calm and collected, entreats Leo to tell the truth. Finally, Leo explains that she wanted Augusta to be happy and helped her to meet with Edward. Augusta talked of escaping to a place called Falmouth. Alexander is beside himself and hopes to find her before she is ruined!
Colbourne arrives with his carriage at Travalgar house to pick up Charlotte. Ralph escorts her to the carriage door, but Alexander can’t look at the two of them saying their goodbyes. He promises Ralph to see her safely returned.
Rowleigh visits Lady Denham, who is in a tizzy that Edward has run off with the Markham girl. “It’s unspeakably sordid!” She will be ruined, along with the Denham name. Rowleigh later talks about his home and how she will soon live with him. Lady Denham is shocked that he wants her to leave Sanditon. The idea does not sit well with her since she accepted his marriage proposal.
Arthur is visiting Georgiana, begging her to reconsider her rash and impulsive decision to marry Lord Montrose. He brings up love, and Georgiana says it has nothing to do with love. Georgiana knows Arthur’s feelings toward him and cruelly points out that if he cannot marry him, why should she not? It hurts Arthur, and before he answers, Lady Lydia and the Dowager Duchess arrive, discussing preparing for the wedding.
A black woman, carrying a suitcase, meanders down the promenade of Sanditon. Hmm, a new character is entering the story, but one that has been mentioned beforehand.
Charlotte and Colbourne sit facing each other in the carriage. It’s morning now, and she encourages him to try and sleep. He blames himself, naturally, as he always does. He tried to warn Augusta, but she’s too young to know her own mind, in Colbourne’s estimation. Charlotte thinks differently and says the words you’ve heard in the trailers, “Too often women are thought to be strangers to their own minds.” Colbourne thinks Augusta’s behavior is evidence she does need saving. Charlotte reminds him that Augusta feels genuine love even if Edward Denham is unworthy. Colbourne looks longingly at Charlotte and asks what he should have done differently. Listen, instead of disparaging her, she responds. Help her make the right choice rather than choosing for her.
Next, we see Edward and Augusta in Falmouth, looking for a place to stay. She has nothing except the dress she wore to the party, and Edward’s coat is draped over her shoulders. On the other hand, he came prepared as he’s carrying a bag.
Tom asks Mary if she is heading out, and she says she’s going to visit the old town again and their former maid. One of the children had a fever, and Tom said he hoped she’s recovered. Mary quips back I hope she’s not out of a home! Their disagreement continues and deepens.
The black woman has now arrived at the front door of Trafalgar house just as Mary is leaving.
Georgiana is with the Montrose ladies at the tea room, and the Dowager Duchess is talking about their forty-bedroom home and the responsibilities that she will soon take on as Duchess. Mary bursts in, along with the woman she just met by the name of Agnes Harmon. She declares, “Your mother.” Georgiana is speechless and clearly upset. She storms out of the tea room. Mary runs after her, and Georgiana asks how she could “ambush” her in that fashion. She doesn’t believe it’s her mother – she’s obviously just someone else trying to take advantage of her.
Edward and Augusta arrive at the Crown. Edward tells her not to be nervous, and she expresses her trust. Meanwhile, in the carriage, Charlotte tells Colbourne that she thought he was trying to pick a husband for her against her will. The thought of Augusta being trapped in a loveless marriage and unable to be with the man she. . . Her words trail off, but she finally says it was more than she could bear to think of. Colbourne looks at her with the same thoughts we have: you will soon be trapped in a loveless marriage. Can you bear to think of it?
Georgiana meets with the woman who claims to be her mother but is skeptical about her story. She said she came to England five years prior because her master brought her, and she is still considered a slave in Antigua. She fought for her freedom. She had been looking for Georgiana in Antigua and didn’t realize she was in England. Georgiana still doubts. Her mother tells her she wants nothing from her – just to know her. She said Otis helped her find Georgiana.
In the hotel room, Edward is writing a note to Colbourne, telling him that since he won’t let them marry, they are going to Scotland. He encourages her to get some sleep. (If you remember, a girl under the age of twenty-one could get married in Scotland without her guardian’s permission.)
Colbourne and Charlotte have arrived and started their search. She thinks they may have gone to a boarding house to get some sleep, but Colbourne thinks that’s the last thing on Edward’s mind. He believes he’s out to ruin her to force the marriage. Charlotte attempts to calm Colbourne that she will not be ruined. No matter what happens, he needs to love her. August will still be part of the family and deserve his love. Hearing her admonishment brought me back to Season 2, where he was harsh with his wife, saying words he regretted when he discovered her ruination. Charlotte doesn’t want him to repeat his past mistakes, which this incident will no doubt resurrect. Colbourne looks at her, astonished at the admonition.
Tom and Mary have a huge fight when she discovers that eviction notices have already been given to the people in the old town. She’s fuming with Tom, and he thinks it’s merely business. It’s a severe argument, brewing marriage problems for sure.
Charlotte receives some intel from the local baker making deliveries, who tells her he saw a tall man staying at the Crown with his new bride. Augusta nervously sits up in bed and asks if Edward loves her. He tells her he loves her more than any other. Can we really believe this man?
Charlotte and Colbourne arrive at the Crown. She grabs his arm and pleads with him to show compassion no matter what has transpired. They burst into their room to find Augusta in bed, who sits up startled, but Edward is on the couch and not in bed with her. Augusta tells them they have had a wasted journey and won’t allow them to drag her away. They are in love. Edward declares they are resolved to be married. With restraint and a calm voice, Colbourne glances at Charlotte and tells them that he will not stand in their way. He only asks them to return to Sanditon for a proper wedding. In taking Charlotte’s advice, he’s showing her once again how much he loves HER and is willing to defer to her counsel. Gosh, he’s such a man.
Lady Susan visits Samuel at Heyrick Park, wondering if there is any news of Augusta. She finds a silver lining in the situation that Charlotte and Alexander have been forced into each other’s company.
Augusta is thankful for her uncle’s change of heart and reiterates that he would never ask her to marry a man against her will. He glances at Charlotte and says a young woman should be free to follow her heart. No one should be forced into a loveless marriage because of their parent or guardian. Colbourne opens his heart to Augusta and says she’s a remarkable young woman, but she is setting limits on herself in a life that has barely begun. But if she believes Edward is worthy of her, the choice is hers. Edward is watching the exchange but suddenly looks remorseful, second-guessing the situation and his motives. Augusta said he could have taken her honor but didn’t. Suddenly Edward says only her uncle’s arrival spared her honor. He backs away, but his words are cruel, and Augusta’s heart is broken into pieces. He only wanted her for her inheritance and nothing more. What do I think? I think that was the first time Edward had a spark of conscience because he knew she was too young and deserved far better than he. Augusta is devastated.
Charlotte and Colbourne spend a moment alone, and she asks him if he would really have allowed them to marry. He responds to what we’ve seen in the trailers that if she has taught him anything, it is that a woman has the right to choose her own destiny. He would have respected the choice even if it pained him, just as he must respect Charlotte’s choice.
Mary and Tom had planned a dinner party for the Montrose family, but Tom hadn’t arrived back. Georgiana is there, along with her mother. The Dowager Duchess is not keen on seeing Georgiana’s newfound mother. It doesn’t sit well with her.
Lady Susan and Samuel are in the kitchen eating. She explains that her parents were not wealthy, and her former husband was not wealthy or kind. She indicates she married in the circumstances that Augusta finds herself in now. She became a widow at the age of 30, with nothing to her name but a title. Samuel concludes that is why she has sworn off love and marriage. Uncomfortable, she quickly rises from the table, saying it’s late and she’s been there too long. He begs her to stay, and they kiss! I like where this is headed.
At the Parker dinner, Tom hasn’t shown up yet. Arthur makes a toast to a long and happy marriage for Georgiana and the Duke. Georgiana suggests in a low voice that Arthur come and live with them at their estate, and Lord Montrose thinks it a good idea. The Dowager Duchess is giving Georgiana’s mother the third degree. Mary is suddenly feeling unwell. She rises from the table and faints on the floor.
On the carriage ride back, Augusta cries why did I fall in love with him? Charlotte responds we cannot choose who we fall in love with. She confesses she knows some of the agony she is feeling but her heart will heal in time. Colbourne watches quietly. Charlotte says it will become like a distant memory, and she’s speaking of Sidney. However, glancing at Colbourne, you cannot help but wonder if he thinks one day he will be nothing more than a distant memory for Charlotte.
Edward returns to Lady Denham’s household, asking him to explain himself. He says after all her efforts, he’s irredeemable. Lady Denham assumes Colbourne told them they couldn’t marry, but Edward tells the truth about what transpired. He didn’t ruin her, and even after Colbourne said they could marry, he declined. Why, she asks? Edward admits she deserved a better man than him.
Tom returns home to find out that Mary is gravely ill. He runs up the staircase to her room.
The carriage arrives back, and Colbourne returns Charlotte to Trafalgar House. He says thank you for helping. They face each other and for 44 seconds – yes, fans counted it – 44 seconds, they stare at each other and say nothing. He takes a slight step toward her, pained that this may be the last time he ever sees her. Charlotte, aware of his love, reaches out and takes his hand. I believe she did so to comfort him because of his love for her and her decision to marry Ralph, even though she loves him. Finally, she lets go and says he should take Augusta home. He doesn’t say goodbye – only good night. Can you imagine the pain each of them felt?
Suddenly, Ralph appears from out of the darkness. He’s been walking the streets, waiting for their return. He said he was afraid she might not come back to him. Charlotte is pulled into the door by Georgiana and told Mary is ill. Georgiana introduces her to her mother. Ralph stands in the doorway, obviously wanting to take Charlotte away, but she walks past him without a word and goes upstairs to see Mary.
Tom is on his knees next to Mary’s bedside. He confesses to Mary that without her, he cannot exist. Charlotte breaks down in tears, and I wonder if she realizes she feels the same about Alexander.
Lord Montrose wants to know if Arthur will consider moving in with them, but Arthur is shocked that he would have to hide in the shadows, so to speak, while he and Georgiana play the charade. He would sooner live alone than live a lie.
Finally, Charlotte rejoins Ralph after the Montrose family has left. The problematic discussion has arrived. “I was never the man you chose, was I?” He acknowledged it was arranged by their parents when they were children. Even though he is dear to her, Charlotte finally tells him she cannot marry him. He knows she is in love with Mr. Colbourne, and she admits she tried not to be. Ralph is gracious and understanding and releases her because of his love. Goodbye, Ralph.
The Dowager Duchess escorts Georgiana’s mother on the way to her apartment and, in a roundabout way, infers that her presence will cause her daughter problems. She would happily provide her with whatever she needs, which we all know is a pay-off to disappear.
The episode closes on a solemn note that there is nothing more that Dr. Fuchs can do. They must prepare themselves because Mary could pass before the morning.
That’s it for episode five! How will it all resolve? Get the popcorn ready. Refresh your drinks. And settle in for episode six. It’s the conclusion; believe me, you’ll cry like a baby. Tissue?