Sanditon 3×02 Review: A Song in the Night

Georgina Lambe watching opera in Sanditon 3x01

Sanditon 3×02 Spoilers Ahead

Sanditon Season 3 Episode 2 shifts the final season into high gear, accelerating multiple storylines and setting up what promises to be a bumpy ride for the residents of our favorite seaside resort. The skillful weaving of themes from prior seasons and elements from other period dramas lends a familiar feel to the episode.

Sanditon 3×02 provides a few jolts that will send viewers staggering for different reasons. This episode signals that the show’s final season will deliver a more complex take on various aspects of Regency life than viewers find in adaptations of completed Austen works. This Austen-inspired season, nevertheless, draws us squarely into the gossipy dynamics of polite society. Grab your life preservers as we wade back into the turbulent tide in Sanditon.

Sanditon 3×02: Trial Prep

Georgiana and Charlotte in Sanditon Season 3 Episode 2
©Courtesy of Joss Barratt

In the 3×01 cliffhanger, Charles Lockhart advised Georgiana Lambe to get a lawyer before sauntering away like a vaudeville performer. In Sanditon 3×02, Georgiana’s feats include finding a willing lawyer and vetting (or rather surviving the vetting) and agreeing to proceed with the one lawyer who finds her.

Judicial Bias

Georgiana relies on Tom Parker to find a lawyer for her solely because he is a man when Mary Parker and Charlotte Heywood would be more capable and committed advocates of her case. Tom is discouraged as lawyers continue to decline to represent Georgiana. Mary’s words and her insistent tone as she speaks them — “We promised we’d help” — recall the post-cricket scene in 1×05, where she emphatically rebuked Tom for making and breaking promises. It’s as though she is saying: “My word means something even if yours does not.” Mary rightly states that the case could make any lawyer’s reputation, but only if he can win. Tom finally divulges to Mary the real reason lawyers are refusing: a pro-slavery judge seems unlikely to deliver a favorable decision. Charlotte’s insistence that Tom keep searching recalls her determination and naivety — she hasn’t heard the fundamental barrier that keeps lawyers away.

Because Charlotte is unaware of the assigned judge’s partiality, she cannot calm Georgiana’s fears about why lawyers refuse the case. Instead, Georgiana worries that Lockhart has some evidence unknown to her. These concerns may relate to her questions in 3×01 about why her father lied to her. She cannot be certain what skeletons lurk in her family’s past. Charlotte’s reassurance that “it will not be the truth” again reflects sentiment and naivety — her sole basis for the prediction is her belief in Georgiana’s goodness and Lockhart’s deceptiveness. In the same way she speculated that Georgiana’s father was “trying to protect” her, Charlotte is unable to imagine what ugliness might drive an enslaver to conceal information. They simply need to find a “lawyer brave enough” to work in uncertainty.

My Own Best Advocate

Georgiana Lambe letter in Sanditon 3x02

While still hoping to find a lawyer, Georgiana takes Charlotte’s advice to write a letter publicizing the injustice. We’re offered a brief look at Georgiana completing the open letter to anyone willing to stand as “a friend to Miss Lambe” before she reads it aloud to Mary and Charlotte. Georgiana’s letter is heartrending. As her voice breaks on “a dying man,” we are reminded that her wealth directly results from losing her beloved father as a teenager. Mary notices her distress and inquires about Georgiana’s state of mind: “Do you wish to stop?” As Georgiana courageously continues to read her indictment of white male privilege, believing herself safely amongst friends, footsteps signal visitors, and two white men appear. (As an aside, the Parkers seem to have issues with their household staff. Recall Tom and Rowleigh being made to wait at the door in 3×01. Now, the Colbourne brothers can reach the salon unannounced.)

Samuel Colbourne presumptuously introduces himself as Georgiana’s new lawyer. Although he professes to agree with the sentiments expressed in the letter, which he overheard uninvited, Georgiana and Mary remain skeptical. Mary questions Samuel about his knowledge of the difficulties he’ll face from a biased lord chancellor. Georgiana questions the sincerity of his beliefs about the nature of justice, making it clear to Samuel that she is “not a plaything for [his] amusement.” Now, Samuel shifts from boldly affirming that he’s already her lawyer to the conditional: if I represent you, it will be because I believe you can and should win.” The softening of his language indicates he understands that, though desperately seeking counsel, Georgiana remains in control of who will speak for her. He agrees to show her his legal talents before she commits.

“You Can’t Handle the Truth”

Georgiana Lambe (CRYSTAL CLARKE) and Samuel Colbourne (LIAM GARRIGAN) in Sanditon 3x02
©Courtesy of Joss Barratt

The exchange between Samuel and Georgiana as she and Charlotte arrive at Heyrick Park demonstrates his confidence and her appearance of confidence. When Samuel asserts, “I hope you’re prepared for what I’m about to ask you, Miss Lambe,” she resets the relationship reminding him who is in service to whom. “It is you who should be prepared, Mr. Colbourne.” — Translation: I have not hired you yet. Samuel’s smiling nod suggests he perfectly understands his place. Yet, the tug-of-war continues as Samuel adjusts the chair, inviting Georgiana to sit. Her suspicious glance and step back before taking a seat are a subtle message that she does not require his service or permission to occupy the chair she’d already chosen. In a final back-and-forth, Samuel demands honesty from Georgiana, and she self-assuredly replies: “The truth is the truth. I have no fear of it.” (Oh, baby girl, if only you knew what was coming.)

Samuel’s first question – “You live alone. Is this to allow for… guests?” –sets the tone. It quickly becomes clear that his earlier greeting was more than an idle warning. Samuel’s onslaught of questions and racist insinuations (please look out for our Scene Breakdown) is breathtakingly brutal. Georgiana responds somewhat agilely to questions concerning her own character. When, however, the interrogation turns to the institution of slavery and her mother’s enslavement, Georgiana is unsteady. Her first reaction is reluctantly to hold her tongue, an effort made visible by the grinding jaw and unflinching stare. She next seeks to restore her mother’s humanity by rejecting the phrase “your father’s slave” and insisting Samuel knows that her “mother’s name is Agnes.” She then commands Samuel to “stop” before insisting: “That’s enough!”

Related Content: Scene Breakdown: Samuel shows Georgiana the Truth About Trials in Sanditon 3×02

Viewers are able to unclinch their fists when Samuel relents, apologetically explaining that, in court, Lockhart will be merciless in subjecting Georgiana to such abhorrent allegations and humiliations. Samuel is so “judicious” in his demonstration that Georgiana initially concludes she does not have the strength to endure the “public distress” Lockhart’s lawyers are sure to inflict.

A Voice Across the Water

Georgiana Lambe crying in Sanditon 3x02

Although Charlotte provides external encouragement, Georgiana must find internal fortitude to subject herself to the gaze of a gossipy public and a hostile court. When Charlotte first requests more time to convince Georgiana, she does so with no knowledge of the arguments and accusations Georgiana is likely to face. While it may seem in Georgiana’s best interest to encourage her to defend her fortune, at this point, Charlotte does not fully understand the traumatic cost of seeking justice. Later, Charlotte seeks to overcome Georgiana’s reluctance to attend the recital by urging her to forget what the gossips are saying. Like Mary in 3×01, Charlotte tries to reassure Georgiana that her true friends know her to be a “good and principled woman.” Judging by the distress evident on her face, Georgiana has doubts about whether the good opinion of a small group of friends is a sufficient buffer against a large highly-publicized scandal. Yet, she somehow finds the inner strength to attend the recital. 

Seated in the front row, Georgiana experiences the full power of the singer’s person, presence, and powerful voice. I hope that the writers intended for the process by which Georgiana finds strength and comfort in Miss Greenhorn’s song to be more complex than her seeing the singer as a role model for proud, independent Black women preserving despite the disappointment. If we recall Georgiana’s primary concern about losing her fortune – the inability to continue her search for Agnes – then we might imagine the song stirred up the heartache of missing her mother and fortified Georgiana’s resolve to find her. We might recall how her voice broke when she mentioned her father’s dying wish and think of the heartache of being robbed of him a second time by an unjust claim. With these more poignant possibilities in mind, Georgiana’s tear-stained face is beautifully devastating. Her decision to engage Samuel as her lawyer is a fight not for her fortune but for her family.

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Charlotte Heywood in Sanditon Season 3 Episode 2

After extending her trip to provide moral support to Georgiana, Charlotte is now caught between two worlds. In Sanditon 3×02, her ability to chart a clear course between duty and desire is severely disrupted by her own agitated emotions.

No Place Like Home

In a scene reminiscent of Charlotte’s solo beach reverie opening 1×08, Sanditon 3×02 opens with her walking along the beach. Rather than blowing freely in the wind, her hair is now pinned up. As she caresses the beachgrass, we might imagine she wants to feel it in her fingers one last time before heading back inland. The letter’s contents in her hand inform viewers that she has obtained a brief extension of her stay to assist Georgiana.

The letter also gives a clear picture of Ralph’s devotion and belief that Charlotte wants to return Willingden and to him. He lovingly encloses flowers from the hedgerow by the river to remind her of home, a nod to John Thornton’s floral souvenirs of Helstone in North and South. A final important bit of information is that the wedding is imminent: “I am counting the hours until we are married.” The shift from Charlotte’s thoughtful gaze to the view out over the beach as Ralph speaks those words over slightly melancholy music implies a contrast between the vastness of the ocean and the smallness of the life the letter beckons her to return to. Charlotte contemplates the sea one final time before turning to head back into town.

A Grand Gesture

Charlotte’s engagement does not appear to hinder Alexander Colbourne’s desire to see her happy. During a chance encounter at the tea salon — yes, recluse Alexander is bringing the girls to tea in town! — Leo’s excitement is a proxy for his own “She wasn’t expecting to see you” (and neither was I). Immediately after the exchange with Colbourne, Charlotte decides to delay her return.

She takes a long look at his back as she sits back down then declares that she’ll stay to help Georgiana. “But what of Ralph.” Georgiana gives Charlotte permission to put her marriage plans first, but Charlotte insists: “He’ll understand.” Eavesdropping during this exchange, Colbourne overhears the discussion of Georgiana’s difficulty in finding a lawyer. He sets off to find one, delivering his brother, Samuel, within 24 hours. As Samuel explains Alexander’s initiative in bringing him to Sanditon, Alexander maintains his gaze on Charlotte. It’s obvious he’s undertaken the tiring journey with her foremost in his mind.

Pleasantries and Pauses

The tension between Charlotte and Alexander often feels more like hostility than electricity, as she uses anger as her primary defense against more tender feelings. As they sit alone in the foyer side-eyeing each other, he ventures to speak first. His question — “I thought you were to leave after the party” — is unnecessary as we (and Charlotte must) know he overheard the conversation in the tearoom, prompting him to seek out Samuel. When Charlotte repeats the half-truth that she stayed in Sanditon for Georgiana, the long pause on her face allows viewers to search her face for signs that she hopes Colbourne will believe the pretext. Colbourne ventures three indiscreet words: “And your betrothed?” Charlotte’s explanation that Ralph is needed on his farm in Willingden allows Colbourne to make a fanciful comparison: “Oh, he’s a farmer … like me.” If Xander is searching for some indication that he has something in common with the man Charlotte has chosen to marry, she quickly dismisses the idea: “nothing like you.”

The words hang in the air until Charlotte changes the subject by asking about Colbourne’s stay in Bath. Thinking they are exchanging niceties to pass the time, she matches his response, describing her return to Willngden as “pleasant enough.” When Alexander questions her bland characterization, she is embarrassed and apparently so fidgety that she lets her glove slip to the floor. As he drops to one knee to return it, cue the strings and the swoons. Perhaps because he considers it improper to confess his own feelings to an engaged woman, Alexander instead tells Charlotte that Augusta and Leonora miss her. It seems to dawn on her that he is using the girls as his emotional stand-in, and she encourages him to confirm that she is “profoundly” missed.

Magnetic Forces

hands in sanditon

Intrigued by the possibility of remaining in Sanditon as more than a governess, Charlotte still refuses to acknowledge her inner conflict. At the recital, as she consoles Susan about the reasons for the King’s nonappearance, the roles between the two friends are reversed. Lady Susan is disconsolate about lost love, and Charlotte reassures her“You will find someone that will give you the love and constancy you deserve… and be happy.” The word “happy” sparks something in Susan, and she questions whether it applies to Charlotte. When Charlotte unconvincingly responds “yes,” Susan reverts to her role of the older, wiser friend to offer advice. She does not mince words and asks a central question that eats at me about Charlotte’s behavior in Sanditon 3×02: Are you using Georgiana’s plight as “an excuse not to return to Willingden, the life you’ve resigned yourself to?”

Finding themselves seated next to each other at the recital, Charlotte and Alexander seem barely able to keep to their chairs. While she strains to keep her eyes on the singer, he takes several obvious looks at her. Both refrain from placing their hands safely in their laps and as the emotion of the song swells, Charlotte is apparently overwhelmed with enough passion to forget her engagement and rub hands with Alexander. The bold choice to have her maintain sustained contact — rather than a light brush or a nearness close enough to feel the electricity — will not please all viewers. It feels inconsistent with Charlotte’s upright character, especially after Lady de Clemente’s warning. Of course, Charlotte is entitled to change her mind, but a prolonged acceptance of the fact that she already has will cause unnecessary hurt.

The Brothers

Arthur Parker in Sanditon 3x01

In Sanditon 3×02, we see the brothers Parker struggling with separate projects, each for the sake of the town (and their egos), while the newly-reunited Colbourne brothers work together for the sake of Georgiana, the Parkers’ former ward. 

Arthur’s Royal Pain

In this Sanditon 3×02, Arthur Parker is so absorbed with preparations for yet another event that will put Sanditon on the map that he takes on Tom’s tendency to put success before people. Amidst the usual morning activity on the beach, we see a ceremonial tent and various parasols being installed. We can guess the cause of these preparations when we see Arthur gazing proudly as a God Save the King banner is raised. He may not have his physical Theater Royal, but it seems he is preparing to entertain royalty. Susan’s appearance, in a conspicuous scarlet coat, confirms our suspicions.

Arthur takes advantage of her presence to seek her advice about his Majesty’s preferences. “May I be so bold as to ask” — the phrasing is a tacit acknowledgment that he knows about Susan’s liaison with the King. He relies on it for the success and perhaps even the very existence of the royal visit to Sanditon. When Susan replies, “I would be honored, she essentially grants him access to her intimate knowledge. Lady de Clemente’s gentle disapproval, as Arthur describes, “a soft melancholic air traveling across the water,” redirects him towards a more suitable musical opening. Still, we might view the discussion of the King’s distaste for bagpipes (“the King does not share my enthusiasm”) as foreshadowing the future rupture.

The next morning, a lone red coat rides into Sanditon, delivering news to Arthur, who has now dubbed himself “musical impresario.” We need only make out the words “his Majesty” and “regretfully inform you” to understand the drastic change in Arthur’s demeanor. He immediately seeks Susan’s assistance, failing to understand the importance of the King’s decision for her. Arthur is so caught up in his embarrassment that he does not notice her shocked expression, the tears welling in her eyes, or her unsteady voice as she learns the news. Arthur, ever clueless, persists in asking for her help. “I am afraid in this regard I no longer have the King’s ear.” She is obliged to apologize to Arthur, who has just broken her heart. As she leaves, he assumes the stares and whispers are about him.

Tom’s Grand Deception

Tom Parker and Lady Denham in Sanditon 3x02
©Courtesy of Joss Barratt

Tom continues his tenuous relationship with the truth, placing his second wife, Sanditon, ahead of his first. Mary’s polite intrusion on Tom and Rowleigh as they survey the town map allows us to learn once again that Mary is devoted to the Old Town and her charitable visits with Mrs. Filkins. Rowleigh accepts her taking leave with a wave of the hand and the dismissive statement, “your husband and I have plenty to do,” before quickly returning to his study of the map. Tom’s solicitation of Mary’s opinion surprises her and viewers alike as it is a stark contrast to his prior bad habit of keeping her in the dark.

It is Rowleigh who drags Tom back into deception. Rowleigh’s enthusiastic reaction to Mary’s idea appears genuine, but we learn it is theatrical and thinly disguised condescension — “why didn’t we think of that?” As soon as Mary is gone, Rowleigh shoots down the foolish idea of placing the hotel atop a hill. Rather than argue, Tom confesses that he is wasting Rowleigh’s time since Lady Denham is unlikely to change her mind about vetoing any investment from Mr. Pryce. Rowleigh’s declaration, “challenge accepted,” accompanied by jaunty music, indicates future hilarity between him and Lady D. Having secured her approval, Rowleigh resumes his salesmanship with Tom proposing to tear down the fishermen’s cottages to build a grand hotel that will be part of Tom’s legacy. Tom’s regrets from 1×08 — “Something made me feel I had to make a name for myself” — appear to have vanished. We once again see intoxication on Tom’s face, as with the announcement of the regatta in 1×03 and with his roll of the dice at the gaming table in 2×02. When we see Tom’s hungry smile and contented sigh, we might imagine the thought bubble, “It’s all coming true.”

Once Rowleigh’s spell subsides, and he is faced with Mary’s questioning, Tom lies to her again. This time he assures her that he has defended the residents of the Old Town against the “unscrupulous” plan to tear down their homes. Tom is banking on Lady D’s continuing opposition, not knowing that Rowleigh has already won her over. Tom fails to realize that Rowleigh would not waste time pursuing the project if he had not already overcome the challenge. Unfortunately, Mary also fails to recognize that when Tom says, “please don’t worry, my dear, she absolutely should worry. When Lady Denham announces to Tom that she and Mr. Pryce have reached an agreement, Tom’s hopes of a resolution that spares him the burden of being courageous fall flat. As he accepts, Rowleigh’s outstretched hand, Tom voluntarily treads again onto shaky ground in pursuit of his grand vision and big profits.

Colbourne Family Reunion

Alexander Colbourne (BEN LLOYD-HUGHES) and Samuel Colbourne (LIAM GARRIGAN) in Sanditon 3x02
©Courtesy of Joss Barratt

While royal visits and town planning consume the Parkers, Alexander Colbourne takes a bold step to help Georgiana. He leaves Heyrick Park in such haste that it alarms Augusta and Mrs. Wheatley. He rides throughout the day to arrive in London by late evening. When the boisterous gentleman exiting one drinking establishment (and clearly on his way to another) addresses him as “Xander,” a nickname used affectionately by Mrs. Wheatley is 2×06, we understand instantly that the man is family. As the conversation continues, we realize that the two relatives have not seen each in “ten long years.” Even in his understated urging, we see that Alexander is desperate for this man to return to Sanditon with him.

As Colbourne and the still unnamed relative arrive at Heyrick, Mrs. Wheatley finally provides a name — Mr. Samuel. Their exchange informs us that they once enjoyed a warm relation as he remarks on her good appearance, and she jokes about having more grey hairs. Leonora offers Mr. Samuel her special welcome, and we finally have confirmation that he is Xander’s brother, the infamous uncle. Samuel’s playfulness with Leo, including squatting down to address her eye-to-eye, is instantly endearing. Augusta and Leo seem intrigued by their long-lost uncle.

There’s certainly a story there that we have yet to discover.

The Colbourne brother’s discussion of whether Samuel will stay if Miss Lambe refuses his help provides some peeks at family history and into the personalities of the two. Samuel is overtly playful, while Alexander, though more serious, has a cheeky streak, teasing his brother about whether he can tolerate his company. Samuel appears more attuned to the world around him, while Alexander is more introspective. Samuel’s powers of observation (and his better vantage point) allow him to understand that Augusta has a secret suitor. We also understand that Alexander is more dutiful when Samuel concedes that he is “hardly the person to lecture … on duty.” Samuel also reveals that it took an extraordinary incentive for Xander to “swallow [his] pride and ask [Samuel] for help after all these years.” 

When Augusta bursts in to save Alexander from questions about his attachment to Charlotte, we see the contrast most clearly. Samuel is smooth and smiling as he shifts position to observe his niece better. Alexander offers a kind but perfunctory response before returning to his own thoughts. Samuel’s final glance at his brother screams, “Are you even paying attention?” The banter between the brothers before the recital confirms their relationship dynamics, Samuel as an instigator (“Am I boring you?”) and Alexander as capable of giving as good as he gets: “You seem unduly concerned with what I’m doing.” That Samuel’s presence allows viewers to discover more facets of Alexander is but one of the many advantages of this delicious new character.

When Harry Helped Arthur

Harry and Arthur in Sanditon 3x02
©Courtesy of Joss Barratt

Another delightful addition is Lord Montrose, whose persistent attending to Arthur during Sanditon 3×02 permits Arthur to triumph and earns Harry a friend.

Was It Something I Said?

Harry is not bashful with his observations about Arthur’s contempt, nor does it deter him. When he interrupts Arthur at the vintner, we see a side of Arthur that was revealed only in glimpses during Seasons 1 and 2 (In 1×04 there is an eye roll when Fuchs calls him lethargic. In 2×04, he shows evident disdain of Colonel Lennox at the garden party). In this Sanditon 3×02 scene, the gloves are off, and Arthur’s words hit like bare knuckles: “I give you so little thought, your Grace. I can’t imagine what you could be referring to.” Harry’s confusion and a touch of hurt are clear despite his attempt to laugh it off. The duke’s trademark pompous posturing as he mentions “love” fails to subdue Arthur, who counters with “nothing [is more important] when love is what it is,” plainly accusing Harry of fortune-hunting. Harry registers the blow with a conspicuous blink. Arthur takes on haughty airs as he mentions the King and his star entertainer. Yet, Arthur’s demeanor softens almost imperceptibly when Harry praises him (Arthur’s core need) for securing Miss Greenhorn and confirms that “his Majesty will be enchanted.”

Let It All Out

Arthur and Harry at the beach

Harry seems intent on attending to Arthur’s feelings despite the earlier verbal fisticuffs. After witnessing the exchange with Lady de Clemente in the tearoom, he seeks Arthur out on the beach. He delicately asks, “Anything amiss,” fully aware that Arthur’s tour de force has fallen through. Arthur’s denial is almost comical when he, very visibly upset, barks at Harry: “There is nothing amiss. What would give you that impression?” The soundtrack, however, gives a touching poignancy to the moment as Harry gently coaxes Arthur to confide in him by progressively revealing the details he already knows. Arthur’s self-absorbed pout briefly gives way to understanding that he just unceremoniously announced to Susan that she has been discarded by the King “like an old shoe.” Once his self-pity bubble is burst, Arthur can finally say the words that cause him such pain: “The King will not be coming to Sanditon today … or any other day.” He blurts them out quickly as though ripping off a band-aid.

Perhaps sensing Arthur’s thirst for recognition, Harry gently acknowledges Arthur’s tireless efforts, again coaxing him to name his feelings. The word Harry chooses — “distressing” — stings Arthur’s wounded pride, provoking him to lash out at Lord Montrose again. He focuses on Tom’s potential humiliation, financial costs, and his own disgrace (the dark side of the attention he has long desired). In this tirade, Arthur again fails to consider the feelings of others affected by the news, imagining a petulant refusal from Miss Greenhorn rather than her disappointment at not having the coveted opportunity to perform for a King. Lord Montrose insists the solution lies in dazzling the “American with an artist disposition” using good old British pomp. The wide angle of Arthur standing immobile, sighing while the duke strides confidently away, shows the gulf between their approaches to life.

Dazzling Pomp

When Miss Greenhorn descends from the carriage, we discover that she is a Black American performer and that the unheard-of opportunity for her to sing for a king in Sanditon has brought her on a significant detour from her planned European performance circuit. If Arthur did not previously understand her disappointment about the King’s no-show, his pursed lips and hard swallow suggest he’s beginning to understand the symbolic importance not only to Miss Greenhorn personally but also to the broader cause of recognition and rights for Black people. Just as Arthur seems to be wrestling with whether to come clean, the Duke of Buckinghamshire appears in ceremonial regalia, right down to the velvet-and-feather hat. Arthur’s amazement surpasses the singer’s, and he tries to dismiss Harry as quickly as possible. Miss Greenhorn’s inexperience (is this name choice coincidental?) with British nobility seems to ease the duke’s ability to deceive her. When Harry announces that all will be well, Arthur can barely look at him. He instead scoffs and walks away.

Despite Harry’s urging him to maintain the ruse until after the performance, Arthur decides to come clean about the King’s absence. Before doing so, as if to soften the blow, he sincerely praises Miss Greenhorn’s beauty and expresses how honored they all are. When Harry echoes the word “honored,” Arthur winces as if to silence the duke, lest his insincere flattery be confounded with Arthur’s authentic emotions. When Arthur finally confesses, Miss Greenhorn’s question is whether they have hoodwinked her from the start to lure her to Sanditon. She seems concerned that they would take her for a fool, perhaps an ever-present danger for her. When Harry assures her that, unlike himself, Arthur is incapable of orchestrating a “ruse to dupe” anyone, the singer accepts his testimony about Arthur’s sincerity.

The Artistic Temperament

Miss Greenhouse in Sanditon singing

Though Miss Greenhorn can see him, when Arthur confirms he’ll pay even though she doesn’t perform, we see that he still needs to understand the singer’s mindset. She is generous enough to want to avoid the Parkers’ financial catastrophe. She is also concerned with her own reputation — does a Black artiste who relies on being hired for future gigs have the luxury of being considered a churlish diva? Finally, she recognizes that her voice is just as beautiful whether the King hears it or not. When Harry concludes that “the call of her art was too strong” for Miss Greenhorn to walk away, he is not only rewriting his approach to managing her through Sanditon 3×02 but also minimizing the grandness of the gesture she is making to save Arthur’s reputation. Miss Greenhorn’s graciousness continues when she ushers Arthur off her stage with a quick brush of her hand, dispensing him of the obligation to explain the King’s absence. She peddles the excuse that she herself does not believe. She then lights the night on fire with a song of love.

Sanditon 3×02 never lets up on the intricate social interactions that make period dramas compelling. This episode has many more stories than we can discuss here (sorry, Edward and Augusta fans). Please keep an eye out for scene breakdowns and relationship deep dives.

Further Thoughts

  • Arranging the recital of “a celebrated American soprano” strongly indicates that Sanditon is now thriving given the expense of such an artist.
  • Arthur’s deep curtsy to Lady Susan is a bit campy but also a subtle nod to her informal royal connection. We might also wonder whether real-life actors are also playing around with this idea.
  • Miss Hankins makes her first appearance in Sanditon 3×02, looking for the post. She finally receives a letter from London and flatly denies to her brother that it is from Dr. Fuchs. Like Edward, she can distract Reverence Hankins by flattering his ego and evoking Sir Edward’s progress. It’s unclear whether her observation about Edward’s “deep internal battle with his very soul” is sincere or simply to manipulate the Reverend into leaving her alone to read the letter. Fuchs’ desire to share with Beatrice the discovery that allows him to hear a man’s beating heart as clear as day symbolizes their growing intimacy. Beatrice places her hand over her beating heart as if to imagine sharing the sensation with Fuchs. (Note: Fuchs retrieved just such a tube from his medical bag before using it on Arthur in 1×04.)
  • During Georgiana and Mary’s interview of Samuel Colbourne, Charlotte remains oddly silent as though the Colbourne name is enough to convince her of his merits.
  • When Edward greets Miss Hankins, I hear the first strains of sincerity in his voice (no slick undertones) since his initial words to Augusta in 3×01. Apparently, Reverend Hankins is so convinced of his good influence on Edward that he has crowed to his sister about Edward taking up poetry. “I am trying to write a poem about the beauty of the world and my deficiency in the face of it… in rhyme.” Edward seems to find Beatrice’s advice thought-provoking, even though it’s hardly revolutionary – “Perhaps you are writing what you think you should write, rather than what you feel.” But perhaps the novelty for Edward is that Miss Hankins views him as someone who can be genuine and capable of feeling. Someone who does have a heart from which he might speak.

Now airing on PBS and available for streaming: What are your thoughts on Sanditon 3×02? Let us know in the comments below.


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