Special instructions before reading this article: Be sure to be playing Ruth Barrett’s “Sidney and Charlotte Dance” while you read as it’s what I’m doing while writing.
When I wrote the review for the sixth episode, I had said that it was taking everything in me not to dedicate an entire article to the dance alone and here I am, unable to resist the temptation to write further. This is my life, these are my choices. The dance changes everything. It’s the prelude to a beautifully moving connection that heals as quickly as it inspires. The progression of Barrett’s score encompasses the weight of Charlotte and Sidney’s emotions with such momentum it’s enamoring. Disclaimer, I’m no musician, in the same way that medical terminology and I don’t mesh together, describing music properly doesn’t come easy to me. I can only touch on the emotions it evokes in the best way I know how. In simpler terms, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever heard. The melody starts off slow, as does their dance and the choreography behind it, which showcases what it really means when two people securely come together. Slow and steady then explosive and liberating. The dance touches on emotions words could not properly describe by allowing the music and choreography to exhibit the innermost parts of their souls. Yup, we went there. We’re going to talk about souls.
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Where do we even begin, darling readers? Welcome to the final Sanditon weekly rundown for the season. This is a tough one. I’ve got my tea ready and I hope you’ve got yours, too because we’ve got a lot to cover. This is a season that focused on sincerity and until its final episode, it delivered. It’s a show that wasn’t meant to end at the very moment it did, so here’s to hoping the viewership at PBS is enough to grant us a second season or even a crowd funded film. Firefly got it, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries got it, Timeless did it. It’s possible. Sanditon is an incredibly special show that turned the Jane Austen universe upside down in a way that worked wonders — regency era had a lot of fire and spark in the midst of the seemingly put together world of high tea and country sides. This is an episode that touches on past episodes so intricately, it’s gut-wrenching. For what it’s worth, we were forewarned about all this, as mentioned in previous episodes, the narrative has been leading to these very moments with the seeds it’s planted throughout. What goes around comes around, we’re always told to be careful what we wish for, but to be human is to make mistakes — to be human is to feel every emotion through and through until our time comes.
“Without a quality of affection, marriage can become a kind of slavery.”
This is a love story. Sanditon is the story of a small, resort town full of colorfully complex nincompoops. (Lady Denham’s words, not mine.) and it’s a story of agency, profoundly broken characters finding solace with one another when they’re given the chance to choose the kind of life they want to carve out. It’s a great adventure that touches on the trials of love reminding us all of how precious it actually is when we find it — romantic or platonic.
Welcome to Sanditon weekly, darlings — this one is going to be a bumpy ride so buckle up and maybe bring back the spiked tea. There’s a great deal to unpack with this episode, for it deals with perhaps some of the most human struggles to date. What does it mean to see ourselves through another’s perspective? Are we defined by the decisions we’ve made in the past or are we defined by the labels that are given to us? Or do we define ourselves with the choices we make every single day? It’s a never-ending struggle because even when you are certain of who you are and you’re proud of who you’ve become, outside opinions cannot always be ignored. Sometimes they should be, other times, they should be taken into consideration. However, I’ve yet to hear of a single human who’s mastered the art of not allowing another’s opinion to get to them, if they have, I’d like to meet them. And as we’ve gathered by now, the people in Sanditon don’t shy away from their opinions.
The season’s penultimate episode is a strong compilation of imperfections and the art of being a confidant. Sometimes, all a person really needs is just one other to believe in them, one person to see them as they truly are, for it is that very belief that inspires us daily. We aren’t meant to be alone — the connections we make throughout our lives intricately shape us into the people we become. The untitled episode — let’s deem it “Love and Friendship”, (An homage to another Austen novel, see what I did there?) leaves us with a lot to ponder on; human connections, and the various perceptions we have of ourselves.
Welcome back to Sanditon weekly, darlings, I hope you’ve got a cup of tea in hand because episode three is a bumpy, jaw dropping ride full of some exquisite tenderness, and the beginning of compelling sincerity. The third episode takes all that was set up last week and touches on the emotional echos of our decisions, where there’s an absolute lack of gratitude at the beginning of the episode, by the end, most characters are taking steps in the right direction. Sort of. Sanditon’s third episode focuses on transparency and the importance of seeing what’s right in front of us as opposed to consistently looking ahead towards something better. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking ahead, persevering or aiming towards a brighter future, the inability to be grateful in the midst of the chase is what often gets people into trouble. It’s also an episode that focuses on patience with a grace that’s to be admired because it’s continuing to take already complex characters and layering (some of) them with the awareness to try a little bit harder.
Sanditon’s third episode dives into the lives of the Denhams in a riveting manner, allowing us to see the fact that Esther and Clara, foils of one another, both serve such an infectious purpose to the series’ thrilling plot. Whoever said period dramas were slow and boring might want to rethink those beliefs after this episode, because the lives of the deliciously crazy is anything but boring. There’s tremendous anger in both Esther and Clara, one more than the other understandably due to the terrors they’ve faced off screen, but the opposite approaches they’ve taken in the face of dealing with the rage is what’s so fascinating about the two of them. Sometimes, anger in a woman is so deeply engulfing, there’s no turning back, other times, it’s cobbled so closely with a sadness that it’s possible to choose the more honorable route. Sanditon is a series that tells us what we need to know without ripping the rug from underneath us, and that’s why when Clara says: “You have no idea what I endured before I came here, and you have no idea what I’m prepared to do to ensure I stay”, we need to believe that she isn’t afraid of crossing the necessary lines to gain sympathy. (I mean for Christ’s sake, the girl gave herself a massive second degree burn!) Burns are painful, as someone who accidentally burns herself frequently at work because I work with a hot machine, I can vouch that it’s no child’s play. We don’t know how much Clara’s endured, I imagine there was a great amount of sexual assault and physical abuse involved that’s tragically forced her pain tolerance to increase, but the emotional trauma was undoubtedly far worse. I have a lot of sympathy towards Clara, no one deserves to go through any of the things we can assume she’s faced, but I’m also not one to condone villainous behavior when she’s standing in front of someone like Esther who’s trying so desperately to come out in a better light despite how little she’s showing it.
“Episode 8” | Sanditon
We’re officially back in business with fall TV and so far, everything’s been utterly pleasing where this writer is concerned, but this week especially, I have not stopped thinking of the Sanditon finale since it’s aired and I’ve only rewatched it about 12 more times after that. (More, it’s definitely been more.)
First and foremost, I need you all to know that period dramas own my soul. That said, the slow but worthwhile progression of a Jane Austen love story is my absolute favorite because when it finally comes down to conversations between the pair we’re rooting for, it’s worth every pining moment — every dramatic event. There are plenty of moments throughout Sanditon’s finale that tug on the heartstrings, but I’m thinking blissfully about Sidney and Charlotte’s conversation on the balcony. And dare I say this might just be my favorite declaration after Mr. Knightley’s “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”
“I have never wanted to put myself in someone else’s power before. I have never wanted to care for anyone but myself.” is as profound a declaration of love as the three official words could say. If this is just the first season, I can’t even imagine what will follow, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not ready for the emotions it’ll put me through it. (Just kidding, I’m 364% ready. Bring it. Give me season two stat.) There’s a great deal to be said about the bravery the affirmation conveys because such vulnerability coming from a man as jaded as Sidney promises far more than any ring ever could. And that’s essentially what makes me so hopeful for what’s to come. While words without actions can be insignificant, there’s still great prominence when the choice to be unreservedly sincere is coming from a man who’d long before promised never to love again. Sidney Parker, detached, damaged, despondent, made the conscious choice to give love one more try because the woman who stands before him brought a sense of indescribable purity back into his life — innocence and eagerness. The yearning to live beyond his needs in order to ensure that the best version of himself is worthy of her time and adoration. Any and all declarations take courage, there’s no questioning that, but it’s what he means that screams beyond the words he speaks. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for Charlotte, no ocean he wouldn’t cross, no deal he wouldn’t make, no place he wouldn’t go. At the end of the day, it’s all for her. It’s all for her because his sole ability to love again is entirely due to her goodness, her innate curiosity, and the fearlessness in which she alone challenges him with.