Outsourced Sanditon (2019) Recaps – Episode 2


Frock Flicks note:This is a guest post by our friend Yosa Addiss. After pursuing a degree in costume design, she created one of the first websites for custom-made costume gowns. Yosa has moved on to a career in marketing but remains a lifelong fan of historical costume. Find her at yosa.com.


Welcome to my oh-so-spoilery review of Sanditon (2019), episode 2. Catch up with episode 1 here.

Episode 2 opens with Charlotte and Sidney (Mr. Hero) passing in the street. He clearly and obviously snubs her. Rude! He is wearing an overcoat that looks great, but the collar isn’t big enough still. And are those pants leather? A fancy waxed cotton, maybe? They do have a certain shine to them. Looking at Charlotte, she looks far more like a maid here than anything else. With the knit sweater and hair down, she looks more like a servant than previously.

Sanditon (2019)

Then Sanditon goes to church. Even the sermon has extra sex in it with talk of the ladies of the town as beautiful lilies of the field ready to be plucked. Still, look at the lovely people together. The younger brother continues along a light comedy route stating that he could be a lily in the field, to stand in the sun and be admired. It is all very jolly. Props to the direction here, the characters are clearly happy, generally optimistic people. The gowns here are lovely, even with their choice of Little House on the Prairie hats.

Sanditon (2019)

They are clearly admiring his sideburns.

Little House on the Prairie
1811 bonnets in Costume Parisien

Bonnets in Costume Parisien c. 1811.

Then you see in contrast the Snidely Whiplash faces of Mr. #handsomebutslimy and his sister. They are playing the part completely, all scowls and bad intentions.

Sanditon (2019)

I love her hair here, too bad it is from 70 years or so later. Either she can see into the future, or well, I dunno. She does look wonderfully in the style with a high neckline with frills, empire-waisted dress, and fur-trimmed velvet coat. These two wear darker, broodier clothes and sit in a dark, broody room.

Then look at their house. Look at this marvelously odd set design. It has naked people frolicking together all over the walls in what looks like repeated panels. How this room got to be part of their house, we may never know, but it is clearly there to imply lots of sexy times. I don’t think 12 matching frolicking nudes on the walls are what Jane Austen would have had in mind for her story. (Understatement!!!) But there they are. Another hat tip to the lighting teams here. We can see each actor and naked muse perfectly in this otherwise very very dark room.

Sanditon (2019)

It is dark and brooding, which reflects the character’s need to either get the Dowager’s inheritance or marry money. I can’t get past the nymphs through — so many! Identical! The production designer, Grant Montgomery, says Denham Place’s gothic element is a reference to Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

Sanditon (2019)

So many nymphs.

Here is when his sister discovers that the ladyMr. #handsomebutslimy was to ruin (rape) preempted him. “She took me in hand, and quite undid me.” Ugh. There are no hand jobs in Jane Austen. Seriously.

Moving on, Lady Denham is telling them that she is hosting a formal luncheon in honor of Miss Lambe, the heiress. Mr. #handsomebutslimy is firmly instructed to make a match with Miss Lambe, and his sister wears the strangest, baggy house dress ever.

Sanditon (2019)

I have no idea what era this was designed for, but it is not Austen’s. I am extra amused by the hair and makeup on both actresses, as it is the peak of late 20th century, with hot rollers and pastel eyeshadow. Not in the slightest hint is it appropriate for 1817.

Sanditon (2019)

The Dowager has also gotten the memo for modern makeup here. Observe the sculpted, darkened eyebrows, the heavy blush, and lipstick and the Disney grandmother hairstyle.

The Aristocats

OK, fine, this is the lady from The Aristocats, but you know what I mean. Upswept, fluffy, teased curls in a wide updo from around 1905 — 88 years ahead of our story.

Here is a more accurate look at what a wealthy dowager could like at the time.

1800 - Portrait of a Lady by Josef Abel via Wikimedia Commons

1800 – Portrait of a Lady by Josef Abel via Wikimedia Commons.

Compare with a portrait — see the high neckline for day, the softly curled (not teased) and parted hair, the delicate cap, and black lace veil. This lady has wealth and dignity to spare, and no smokey eyeshadow or brown lipstick.

Moving on, we have our Charlotte in the first of many “Mary Sue” moments in the story. Here she manages to be spectacular but offering to get the paperwork for the management of the entire town in order. She also apparently does this instantly, as she manages to keep up with her busy social calendar. The work is not mentioned ever again. Look at the use of light here — it is gorgeous!

Sanditon (2019)

She then displays her advanced knowledge of architectural theory and practice when looking at the model of the future buildings  and taking a tour of the construction progress. Observe this absolutely gorgeous scene. The light, furnishings, and costumes are all spectacular.

Sanditon (2019)

She is also far better dressed here than she was in the first scene of the episode. There is no mention of where all the new clothes are coming from or who is paying for them. Do you wish her hair was up? I do.

Sanditon (2019)

The newspapers posted here are fabulous!

Here we are introduced to Leo Suter as Young Stringer (his father is also in scenes), who is about as handsome and worthy as humanly possible. Seriously, look at him. Why on earth isn’t he the hero of this story? He has the look of the time, a warm smile and voice, and, in my opinionated opinion, the actor and character are far preferable to Mr. Hero, who generally looks like he just got back from a backpacking trip in 2019.

On the costumes — the men look great here. They have appropriate layers, and the contrast between the working man and the gentleman are clear without needing to say a word. Her bonnet and hair are a hot mess, but we just have to accept the pain of it if we are going to watch the show.

Meanwhile, in the naked nymphs room, we have the sourpuss siblings bemoaning their penniless fate. Breaking the mood is the marvelous Lord Babbington.

He is simply wonderful and not a part of the original novel. He is genuine, dedicated himself to her, and here is his first try to get her attention. Look at the body language here. He is focused, attentive, and keeping his hands to himself. Presenting yourself to a young lady isn’t easy, and Lord Babbington is self-assured without being pompous. Love him!

Hate that she looks like she is part of the cast of Dynasty.

Sanditon (2019) Joan Collins, Dynasty

At least Joan Collins has bangs!

Back to Mr. Hero. Here he is in an unexpected fight. No real lead-in, we are now just watching some sort of organized fight in a bar in the middle of the day. Presumably drinking and fighting in Sanditon is Mr. Hero’s way of convincing his friends to stay in town a few more days. Whatever, bar fights are not my thing. It was also a choice to have him fight a man of color. Why.

And with that, we reach the focal point of the episode — the luncheon party for Miss Lambe.

Sanditon (2019)

We start with a really beautiful 1770s gown on our dowager and a Regency-meets-Victorian combo for hairstyles (what’s 70 years on either side of our story between friends? 140 years.)

Regency Curls

Some actual Regency hairstyles. Center parts, tightly curled bangs on each side.

And … here we are back to our sex scandal with a completely non-Jane Austen bitch-fest between the two young ladies vying for both the estate money and involved with Mr. #Handsomebutslimy. This lovely set of ladies, who at least have their hair up, are talking again about sexual abuse and hand jobs. Come on writers, this isn’t why we watch these shows.

They look great. The dialogue is not.

Sanditon (2019)

And here we get to witness the biting wit of Miss Lambe.

She is battered by our Dowager, making as many references to her mother being a slave as possible. Miss Lambe holds her dignity. Bravo to her, but waaaay to modern an approach. I’ve heard that Miss Lambe in the unfinished novel was a quiet person. It is a difficult scene for a modern audience. I am not well-versed in the racial tensions of 1817 England, but it is certainly rude and awkward.

There is a whole thing about a pineapple, that is vaguely amusing.

Sanditon (2019)

Negress, slave slave slave. Dowager is cruel, and the rest of the table is shocked and angry with her.

Sanditon (2019)

“Without love and affection, marriage can become a kind of slavery.” Strong, opinionated Charlotte skips forward a hundred years to find her opinions, but I like them.

The Dowager’s response of “Am I not allowed to speak my opinions? And those girls, they far too outspoken.” LOL. At least the idea that the Dowager gets to speak her mind and no-one else does seems accurate enough.

The character continues being terrible, and the actress continues to rock the totally out-of-date gowns. Now it’s obvious that she’s not even wearing the correct undergarments with them!

Sanditon (2019)

Why on earth is she not wearing the hip padding/panniers and petticoats that should be part of this gown? They are clearly showing us a beautiful robe à la française with the back draping of her dress, kindly pointing out how very, very out of style she is.

1760s robe a la francaise, Met Museum

1760s robe a la francaise, Met Museum

Moving on.

I think of this next section “the adventures of a terrible hat.”

Sanditon (2019)

The brim of this hat is a hot mess. I can find no reference for a halo shape brim. It is built with a wire edge on a layer of sheer lace fabric in gold color. Was it to look like a golden halo? Is it to look like a brimmed hat? I don’t know, and they pretty clearly didn’t know either.

Sister Mary Madeleva (CSC), Holy Cross Sister - Life Magazine

It is a pity because the flap flap flap of her hat going back and forth in the wind takes away from the scene. Miss Lambe is openly mocked by the townspeople and coachman when she tries to return to London. Yes, she has been a bit pompous, but the way they jeer at her is both cruel and dangerous. The casualness of the jeering says a lot about her situation. Her life in England would be filled with overt racism and casual public insults. Both are terrible and she is understandably distraught.

Clearly, as a comparison, we are shown two really nice gentlemen.

Sanditon (2019)

Mr. Dreamy is dreamy again.

Here is Lord Babington, describing why he finds Esther Denham appealing. She is independent, challenging, and knows her mind. What they assume you know is that he has a title, money, and dozens of shy heiresses thrown at him everywhere he goes. The red-haired Esther is clearly a breath of fresh air for this guy. Swoon!

Charlotte uses the power of plot manipulation to find and comfort Miss Lambe. Flappy gold halo hat is flappy.

Sanditon (2019)

This is another new outfit for Charlotte, and she is dressed in tones that are lighter (whiter?) than Miss Lambe, but clearly complimentary. The costume designer did right by Regency here — excellent sleeves and trimwork on Charlotte, who is clearly wearing a more up-to-date style now with the slightly longer bodice and fuller sleeves than her companion. Compare to walking dress for women of the time to see how nicely they got the dress silhouette and how badly they did with hats and hair.

1810s fashion plate

1810s fashion plate

They encounter Young Stringer. Once again Stringer is gracious, charming, and decent. He is clearly a townsperson, showing that not all of Sanditon is terrible. He is also a very appropriate and handsome match for the “farmgirl who reads” Charlotte. I hope they have a long and happy life together.

Sanditon (2019)

What, is Miss Lambe a milkmaid? Really, that hat needs to be taken out back and burned.

We close out the episode by changing channels to see Daniel Craig as James Bond walk confidently out of the ocean in Casino Royale.

James Bond - Daniel Craig

Oh, no. It is Mr. Hero. I laughed all the way through the credits.

Sanditon (2019)



What did you think of the second ep of Sanditon?

19 Responses

  1. susan l eiffert

    Wanted you ladies to know that I mentioned FF on a Fb group I’m on about British TV. They were talking about Sanditon and I noted the inappropriate long hair. One of the posters said the she knows nothing about the period but turned to her husband while they were watching and noted that it look right. Yay! People care about this stuff!

  2. Susan Pola Staples

    I’m still avoiding it like the plague. The more photos from the show that show up on Pinterest, Twitter and FF, are making my choice seem right. I still think Charlotte with her non-Bobby pinned hair, needs taking in hand by a group of Austen women consisting of Mrs Elizabeth Darcy, Lady Caroline de Burgh, Mrs Jane Bingley and Miss Bingley.

    With regard to Young Stringer, I think he should marry Miss Lambe. Then she can use her fortune to fight slavery, build his architect career and thumb her nose at the mrhandsomebutslimey and his sister.

    As yo the plot devices re blatant sexual conduct, I agree they are neither Jane Austen nor enjoyable. Someone needs to put the scriptwriter, director and producers in a locked room letting them be instructed by MeToo advocates and not let out till they learn.

    But I still might watch the DVD.

  3. Roxana

    Let me see… Lady Denham wants rich Miss Lambe to marry her nephew, so of course she insults and belittles her? What?
    Miss Lambe is a rich heiress of color. Her money and family balance her color. Nasty commoners might jeer at her but gentry are likely to be uncertain and awkward, unable to process her mixed status. This may well be why the Miss Lambe of the fragment is so reclusive. She’s as uncomfortable with white people trying to be friendly as she is with white people being mean. The Parkers are genuinely kind people, even the officious Miss Diana, and welcome her presence. It is likely that Miss Lambe would have gradually become more outgoing as she learned to trust her new acquaintances. But of course that’s much too subtle and understated for this production.

    Fascinating that Charlotte wears any old thing for Church but dresses up nicely for a construction site.

  4. Roxana

    Yes. And full frontal nudity, however delightful to the eye, did nothing to further the plot.

    • carsNcors

      Mhh. It wasn’t full frontal – in the US it wasn’t even full posterior…

      And actually, I would argue that it did indeed further the plot or at least it had something to say about the perception of male as opposed to female bodies, their freedom or the lack of it:

      Men going full FKK (FREIE-körperkultur – german for nudist or naturist, though the translation is literally lacking in freedom) while the women are hauled to sea in bathing carriages or bathing sloops while having to put on – here – rather off period but full on Handmaid’s-Tale-RED and otherwise likely lead lined bathing costumes fit for drowning,

      It also served quite nicely to further the characterization of Sidney Parker: Outwardly confident, free with his body, but also selfloathing & self-less to the point of… well, you probably know the series’ end by now. If not, maybe see you back under the episode 8 comments.

      • Roxana

        You’ve got a point there about the contrast between the casual nudity of men and the elaborate precautions of women. Sydney is cute but I wish to God he’d shave.

  5. Constance

    Would watch Northanger Abbey on endless looping before watching more of this one and I hate NH. I do like Regency so gave it a try. But Charlotte’s wild boho manic pixie free-flying birds-nest of hair overcame me and off went my TV.

  6. Julie

    Totally disagree with all the negative comments! I loved Sanditon, the acting was top notch. #sanditonseason2

    • Roxana

      NOT Austen. Other than that there’s nothing much wrong with it I admit. But Charlotte’s Wild Child hair makes me crazy.

  7. Aleko

    The way the hem of Charlotte’s orangey spencer in th e second pic pull upwards and out is the absolute classic sign that its maker didn’t know how to resize the pattern for the Regency diamond back.

    Miss Lambe’s weird halo-brim reminds me of a type of folk headgear worn by women in several parts of Switzerland: http://folkcostume.blogspot.com/2013/12/overview-of-swiss-costume.html.

    The pineapple-party was in every way absurd. Yes, pineapples were an insane luxury, but for the poor relation to have to ask what it was, when it had been one of the most popular decorative motifs of the previous centuries, on wallpaper, textiles, on gateposts, in porcelain, even on outbuildings! (see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunmore_Pineapple). was dumb. A Lady Wossname’s open baiting of Miss Lambe, as well as being breathtakingly ill-bred was also daft, as you say, given that she was trying to inveigle her into marrying into her family. And Miss Lambe’s repeatedly saying ‘Dat ain’t no Antigua Black!’ (a particularly esteemed variety of pineapple) was also stupid, given that nobody had been suggesting that it was. Nor did any guest in Regency society, even the worst possible glutton, ever simply stand up, grab the insanely-expensive centre-piece of the meal away from his hostess who happened to be the richest, most powerful person in the district, and slash it open with the intention of stuffing his face. It wouldn’t pass even in a farce.

    • Roxana

      Lady Denham is a Bad Person and so she must be racist since that’s the worst modern sin. The fact that she wants her nephew to marry this black woman can’t interfere with her labelling.
      Now Lady D saying all the wrong things while trying to ingratiate herself with Miss Lambe would not only be much funnier but make more sense.
      The writer of Sanditon seems to have no grasp of early nineteenth century manners. Later he will have Charlotte-Sue calling on a young working man all alone like it was routine.

  8. Roxana

    That is actually a very Austenish sentiment. But Charlotte is such a 21st c. character in bad 19th c. dress that I’m not surprised Yosa questions it.

  9. Bernadette

    Really enjoyed Sanditon, didn’t miss an episode. Didn’t like the ending at all. I agree Charlotte’s hair always seemed to be a mess. Hope they make a season 2. I enjoy the period dramas very much.

  10. Judith J. Hurwich

    “Without love and affection, marriage can become a kind of slavery” would be appropriate for the period if the female characters had been reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792). However, the book was considered so scandalous that I’m sure they hadn’t been exposed to it. By the way, in the fragment of Sanditon written by Jane Austen, Miss Lambe (whose name “Georgiana” in the TV series is clearly another reference to Pride and Prejudice) is only seen from afar and never speaks at all.

    I agree with the reviewer in rooting for Young Stringer rather than Mr. Hero and in being irritated by the fact that Charlotte doesn’t put her hair up.

    have the same criticism of the new film of Little Women–if Meg is old enough to go to a ball, she would certainly have her hair up. My son, who is in graphic design, says having her hair down makes her more noticeable since it contrasts her to the other girls. But it’s historically totally incorrect, and I’m a historian!

  11. Karen K.

    This review was hilarious, I snorted out loud several times, so thank you for this — it is much needed levity.

    TOTALLY agree about those ridiculous bonnets which should be burnt. Reminds me of the insane headwear from the 1940 P&P starring Greer Garson, the bonnets look like satellite dishes.

    And the pineapple bit is IDIOTIC. And I’m pretty sure maggots don’t infest pineapples, they’re too acidic. I’d rather not say why I know this.

  12. Karen K.

    Also was this the episode where Miss Lambe shows off her locket with a photo of Otis? I had to go back and freeze-frame, it’s definitely supposed to be a black and white photo, not a painted miniature. PHOTOS DID NOT EXIST IN THE REGENCY ERA. The first photo of a person wasn’t taken until 1838, and the first portrait wasn’t until 1839.