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 8. Catch up with previous episodes here.
Note: The bulk of this episode I am doing with short plot commentary only, because it is essentially a storyboard of quick shots that are barely tied together. Any similarity to a Jane Austen story has faded into the woodwork by now. There is a nice closure to the Lord Babbington and Esther plotline, with an expected side helping of wackadoo.
Wackadoo sums up the costumes as well. In general, it is nice Regency clothing, sans hairpins and a clear idea of who has money and who doesn’t.
We open to Charlotte and her terrible, terrible hair, having a walk with Mr. Hero.
“There is absolutely no urgency about my dress fitting” — Charlotte, who I now fully can not stand one episode longer.
Seriously, the ball is that night! Grrrrrrr … Mr. Hero is impossibly self-centered, and she just made a very large portion of the audience of the show cry out at the audacity and flat-out rudeness of skipping/delaying a final dress fitting on the day she will wear an outfit. Oh, my outrage knows no bounds. I want to make the writer wear clothes that chafe, hems that are too long, and go to their room till they learn manners.
On to something more pleasant. Lord Babbington calls on Esther, and the Dowager makes her go on a ride with him.
In spite of herself, Esther has a grand time. His appreciation of her brings out her bold, fun side, and they are utterly charming together. He even has a good hat! Hers isn’t quite right for much, and worse, it is kinda boring. This is her moment, give her 12 feathers, a veil, and a bird on that chapeau!
Our revolting main characters are still walking, and have a wind-blown first kiss that I completely don’t care about.
Charlotte gets her ingenue on, ready for the ball. Light blue stretch satin gloves. I can’t even. And her sleeves are weirdly long because she missed her fitting? Hmm?
Little does she know that charming Mr. Stringer has gotten an apprenticeship in London and is going to tell her his feelings toward her. He is such a good match for her. Two people from moderate beginnings who are on the rise make a good pair.
Mr. Hero is sulky, and Georgiana continues to distrust and dislike him. Meanwhile, the younger Parker chap is charming and dances with Georgiana all night. Call it fan service but I like those two.
What is up with her shy dress? Is she so chastened by her disgrace in London that she goes out and finds a dress that will ensure no-one pays heed to her? It would make sense. It is way too modern, but I think her hair looks great here. It is up, fancy, and this is a show that has a scarcity of hairpins, so I am going to give it a pass. She’s had a rough season.
The Dowager CLEARLY missed her fitting. Perhaps a woefully understaffed costume team made this dress in an all-nighter without a pattern? I am positive that it happens. Someone didn’t have time to make a correctly fitting gown and is simply embarrassing to watch. It isn’t appropriate that the richest woman in town would wear anything that fit so badly. This production team should make better choices this far into production.
The dance continues with Young Parker needing to take a break from silly jigs on the dance floor. Georgiana does the most extraordinary thing when parting. She leans in and kisses his hand, then he kisses hers. It is awkward and sweet.
In a flashback to the beginning of the story, the couple is once again in front of a chandelier, on the same balcony, etc., etc. It gets schmoopy, but whatever.
But wait, there is more dance drama! Mr. Handsomebutslimy makes a brief appearance to be rude to the whole town and profess his love publicly to Esther. Rude.
She is embarrassed, he is dragged out and sent packing. Fair enough.
The Parker siblings leave the dance early and have a very sweet conversation. The sister is worried that she will be alone if he marries Georgiana.
Parker explains that he doesn’t at all understand romance, and is a confirmed bachelor. Aww, so no current romance, but he remains imminently likable. What a sweetie.
Because it is the best part of the episode, here is the gist of the romantic interlude with Lord B and Esther:
Do you not know that I love you and want to marry you?
–I do not wish to be your property.
Good, because I have no wish to own you.
–Why else would you want me to be your wife?
Because I want to make you happy. All I ask is to walk through life by your side.
See? Very nice. He has been consistently awesome, and she gains the courage to notice.
Think that is enough drama? Nope. What can we do to spice things up?
Why don’t we set the whole town on fire? Yes, that would be a great idea! OK!
Stringer is legit distraught when he realizes his father was in the building, and his dreams are disintegrating.
We are all very sorry that Stringer lost his Dad and now feels that he needs to stay in Sanditon to finish the work.
Young Parker pledges his inheritance if it will help rebuild. Adorbs.
We will find a way through. We are Parkers, we stand together.
Cut to a wedding? Wait what? This story is all over the map.
So yeah, we now have the wedding of Lord Babbington and Esther. Charming, charming, charming. Thank goodness this one plotline went well.
You can just turn the show off now, the good bit is over.
Mr. Hero arrives at the wedding with his super-rich ex, who he is now going to marry for her money. Screenshot here because of her sleeves! Take a look at that detail. Fabulous!
Charlotte says goodbye to the town, which almost doesn’t make sense. Who will save the day and do all the bookkeeping?
Mr. Hero, I am just glad you are done, you selfish, ill-shaven, insufferable dudebro.
And that is the end! Right there. Big ol’ fizzle at the end.
The least they could have done is to have the lovely wedding be the end and do a pan of the attendees so we wonder what happens to them next. But no, it is all about Mr. Me Me Me. It isn’t even a sad trombone, more like a balloon slowly losing air or a fart.
Now, what do you think? Any remaining similarity to Jane Austen’s work? Can you find an extant gown with amazing sleeves like that? Is it a surprise to anyone that season 2 will not be happening?
Thank you Frock Flicks friends and readers for letting me come play. I’ve now written a novella worth of commentary about a show I didn’t particularly like. It has been a real pleasure!
What did you think of Sanditon?