Every season, the Drama After Dark team gathers ‘round the conference room table to watch the latest and greatest in British dramas, often courtesy of our friends in MASTERPIECE. And let me tell you, 2020 is already off to a great start as far as we’re concerned, because we get to enjoy their newest offering: Sanditon. The show is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished final manuscript, and stars a whole host of truly charming and attractive actors. So, in the grand tradition of media writers, I’m here to recap the season as it happens just in case you, dear reader, miss an episode and haven’t yet been able to catch up on WGBH Passport.

Charlotte is apparently having a grand old time walking through Sanditon, but don't be deceived: she's also on a mission! Like a proper smartypants spy, Charlotte has smuggled info to Georgiana inside a book. Governess is skeptical, but Charlotte is prepared: the book is called Self Control so it’s “educational” and Charlotte would be happy to read it with Georgiana. Governess is annoyingly content to keep needlepointing right where she is, but Georgiana is ALSO prepared: she fakes being too shy and self-conscious of her reading to do it in front of anyone but Charlotte. Governess buys it because they’re both being so sweet and polite (oh Governess, you fool). Charlotte starts reading the book super loud while Georgiana catches up on her correspondence. Otis wants to hang, and Charlotte isn’t sure how to make it happen given that Georgiana’s basically under house arrest. I'm not too worried about it, they're resourceful enough to think of something.

Two men exchange a fist bump

Over at Folgers Manor, Folgers Sister has been avoiding Stepbrother Dearest by hiding out in bed. He’s noticed, but hasn’t put two and two together. Lady D stops by and lets us all know she’s been writing to Babs on Sister’s behalf, which is RUDE, but also furthers this plot so I'm not too mad about it. Folgers Brother is, as always, an ass about this, making faces behind Lady D's back to taunt Folgers Sister.

Folgers Sister: Well that’s not great, now I’ll look rude.
Lady D: Too late to worry about appearances. Anyway, put on some clothes and tell Babs you’re excited to see him at the cricket match this weekend.

At the job site, Tom is quickly becoming the world's worst boss. He still hasn’t paid people OR brought the extra dudes or equipment he promised. Young Stringbean pushes back, and Tom continues to rebuff, unwilling to even give Young Stringbean a date for payment. Charlotte shows up and Tom seizes the opportunity to GTFO, telling Stringbean he’s been sent by Mom Parker to walk Charlotte literally anywhere but there. Charlotte buys it, but Stringbean and the boys obviously do not. Stringbean’s coworker takes this opportunity to tease the Young Bean about his “friendship” with Charlotte. He, adorably, is not embarrassed by the ribbing and tells his BFF that she's smart and nice and basically a total package. I knew I liked Stringbean for a reason!

Now that Lady D is gone, the Folgers Sibs get into it in the manner of all stilted family gatherings: passive aggressive subtext!

Folgers Sister: You know what, maybe I’ve been rude to Babs, he could be a lot worse and he’s a lord. You told me to consider marriage, maybe Lady D did us a favor.

A man says  "It's the truth."

The Parkers — including my favorite, Arthur — are playing some cricket. Diana says he needs to keep his strength for the match. "What match?" I ask, and so does Charlotte. Oh, haven’t you heard? Everyone’s coming to town to party, and apparently this party involves cricket. Charlotte is smart enough to put two and two together: if everyone will be at the match, this could be the perfect opportunity to Shawshank Georgiana so she can visit Otis!

When I said "everyone's coming to town to party," I wasn't kidding. Sidney, Babs, and Crowe are all here for the cricket match (and, presumably, to drink). Crowe and Babs head into Cheers: Sanditon while Sidney goes off to give Tom some pretty bad news: still no change vis-a-vis the banks, so Tom is officially broke. Because he's a good brother, Sidney is at least here to help with the cricket, but it seems like he's mostly around to support Babs in his attempts to woo Esther. Sidney isn't the most emotionally intelligent guy in the bunch (I meant what I said last week) but even he knows Babs is about to get crane-kicked in the heart. Charlotte shows up just in time to get into it with Sidney. TBH, they cover their feud pretty well; the Parker parentals definitely don't realize they’re in a fight.

At the job site, Young Stringbean, wearing his slightly smaller hat, is living the GIF below, with good reason.

A young woman whines "money please!"

Stringbean tells Tom that his workers are mad as hell, because they need money to LIVE. What the heck, Tom! Thankfully, Stringbean came to play, or rather, to not play as the case may be. He tells Tom that if the workers aren't paid they will not be participating in the cricket match, which would be A Disaster. Why they want to play in the first place, I’m not sure; this day of festivities feels like one of those horrible corporate retreats where you have to do trust falls with your boss in your casual weekend clothes instead of watching TV. Anyway, Tom promises the men will be paid in a fortnight. Stringbean, who has been burned by Tom's crap before, ominously tells him that Tom had better not break any more promises or things will get ugly. Good for you, Stringbean.

Meanwhile, at Cheers: Sanditon, Crowe and Babs are engaging in the age old tradition of girl talk.

Babs: Guess what bud, I’m real excited to hit on Folgers sister some more.
Crowe: Ugh, cool it, it’s never gonna happen.
Babs: Dude, she’s honest to a fault and I COULD NOT BE MORE INTO IT. She finally wrote back and was basically a huge jerk to me. What can I say, I love love!

Governess and Sidney have a chat. She’s been keeping a weather eye on Georgiana, pinky promise! Sidney tells her that henceforth she’s entirely in charge of Georgiana, because Sidney’s leaving. He's going to Babs’ and then somewhere else (i.e. anywhere but here), but don't worry, he’s left pizza money for the rest of the summer. Georgiana barges in to ask why Sidney is here ruining her day. Sidney tells her it's just for the cricket match, and Tweedles Dee and Dum are made even more "excited" than usual by the idea of all those bats and balls. Georgiana, who refuses to be distracted by sports innuendos, points out that Sidney basically has her in a house arrest ankle bracelet, so Sidney decides to be nice: Georgiana can go to the cricket match, so long as she's accompanied by Governess and the Tweedles.

Because, as previously discussed, there's not a lot to do in Sanditon, everyone is down at the beach for the cricket match. Charlotte's wearing an outfit with artichoke shaped shoulder embellishments that would get absolutely ROASTED on Project Runway.

Tim Gunn says "That concerns me enormously."

She confirms the plan with Georgiana: later on, they'll sneak off while everyone is distracted by the riveting sport of cricket. Unfortunately for us, Gross Priest is here too, and asks if Governess is into the ball game. The Tweedles giggle, and the adults don't get what's funny about that even though they appear to be attempting to get their flirt on. On the sand, all the rich guys have assembled, but Stringbean's workers haven’t shown up yet. Tom’s freaking out, but puts on a good face for Sidney and the boys.

Folgers Sister arrives, and like a moth to a flame, Babs heads right her way. Lady D, who is on FIRE this episode, tells Folgers Sister not to smile because it'll just confuse Babs. Folgers Sister, obviously, decides to be shady about him, cricket, and this whole enterprise to their mutual enjoyment. Babs calls Folgers Sister the wittiest woman he’s ever met (CORRECT). Not to be outdone, Clara gets a dig in about Folgers Sister's taste in dudes, and Folgers Sister, miserable, storms off.

Crowe is just about to give up on the game and head back to Cheers: Sanditon when suddenly the workers arrive over the dunes, with just an insane amount of swag.

Three men dance down an alleyway

Tom is visibly relieved, and while he and Stringbean manfully clasp hands, Stringbean’s second in command asks if there’s a cash prize as a chance to remind Tom to PAY THEM. Charlotte goes around wishing everyone good luck, including Stringbean, whom she notes has “several admirers.” Stringbean obviously hopes she's one of them, and Charlotte, unintentionally coy, tells him he better play well if he wants her support. The game gets started and it seems like Sidney and Stringbean are the strongest players, but honestly, who the heck knows. With apologies to my Father-in-Law and the sport's massive international following, cricket is dumb. It’s literally a more boring version of the already very boring baseball, and yes, you may indeed @ me ( twitter.com/jkbruleigh).

WAY out in the outfield, Babs is looking at butterflies (or more accurately, Folgers Sister). She tells him that Lady D made her write that letter, and that she's not impressed by Babs and his weird friend Crowe. He wants to prove her wrong, and is so invested in waiting for her answer that he completely misses the ball sailing past him. All the guys on his team:

A boy says "You're killing me, smalls."

Despite his lack of cricket prowess, Folgers Sister agrees to meet up later. Folgers Brother, watching, gets increasingly worried.

The game continues, and it’s past time for Georgiana to sneak away for her appointment with Otis. Charlotte approaches and talks up HOW EXCITING the game is, intending to get Governess to allow them all to move closer. The Tweedles agree, but Governess won’t budge, even though she’s noticing how good of an umpire Gross Priest is (ew). Georgiana and Charlotte exchange looks: this isn’t going well.

In the tent, Lady D is not feeling great; she’s very thirsty. Clara goes to get her a drink but Lady D still looks a little peaky. What's that Lassie? Foreshadowing?

A man cringes.

On the field, Arthur gets a hit! YAY! He’s so excited that he doesn't get a lot of runs in, but who cares? He's adorable! Tom’s at bat, and the workers are hype. Based on my limited knowledge of the sport I deduce that if they get Tom out, they will win. Stringbean isn’t messing around and almost hits Tom with the ball. On the second bowl he does actually hit him, which apparently means that Tom is out. Tom contests, but Gross Priest/Umpire sides with the workers. Like all good team captains, Tom doesn't take no for an answer and keeps trying to argue, but Stringbean’s second in command calls him out, saying they should have expected cheating from Tom.

Sidney, always thirsty to defend his brother, yells at them, but Stringbean has his boy’s back: they haven’t been paid in weeks which is, in fact, a steaming pile of poop. Sidney looks like he got slapped in the face, and Tom is even worse, because literally everyone just heard about his shameful chicanery. Gross Priest obviously feels bad about how awkward this just got so he changes his ruling, but it’s too late. Tom stalks off the field, despite Sidney's protests. Stringbean points out that if Tom isn't playing, Team Richie Rich is a man down and will have to forfeit. Charlotte, as always, saves the day by offering to pull an A League of Their Own and join the team. Gross Priest, uh, doesn't like that idea:

A woman tears apart a room in rage.

But who cares what he thinks? Women play cricket in Charlotte's hometown, a place which Crowe correctly surmises sounds like a lot of fun. Sidney accepts Charlotte's olive branch, and we play on. This seems like a missed opportunity for a training montage, but whatever. Georgiana realizes this distraction is the perfect opportunity to make her escape, and gets the heck out of there.

If you thought TOM was embarrassed by the scene at the beach, imagine how Mom Parker feels! Back at the Parker House, they have a confrontation.

Closeup of three men staring at each other

Mom Parker's main beef is the sneaking around. Why didn't he tell her about the money issues? Why did he buy her that fancy necklace if they were struggling? Why did he assume she couldn't handle hardship? Tom, chastened, promises to go to London fix everything, but Mom Parker, who is done with his crap, says correctly (but harshly) that he should stop making promises since he always breaks them.

Back on the beach, Sidney tries to mansplain cricket, but Charlotte knows what she’s doing.

A woman swings a baseball bat.

He backs off, and Charlotte immediately gets a hit. Stringbean AND Sidney are both turned on by this. Being annoyed at someone is no match for exercise-induced endorphins, because Charlotte and Sidney seem to be back to getting along. Apparently Babs didn't get the memo about missing team members ending the game, because he and Folgers Sister just kind of wander off to have a chat. Folgers Brother, left to his own devices, grabs a wine and sulks, which gives Clara a chance to wander up and brag. She reminds him that if Folgers Sister is married off, it’ll just be the two of them vying for Lady D’s cash. Folgers Brother might be a little smarter than I thought, because even he realizes this will not bode well for him.

Governess finally stops watching the game (*cough* Gross Priest/Umpire), and realizes Georgiana isn’t where she left her. She doesn’t totally freak out, but seems like she's about to soon.

Meanwhile, Babs and Folgers Sister are off on a nice ride. They’ve come across a lovely waterfall, and he calls it (HER) beautiful.

Meryl Streep yells "yes!" and points

Folgers Sister: Well this is actually kind of fun, but I can’t agree with you too much too soon.
Babs: Definitely not, I like you mean.
Folgers Sister: Well good, you’re kind of lame.
Babs: I guess I should try to be better.
Folgers Sister: Well, huh, look at that, you’re slightly better company than I thought.
Babs: You are hilarious and very smart, I really like you and I don't know what to do about it other than ask you to marry me.
Folgers Sister:

A woman says "What is happening?!"

Back at the game, Stringbean is going way too easy on Charlotte. Everyone cheers for her, and Sidney actually cracks a smile?! Charlotte gets to flirting with Young Stringbean, who suggests that she might want to play on his team next time. She doesn't exactly shoot him down, but it's not a resounding yes. Stringbean's friend, an excellent wingman, tells him Charlotte will never know Stringbean is into her if he doesn't ask her out. All hopes of romance are dashed when Governess shows up, finally freaking out that Georgiana is missing. Charlotte looks weirdly worried for someone who essentially baked the file into the cake for Georgiana to escape. She starts running for town, and Sidney, not a dumbass, follows. Charlotte goes to the meeting spot, but Georgiana is nowhere to be found!

Back at Folgers Manor, our favorite not-technically-related-but-still-icky couple has a little chat.

Folgers Sister: Oh hi, who won?
Folgers Brother: Who cares?
Folgers Sister: LOL well based on our conversation last episode, I thought winning was all you cared about.
Folgers Brother: Depends on the prize. You look flushed, where have you been?
Folgers Sister: Out for a walk! Also Babs proposed.
Folgers Brother: OMG did you say yes???
Folgers Sister (evasive): He makes me laugh.
Folgers Brother: Yeah, but I can do this!

And then he passionately kisses her. It’s gross, especially since he's very obviously manipulating her so he can have her help defeating Clara.

Oprah shrugs sarcastically

Back at Georgiana’s house, everyone’s freaking out because she's still MIA. Young Stringbean arrives, and has some bad news: his workers saw her downtown, waiting for a man, when two dudes came and bundled her into the carriage. News delivered, Stringbean leaves, and takes Governess with him so Sidney and Charlotte can fight in private.

Sidney: I know you know something. Spill.
Charlotte: I’m so sorry, I’ve been helping them send messages to each other, and arranged a meeting. I can't resist star-crossed lovers!
Sidney: OhMYgod have you not actually read Romeo and Juliette?? If anything happens to her it's all on you!

Speaking of major bummers, across town Folgers Sister and Babs meet up. He clearly thinks this is going to go well, but alas, we know better. Babs, as soon as he gets back to his hotel probably:

A woman cries while eating ice cream

She pretends she's saying no because he's shallow and proposed on a whim, but I have a feeling she's being so mean because she's trying to White Fang him.

A man says "Now go on! You heard me? Go on!"

At the Parker House, Charlotte tries to get Mom Parker to lend her the carriage so she can go look for Georgiana. Charlotte knows Otis' address, which is actually a solid lead. Regardless, Mom Parker has a lick of sense and tells her no, it's too dangerous. Then, reader, stuff gets real. Charlotte says she'll be safe because she can meet up with Tom when she gets to London, and Mom Parker, with ice in her veins, tells Charlotte that Tom can't be relied upon. DAMN, MOM PARKER.

At Lady D’s, the matriarch in question is throwing a fit at Folgers Sister for not marrying Babs. He’s RICH! Why not? Folgers Sister explains that she wants to marry for love, and Lady D drops the mic, saying that marriage is just a business arrangement. Remember how she wasn't looking so great on the beach? It's worse now, and Folgers Sister is genuinely concerned. Honestly, so am I! Unfortunately, we'll have to wait for next week to find out what's up.

Did you think Charlotte was going to be reasonable and listen to Mom Parker? Nah, son. Charlotte leaves a note and hops on the midday carriage to London. I’m sure everyone will be thrilled, but we can find out for certain next week!

Episode 1 Recap: The Hamptons of Old Timey England
Episode 2 Recap: This Pineapple's The Bomb
Episode 3 Recap: Y'all Need OSHA
Episode 4 Recap: (Third) Wheelin' and Dealin'
Episode 5 Recap: Baseball, But Make it Fraught with Sexual Tension
Episode 6 Recap: Ballin' on a Budget
Episode 7 Recap: Something's Regatta Give
Episode 8 Recap: Great Balls of Fire