Every season, the GBH Drama staff sit down to watch the latest and greatest in British dramas. And now, after years of waiting, it is my great pleasure to finally be here recapping season 2 of Sanditon! Romance! Drama! Sea bathing! It's all coming together: let's go.

So. Where were we? Well, Charlotte is on the beach (jealous!) making her way to her spiffy new governess job, when she runs into a few of the town soldiers, including Colonel No Service, to whom she was kind of rude the last time they saw each other. Fortunately for everyone involved, he accepts her apology almost instantly, because he likes honesty. TBH his reaction SHOULD be very charming but for some reason I’m just not feeling it, and neither is Charlotte, who uses the new job as an excuse to get out of this convo lickety split.

Colonel No Service: Well I’m sure you’ll crush it. Anyway, keep your eyes on the mail!

And with that weirdly ominous pronouncement, he rides off into the sunrise. Meanwhile, Arthur and Georgiana catch up on the letter about Sidney from the end of episode 1: unfortunately, details are still thin on the ground, and we don’t have any more info about what the heck our pal was doing in Antigua. The Parkers are investigating, and Georgiana, who after all knows that they don’t always crush their assignments, says she’ll look into it too.

Arthur: Don’t worry though; he had your best interests at heart so I’m sure whatever it was is no big deal!

A man says "hmmmm... doubt it."

Over at Thornfield By The Sea, Charlotte arrives to find an apparently empty house. Have to say, it is a classic grieving isolated family move to hide from even invited guests, so I give them a pass. Charlotte isn’t about to do the same, so she sneaks around the grounds until she finds the servants’ entrance, where Fun Housekeeper immediately tells her she’s late.

Fun Housekeeper: Here’s the deal: you’ll get paid at the end of the month, but most people don’t last that long. Everyone’s taking bets about whether you’ll make it through the week, and I put money on you, so:

A man lectures a corgi, saying "Do not blow this for us."

Charlotte: Don’t worry about your cash; I’m much tougher than I look. BTW, when did the last governess leave?

But before she can get an answer to that, Mystery Dad appears and asks for an update. When he realizes Charlotte hasn’t started yet, he offers to introduce her to the kids.

Mystery Dad:

A man worriedly says "Gird Your Loins!"

Turns out that girding would have been wise: upstairs, Leo is legit whacking a wall with a toy sword, and only stops when Mystery Dad swans in and makes official intros. His priority? Teach Leo to act more ladylike, and make Augusta pleasant to be around. Books will have to wait!

An animated man looks at a book in confusion and disgust.

Augusta, not incorrect, to Charlotte: You better learn to fight back, or you’re toast, bud.

At Lady D’s house, she’s busily criticizing Esther’s flower arranging skills. Could she just do it herself? No, that’s why Esther is here!

A man, annoyed, says "God, that is just... classic her."

Before we devolve into a full on flower fight, the two receive an invitation of their own: Colonel No Service is holding a fancy dinner party. But if he’s there, won’t Horrible Ed be in attendance also? Between that jerk’s inclusion in this season and Dr. Fuch’s prognosis, poor Esther is starting to feel like god himself is setting her up to fail.

Down at the shore, Georgiana is once again enjoying her favorite pastime: doing something shocking that upsets an uptight man. Having whispered something in the ear of whatever gentleman is attempting to get her money today that effectively scares him off, she’s left blissfully alone (well, alone with Mary P, who gives her a light lecture on restraint).

Georgianna: Why do you want me to get married off anyway?
Mary: Society sucks; you know that. Having money makes you vulnerable: a good marriage will offer you some stability and protection. And it’s nice to be married!
Me: To TOM? Sure, Jan.
Wannabe Byron, inserting himself into the conversation: Why are you so glum today? It’s lovely out!
Georgianna, isn’t about to be told to smile by a man: I was in a good mood… until you showed up.
Wannabe Byron: Well in THAT case, I’ll leave. Toodles!

A man asks "Why are you the way that you are?"

Back at the house, our pals barely get their coats off when Hurricane Heywood comes barrelling down the stairs: the soldier that saved her butt last week is here! In uniform! And she doesn’t know his name yet! Except when she opens the door, it’s actually one of the OTHER soldiers (hard to tell in their matching outfits, to be fair). In her disappointment, she’s kind of blunt: what is HE doing here?

Jilted: Ok, first of all, rude. Second of all, I’m here to invite everyone to a dinner, and Colonel No Service has specifically invited your sister.
Mary and Georgiana, inside the house:

Two women look at each other, amused

Hurricane Heywood, back in matchmaking mode: Oh, she’ll DEFFO say yes.
Jilted: Oh, and Captain Loverboy sends his regards.
Hurricane Heywood: Ooooh, is that the young hottie who saved me at the beach?
Jilted: Young, sure. Hottie? No comment.

So I guess that’s shaping up to be a cute lil love triangle. Inside, Hurricane Heywood starts to spin out of control with excitement. But she’s already borrowed Charlotte’s one good dress! What will she wear? Georgiana, a true pal, is happy to lend out her wardrobe and her assistance in escaping the house to “look at a hat” i.e. go try to say hi to Captain Loverboy.

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, Charlotte’s attempt to teach young Leo embroidery is interrupted by Augusta’s rude interrogation. For starters: how is Charlotte qualified to help her learn to be marriageable when she is, herself, single AF? And then, reader, I crap you not, Augusta hands over a hilarious sampler which reads: “Miss Heywood: SPINSTER.” It’s a valiant effort, but unfortunately for Augusta, Charlotte has weathered worse, so this funny art project really isn’t going to cut it.

Everyone breaks for lunch, which means Charlotte gets some time to befriend Fun Housekeeper by showing off Augusta’s shady sampler.

Fun Housekeeper: Yikes, and she didn’t even do it perfectly. You have to do something about this, you know.
Charlotte: I don’t want to be mean to her, I want to understand her!
Fun Housekeeper: It’s not that complicated: she’s a teenager who just lost both of her parents.
Charlotte: And when did Leo’s mom pass?
Fun Housekeeper: A long time ago. We don’t talk about it. Now get it together: I’m not losing money on you!

At the waterfront, the dastardy Horrible Ed is once again making us look at his face, and when I say us, I unfortunately must include Esther. He tries to pretend this is all coincidence, but as ever, Esther is smarter and better at the game than he is, and recognizes this line of crap for what it is. Telling him to go drown himself, Esther heads to church, where her solitary prayer time almost turns into her getting stuck being the only one there for the lunchtime service (extra bad news given her feelings about Gross Priest back in season 1). Always eager to ingratiate himself, and his sister, Gross Priest tries to make conversation and uses the opportunity to get real weird and pushy about Esther and Bab’s potential future children. Understandably done with THAT, Esther, distraught, tells them it’s none of their business and leaves, pursued by Gross Sister.

Gross Sister: Look, I’m sorry to do this, but I can tell you’re upset.
Esther: I don’t need any help from you though, do I?
Gross Sister: Well, you might. I know a midwife who’s helped women before… women like you, maybe?

A midwife says "That does sound promising."

Meanwhile, Arthur shows Tom his newest idea for Sanditon: a massive, beautiful theater! But as nice as it is, Tom really has turned over a new leaf re: money, and he’s hesitant to make such a big investment. And anyway, they have to jet: it’s time to take Colonel No Service on a tour of the town. Of course, while they’re at it, talk turns to the debt they owe to Sindey’s widow Whatsherface, which necessitates explaining Sidney to their guest.

Tom: I think you two would have had a lot in common.
Arthur, who actually knows what’s going on: Uh, yeah, one thing at least.
Tom, ignoring that: And I think he’d suggest to you that you consider making a permanent barracks here. It could be very beneficial for all parties. If you’re into it, I’d like to show you a location that might suit.
Colonel No Service: Well sure, lead the way!

I sure hope the new location isn’t close to where the guys are currently camping out, because if it is, Georgiana and Hurricane Heywood, who are there scoping out the boys, are in for some trouble with Tom. As they approach, Georgiana offers a pep talk: try to be a bit aloof! Hurricane Heywood, sensible for once, points out that that might be tricky given their incursion into the camp, but there’s no time to argue: they’ve found Captain Loverboy and Jilted sparring with live steel. Captain Loverboy takes a bit of a hit, which gives Hurricane Heywood an opening to thank him for saving her, and for him to ask her to dance at the dinner. Jilted, sick of these shenanigans, puts his foot down: it’s time for the ladies to leave, even if they do think he’s a big ‘ol meanie for saying so.

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, Charlotte has taken her charges out for a nature walk to collect specimens. Fresh air is definitely a good idea, but it does prompt young Leo to complain (quite rightly) about how much easier it would be to just wear trousers.

Charlotte: Hard to argue with that! My mom always says to dress for the task at hand.
Leo: Well my dad would disagree. And since we’re on the subject of mothers, before you ask, I don’t miss mine: dad doesn’t even like it when we say her name though. She died when I was a baby. Can’t miss what you never had!
Charlotte: On the contrary: it’s totally ok and normal to miss things you never had.
Augusta: Yeah, like how you miss the husband you don’t have?

That one, unfortunately, cut a little closer than Augusta intended, but I’m not sure she’s realized it yet. Honestly, hard to be mad at her given the situation, but poor Charlotte! Also hanging out outside? Arthur, whose nice seaside nap is being documented by our resident artist Wannabe Byron. Thankfully for all parties, Arthur is extremely chill, and has no problem with being sketched, especially when he sees how talented Wannabe Byron is.

Wannabe Byron: Aw, thanks! You know who I really want to paint? Your pal Miss Lambe. But she doesn’t like me.
Arthur: She’s just like that.
Wannabe Byron: Not with you! Maybe you can talk me up to her?
Arthur: Yeah, I’d be happy to. And I guess in the meantime you’re stuck with little old me.
Wannabe Byron: Not at all: you’re lovely! You’d do great in Paris TBH.

I fear that we are barrelling towards a romantic misunderstanding here, which would be a downer, but in the meantime I am enjoying this friendship quite a lot. And speaking of budding friendship, it appears that Charlotte may have won over young Leo with this outdoor adventure. Alas, Augusta is still in the enemy camp, and uses her powers to send Leo traipsing into Mystery Dad’s office in search of a magnifying glass, jar of snails in tow. Despite his big speech about the household educational priorities, Mystery Dad is a secret softie, and quickly relinquishes the glass to his kiddo for their lesson. But he isn’t about to let Charlotte off the hook: how is this making his daughter into a lady? Charlotte, of course, pulls out the “widening her knowledge” argument, and he lets it go so quickly I have to assume he might not be quite as invested the “make Leo conform to gender roles” goal as he’s letting on.

No time to speculate: we have a fancy dinner to attend! Everyone is dressed to the nines and ready to party, excepting Charlotte, who’s kind of nervous: the last time she danced here in Sanditon it was with Sidney. Georgiana is supportive, and advocates letting loose a little bit, then drops her friend off with Colonel No Service, who asks how the job is going.

Charlotte, lying through her teeth: Great!
Colonel No Service: You’re usually so honest, what gives?
Charlotte: Ok, you got me: I’ve made inroads with one of my kids, but the other is a tough nut to crack.
Colonel No Service: Well guess what, sister: making inroads is my job. We’ll come up with a strategy together!

Cute! Less cute is Lady D’s outright dismissal of the midwife Esther visited off screen, but at least our matriarch is consistent. Esther, however, has some hope that this might work. Fingers crossed! They both spot Horrible Ed across the room and decide to just ignore him in favor of chatting with the Gal Pals.

Lady D: So, Georgiana, you’re the one leading this sugar thing, right?
Georgiana: And I’m assuming you won’t be participating?
Lady D: There are few enough pleasures in life.
Georgiana: Oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that your life was so hard! Hurricane Heywood, look, it’s Captain Loverboy.

Her escape attempt, however, is short lived: they’re intercepted by Arthur and Wannabe Byron, who gets that talking up Arthur promised earlier. As usual, Georgiana isn’t feeling it (and isn’t going to pretend otherwise) but Arthur is of the opinion that she’s at least warming up to his artist friend. And Arthur’s not about to take chances: when no one is looking, he scurries into the dining room and moves Georgiana’s place card next to Wannabe Byron!

Two men, after some consideration, reluctantly applaud

Across the room, Hurricane Heywood chats up Captain Loverboy by quoting poetry, which is the kind of wildcard move I’ve come to expect from her. He doesn't seem to actually know the poet in question, but pretends to really like his work (a classic move that will almost certainly bite him in the butt later, but is also pretty cute). Before he can get caught out, everyone heads into the dining room, where poor Charlotte has been seated at the sad end of the table with Gross Sister, which Hurricane Heywood, of course, takes as a sign of Charlotte’s ruined social standing. But she doesn’t get a lot of time to worry about her spinster sister, because she’s seated next to Jilted. Of course.

Lest you think Arthur got away with his little switcheroo, Georgiana immediately figures out what he’s up to and gives him a look that would melt ice. Wannabe Byron doesn’t fare much better, but as he’s perfectly willing to bicker with Georgiana, the two embark on a frosty exchange that’s impossible NOT to watch. Arthur, who apparently loves a train wreck, is delighted.

A woman says "Dinner and a show... who could ask for more?"

Meanwhile, Jilted offers to swap places with Captain Loverboy, and then gently ribs Hurricane Heywood for her huge obvious crush on his friend. At the sad end of the table, Gross Priest tells a long circular story about how he thought about joining the army once. And further up, Georgiana and Wannabe Byron are getting a bit political.

Wannabe Byron: So, can’t help but notice that all the other gals are excited about the military and you’re not. Why?
Georgiana: Takes a lot more than a uniform to impress me.
Wannabe Byron: Same. TBH, I find our country’s love of the military a little gross.
Georgiana: And yet you’re here? Hypocritical.
Wannabe Byron: I was bored, what’s your excuse?
Georgiana: I’m a lady, dude: I’m not allowed to be rude, and it’d be rude to decline.
Wannabe Byron: You seemed like someone who doesn’t care about being rude… disappointing.
Georgiana: Well, luckily for me, I don’t care what you think.

Their exchange is interrupted by a toast to the king, and then Wannabe Byron, apparently enjoying the opportunity to make a scene, offers a toast of his own: to Napoleon, a man of vision who cared about ideas and abolished slavery in France WAY before England. As you can imagine, this does not go over well! I can’t find an exact date for when this season takes place, but Britain and France were in a long on-again, off-again war that I’m pretty sure was in an on-again phase. The soldiers in attendance start chanting to kick Wannabe Byron out. Lady D argues he should be allowed to stay since he’s “just an artist” and ultimately Colonel No Service agrees, but he’s NOT happy about it.

Once dinner wraps up, Charlotte finds Georgiana to rap about the whole light treason thing. Georgiana pretends she’s completely horrified, but Charlotte, like me, noticed that G was grudgingly impressed and amused by Wannabe Byron’s antics. Georgiana tries to play it off as a grimace, and then fobs her friend off on Colonel No Service for a dance. But Georgiana isn’t off the hook: soon after, Arthur grabs her for a dance and gossip sesh, which he uses to press his luck: sure, Georgiana *says* she hates Wannabe Byron, but she sure is keeping a watchful eye on him! She correctly points out that he’s pretty dang fascinated with our artist friend too. Hard to argue that! Across the room, Colonel No Service apologizes for seating Charlotte in Antarctica, tells her she’s fabulous, and gives her the promised military advice for governesses: wait until you’re close enough and then attack. Super revelatory, thanks dude!

A man rolls his eyes in disgust

Horrible Ed makes his move, oozing across the dance floor to bother Esther with a creepy reminiscence of their first dance. She, again, walks away to go back to their aunt, who relays all the weird nice things Colonel No Service said about Horrible Ed during dinner. Strange! It’s almost like he’s a different person!

A man incredulously stares directly into the camera and blinks

In the side room, we start to get an inkling for why Colonel No Service might like Horrible Ed: it turns out our upstanding military gentleman is pretty into gambling, and he’s perfectly willing to drag Tom into his game, no matter how much Arthur attempts to reason with his brother. Outside, Georgiana seeks out Wannabe Byron to tell him that she isn’t impressed with his toast (lie) and that no one else was amused (fact). But he doesn’t care: screw society, he’s a bad boy who doesn’t need rules! Is Georgiana cool enough to say the same?

Back inside, Tom, luckily, wins his game of dice, which impresses the Colonel enough to hopefully prevent any future gambling. Hurricane Heywood gushes to Charlotte that she’s trying to be chill around Captain Loverboy but it’s an uphill battle: he’s just so dreamy! Lady D tells Horrible Ed that she’s having his boss over to tea so she can get the dirt on his behavior, and Esther asks him to dance… but not with her. With Gross Priest’s Gross Sister!

Lady D: So… who is this supposed to be embarrassing?
Esther: Neither of them. It’s to make Gross Sister feel nice, because she helped me out, and to see how far Horrible Ed will go to impress us.

Gotta love a strategy that is both doing a nice thing for somebody AND a test for a jerk! Later, as everyone leaves, Wannabe Byron moodily invites Arthur to come back to his place for port (clearly the best party in town, I wanna go), and Hurricane Heywood bids Captain Loverboy good night. Immediately, he scurries over to Jilted to ask for advice: Hurricane Heywood is just so fancy and refined! How is he supposed to impress her? Are we barrelling toward a “Cyrano De Bergerac” moment? I sure hope so! On the way out, Charlotte thanks Colonel No Service for his advice, and mentions the name of her employer, Mystery Dad. Colonel No Service clearly knows who she’s talking about, and won’t give any details, but he doesn’t seem impressed.

A woman says "the plot thickens!"

The next day, Mary takes Georgiana for a walk on the beach to ask if she’d seen anything she liked at the ball last night.

Georgiana, accidentally telling on herself: Unlike SOME people, I don't swoon over soldiers.
Mary: Yeah but you weren’t sitting next to a soldier, were you?
Georgiana: I haven’t changed my mind about him! Not at all! And look, I don’t want to talk about marriage anymore: if anyone asks to go out with me, tell them no, ok? If I get married it’ll be on my own terms.

Here for it! Over at Lady D’s house, Colonel No Service has arrived with Horrible Ed in tow to come look at Lady D’s husband’s military medals, which Horrible Ed has claimed to be interested in.

Lady D, ZING: He has always been interested in FAMILY STUFF.
Colonel No Service, didn’t see season 1 and has no idea what that means: Makes sense! He’s our star guy! Look, I know things have been strained between you all, but he’s talked about reconnecting with you and he’s very sincere.
Lady D: Great. Let’s go look at the painting, Colonel. You two behave yourselves.

Unlikely! And speaking of which, Augusta is yet again rebuffing Charlotte’s attempt at friendship by calling her provincial and unloveable.

Charlotte, done with this nonsense: Look, I have been in love before. We weren’t able to be together, and he’s dead now. You and I may seem different, but I know what it means to grieve.
Augusta: We’re not alike at all.
Charlotte: Just tell me something about your parents, huh? A nice memory?
Augusta: I used to play for them… and we’d sing and laugh. Maybe I can play for you: we could unlock my aunt’s spinet piano!
Charlotte: Yeah, I’d like that!

Calling it now: this kid is 100% playing Charlotte like a fiddle, and this is not going to end well. Much like the conversation between Esther and Horrible Ed, who’s once again trying to convince his sister that he’s reformed. She’s changed; isn’t it possible that he has as well?

A man yells "I don't like it!" repeatedly

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, the girls head into the parlor to unlock the piano. Do the heavy layer of dust, the boarded up windows, or the complete lack of tuning on the instrument clue Charlotte in? No, because she’s still a pure-hearted sweetie. Augusta asks her governess to play for her, and of course, feeling like she’s made an inroad, Charlotte is happy to oblige. And then, just as I predicted, disaster strikes: Mystery Dad arrives on the scene, clearly very upset: the piano is locked for a reason! He correctly blames Augusta, but Charlotte covers for her, and that might have been ok, but at this very moment Leo blasts into the room in short pants with her sword held aloft. Charlotte said it was ok! A woman can be whatever she wants! Mystery Dad, naturally, isn’t impressed, and tells Charlotte that she’s just as bad as previous governesses.

Charlotte: Uh, no I’m not. You told me I’m here to educate them, but you’re gonna learn today: Leo basically has no parents in her life because of how you behave, and Augusta could be a super cool grownup if she had anyone to talk to instead of being stifled by this gloomy tomb of a home. You might fire me, but at least I had my say.

And TBH I have to give it up for Mystery Dad, because instead of canning Charlotte, he’s impressed. And he’s not the only one: outside, Augusta tracks Charlotte down and asks why she covered for her back there.

Charlotte: Look, I know you wanted me gone, but you know there would just be another person to replace me, right?
Augusta: My whole life has been replaced against my will; what’s one more replaceable person?
Charlotte: You’ll have to make a new life then; that’s what I’m trying to do.
Augusta: I didn’t actually lie: I did play for my parents.
Charlotte: Well ok then: we need to get you access to that piano going forward so you can make more happy memories.

Tentative truce reached, Charlotte heads home, and surprisingly that wasn’t the most dramatic thing that’s going to happen this episode. Because back at Lady D’s house, guess who’s lurking in the foyer? It’s Clara. She’s pregnant. And the father is none other than Horrible Ed.

A gif of the viral video of a groundhog dramatically turning around to music that goes "Dun Dun DUN!"

Will Lady D and Esther take pity on Clara? Is this all part of an elaborate ruse concocted with Horrible Ed? Who can we trust?? We’ll just have to wait for next week for more answers!

Episode 1 recap: guess who's back