Well, reader, last week dropped us off in a decidedly less idyllic version of Sanditon than we’ve visited in the past, culminating with some absolutely atrocious garbage from the unfortunately returned Wannabe Byron. How will our friends deal with this latest nonsense? Charlotte, who is after all very ride or die for Georgiana, has naturally decided to stay on in Sanditon until the legal issues are resolved. Boring Ralph, however, has some boring farm stuff to get back to, so his only onscreen presence is an admittedly sweet letter. Bad idea, pal: with you gone, Charlotte has a lot more time to exchange yearning glances with Mystery Dad!

But not yet. First, we hang out with Arthur, who’s setting up the center of town for a fancy concert, which will apparently be attended by the new king. Lady Susan, who happens to be passing by, stops for a chat, and ends up getting called into service as a consultant of sorts for the production.

Arthur: Ok, so here’s the plan: famous soprano from the US.
Lady Susan: Genius.
Arthur: Bagpipes!
Lady Susan: Less genius.
Arthur: Hm. Violin, then.
Lady Susan: Perfect!

I don’t know what Arthur is so worried about: of all the Parker boys, he’s the only one who’s exhibited a natural talent for the work he’s taken on in Sanditon. That party for Georgiana looked cool as hell, before Wannabe Byron ruined everything. Speaking of whom, across town, Mary and Tom discuss how they can help defend Georgiana from said dastardly jackass. Unfortunately, it’s looking grim: they’ve approached a lot of lawyers, and all of them have turned Georgiana down. Why? Because the judge appointed to hear the case is a nasty old racist who won’t ever be convinced, even though we know Georgiana is in the right.

While they worry, Gross Priest isn’t nearly worried enough. He’s convinced that he’s fixed Horrible Ed’s horribleness, falling for the cad’s request that he get the afternoon off so he can write a poem meditating on his wrongs. First of all, I hardly think that requires an afternoon. I wrote this in less than a minute!

There once was a fellow named Ed
Whose presence did everyone dread
He sucked quite a lot
You should’ve let him rot
We’d be happier if he was dead

And secondly, the idea that Horrible Ed would ever put pen to paper to do anything other than scheme is laughable at best! And now he’s loose in town to cause mischief? Terrible! While he scampers off to do crime, probably, Charlotte checks in on Georgiana at the tea house. Unfortunately, Georgiana isn’t doing great: Wannabe Byron is nothing if not tenacious, and she’s worried that the lawyers must know something she doesn’t about their enemy’s evidence: otherwise, why not take the case?

Charlotte: We need to delay this trial. That’ll give Tom time to find out what the heck Wannabe Byron was up to in Antigua. If he’s hiding something to try and surprise us, it’ll be a lie.
Georgiana: He sure did lie to me a lot.
Charlotte: I promise: we are going to expose him for the piece of crap creep he is.
Georgiana: If I lose my inheritance, I lose everything: without it I’ll never be able to find my mom.

But before we can get into that any further, a tiny voice calls out to Charlotte. It’s Leo, who quickly deduces that if Charlotte is still here, she must be staying in Sanditon permanently. Naturally, Leo isn’t alone: enter Mystery Dad.

Mystery Dad: Sorry to bother you; she wasn’t expecting to see you here, and obviously can’t play it cool, unlike the rest of us who are handling this great.
Charlotte: I’m always happy to see Leo and Augusta. Don’t apologize.
Mystery Dad: Ok, I won’t! Bye, enjoy your tea!
Charlotte and Mystery Dad:

A woman says "What is happening?!"

Charlotte, to Georgiana: Ok, I’m staying in town. I can’t leave you before this horrible nonsense is sorted out! I won’t believe there isn’t a single lawyer who’ll support you. You should write a letter explaining all of it.
Georgiana: To send to whom?
Charlotte: The newspaper! That’s right, Georgiana, we’re going to do the classic period drama move of publishing a pamphlet about our enemies. Get pumped!
Georgiana: I’d win if you were my lawyer!

Reader, we’re not the only ones listening to this convo. Mystery Dad can’t help overhearing either, and seems intrigued by the whole situation. Hopefully he has a way to help out! In the meantime, we head over to the lodgings of our new titled friends. Merciless Mama, who’s got her eye on the prize, has already heard the news about the lawsuit, and tells Dastardly Duke he should probably move on to greener pastures.

Dastardly Duke: Couldn’t do it! If those rumors are even true, I couldn’t abandon her now, that’d be rude!
Merciless Mama:

A man furiously yells "seriously?"

Look, she’s going to lose that case, haven’t I taught you anything?
Snarky Sister, channelling a PSA from the 1980s: You taught us everything, how do you think we ended up like this? We learned it from watching YOU!
Merciless Mama: Can’t tell if that was shady or not, but at least you’re working hard to lock down Mystery Dad.
Snarky Sister: Yup, I’m going riding with him today.
Dastardly Duke: Well I’m going for a walk. Maybe I’ll even visit Georgiana!

Perfection. Hey, speaking of Mystery Dad, he and the girls are leaving the tea house when Augusta “leaves a glove behind” and needs to “go fetch it and then come find them later.” Reader, you know as well as I do that she left that glove on purpose, and it was all so she could meet up with Horrible Ed.

A man let's out a horrified yell of "Why?!"

Horrible Ed: Wow, how lucky to run into each other!
Augusta: Yes, lucky, because I definitely didn’t see you lurking in the window for the last half hour. What’s up?
Horrible Ed: I need a favor. Can I get your opinion on something I care about?
Augusta: So, money? Status?
Horrible Ed: Poetry!

Marcia Brady sarcastically says "Sure, Jan."

Horrible Ed: I’m serious! I’m writing one, and I know you’re a big fan.
Augusta: Of good poetry. I expect yours will be bad.
Horrible Ed: Guess I better prove you wrong.

Look, everything Augusta SAID implied that she thinks Horrible Ed is a toad, but I regret to inform you that it was all delivered with an undeniably flirty tone.

A woman laughs and then her face falls and she says "oh, this is bad."

Meanwhile, across town, Dastardly Duke happens upon Arthur and attempts to make conversation, only to get thoroughly snubbed.

Dastardly Duke: Sorry, did I do something to bother you?
Arthur: I think about you so infrequently I’m not even sure what you could be talking about.
Dastardly Duke, in the time honored tradition of the men on this show liking a mean love interest: Oooh ok! Well, I was hoping to visit Georgiana today, is she seeing people?
Arthur: As you are well aware, she’s got actually important things to deal with.
Dastardly Duke: More important than LOVE?
Arthur: Nothing would be more important than real love, but you and I both know it’s not. Anyway, toodles, I need to go prepare for the arrival of the king and my soprano.
Dastardly Duke: Oh, you got her? Well done! The king will be super excited.
Arthur: Thanks. Bye!

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, Mystery Dad is leaving in a hurry: heading off to London, hopefully for only a day, and not explaining anything to Mrs. W OR Augusta, which is also pretty weird. Let’s hope he’s off to fetch a friendly lawyer! Meanwhile, at the church, Horrible Ed is actually toiling away at that poem he keeps threatening to write, and muttering to himself about how it’s bad: Augusta clearly got in his head. Good! He’s literally banging his head against the wall when Single And Loving It appears.

Horrible Ed: Hey, you ok?
Single And Loving It: Fine! Just looking for any letters that might have come from a certain doctor. I hear you’re writing poetry?
Horrible Ed: Trying! Failing!
Single And Loving It: Maybe you’re focusing too hard on what you think you SHOULD be saying, and not what you actually feel. Speak from the heart!

Not bad advice, and Horrible Ed seems charmed, but he’s such a liar pants I can never trust him, and I don’t think anyone else should either. Sorry!

Across town, Mary pops in to say goodbye to Tom and Rolly Price on her way to visit Former Maid/Charlotte’s object lesson in the perils of marrying a normal person.

Tom: We’re looking for the best place for the new hotel. Want to weigh in before you go?
Mary: Yeah. Put it here — the views would be perfect.
Rolly Price: Good call! Why didn’t we think of that?
Tom: My wife is amazing, right?
Mary: Well I better go before I get too vain. Bye!
Rolly Price, pulling a full Regina George: Look, now that she’s gone, let’s make fun of how bad of an idea it is to put the hotel on a hill!
Tom: But the view!
Rolly Price: It’d be a huge pain in the butt to get up there!
Tom: Ugh, and I’ll be honest, this is all pointless anyway. For some reason Lady D won’t let me work with you! And she’s a real stick in the mud, so I don’t think she’ll reconsider!
Rolly Price:

A man confidently says "challenge accepted"

Over at Thornfield By The Sea, Snarky Sister and Merciless Mama have rolled up for Snarky Sister’s riding time with Mystery Dad.

Augusta: Ugh, them. So transparently here to try and hook your dad, Leo.
Leo: Ew.
Augusta: Mystery Dad must have forgotten to cancel. Let’s ruin their day, huh? Hello, visitors, what’s up?
Merciless Mama: We’re here to see your uncle.
Augusta: Bummer, man, he’s not here.
Leo, brandishing a wooden sword: GAHHHH
Merciless Mama:

In the famous moment from Home Alone, a little boy smacks his cheeks and screams

Yikes. Sensible older child, when does Mystery Dad return?
Augusta: No clue! He does this all the time.
Leo: Constantly abandoning us, and he never says when he’ll be back!
Augusta: Poor Leo! Such a terrible papa!
Snarky Sister, knows exactly what’s going on: Yes, terrible ;)
Merciless Mama: Ugh, don’t encourage them. Let’s go.

Fair enough. Did you wonder where Mystery Dad went off to? We’re about to find out: he’s tracked down a fun-loving gentleman who a) tries to get our pal to come drinking with him, b) reveals they haven’t seen each other in a decade, and c) refers to Mystery Dad as Xander, which:

The character Xander from Buffy The Vampire Slayer says "we're doomed" and everyone laughs

Anyway, Mystery Dad doesn’t give us time to figure out who the stranger is: they have to go to Sanditon! Right now! While they, presumably, ride through the night, our friends by the sea go about their business. Georgiana writes her pamphlet. Rolly Price rocks up to Lady D’s house in an effort to (unsuccessfully) woo her to his cause.

Lady D: You’re just full of empty promises; always have been. You might have forgotten, but I didn’t.
Rolly Price: That was almost 50 years ago! We were kids! Get over it.
Me, annoyed to have to be in Lady D’s corner on this, andremembering the rich hottie who kept her on the hook back in the day that she told us about way back in season 1:

A man says "I will find you, and I will kill you."

Rolly Price, ignoring me: It’ll be amazing! Fancy hotel! So much profit!
Lady D: You’ve always been greedy, that’s why you dumped me for that rich girl!
Rolly Price: Ugh, rude! You dumped ME! I still remember waiting in the sunlit hall for you!
Lady D: You’re ridiculous and full of it! It was pouring, and I was the one waiting for you! Maybe I was lucky to escape.
Rolly Price: Fine, I’ll go build my hotel somewhere else.
Lady D: Absolutely not. You’ll build it right here, and I’ll have a big share of the profits.
Rolly Price, got what he wanted: Excellent. You’ve always been smart and stubborn.
Lady D: Sure have! Now go away.

Over at Thornfield By The Sea, Mystery Dad and Mystery Guest arrive. Mrs. W knows who he is (and apologizes for not somehow reading Mystery Dad’s mind and making up the guest room), but Augusta and Leo do not, which naturally leads to them accosting him with a sword (Leo) and snark (Augusta).

Mystery Guest: What’s up, kiddies, I’m your infamous Fun Uncle Sam.
Leo: What’s infamous mean?
Fun Uncle Sam: Famous, but in a much cooler and more dangerous way.

And then he does a kickflip and skateboards out of there (metaphorically, of course). This should be good! On a much more serious note, at the Parkers, Georgiana reads her pamphlet out for Mary and Charlotte, who both look just as horrified by the emotional damage Georgiana is clearly taking on to write the damn thing in the first place as they are by Wannabe Byron’s behavior. Despite this, she carries on reading her very persuasive letter until they’re interrupted by Mystery Dad, who’s brought Fun Uncle Sam along. See, it turns out that Fun Uncle Sam is also a lawyer, and more importantly, a lawyer who is sympathetic to Georgiana’s cause.

Mary: Just to be clear, you know how crappy the guy who’s supposed to hear this case is, right?
Fun Uncle Sam: He has no right to be biased; the law is supposed to be just.
Georgiana: I hope you actually think that… but just know my life isn’t a fun diversion for you.
Me, has also seen Georgiana get jerked around by an escalatingly crappy series of men: Hear hear!
Fun Uncle Sam: No, I promise: if I work for you it’ll be because I think you can and should win.
Georgiana: Great. Fill me in on the plan and I’ll make a call.
Fun Uncle Sam: Fair enough; come to Thornfield By The Sea later today and we can go over everything.
Charlotte and Mystery Dad:

A couple, overcome with romantic tension, and slowly circle each other on a dance floor while making heavy eye contact

While the actual adults are away, another visitor drops by Thornfield By The Sea. Yes, it’s Horrible Ed, and I think Leo speaks for us all with her anguished “not him again!”

Augusta: Oh, right, you were going to bring me a poem.
Horrible Ed: Actually I’m here to apologize for not having one. It was terrible, just as you suspected.
Augusta: Great, so there’s no reason for you to be here.
Horrible Ed: No way! I want your opinion on other stuff too!
Augusta: Seriously bro? Do you think I’m a dummy? I know you only suddenly seemed keen on me when you realized I’m about to get some cash.
Horrible Ed: Uh. No, I don’t think you’re dumb.
Augusta: Great. Then lay off the fake flattery.
Me, at Horrible Ed:

A man says "You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!"

I’d feel even better about this if I didn’t think she said all of that in a super flirty tone, but I’ll take what I can get. Also taking what she can get? Single And Loving It, whose nice afternoon is interrupted by Gross Priest.

Gross Priest: You got a letter from London! Isn’t Dr. Fuchs in London?
Single And Loving It, keeping it remarkably cool: Oh, he is, isn’t he? But he wouldn’t write to me! I certainly did not specifically request it!
Gross Priest: Ok, well, here’s your letter. I’ll just sit here while you read it.
Single And Loving It: I’ll read it later. Can’t be urgent. Anyway, let’s change the subject: Horrible Ed’s really had a change, huh? It’s like he’s battling for his soul!
Gross Priest: Thank you! I really did do a good job on him; I am the best. Anyway, I’ll leave now. Coming with?
Single And Loving It: Mmmmmm no. I’ll just sit here for a while outside. No big deal!

Obviously, the second he leaves she immediately reads the letter, which is pretty charming. Looks like someone’s cruising for an unprecedented SECOND recap name change! Our friend isn’t the only one to get a letter: across town, Arthur’s preparations for the fancy fete are interrupted by a delivery. Alas, his letter is a lot less fun: the king won’t be coming after all. Why? Well at the tea shop, we get some gossip on the subject from Merciless Mama. Apparently, the king has a new girlfriend, who ISN’T Lady Susan.

The grinch says "Hate, hate, hate... Double hate! Loathe entirely!"

Merciless Mama: Yeah, everyone’s talking about it! I feel so bad for Lady Susan!

Reader, she absolutely does not, and both of her kids give even harder side-eye than usual. Across the room, Arthur makes a beeline for Lady Susan’s table. Can he join her?

Lady Susan: Of course?
Arthur: Such terrible news, right? That the king isn’t coming to the concert anymore?
Lady Susan, a tiny crack in her impressive facade peaking through: Oh, yes. That. Terrible. I had heard. I’m sorry. I’m sure he found something new to entertain himself.
Arthur: You have to help me! You’re the only one who can!
Lady Susan: I’m so sorry… I don’t have the king’s attention anymore. Can’t do anything about it though!

Lady Susan? Sad. Arthur? Sad and panicking. Dastardly Duke? Watching the whole thing and actually looking like he feels bad for them! Maybe he does have hidden depths after all!

Meanwhile, Rolly Price gleefully explains his proposed hotel location to Tom. It’s perfect! Right by the ocean!

Tom: Uh, great, but wouldn’t we have to knock down all the fishermen’s houses to do that? Including the one my wife literally just went to go visit?
Rolly Price: Who cares? That’s capitalism, baby. This will be your legacy! You have to have a fancy place for the king to stay; he’ll be a frequent visitor for sure after he sees tonight’s concert.

Ruh roh. While Tom appears about to fall for another easy win that will actually be really hard and bad, Dastardly Duke tracks down Arthur to see how he’s doing.

Dastardly Duke: You seem… down?

A small child says "I'm fine" and then immediately starts crying

Dastardly Duke: Ok, so a disaster has happened. And I’m assuming it’s to do with the king, since you were talking to Lady Susan. Maybe the rumor about his new mistress?
Arthur, just hearing said rumor for the first time: Oh no. Poor Lady Susan! Yeah, the king isn’t coming. Today, or probably ever.
Dastardly Duke: That would be upsetting. You worked super hard.
Arthur: It’s worse than that! The singer won’t perform, I’ll be laughed at, Tom will be humiliated, AND this was expensive!!
Dastardly Duke: Come on, we’ll figure something out! For instance, why does the singer have to know the king isn’t here?
Arthur: It’ll be pretty hard for her to miss the EMPTY THRONE she’ll be signing to??
Dastardly Duke: You’re forgetting one thing: she’s an American! And an artsy one, at that! We’ll give her the ol’ razzle dazzle and she’ll be none the wiser!

Honestly, I hate to say it, but as an artsy American… this will probably work. Later that afternoon, Charlotte and Georgiana turn up at Thornfield By The Sea for their meeting with Fun Uncle Sam. Here’s the thing: this is obviously a super serious situation, but for the first time this episode, Georgiana has some pep back in her step! A worthy opponent? Someone who might underestimate her, who she can prove very wrong? That’s her sweet spot! She’s escorted off for a private chat with Fun Uncle Sam, leaving Charlotte in the entryway with Mystery Dad so they can both pretend they’re just former coworkers who never ever played tonsil hockey.

Fun Uncle Sam: Ok here goes: you need to be totally honest with me.
Georgiana: Cool. The truth is a known quantity, and I have nothing to be afraid of.

While they get down to it, Arthur greets our singer, who is wearing an absolutely delightful hat.

Arthur: Miss Greenhorn! So happy to have you here; I know you’ve performed in much fancier places.
Miss Greenhorn: Sure have, and your little town is very out of the way, but a chance to sing for the king? As a Black woman? That’d be a first for both of us, and a pretty big deal.
Dastardly Duke, wearing a completely bonkers outfit, not giving Arthur a chance to say anything: Hellloooo! ‘Tis I, a duke! I know the king knows a ton about classical music, can’t wait to introduce you to him later!
Arthur, desperately trying not to lose it: Well, great! Let’s get you to your room, Miss Greenhorn!
Miss Greenhorn: Thanks! Hope you like the show, random duke!

Dastardly Duke seems pretty pleased with himself for someone who just escalated a tricky situation even further, and Arthur, rightly, storms off.

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, Fun Uncle Sam starts asking some super rough questions. For example: does Georgiana live alone so she can entertain gentlemen type visitors?

Georgiana: Gross, and no!
Fun Uncle Sam: Why aren’t you married yet?
Georgiana: None of the options were good enough!
Fun Uncle Sam: So you’ve had multiple romantic moments with multiple men!!
Georgiana: Nothing inappropriate! This is PBS, after all!
Fun Uncle Sam: I think we all remember season 1, pal. Anyway, you live alone, how would we know?
Georgiana: Because I said so!
Fun Uncle Sam: You have a reputation! For rabble rousing! Also you speak out about slavery, but your whole fortune comes from slavery AND that’s how your parents met! Without slavery you would not exist!
Georgiana: YIKES DUDE
Fun Uncle Sam: Oh, I’m not done yet! I’m also gonna make a dig at your mom for “seducing” your dad; very harlot-y of her!
Georgiana: STOP!
Fun Uncle Sam, suddenly deescalating: I’m sorry! Seriously. But this is necessary: you need to be ready to hear some real garbage like what I just said. Wannabe Byron wouldn’t be trying this if he didn’t have something compelling, and the opposition will be merciless. You’re going to need every bit of strength and character you have to endure it.

Am I glad he doesn’t actually think that stuff? 100%! Was that still horrible to watch, and surely much more horrible for Georgiana to endure? Very much so. Really wish people would just leave her alone so she could be fabulous in peace!

Meanwhile, in the parlor, Mystery Dad and Charlotte continue to be very awkward. Wasn’t she leaving after the party, he wonders?

Charlotte: No, weirdo, I’m a good friend: I stayed for Georgiana!
Mystery Dad: And what about Boring Ralph?
Charlotte: He had to go back to the farm.
Mystery Dad, desperately trying to be polite and barely succeeding: Oh, a farmer! Just like me!

That’s laughable, so Charlotte does, and then says that Boring Ralph is nothing like Mystery Dad, which, duh. She continues the weird small talk with an inquiry into their trip to Bath (pleasant).

Charlotte: Just like my trip back home. I mean, no, it was more than pleasant, I guess, I did get engaged, after all…

Flustered, she drops her glove on the ground, which obviously he picks up so he can hand it back to her and they can both weirdly clutch onto it like it’s symbolic of their almost-relationship from last season. They do a little more of this, while they’re at it:

A couple, overcome with romantic tension, and slowly circle each other on a dance floor while making heavy eye contact

Mystery Dad: Anyway, the kids talk about you all the time. They miss you.
Charlotte: Do they?
Mystery Dad: A lot.

Guys, I don’t think we’re talking about the kids anymore. Before we can dig into that further, however, Georgiana leaves her appointment, and explains that Fun Uncle Sam really illustrated how much the trial would suck; she’s not sure she can handle it. Georgiana heads outside, but before Charlotte can follow her, Fun Uncle Sam pulls her aside.

Fun Uncle Sam: The trial will happen in two days whether she’s there or not. And if she doesn’t defend herself, she definitely will not win.
Charlotte: Ok, don’t leave until tomorrow. I’ll try and talk her into it.
Mystery Dad, watching the two women leave: Don’t underestimate Charlotte: she dealt with my hellion children, and me, don’t forget. Now go back inside so I can gaze wistfully after her.
Fun Uncle Sam: Ok, weirdo.

Indeed. Across town, Horrible Ed is once again attempting to write something. Doesn’t he know that the position of crappy man doing his best to channel Lord Byron has already been filled?? While he dredges up something awful, probably, at the Parker house, Mary has wisely pointed out to Tom that he can’t just build on people’s houses. That would be wrong!

Tom, as always, full of it: Oh don’t worry, I told him we couldn’t build there. But even if I hadn’t —
Me: You didn’t.
Tom: — it wouldn’t matter. Lady D will never let us work with Rolly Price! Don’t worry about it, let’s go support Georgiana.

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, Mystery Dad passes Fun Uncle Sam some port and sits down for a fun brotherly chat. Will Fun Uncle Sam be heading back to the city if Georgiana won’t hire him?

Fun Uncle Sam: I think I might stick around for a while. Sanditon’s more fun than it used to be! If you’re ok with me staying, that is.
Mystery Dad: Of course I am, weirdo.
Fun Uncle Sam: Then let’s have a shooting party! Bring this old pile back to life!
Mystery Dad: Uh, you hated those parties?? But sure. I could introduce Augusta to husband-grade men.
Fun Uncle Sam, watching Augusta receive and read a letter outside the window where she thinks no one will notice: Mhm, and why are you picking her husband instead of letting her find one for herself?
Mystery Dad, pulling the classic period drama elder brother move: You can’t talk to me about duty, bro.
Fun Uncle Sam: Fair enough! Hey, should we talk about the thing where you came to London, a city you hate, to talk to me, a person you clearly dislike, because of a girl? I think we should.
Mystery Dad, lying through his teeth: Charlotte’s just a former employee. Drop it.
Fun Uncle Sam: LMAO, guy, I was talking about Miss Lambe.

A man says "kaboom! you've been lawyered."

Lucky for Mystery Dad, Augusta arrives just then and saves his butt. She claims to have a headache and asks to stay at home rather than going to the recital later, and Mystery Dad happily obliges. Fun Uncle Sam, who, after all, got that recap name for a reason, obviously knows what’s up, and looks over at his brother like “are you seeing this?” Reader, Mystery Dad is not seeing a damn thing.

A man grimaces

Across town, Dastardly Duke seems happy with how his scheme is going so far, but Arthur definitely does not.

Dastardly Duke: Let’s just tell her that the king will be here late. Once she hears the amazing applause, she won’t care as much that he wasn’t here.
Arthur: … nope, can’t do it. I can’t lie, especially to an artist!

He heads off to talk to Miss Greenhorn, followed by a very reluctant duke.

Miss Greenhorn: Everything all set?
Arthur: As all set as it can be? Also, you look amazing. We’re honored.
Miss Greenhorn: I’ve had some help there. And thank you for the flowers, they’re beautiful.
Arthur, ripping off the bandaid: Look, I have to tell you: the king won’t be here tonight after all. He apologizes, but urgent royal duties have taken precedence.
Miss Greenhorn, disappointed: That’s nice of you to say, but I doubt it. I have one question, and I need you to not lie to me. Was he ever coming?
Arthur, horrified: Yes!
Dastardly Duke: He wasn’t trying to trick you, Miss Greenhorn. Arthur can’t lie. The king let him down, and it was my idea to try and hide it from you.
Miss Greenhorn: Now THAT I believe.
Arthur: I’ll pay you, even if you don’t perform.
Miss Greenhorn: If I cancel on you, you’ll lose a ton of money; it’d be rude of me to do that. I’m just sorry your king missed out on my performance! Now please excuse me, I need to get ready.

That went a lot better than I worried it might, not gonna lie. Outside, Dastardly Duke and Arthur bask in their success.

Dastardly Duke: I’m on to you, you know: you said you knew artists. Clearly you realized that once Miss Greenhorn sensed her audience, she wouldn’t miss the opportunity to perform.
Arthur: It all worked out, as you suggested. I wasn’t sure it would; I misjudged you.

Reader, do I detect a few tiny lil sparks flying between these two? I hope so — I’m here for it! Two seasons of Arthur being stuck as everyone’s underappreciated third wheel? Preposterous.

Back at the Parker house, Charlotte gives Georgiana a pep talk.

Charlotte: Look, if you really don’t want to go, I’ll support you. But who cares what those miserable racists think of you; we know who you really are. I think you should put on your nicest dress and go show ‘em all who’s boss.

Given that this trial is happening whether Georgiana goes or not, I’m inclined to agree with Charlotte on this one. But since Georgiana is the one who’s going to have to sit through a bunch of horrible questions, and not the rest of us, we support whatever she picks!

Later, at the concert, Lady D rolls up to Tom to inform him that despite what she said earlier, she’s actually totally fine with working with Rolly Price. Great with it, actually.


A woman exclaims "Wait, what?"

Lady D: Oh, Rolly Price and I talked, and I’m now 100% on board with his super good ideas, including the hotel placement. We’re gonna get so rich!

There’s not much else to say to that, so Tom shakes Rolly Prices’ hand and wanders off. Across the crowd, Fun Uncle Sam continues his campaign of trolling his brother.

Fun Uncle Sam: Who are you looking for?
Mystery Dad: Why are you so obsessed with what I’m up to! Keep your eyes to yourself!

I will turn this car around, boys, see if I won’t! They’re interrupted by Merciless Mama and Snarky Sister, who not so subtly convey the facts that a) Mystery Dad totally flaked on their horse riding date and b) both of his kids were total nightmares about it.

Mystery Dad: Yikes, I am so sorry. Urgent business came up.
Merciless Mama: No problem! As long as we can come back another time.
Mystery Dad, totally missing the matchmaking gleam in her eye, possibly because he just got super distracted when Charlotte walked in: Uh, sure?
Fun Uncle Sam, rapidly becoming my favorite character: Oh, look, Charlotte’s here. Bye!

He scampers off to talk to Charlotte about Georgiana, who’s just left to tell her fake boyfriend Dastardly Duke what the deal is vis a vis her trial. And what is the deal?

Charlotte: Well, she was willing to come out to this concert, which is a big deal.
Fun Uncle Sam: And will she fight her case?
Charlotte: She hasn’t agreed yet, but I’m still trying.

Info shared, Charlotte heads over to comfort Lady Susan, who looks pretty great despite her heartache.

Lady Susan: Look, Charlotte, this is what men do. They get older, and there’s always a new woman to make them feel young.
Charlotte, about to commit some light treason: Well, he’s the king, but if he were here, I’d give him a talking to.
Lady Susan: You’re a swell gal, you know that right?
Charlotte: You’re going to find someone good enough for you, I know it.
Lady Susan: Like you did? Can I give you some advice? If Boring Ralph really is the person who makes you truly happy, you should go be with him.
Charlotte: Georgiana needs me!
Lady Susan: I’m sure she does. But you should also also think about whether she’s maybe an excuse for you to stay here instead of going home to settle.

A man shakes his head no, and then appears to reconsider, nods

While Lady Susan blows Charlotte's mind with that very good advice, some very dumb behavior is happening across town, where Horrible Ed waits to chat with Augusta. UNCHAPERONED!

Horrible Ed: You got my note!
Augusta: Duh. Don’t assume it’s because I was so excited to see you; I just didn’t want to get introduced to even more boring men by my uncle. So what was so important?
Horrible Ed: I had to take you for a walk!

Reader, if Horrible Ed actually has become this sincere I might like that even less than when he’s being horrible. Speaking of horrible, at the concert, Rolly Price asks Lady D how long they’ll be stuck at this event.

Lady D: A few hours. If you die I’ll have someone drag your body away, don’t worry.
Rolly Price: Dang, I forgot how funny you are. Not marrying you was the biggest mistake of my life.

Two women make faces that say "Hmmm maybe?"

Before Lady D can respond to that, however, Arthur takes the stage. Realizing the show is about to start, all the stragglers run for empty seats. The stragglers? Charlotte and Mystery Dad, who accidentally end up sitting in a row by themselves, and being super weird about it as usual. On stage, Miss Greenhorn makes her entrance, and explains the whole situation re: the king flaking on everyone.

Miss Greenhorn: I know Arthur is worried that I’ll feel let down, but I promise I don’t. Singing is my calling, and I am proud to perform for all of you tonight. I dedicate this performance to any ladies suffering heartbreak: I hope the song gives you strength and comfort.
Literally all of our lady characters: 🥲

She sings. It’s beautiful. Everyone takes the opportunity to awkwardly look longingly at each other. 10 out of 10, very cinematic. Charlotte and Mystery Dad do the thing where you let your fingers brush your seatmate’s hand because you want to grab it more than life itself but don’t dare. It’s… extremely tense. The second the song ends, however, Charlotte seems to realize what she’s been doing, and jumps to her feet to give Miss Greenhorn a standing ovation. At the back of the crowd, Dastardly Duke congratulates Arthur, who gives his new friend permission to go by first names only (ooooh). Fun Uncle Sam sidles over to Lady Susan, who looks rather the worse for wear.

Fun Uncle Sam: Enjoyed the show?
Lady Susan, lying through her teeth: SO much.
Fun Uncle Sam: Same. Nice to meet you, btw.
Lady Susan: Sure. I’m assuming you heard the gossip about me, and are here to be crappy about it?
Fun Uncle Sam: Oh, I don’t listen to gossip. I’d rather figure folks out for myself… and there’s just so very much to figure out here in Sanditon, isn’t there?
Georgiana, bolstered by the performance, and joining the convo: Hey, bud: when do we leave for the trial?

Hell yeah! They talk over the details, and, of course, Charlotte will be going along too, something very much noted by Lady Susan. Will this trip to London go better for everyone than the one way back in season 1? Only one way to find out: watch episode 3 next week!