All right, pals, let’s get right down to business: this week we’re heading off to London, where hopefully we’ll see Georgiana destroy Wannabe Byron’s attempt to shamefully make off with her inheritance. Going along with her? Charlotte and Mary, the latter helpfully pointing out in the carriage that they all owe Mystery Dad a debt for bringing his lawyer brother to town.


A woman makes an uncomfortable face

Speaking of Mystery Dad, he’s back at Thornfield By The Sea, fielding questions about his brother from wee Leo.

Leo: So, his whole job is to argue? And if he does a bad job Georgiana loses all her money?
Mystery Dad: Yes, and, unfortunately, yes. Augusta, what’s up with you today? You seem out of it.
Augusta: Oh, I’m just worried about Georgiana.

A woman yells "liar!" and prepares to throw a box of chocolates

Mystery Dad buys the lie, naturally, which may be partly due to Mrs. W entering and informing him that he did indeed agree to throw a shooting party, and since the invitations have been sent out, he now needs to actually get off his aristocratic butt and plan the thing.

Mystery Dad, a broken record: On the plus side, if I have to suffer, at least there will be eligible men around for you, Augusta.

A man says "greaaaaat." sarcastically

Leo, committed to the bit: What about Charlotte, will she come?
Mystery Dad: She’ll probably go home after the trial so she can marry Boring Ralph. It’s fine! I’m fine!

The girls don’t buy it, and neither do I, but what are you gonna do? (Bust up the wedding and steal the bride, obviously, but I guess we’ll probably have to wait at least another episode for that to happen). Anyway, while he sulks about his objectively pretty good life, Lady D gloats to Horrible Ed over breakfast: Georgiana might lose all of her money! Wouldn’t THAT be something!

Horrible Ed: Yes, I can tell how sorry you are.
Lady D: I can sympathize, actually: I know how annoying it is to have grasping poor relations lurking around to steal your money.
Horrible Ed, salty: Ah, but I’ve changed and grown as a person, all thanks to you!
Lady D: I don’t think men can change, actually, but go off I guess.

I’m glad SOMEONE is still out here refusing to believe Horrible Ed has turned a corner, I’ll tell you that much. Meanwhile, Merciless Mama is having a similar reaction to Lady D (kinda tracks, since they’re both wealthy women of a certain age) but with an added splash of “we’re going to be ruined by association” that gets, rightfully, mocked by her daughter.

Merciless Mama: I’m ignoring you. Dastardly, you better start looking for another lady, just in case.
Snarky Sister: As if; he’s determined!
Dastardly Duke: Quite right. I think poverty is sexy.
Merciless Mama: You are both horrible wicked children who should stop teasing me! Have you no sensitivity for my nerves??
Me, looking up from my “near exact Austen quotes” bingo card:

A teenage girl nods and says "bingo."

Merciless Mama: Real talk, Snarky: we’re all relying on you now.

Yikes! Already not a cool thing to say to your kid, and even worse when you realize there’s no way in hell poor Snarky Sister will succeed: Mystery Dad is SUPER spoken for!

Back at the Parker house, Arthur is stewing about Georgiana’s case.

Arthur: I feel really horrible. We should be there to support her!
Tom: She’s got Mary and Charlotte, and we need to be here. Plus, look on the bright side! This is England we’re talking about! Justice will prevail.

Oh Tom. Sweet Tom. Grow up, bud. In London, Fun Uncle Sam reminds Georgiana that the judge who’ll be hearing her case is a racist ol jerk who will be inclined to dislike anything Georgiana does. No matter what the mystery evidence Wannabe Byron’s found is, Georgiana has to remain calm, or the judge will hold it against her.

Georgiana: Ok, I got this. I won’t give Wannabe Byron the satisfaction.
Fun Uncle Sam: Good. On the plus side, it’s a closed court, so there won’t be a bunch of strangers watching too.
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: Hello! Wannabe Bryon wants to settle; as a courtesy, we’ll offer you 5 thousand pounds so you don’t have to suffer through an embarrassing trial you’ll just lose.
Fun Uncle Sam: Absolutely not; pathetic offer. Bye!

Reader, I wish we got this scary trial over with right away, but you know that’s not about to happen. First, we have to deal with some shenanigans back in Sanditon, where Rolly Price has arrived at Lady D’s house for a visit. Unannounced!

C3P0 says "How rude."

He doesn’t feel bad about his questionable manners, and asks Lady D to go for a ride in his buggy.

Lady D: LMAO, no! You may not care about your reputation but you’re not going to mess up mine by taking me out in a young man’s conveyance!

A man says "Dignity. Always dignity."

Rolly Price: Dignity shmignity. BTW, are you going to Mystery Dad’s shooting party?
Lady D: I was thinking about it.
Rolly Price, smooth as silk: Good, then it might actually be fun. Want to go together?
Lady D: Sure, but we’re taking my carriage.

Do I trust Rolly Price? Not really. Do I like his style? Oh yes, absolutely I do! Anyway, speaking of Mystery Dad, back at Thornfield By The Sea, it seems like he might finally be about to get a clue about Augusta’s nascent interest in Horrible Edward.

Mystery Dad: Hold up, where are you going right now?
Augusta: Oh, it’s such a nice day I thought I’d go for a walk.
Leo: Can I come too?
Augusta: No, sorry, I want to be alone.

And Mystery Dad just lets this happen! Come on, dude, at least have Leo follow her! Speaking of questionable behavior, let’s head back to this trial, shall we? Wannabe Byron gets to talk first, and goes into a long speech about how much he loved his uncle (Georgiana’s dad), and how he thought of him as a father figure.

Wannabe Byron: And yet in all the time I knew him he never mentioned having a KID.
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: You must have been surprised to hear of Georgiana’s claim then?
Wannabe Byron, really laying it on thick: Surprised and appalled! What a horrible thing for my uncle’s… illegitimate daughter to do.
Georgiana, to Fun Uncle Sam: WTF? That’s a lie!
Fun Uncle Sam, standing up: Objection, it’s not fair to call her illegitimate!
Racist Windbag Judge: Keep talking, Wannabe Byron.
Wannabe Byron: And that’s when I learned my uncle had been seduced by one of his slaves.
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: Yes! I’ll double down on that outrageous assertion and make it even more racist, somehow! Specifically by wondering whether Georgiana takes after her mother in that regard?
Wannabe Byron, preparing to tell a whopper: Well, I went looking for Georgiana to see if we could come to an agreement, but instead she tried to seduce me!
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: And we have proof! These drawings of Georgiana, which can only have been done in an intimate setting!

Reader, for some reason the entire court is totally buying this, even though it seems thin at best AND we also know it’s garbage, having seen the actual interactions last season. Georgiana keeps it remarkably cool, although she does exchange some furious glares with Wannabe Byron while Racist Windbag Judge looks over the sketches.

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, Augusta is, unsurprisingly, not out for a solo walk, and is instead riding horses with Horrible Edward.

Augusta: I confess, I’m confused about how the person I’ve been talking to compares to your reputation.
Me: I’m not, he’s a LIAR!
Horrible Edward: Hey, that’s not true! I’ve evolved!
Augusta: And yet you lured me here, by myself.
Horrible Edward: You didn’t tell anyone either. Which is probably good, for now anyway.
Augusta: For now? Then what, what’s your plan here? My uncle’s sublimating his feelings over his own thwarted love into finding me a husband, hence the shooting party with a bunch of boring dudes. But if you were to attend…
Horrible Edward: Dude, there’s no way your uncle would ever consider me good enough.
Me: Correct.
Augusta: Hm, well since he’s my guardian then I guess there’s no reason for us to keep talking, is there? But if you really are a changed man, you could prove it to my uncle. And to me.

Up next, at court, it’s Fun Uncle Sam’s turn to talk to Wannabe Byron, whom he quickly gets to reveal only met Georgiana’s dad once.

Fun Uncle Sam: Let’s be real here: you barely thought about your uncle until you realized he had a LOT of money you could steal. I’ve got his will here, and it very clearly states that he intended to leave all of his money to his daughter. And yet you’re still bothering everyone, after trying to sue in Antigua, failing, and then trying to trap my client into marriage, and failing that too!
Wannabe Byron, doubling down on being gross: I was just trying to save Georgiana’s honor.
Racist Windbag Judge: Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer, what’s the deal with the will?
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: Oh, we knew about it, but it can’t be admissible. You’ll see why when we talk to my first witness: Mr. Lambe’s personal doctor.

Reader, I don’t know exactly what their plan is, but it can’t be good. Back in Sanditon, Arthur’s power walk on the beach is interrupted by Dastardly Duke, who, naturally, notices how worried Arthur is.

Dastardly Duke: Hey, are you ok? What’s the matter?
Arthur: Georgiana might lose everything, and it’s my fault. See, Georgiana mistrusted that guy, but I was taken in instantly. I don’t know why, but he made me feel like I was special. So I convinced her she could trust him, and this happened.
Dastardly Duke, drawing some conclusions about Arthur that he maybe wasn’t sure about before: Arthur, seriously, this isn’t your fault. This guy is a creep who came here specifically to take her money. You didn’t make him do that! You’re his victim too!
Arthur: I’m sure nothing like this has ever happened to you though, right?
Dastardly Duke, who as you may recall is here in the first place because he had to leave Bath in a hurry due to scandal: Did I ever get close to someone unworthy, who then used me? Yes, dude, MANY times.

Dastardly Duke is 100% right, Arthur! Also, in case anyone wondered, I do indeed ship it! Across town, the other surviving Parker brother is also feeling bad about something, but this time it kind of is his fault. Remember how Tom basically signed off on Rolly Price’s plan to put a hotel on top of a bunch of people’s houses? He’s now trying to undo the decision, with little luck. Rolly Price is like a runaway freight train, baby: no time to consider anything in more detail, he’s full steam ahead!

Rolly Price:

A man dramatically throws a spray of glitter in the air in front of his face

Tom isn’t about to give up just yet, thankfully, so he heads to Lady D’s house to try and get her on his side.

Lady D: He already filled me in, I don’t get why you’re here?
Tom: Well maybe he didn’t tell you all the details. Like for example that he wants to knock down the old town. I know you love Sanditon history so I figured you’d disapprove?
Lady D: Bro, when have I made you think I care about anything but money and myself? Rolly Price wants to mix it up, and I’m not about to stop him! You shouldn’t either, if you also want to be silly rich!

Back in London, Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer sums up the doctor’s testimony: Georgiana’s dad wasn’t of sound mind when he died! It was horrible!

Fun Uncle Sam: Yeah, but he still wrote this will, and set things up for his daughter, so she’d have a guardian.
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: Yes, let’s talk about Sidney, shall we? You met him in Antigua, right, Wannabe Byron?
Wannabe Byron: Sure did! He was a horrible liar-pants. I bet he held that pen for my uncle and made him write that fake will!
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: Here’s what I think happened: Sidney and Georgiana teamed up to cheat poor Wannabe Byron here out of his inheritance!

Georgiana, who a) would never have willingly teamed up with Sidney and b) can see that people look ready to believe this crock of nonsense can only sit there and worry. Later that day, the whole crew reconvenes to talk everything over. Georgiana is horrified about all the crap said about her parents, who weren’t even there to defend themselves.

Charlotte: Real talk, what is up with our justice system that they can just get up there and lie like that?
Fun Uncle Sam: The truth doesn’t matter, unfortunately; just what Racist Windbag Judge decides.

Before we can all get properly mad and worried about that, a visitor arrives, and you will NOT believe who it is! It’s Georgiana’s ex boyfriend Otis, and reader, her reaction to seeing him makes me very sure that she still has some serious feelings for him, broken up or not. Otis fills Georgiana in.

Otis: A few months ago I wrote to Sidney to try and repay the money he lent me. His widow replied and explained the whole situation. I wondered why he was there.
Georgiana: So why didn’t you ask me?
Otis: I figured you didn’t want to talk to me. Anyway, I heard about the trial and knew I had to help.
Georgiana: Great, how the heck are you gonna help?
Otis: I can support you, if you want.
Georgiana: It sure wouldn’t help me secure my money.
Otis: I saw that you were engaged?
Georgiana: I didn’t know what he was planning.
Otis: Did you love him? Actually, sorry, I shouldn’t ask that.
Georgiana: Not like I loved you, which I’m assuming is what you’re getting at.
Otis: I will never stop feeling horrible about what I did. I miss you every day.
Georgiana: Yeah, well, same.

While they’re having a beautiful and teary reunion, Mary’s in the next room panicking over whether she should have left them alone. Charlotte, correctly, points out that Georgiana is a grown adult and also that Otis might be helpful, given that he, a Black man, can understand what’s going on with Georigiana in ways they, two white ladies, can’t.

Charlotte: Anyway, Fun Uncle Sam: what’s the plan?
Fun Uncle Sam: No clue! I’m gonna be real with you, I’ve never argued a case like this before.
Charlotte: YOU said you’d never taken on a case you couldn’t win?
Fun Uncle Sam: Well that was true, when I said it.

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

Here’s the deal: for the last few years I’ve only taken on small cases that paid well. I only did this case for my brother. He hasn’t talked to me in almost a decade, and he was real persistent in asking me. Even offered to pay my fees if we lose. I think someone here knows why?
Charlotte, uninterested in examining that: I thought you took the case for justice!
Fun Uncle Sam: Did you READ my recap name? No, my boring brother is the nice one.
Mary, who really needs to catch up: But why would he care?
Fun Uncle Sam, ready to get messy: Charlotte, want to fill us in?
Charlotte: No thanks, I want to talk about how we’re going to win this thing. You better do whatever it takes; she won’t lose.
Fun Uncle Sam: I actually do have one last idea. And obviously I’m not telling either of you; that wouldn’t be nearly dramatic enough. Nighty night!

Back in the other room, Georgiana tells Otis that she’ll be testifying tomorrow. She shares her discomfort with how the people in the courtroom will treat her, and her fear that she might lose.

Otis: First of all, you’re amazing and they all stink. Second, if you lose, you’d just be yourself. You’d be able to do whatever you want, including not dealing with gossips and fortune hunters. You could maybe even marry someone who loves you for who you are… like me, for instance. Just tell the truth on the stand: that’s all you can do.

Back in Sanditon, Tom and Arthur catch up on how the trial’s going. They’re both, naturally, horrified to hear what Wannabe Byron has been saying so far, and Tom accidentally twists the metaphorical knife Arthur’s been stabbing himself with all episode, wondering how they could have failed to stop this from happening. It’s bleak, I tell ya!

The next morning, outside court, Mary, Charlotte, and Georgiana wait for Fun Uncle Sam to arrive.

Georgiana: Well, he’s late. Maybe he decided we couldn’t win and fled. You read the papers; I’m for sure going to lose.

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, Mystery Dad confronts his role in the situation.

Mystery Dad: Yikes, you would not believe the crap they’re saying about Georgiana.
Mrs W, not nearly as salty as she could be here: Oh, I think I would!
Mystery Dad: Oof, I’m sorry, you’re right. Do you think I made a mistake getting my brother into this? Maybe another lawyer would have been better…
Mrs W: He was literally the only one who would take the case, so… he’s what we have.

I think Mystery Dad speaks for all of us when he says “God help her,” and I’m an atheist. Anyway, back at court, Georgina and Charlotte finally just head inside without Fun Uncle Sam. Will Georgiana have to represent herself?? It’s starting to look like that’s a possibility, when the fellow himself finally makes his appearance, looking rather the worse for wear. Where the heck has he been? Apparently, he spent the night in a bunch of gambling parlors and bars, but don’t worry: “it was time well spent.”

A man says "I'm sorry, what?"

Before Charlotte has a chance to be loudly horrified to his face, Racist Windbag Judge calls the court to order. Georgiana takes the stand, and Fun Uncle Sam starts in with his first question: when did her father die?

Georgiana: Summer of 1816.
Fun Uncle Sam: Ah, great. I just found out that Mr. Lambe’s personal doctor opened up his London office in 1814. Pretty hard for him to have been in Antigua in that case! I couldn’t figure out why he’d lie, but then after a lot of… research… I discovered that he has gambling debts. A lot of them. I also have Mr. Lambe’s letters to his daughter, which show a man who not only was of sound mind, but was a loyal and loving dad who saw her as his legitimate heir. The will must stand!

That was pretty convincing, but now it’s Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer’s turn. He asks Georgiana what she remembers about her mom.

Georgiana: Nothing, unfortunately.
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: Your dad said she died in childbirth, but you recently learned she might be alive, right?
Georgiana: I’ve been trying to find her, and haven’t succeeded so far.
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: Wannabe Byron, want to share what you found out?
Wannabe Byron, delighted to be a complete creep: Sure do! Turns out your father sold your mother to another plantation owner when you were a baby. And I have the bill of sale. If he was such a loving and loyal father, would he really treat his kid’s mother this way?
Wannabe Byron’s Sleazy Lawyer: There’s a solid chance Georgiana’s mother is still enslaved… and that technically Georgiana is as well. If that’s the case, she can’t even own property!

And then, reader, these absolute crap sacks basically do a regency man equivalent of a high five while Georgiana and everyone who isn’t a piece of human garbage looks on, horrified.

Georgiana, talking right to Racist Windbag Judge: Sir, if what Wannabe Byron says is true, I am ashamed of my father. I’m barely 21, but I’ve known a whole life of judgment and betrayal. Why is it that my mother and I are the ones whose character is on trial here, and not the men who have treated us so terribly? I have to assume that my inheritance was my father’s attempt to relieve his own guilt; giving that man the money would only make it worse! I would give all of the money back if it meant getting my mother back.
Racist Windbag Judge: My responsibility is to the law, not to your wishes. However, I guess I do have to follow our country’s law that no one can be enslaved on our shores. It’s clear that your father was in sound mind when he made his will, so I have no choice but to find against Wannabe Byron.

Kermit flails with delight
Two men dance at their colleague in celebration of their win, and his loss
A theater full of people rise into a standing ovation

Wannabe Byron tries to throw a tantrum, but he’s out of luck: the case is dismissed, and Georgiana wins. Also, she now has a much better sense of where to start looking for her mom, so Wannabe Byron’s attempt to ruin her life was doubly unsuccessful! Take that, you monster!

In Sanditon, Rolly Price tells the Parker boys that he’s been invited to Mystery Dad’s shooting party.

Rolly Price: I was planning to go with Lady D. See, the best two places to find an investor are firing off guns or watching horses.
Me: Rolly Price, are you some kind of secret American?
Tom, buoyed on by Arthur’s significant look: Listen, I need to talk to you about the location of the hotel.
Rolly Price: Why?? There’s nothing there but poor people!
Tom: Yeah, buddy: people!
Rolly Price: No big deal, we can stash them somewhere else.
Tom: Or we could move the hotel location? Maybe using my original, more modest plan? The plan that makes sense now that we no longer expect the king to be coming down here every weekend?
Rolly Price:

A woman rudely says "Boo, you whore."

I thought you were ambitious! Don’t you want it to be fancy? This is a mockup; by increasing capacity I think we could increase profits five fold!
Tom, literally turning into a cartoon with money sign eyes: Five! Fold!
Rolly Price, knows he’s got Tom hooked: But I guess we could talk about your original idea if you want…
Arthur, a real one: Tom. What would Mary do?

Well, at present, Mary would be toasting Georgiana on her successful day in court. The whole crew (plus Otis!) drink to that, and we all agree that it’s nice to see a little justice in the world.

Otis: Well, if you ever need me, give me a call, and I’ll do whatever it takes to be there.
Georigana: Noted.

And then he just leaves??? BRO, WHAT? I have to assume that he’ll continue to prove himself to be the good dude we all hoped he was this whole time, and will show up later this season so Georgiana gets the love story she deserves, but we’ll (reluctantly) put a pin in that for now. Across the room, Charlotte thanks Fun Uncle Sam for his help.

Fun Uncle Sam: Don’t thank me: thank my brother.
Charlotte: You said you haven’t talked in a decade. What’s up with that?
Fun Uncle Sam: When our dad died, he left me a debt-riddled estate. I couldn’t bear to stay and manage it; I wanted to do my own thing. But my career left my brother saddled with the burden that should have been mine. I think it cost him his marriage.
Charlotte: But now you have a chance to make amends, right?
Fun Uncle Sam: Maybe! But since you asked me a personal question I’m throwing one right back: you clearly have some history with my brother. You didn’t last long as a governess.
Charlotte, just a tiny bit bitter: He decided I wasn’t suitable for the role.
Fun Uncle Sam: Well I hope you’ll come join us at our shooting party.
Charlotte: I gotta get home to Boring Ralph. I mean Ralph! Dang, now you’ve got me doing it to!

A man shrugs, confused

Fun Uncle Sam: It’s just a couple more days; you’d get a chance to thank my brother in person.

Dumping all the family obligations on your sibling? Not a cool move. However, I might forgive him if he continues to be such an excellent wingman!

The next day, everyone returns to Sanditon where they’re greeted by a passel of pleased Parkers and Team Tiny Hellion, respectively. At Thornfield By The Sea, Fun Uncle Sam also finally has the decency to ask for more of Mrs. W’s backstory.

Fun Uncle Sam: I’m sorry, I should have asked you this before: your parents?
Mrs. W: Were enslaved. Like Georgiana’s mom. But they were given freedom before they got to the UK. And before you ask, yes, I was born free: I didn’t work for your dad until I was 14, and my parents loved and respected each other. I feel awful for Georgiana. Thanks for asking!

I guess that puts to bed the fan theory that Mrs. W is secretly Georgiana’s mom, and TBH I’m also happy to know that Thornfield By The Sea isn’t, as far as we know, funded on the profits of the slave trade. Inside, Mystery Dad congratulates his brother, and tells him he’s proud of him. For once.

Fun Uncle Sam, pressing his luck: Oh, hey, RANDOM question: Charlotte rocks, why didn’t you keep her on as a governess?
Mystery Dad: Well, she decided that the position wasn’t for her.
Augusta, Mrs. W, and me:

A woman incredulously says "Really?!"

Fun Uncle Sam: I invited her to the shooting party. Hope that’s ok!
Mystery Dad, barely concealing his excitement/panic: Why wouldn’t it be??

Fun Uncle Sam, now officially part of Team Tiny Hellion’s Parent Trap plot, pretends ignorance, while secretly exchanging looks with the rest of the squad. The game is afoot!

Across town, Charlotte and Mary once again make their way to visit Former Maid/Charlotte’s object lesson in the perils of marrying a normal person.

Charlotte: I gotta say, I really liked feeling like I had a purpose while we supported Georgiana.
Mary: There’s plenty of purpose to be had in being a mom/wife, Charlotte, don’t worry!
Charlotte: But I’m worried it’s not enough!
Mary: Being worried is normal. You know, I was almost 30 when I married Tom, and I almost broke off the engagement thrice. Thrice! I was worried that I’d lose myself in the marriage.
Charlotte: And you haven’t, right?
Mary, not helping at all: Marriage is about compromise, Charlotte.

A version of the Anakin and Padme meme where the first character says "I was worried I'd lose sight of myself in marriage" and the other responds "but you didn't, right?... Seriously, Mary, did you retain any of your own identity or are you just here as Tom's moral compass? Mary???"

Arriving at Former Maid/Charlotte’s object lesson in the perils of marrying a normal person’s house, Charlotte makes a beeline for one of the girls to drop off books (a real mini Charlotte, that one) while Mary hands over baked goods.

Mini Charlotte: Are they really mine? To keep?
Charlotte: Sure are! I just wish I could stay here in Sanditon and teach you to read them.
Me: I mean, you could. You could do that, Charlotte.
Mary: Hush. Mini Charlotte, I promise I will come over and teach you how to read.
Former Maid/Charlotte’s object lesson in the perils of marrying a normal person: Hey, sorry to interrupt, but my husband said a dude name Rolly Price came over here the other day with an architect and told us that your husband was planning to knock all of these cottages down to make way for a hotel? But I said that couldn’t be right, could it?

Reader, I wonder if Mary’s regretting her marriage right now?? Anyway, across town, Horrible Edward runs into Single And Loving It, whom I have decided to rename Liberated Lady, given the whole thing with her and Dr. Fuchs.

Horrible Edward: Oh, hey, I was just looking for your brother?
Liberated Lady: Well, I’m not Gross Priest, but I can maybe give you advice?
Horrible Edward: Ok, well, I’ve been kind of obsessing over a girl. I initially planned to mess with her but now I'm finding myself actually catching feelings?
Liberated Lady: So you’re thinking only about her, and about the life you might have, even though there are obstacles in your way?
Horrible Edward: Even if I try to get with her honorably, who will trust me?
Liberated Lady, reaching out to take his hand, because she’s a much nicer person than I am: I’ve always thought there was goodness in you. And as the bible says, know a person by their deeds.

I mean, look, it’s good advice: he should be able to prove he’s changed with good behavior. I just don’t buy it!

Over at Thornfield By The Sea, the day of the shooting party has arrived. The brothers make their way outside, lightly ribbing each other over who will be the most successful at killing birds bred, trapped, and arranged for that very purpose by servants. The Parker party rolls up to the scene led by Tom, who thanks both men for saving Georgiana.

Leo, spotting Charlotte: BESTIE! Come tell me everything about the trial!
Mystery Dad:

A woman wistfully stares into the distance; pining

Fun Uncle Sam: LMAO, subtle.
Lady D, interrupting: Gotta say, I’m shocked you threw a party. Here’s Rolly Price. And you know my nephew.
Mystery Dad, unimpressed: By reputation, at least.

Yeah, honestly, a mood! Across the party, Lady Susan congratulates Georgiana, and asks how she’s holding up under the weight of a TON of gossip.

Georgiana: I mean, it’s whatever. You get it.
Lady Susan: Sure do! People can be terrible. Do what you have to do to protect yourself. Oh, look, it’s Merciless Mama.
Merciless Mama, effusive: Georgiana! I’m SO happy everything worked out for you! I prayed about it SO much!
Lady Susan, high sarcasm: I’m sure that’s what did the trick.
Merciless Mama, knows she’s being mocked but can’t prove it: Well, anyway, son, come talk to your girlfriend!
Dastardly Duke and Georgiana, immediately snapping right into fake dating mode:

Two people do a strange dance while chanting "Don't be suspicious."

Merciless Mama: Now that that’s sorted, Snarky, time for you to go nab a Mystery Dad. Have at it.

Snarky Sister reluctantly follows her mom, and while they’re gone, we get to see Georgiana, Dastardly Duke, and Arthur have a totally normal platonic friendship moment.

Arthur: So, Georgiana, what’s it like to be famous overnight?
Dastardly Duke: Arthur, you are so wise and funny.

A man says "I've connected two dots." His friend responds "You didn't connect shit." The first man insists "I've connected them.

Oh, so you guys are friends now, huh?
Arthur: Oh yeah, we’re super tight now that I know the deal about your… relationship.
Dastardly Duke: Although now that you’re SO famous, maybe you’ll want to fake break up?
Georgiana: Why, worried you’ll look bad by associating with me?
Arthur, ready to throw his new friendship in the trash in an instant if Georgiana wills it: Yeah, why?
Dastardly Duke, squeezing Georgiana’s hand: Not at all!

While they chat, Fun Uncle Sam catches up with Lady Susan, who congratulates him on the win.

Fun Uncle Sam: Thanks, but I didn’t earn it.
Lady Susan: Humility? In a MAN? In a LAWYER?
Fun Uncle Sam: Fair enough, I did only recently start being humble.
Lady Susan: Well it suits you. Listen, I heard Charlotte was with you in London, and apparently something funky happened when she was a governess here. Did you observe the same thing I did?
Fun Uncle Sam: What, that she and my brother are constantly making heart eyes at each other and unwilling to admit it?
Lady Susan: Indeed. Let’s discuss further.

Scheme it up, babies! Scheme. It. Up. Across the party, Mystery Dad finally decides to talk to Charlotte: why isn’t she back in the country with Boring Ralph?

Charlotte: I wanted to thank you.
Mystery Dad: There’s nothing to thank me for!
Charlotte: You went to London to talk to a guy you lowkey dislike to help my friend out.
Mystery Dad: I couldn’t do nothing; what kind of person would that make me?
Charlotte: Well, I’ll never forget it.

And then they resume looking soulfully and longingly at each other until Fun Uncle Sam calls his brother to come deal with the birds. This interaction does not go unnoticed by others at the party, including, unfortunately, Merciless Mama, who voices her concern to Lady D.

Lady D, could not be more wrong: Oh, she’s nothing to worry about! She’s about to marry a farmer!

Merciless Mama is quite convinced, but Snarky Sister is made of sterner stuff, and heads over to confront Charlotte directly.

Snarky Sister: Hey, so I heard you were the governess here? My mom really wants me to link up with Mystery Dad, but he seems kinda mean and boring. Thoughts?
Charlotte: He’s reserved, but there’s more to him than meets the eye. Especially if you can get him talking about dogs or horses.
Snarky Sister, filing the look on Charlotte’s face away for later: Thanks! Sounds like maybe we actually have some things in common.

I feel kinda bad for her, actually: so far she seems fun, and it’s not her fault her mom wants her to marry Mystery Dad! Speaking of whom, over in the woods, our brooding host has just complimented Horrible Edward on his shooting.

Horrible Edward, surprised: Oh, thanks. My dad taught me. And I got better when I was in the army.
Mystery Dad: Well as you can tell, my BROTHER got a lot worse from living in the city for so long.

Fun Uncle Sam takes that in stride, and Horrible Edward seems pleased to have made a good impression. You know who made a bad impression though? Rolly Price, who tells Mystery Dad about the hotel plan. Mystery Dad wastes no time finding Tom to explain why razing the historic old town is a bad idea, and Mary, who’s standing right there and has clearly been STEWING about this, wastes no time in agreeing with Mystery Dad. Rolly Price is unimpressed, and Tom, who doesn’t really like the idea but did go along with it, gets left by himself to feel bad.

Back in the woods, Augusta chats with Horrible Edward about how annoying all the suitors trying to impress her have been. So far, at least.

Horrible Edward: I get why they’re interested! No one’s impressed you yet?
Augusta: One. He’s older than the rest. Has a title.
Horrible Edward: Good character?
Augusta: Great question.

A man sarcastically says "Is it though?"

Horrible Edward: What does your uncle think?
Augusta: I think he might be inclined to like the guy, yeah.
Horrible Edward: So should that man go talk to your uncle about how honorable his intentions are?
Augusta: Yeah, he should go do that.

I don’t know guys, one chat in the woods does not a friendship make, and I have a hard time thinking Mystery Dad is anywhere close to being ok with Horrible Edward marrying his niece. But shoot your shot, I guess? Back at the party, Augusta asks Charlotte for some advice. When did she realize she was in love with Boring Ralph?

Charlotte, inside, probably:

A man covers his face in shame over a lower third that calls him a human disaster

Charlotte, out loud: Why do you want to know?
Augusta: No reason.

Augusta! I am begging you to talk to an adult about this, even if the adult is CHARLOTTE, who, let’s face it, may not be in a position to give good relationship advice. Before Charlotte can push for more, they’re both distracted by Snarky Sister loudly befriending the family dogs. It works exactly as she intended, even getting a smile out of Mystery Dad, which naturally rather ruins the mood on Charlotte and Augusta’s end of the terrace.

Lady Susan, watching this whole thing go down: We have to stop this.
Fun Uncle Sam: I mean yeah, but what are we gonna do about it? She’s about to get married!
Lady Susan: Yes, but she isn’t married yet!

Walking away from the party, Fun Uncle Sam asks Lady Susan why she’s so invested in Charlotte.

Lady Susan: She reminds me of a young me. And since I have zero interest in getting married again, I can get a vicarious thrill out of setting her up.
Fun Uncle Sam: HA, mood: I’m too old and cynical to marry, but my baby brother? He’s fair game.
Me: You guys realize you just made it a certainty you’d end up together, right?
Lady Susan, ignoring me: I don’t want to meddle, obviously.
Fun Uncle Sam: Oh, same, definitely not. But a little nudge?
Lady Susan:

A man toasts "cheers i'll drink to that bro."

Lady D and Rolly Price spend the party flirting by roasting each other. Across the patio, Dastardly Duke and Arthur have a chat about how nice it is that they’ve become such good friends so quickly.

Dastardly Duke, text: I feel like we’re really similar. Bachelors by choice!
Dastardly Duke, subtext: You’re also gay, right?
Arthur, responding to the text: Indeed.
Dastardly Duke: That’s rare. From what I’ve seen most men… like “pheasant.” But I prefer “grouse.” I’m right to say you share that taste, right?
Arthur: *silently freaks out*
Dastardly Duke, also freaking out: Oh, ok. No worries! Please pretend we never had this conversation!

And with that he runs away. Fair enough! Across the lawn, Mrs. W approaches Georgiana.

Mrs. W: I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am.
Georgiana: Didn’t you hear? I won!
Mrs. W: I know, but I also know what you lost.

Georgiana isn’t about to deal with THAT at this party full of white people, so she heads inside, only to have the entire room go dead silent upon spotting her. Charlotte, ever a good friend, makes a beeline for Georgiana and offers an excuse to leave, which is gratefully accepted. After they depart, Mystery Dad announces that Horrible Edward is the winner of “most birds murdered” award. He congratulates Horrible Edward, who for some reason decides this is the perfect time to ask Mystery Dad if he could come call on Augusta.

Mystery Dad:

A smiling woman says "Ew, no."
A man says "Eat glass!"

In the carriage ride home, Charlotte tells Georgiana she’s got to go back to Boring Ralph.

Georgiana: I wish you could stay. You’re one of very few people I can actually count on.
Charlotte: Back at ya. And just know that I love you so much… and so does Otis. Don’t think I didn’t notice.
Georgiana: Yeah, and what good does that do me? Can he protect me from fortune hunters? From gossip? He has no influence. Lady Susan was right: I need to protect myself. I should keep fake dating the duke.
Charlotte: Dude, that’s fake though, it’s right there in the description.
Georgiana: Everything is fake.

Cheerful! You know who else is having a crappy carriage ride home? Tom, who tells Mary she should have talked to him in private about the whole knocking down her friend’s house thing.

Mary: Just because I’m your wife doesn’t mean I can’t have my own opinion!
Tom: You undermined me in front of our host! And Rolly Price!
Mary: Since when do you care so much about business?
Tom: Since I decided to double down on capitalism because I felt badly about not being able to stop Rolly Price’s plans, that’s when! I’m the decider!

The fun continues back at Thornfield By The Sea, where Fun Uncle Sam tries to get his brother to be less of a pill. They just threw a fun party, after all!

Mystery Dad, staring into the fire:

Slow zoom on a sad looking man, captioned "hello darkness my old friend" with musical notes

Fun Uncle Sam: I get why you like her, she’s great. And don’t try to lie to me; I’m a lawyer, bud. I know you’re in love with Charlotte, and I am reasonably sure she’s in love with you.
Mystery Dad: She’s about to get married.
Fun Uncle Sam, quoting Lady Susan: But she’s not married yet.

Upstairs, Augusta looks out her window and cries about a boy. At the Parker house, Georigana looks at the paper with Otis’ contact info and reconsiders her position before making up her mind and chucking it into the fire. At Lady D’s, Horrible Edward picks a flower and starts writing a letter. And by the cliffs, Charlotte has a good hard look at her life. Mystery Dad sulks a little longer, and then storms off. Where’s he going? To find Charlotte, of course!

Mystery Dad: Look, I can’t let you leave Sanditon without telling you that I am head over heels for you. If you’re not around it’s a wasted day. I have been trying to get over it, but I love you.

Well shit. Charlotte can’t resist planting a big ol’ kiss on the guy after that, and who can blame her? Unfortunately, she’s still thinking about Boring Ralph, so she pulls away.

Charlotte, crying: We shouldn’t have done that! You shouldn't have said that!
Mystery Dad, soldiering on: No, I should have said it a lot sooner!
Charlotte: Then why the heck didn’t you?
Mystery Dad: Because we needed a season 2 cliffhanger?
Charlotte: Well yeah, and now I’m supposed to marry Boring Ralph!
Mystery Dad: So don’t! Stay here and be with me instead!
Charlotte: It’s too late. I promised my family, and I promised him.

And she just walks off! Charlotte, oh my god dude. Do you really think Boring Ralph wants to end up married to a person who is painfully and obviously in love with another guy? Do you think your parents wouldn’t be thrilled for you to marry this very nice (and lets not forget, wealthy) gentleman?

A man says "look at your life. look at your choices."

Anyway, I’m gnashing my teeth over here, and I bet you are too, reader. Unfortunately for us, there’s nothing for it but to wait for next week’s episode, where hopefully everyone gets their crap together. Until then!