Last episode, Georgiana won her court case (yay!) and all of our friends seemed determined to just be stubbornly unhappy in love (boo!). This installment, I regret to inform you, seems to be doubling down on the latter. Georgiana wakes up in her living room to the sound of a maid clearing away empty wine bottles, and not in a fun, insouciant, Bridget Jones’ Diary kind of way: in a “I’m not sure what to do with myself AND pining for an old relationship” kind of way. She heads over to visit Charlotte, who gently asks some pointed questions.

Charlotte: Do you think maybe you’ve been doing too much boozing with Dastardly Duke? Possibly because you haven’t let yourself think about what we found out re: your parents at the trial?
Georgiana: Oh, buddy, I am absolutely not willing to think about that just yet.

A woman says "Cheers to that my friend. To denial!"

Charlotte: I thought maybe you’d want to track down your mom?
Georgiana: I’ve come to accept that I’ll never find her. I’m putting the past behind me and thinking about the future. And speaking of denial, can we acknowledge that your wedding is in two weeks? And that you haven’t gone back home yet?
Charlotte, full of it: I’m just staying to make sure you’re fully recovered!
Georgiana, also full of it: And as you can see, I sure am!
Charlotte: Anyway, I couldn’t leave before your party tomorrow.
Georgiana: Yeah, it’s nice of Tom and Mary to host it, but I think it might be kinda boring. Oh hey, it’s Arthur! Arthur, Charlotte and I are going to go day drink with Dastardly Duke on the beach, come with us!
Arthur: Oh, I don’t think so.
Georgiana: What is up with the two of you?? You’ve both been so weird since the end of episode 3!

And then they both get even more squirrely (something I didn’t think was possible) and pretend they didn’t have major romantic revelations when Georgiana wasn’t looking. She obviously doesn’t buy it, but since she’s also pretending nothing is wrong, she resorts to the age-old trick of convincing her friends to come and drown their sorrows with her. Everyone this episode, so far?

An animated dog sits in a burning room and says "this is fine."

Over at Thornfield By The Sea, Mystery Dad is, no surprise here, saddling up a horse for a morning ride. TBH, he seems fine, possibly due to a) having said his piece, b) getting kissed by Charlotte, which really does suggest she might come around, c) complete denial like everyone else or d) all of the above. Will Fun Uncle Sam join him for his ride? Absolutely not, because he’s a normal person, and doesn’t want to be up this early in the first place.

Mystery Dad: Oh, and BTW, you said you were going back to London after the party and yet here you remain, almost a week later. What gives?
Fun Uncle Sam: I’m not trying to be an annoying guest, but I’m having fun! It’s been nice getting to know Team Tiny Hellion.
Mystery Dad: And Lady Susan, seems to me.
Fun Uncle Sam: Yeah, you know what, I think this is the only time I’ve actually been friends with a woman? And since neither of us are interested in each other, romantic styles, it’s just fun!
Me: Dude, I know you literally can’t have seen When Harry Met Sally, but still.

A man says "you fell victim to one of the classic blunders!"

Mystery Dad: Maybe you’re finally growing up.
Fun Uncle Sam: Perish the thought. Oh, BTW, Georgiana is throwing a “we won the case” party. We’re both invited. And so you don’t have to ask, yes, Charlotte will probably be there too. I know your chat didn’t go down the way you wanted…
Mystery Dad: I have to look forward! That’s why I invited Snarky Sister and Merciless Mama to tea. It’s fine!
Fun Uncle Sam: And you’re just gonna pretend Charlotte doesn’t exist?

An animated woman sings "conceal, don't feel. Don't let them know."

Mystery Dad: I’m pretty sure that’s our family motto. I’m gonna go ride a horse about this, be back never!

Just another healthy coping mechanism from the gang in Sanditon! Anyway, want to feel even more frustrated? Wait until you hear what Horrible Edward has been up to! Having been officially rebuffed by Mystery Dad, his sliminess has taken it upon himself to begin a correspondence with Augusta. He even literally says “you pierce my soul” which is guaranteed to make the Persuasion fans in the audience feel half agony, and half hope that maybe he’s actually turned over a new leaf for real. As ever I remain unconvinced, but I want Augusta to be happy so I’m kinda hoping he’s genuine. Thankfully, I’m not the only one keeping a watchful eye on Horrible Edward: when he returns from hiding notes in stone walls, Lady D is waiting for an interrogation.

Lady D: Where have you been?
Horrible Edward: Oh, I like to get in the right headspace before I see Gross Priest.
Lady D: Well I think he’s screwing this up, given your attempt to woo Augusta. Or, more accurately, your attempt to woo her money.
Horrible Edward: I shouldn’t have asked Mystery Dad that way; it was a mistake. But I promise, I haven’t seen her since.

A lie, technically, but Lady D doesn’t have time to dwell, because she’s just received a giant bouquet of thistles from a certain someone, which she seems weirdly delighted about.

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, Augusta has retrieved her letter, and the orchid Horrible Edward left with it, and is pining by a window when Mystery Dad rolls up and starts asking questions. What’s up with the flower, he wonders?

Mystery Dad: We don’t grow orchids here. So.
Augusta: Yes, fine, this came from Lady D’s house.
Mystery Dad: Did I not make myself clear? Horrible Edward isn’t allowed to call on you, and so, naturally, he’s sneaking around. Please tell me you haven’t been alone with him.
Augusta: Why would you care? You're not my real dad!
Mystery Dad: Great, now I have to be a hardass? Fine: no further contact with Horrible Edward, and no leaving the house without a chaperone!

Do I agree that Augusta should avoid Horrible Edward? Obviously. Do I think ye olde grounding is the surest way to encourage her to sneak out to see him more? Alas, also yes. Back at the Parker house, Tom’s being snippy at Mary for her continued campaign to not heartlessly tear down the old town.

Mary: Look, don’t be a jerk: I came up with my own proposal, which would allow us to improve the old town instead of razing it. Just take a second to read it!
Tom: I can’t, I’m late for an important meeting!
Mary: Why won’t you listen to me, dude?
Tom, totally missing his opportunity to tell her that Rolly Price and Lady D’s powers combined are just too much to handle: Listen, you’re a great wife and mom, but you don’t know anything about business. Leave that to the men, ‘mkay?

Tom, I’ve never been a huge fan of you, but you just made the list. Anyway, across town, Liberated Lady has to quickly hide the letter she’s reading (presumably from Dr. Fuchs) because Gross Priest has arrived to be judgy and weird.

Gross Priest: You've been so cheerful lately. And I think I know why!
Liberated Lady, sweating: Do you?
Gross Priest: God’s grace, obviously! And clearly the same can be said for Horrible Edward!
Horrible Edward: Mhm, yes, for sure that’s what’s happening!

Ugh. Over at the beach, Dastardly Duke’s midday bash is in full swing. Arthur and Charlotte are lurking in the corner, where Arthur explains that the crowd is mostly made up of Dastardly Duke’s cool and fashionable pals from Bath, all of whom are very into Georgiana. Hard to argue with their taste, although Charlotte, ever vigilant, is inclined to worry that these interlopers are more interested in Georigiana’s money.

Dastardly Duke: Ok, fun game: let’s see who can eat the most macarons in a minute!
Charlotte: Uh, sorry, maybe you hadn’t heard about Georgiana’s sugar boycott?
Georgiana, noticing the awkward silence and giving in to peer pressure: I’ll bet on Arthur.
Arthur and Charlotte:

A man in a white pinstripe suit and round horn-rimmed glasses shakes his hands and head and says "wait, wait what?"

Arthur: Oh, no thanks.

And with that, he pulls away from the crowd even more, while Charlotte heads into the breach to gently note to Georgiana that her new friends are kind of loudly drunk in the middle of town in the middle of the day.

Georgiana: They’re just having fun! I think you need more champagne.

We don’t get to see if Charlotte accepts, because Dastardly Duke has ventured out to check on Arthur.

Dastardly Duke: Hey, I have to ask: have you been avoiding me?
Arthur: I thought you were avoiding ME! You seemed more interested in hanging out with your friends.
Dastardly Duke: Oh! No. They’re just here as a distraction, I’d much rather spend time with you!

They exchange cute little smiles, and seem about to start up a proper conversation when Merciless Mama and Snarky Sister arrive. The former, always on message, assumes her son’s been spending a ton of time with Georgiana because he’s gearing up to propose or whatever, and since that’s what she wants, she’s pleased as punch. Snarky Sister, meanwhile, heads over to talk to Charlotte, followed by her mama.

Merciless Mama: Georgiana! So pumped for your party. Will Mystery Dad and Fun Uncle Sam be there?
Georgiana: I invited them both.
Snarky Sister: Charlotte, thanks for the advice: once I talked only about dogs and horses Mystery Dad’s been great.
Charlotte, barely keeping it together: Great!
Merciless Mama: Even better, he’s clearly interested: we scored an invite for tea! Tomorrow! I hear he hasn’t dated anyone since his wife died… at least until now. And Snarky, don’t try and shush me, marrying you and your brother off is literally my job. I’m allowed to be excited!

They wander off for snacks, leaving Charlotte in a glum mood indeed. Across town, Fun Uncle Sam and Lady Susan stroll around having a chat.

Fun Uncle Sam: NGL, I’m worried: the more my brother tells Augusta to stay away from Horrible Edward, the more she’ll want him.
Lady Susan: Yeah, having been a teenage girl, that makes sense.
Fun Uncle Sam: Hard to imagine you causing trouble!
Lady Susan: LMAO, I sure did though. I used to steal my dad’s carriage for joyrides.
Fun Uncle Sam: I was the same; still am, in some ways.
Lady Susan: Well I get excited by chill hobbies now. Like matchmaking.
Fun Uncle Sam: We might have a problem there. My brother now plans to court Snarky Sister.
Lady Susan: Ugh. And Charlotte’s supposed to head back home. I’m not sure why I should stay in town either.

For someone who keeps insisting Lady Susan is just his friend, Fun Uncle Sam sure does seem upset at the prospect of her leaving, just saying. Back at Georgiana’s house, Charlotte’s in full “those kids aren’t your real friends” mode. Georgiana, however, doesn’t care. They’re fun, and fun is what she wants right now.

Georgiana: Unlike you, pal: you’ve been a wreck for the last week. What happened with Mystery Dad?
Charlotte: After the party he told me loves me and we kissed and it was perfect and now I feel horrible!
Georgiana: WHY? You love him too!
Charlotte: What about Boring Ralph?! And my parents? You were right, I’ve been avoiding going home: how can I go tell my fiance what I did?

I sure hope she thinks about what to say on the walk back to the Parker house, because guess who’s waiting outside the door? Yeah, it’s Boring Ralph, who read that Georgiana’s trial had finished and took it upon himself to come fetch Charlotte back.

A man says "Well this is awkward."

We’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to put off this fun conversation, heading first to Thornfield By The Sea, where Fun Uncle Sam is living up to his name and having a bonkers indoor sword fight with Leo, complete with fake mustaches. Leo wins. The whole thing is delightful, except that Augusta is obviously in no mood, and very uninterested in letting her weird family help her out of her lovesick funk.

Back at the Parker House, Boring Ralph unwittingly makes the whole situation even worse.

Boring Ralph: Your dad has been struggling without you and Hurricane Heywood to help with the harvest. But everyone is really excited for the wedding!
Charlotte, about as uncomfortable as a person can get: I meant to be home sooner, but I was just so worried about Georgiana.
Boring Ralph, smart enough to know that there’s SOMETHING else afoot: And now you’re ready to come home?
Charlotte: There’s a party tonight. To celebrate her win in court. I’d like to be there. For her, and not for any other reason. Just give me one more night and then we can leave.
Boring Ralph: If that’s what you want.

Charlotte, dude, he’s giving you a great opportunity to tell him what you actually want. You saw that, right? Ridiculous. While that’s happening, Mary meets up with Lady D to try and convince her that Mary’s alternative plan for Old Sanditon is the right move. It’s not going well.

Mary: Look, there’s a terrible fever sweeping the area. We can’t make them move too!
Lady D: I dunno, sounds like their houses are making them sick. BTW, while I’m very happy that you’re finally standing up for yourself, it’s very annoying that you’re messing up MY business. And I bet Rolly Price and your husband would agree. Speaking of whom, here’s Rolly now. Shoo, I have to get my flirt on.

Mary, chastened, but hopefully not beaten yet, leaves, and the older pair get up to some cute bickering. I’m gonna be honest, gang: if I knew either of these people in real life I would actively dislike them, but they’re very entertaining and thus this ship gets my approval.

A man proclaims "adorbs and pleasing to my eyes. I ship it!" before dramatically throwing a coffee cup on the ground

Across town, Fun Uncle Sam has been summoned to visit Georgiana, who’s avoiding her correspondence (relatable!).

Georgiana: So, you read the papers, right? And thus have seen how everyone keeps talking crap about me?
Fun Uncle Sam: They’ll move on eventually, I’m sure. Although, and no judgment, but maybe if you want them to stop talking about you it might be a good idea to fly under the radar a bit more?
Georgiana: Tell them to stop publishing lies!
Fun Uncle Sam: Wish I could, but the law can’t control the press.
Georgiana: Check out my mail: multiple letters from people claiming to be relatives. I thought defeating Wannabe Byron would put an end to this, but it’s like chopping a head of a friggin’ Hydra.
Fun Uncle Sam: I’m sorry, but you’re unmarried, and that’s a rough spot to be in. Let’s not forget, Wannabe Byron almost won. I know you don’t want to hear this, but the only way people will leave you alone is if you give up your money or get hitched.

Is it fair? No. But it is the kind of real talk advice I think Georgiana maybe needed to hear. Over by the shore, Arthur and Dastardly Duke take in the sea air and continue the real talk trend.

Arthur: I was thinking about what you said last week before I panicked and ran away.
Dastardly Duke: I was worried I freaked you out.
Arthur: I mean you did, but it was because I too prefer grouse. You said something I hadn’t ever been able to admit, not even to myself. I like my life, and I don’t want to live in fear, or worry about my family finding out.
Dastardly Duke: They… might not be all that surprised.
Arthur: So if I was like… ready to try out some grouse, how would that… I’m sorry, this is very strange for me.
Dastardly Duke, stepping closer: There’s a friend of mine who has this cottage in Wales. It’s beautiful, and super remote. You can go weeks without seeing anyone. Would you want to go there together?
Arthur: YES, 100%! Team grouse!

Reader, when I tell you I lost my dang mind watching this! They are adorable together, and while I wish we got a kiss, given the laws of the time they’re dealing with I get why they mostly just kind of look adoringly at each other.

Over at Thornfield By The Sea, Horrible Edward’s turned up to look for the latest note from Augusta, which of course isn’t there since she’s not allowed to leave the house. Instead, he finds Leo playing with a toy sword.

Leo: Dad says you’re not allowed here.
Horrible Edward, a true con man and thus good at reading people, including miniature ones: Would you like a secret mission?

BOOOO. Even if you have turned a corner, getting little kids to keep your secrets (especially when you’re doing something questionable) is straight up villain behavior. For once NOT engaging in villain behavior? Merciless Mama, who notices Georgiana about to panic flee the tea room to get away from all the gossip, and decisively crosses the room to accompany her to a less stressful location.

Georgiana: I shouldn't have let it get to me.
Merciless Mama: Nobody likes to be gossiped about. I’ve been there. Although a title helps; look at Lady Susan. Anyway, I’m sorry, but I have to go: Snarky and I are expected at Thornfield By The Sea. Don’t worry: you got this.

Her advice seems to bolster Georgiana, who heads back inside, and Merciless Mama is about to head off for tea when she spots Arthur and Dastardly Duke walking her way, and reacts to their closeness in such a way that I start to suspect she’s well aware of her son’s sexuality, and not happy about it.

Over at Thornfield By The Sea, Augusta is busy looking out at the woods wistfully when Leo appears with a secret message, and in the grand tradition of annoying younger siblings everywhere, refuses to just hand it over nicely. Once Augusta finally snatches up the note, she smiles, hugs Leo, and then heads back out to the stone wall where Horrible Edward is waiting.

Augusta: I can’t believe you stooped to using a tiny child as a messenger, but thank you. She’s a good spy.
Horrible Edward: So I hear Mystery Dad has you under house arrest?
Augusta: Yeah, he’s trying to protect me from you.
Horrible Edward: I get it. If I were in his position I’d worry too. He doesn’t know how I really am; that my intentions are honorable, and I’d propose right now if I could.
Augusta: So do it already!
Horrible Edward: He’d never give his blessing. We’d have to run away. I want to be with you, but I can’t do that to you; I want you to be happy. Your honor is important. So I have to leave you now.

Look, he’s saying all the right things, but I don’t care! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me REPEATEDLY and that’s on me, ya know? Also, this whole speech is very pretty, but it’s exactly the thing you say to someone you want to do something that’s bad for them! And that’s precisely what happens. Augusta lets him get maybe three steps before she calls him back. Whatever nonsense she’s about to agree to, we’ll have to wait to find out about, but I’m already not thrilled.

Back at the Parker House, Mary’s freaking out: Former Maid/Charlotte’s object lesson in the perils of marrying a normal person’s cute kiddo is very sick, and while Dr. Fuchs is there to help, Mary’s convinced it’s the crappy living conditions that are the real culprit.

Charlotte: Your proposal here is very good Mary. Just one note: Mini Charlotte wants to learn so badly. Don’t you think a school would also be a good idea? We could educate all the local kids.
Boring Ralph, sitting right there: We?? You’re gonna be busy teaching our kids though!
Charlotte: Oh, right.
Mary: I was going to go over all of this with Mystery Dad later; would you come with me? You can talk about the school and help me out!
Charlotte: I don’t think I should leave poor Boring Ralph here on his own though.
Mary: Boring Ralph can come too!
Boring Ralph: Ooh, that sounds fun! I would love to actually get to know your former boss!

A man says "What? No. No. No. No no no."

Mary, your proposal is so good, you don’t need us!

Reader, it was worth a shot, but you know just as well as I do that Charlotte’s doomed by the narrative to go on this super awkward visit. Get pumped! First, we have to see Augusta trying to talk Horrible Edward into helping her ruin her life.

Augusta: I’m trying to get you to rescue me, dude! No one here will miss me, other than Leo.
Horrible Edward: But where can we go? Can’t do it. You’re the only person I love in this world, and I think the only person who cares about me. It’s wild that we found each other. You better go back before your uncle sees me.
Augusta: But when will I see you again?
Horrible Edward: Georgiana’s party. We may not be able to speak, but at least I’ll see you… one last time.
Augusta, taking the bait: One last time?
Horrible Edward: Yeah, I can’t bear it; I’ll have to leave Sanditon.

Over at the stables, Merciless Mama explains how thrilled Snarky Sister is to see the horses.

Snarky Sister: For once my mom isn’t full of hot air; I really do love horses.
Mystery Dad: Well, here’s Hanibal! He’s not always nice to strangers.
Snarky Sister, a horse girl: Oh, no worries. He’s beautiful. But I bet he pulls to the left, huh?
Mystery Dad, also a horse girl, and thus impressed: Well spotted!

Snarky Sister shares a tip to correct the behavior, which is appreciated, until Merciless Mama insists on saying the quiet part loud and proclaiming that her daughter can tame the wildest of beasts. After everyone’s had their fill of petting the ponies, they head to the terrace for tea, and for Merciless Mama to loudly comment on how lonely it must be for Mystery Dad in such a big house alone.

Mystery Dad: I’m hardly lonely! I have Augusta, and Leo, and a bunch of horses. I’m great!
Snarky Sister: You know, if I had horses and a piano I’d be pretty happy without speaking to anyone for months.
Mystery Dad, and me TBH: Mood.
Merciless Mama: Ooooh, do I detect sparks flying??
Mystery Dad, and me:

A little girl gives side eye

He’s spared a response by Leo, who runs in and tells everyone a carriage just pulled up with Mary, Charlotte, and some random guy. Mystery Dad obviously gets up to go check it out, leaving the mother daughter duo on the terrace. Inside, Leo and Augusta make a beeline for Charlotte, while Mary explains why Charlotte is here in the first place, and reintroduces Boring Ralph.

Leo: OMG, YOU are the clown who gets to marry Charlotte?
Boring Ralph: Yup!
Charlotte, awkward: Well Boring Ralph, let me introduce you to the kids.

Augusta saves the day by inviting the visitors to join the tea party, and after the requisite polite refusal, everyone troops outside, not without Boring Ralph giving Mystery Dad a well deserved semi-glare on the way. Clustered around the table, Mary apologizes for interrupting, before getting down to business. Mystery Dad obviously can’t help but melt a bit when he hears about Charlotte’s school idea, which is for sure noted by Boring Ralph.

Merciless Mama: Oh, well it tracks that you care about a school, since you were a governess here!
Leo, stirring the pot, bless her: But then she suddenly had to leave. And when she came back she was engaged to that guy.
Boring Ralph: Sorry for stealing your governess!

Everyone gives that a pity laugh, and then Merciless Mama asks for wedding details.

Mystery Dad, upon hearing that the wedding is still happening in two weeks:

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

Boring Ralph: We can’t wait, right babe?
Merciless Mama: I bet. I’m very excited for my son to hopefully lock down Georgiana soon. And Mystery Dad, you must be actively looking for someone for Augusta? You don't want to let her get sad and old like Snarky.
Snarky Sister:

A young woman makes a face that says "seriously??"

Mystery Dad: Yup. As soon as we can find someone good enough for her.

A man furiously yells "seriously?"

Oh yeah, but only if YOU think so, because no one cares what I want! I’m gonna go for a walk.
Charlotte: Uh, I think I’ll go join her.

FINALLY, GET THAT DIRT, CHARLOTTE. Ahem. Across town, Rolly Price is continuing to flirt outrageously with Lady D.

Rolly Price: You know, I’ve been thinking. A man needs laughter in his life, and I’ve had more LOLs with you this season than the last decade. And there’s a lot of things in life that are better together.
Lady D: I hope you’re not proposing… another ride in your horrible buggy.
Rolly Price: No, I was proposing marriage, you goon. I’d get on a knee but I’d never get back up.
Lady D: No! No WAY! I like my name, my title, and my money. You’re hilarious for even asking, let’s go have tea.

Rolly Price, being Rolly Price, is disappointed, but rolls with it.

Back at Thornfield By The Sea, Augusta finally spills the whole story to Charlotte, minus the name of her secret suitor. Charlotte, unsurprisingly, points out that Mystery Dad probably has a good reason for not wanting Augusta to date this guy, and tries unsuccessfully to get Augusta to tell her who he is.

Charlotte: Mystery Dad’s just trying to protect you.
Augusta: Yeah, by making me MISERABLE. Trapped in a sad marriage instead of being with the person I love.
Charlotte, letting her wishful thinking lead her to say something truly regrettable: If you two are really meant to be, you’ll figure something out.

Meanwhile, at the beach, Fun Uncle Sam continues to live up to his name, having arranged a fast carriage race for Lady Susan in the hope that it’d make Sanditon interesting enough to convince her to stay. She agrees to one race, on the condition that they keep to a sensible speed, for dignity’s sake. But when Fun Uncle Sam wins the race, and as you might expect, that’s enough to convince Lady Susan to best of three.

Speaking of cute romances, at the church, Dr. Fuchs has returned to see Liberated Lady, and both are even more smitten with each other than when they parted. Their nice moment is interrupted by Gross Priest, so Dr. Fuchs says he’s there to talk about Horrible Edward’s progress.

Gross Priest: He’s coming along great under MY care. Honestly, he’s done so well without you!
Dr. Fuchs: Ah, well, your sister told me about your progress in her letters.
Gross Priest: LETTERS?
Liberated Lady: Just a few short notes!
Dr. Fuchs, totally missing the hint: Don’t sell yourself short! Gross Priest, your sister is super observant and smart. She could be a novelist!
Gross Priest: Great. Well now that you’re back I guess there’s no reason for more letters. Let’s go get ready for Georgiana’s party, sis.

Ugh, he’s such a pain! While Gross Priest is probably lecturing his much cooler sibling, Merciless Mama has a chat with her son.

Merciless Mama: Your sister and Mystery Dad are a good pair, just like you and Georgiana. You should make it official.
Dastardly Duke: It’s been a couple of weeks, mom, chill.
Merciless Mama: That’s long enough. I saw you with Arthur earlier.
Dastardly Duke: Yeah, he’s a good friend. We’re planning a boys weekend!
Merciless Mama: You need to stop. You know why. I’ve always known about your sexuality, and I kind of hoped it was a phase. This is dangerous.
Dastardly Duke: I’m careful. I’m always careful.
Merciless Mama, crying: This can’t go on! You’re a duke, and you have a duty to get married and make an heir. You have to maintain appearances, partly for your own safety! You could be executed! I just want what’s best for you.
Dastardly Duke, also crying: Thanks mom.

Hi, I hate it! Just let them be happy!

Later, Lady D and Rolly Price arrive at Georgiana’s party, where they're greeted by fire breathers, by whom Lady D is predictably horrified. What is this, she asks: hell?

Mary: No, the theme is a phoenix rising from the ashes! You should get that, you made the same reference yourself way back in season one!

Once inside, Horrible Edward abandons his aunt to search for Augusta. Boring Ralph attempts charming conversation with Mystery Dad.

Boring Ralph: I was just telling Charlotte how much we poors don’t fit in here. Can’t wait to go home to the farm!
Mystery Dad: Huh. And you agree, Charlotte?
Charlotte, lying through her teeth, and badly:

A woman says "yup" seriously

Merciless Mama joins the conversation to say how much fun she had at tea (also a lie), and Augusta seizes an opportunity to ask Fun Uncle Sam to take her for a turn around the room so she can sneak off while Mystery Dad is busy staring at Charlotte again. Dastardly Duke tells Arthur they need to talk.

Arthur: Sure do, because I found a super cool book about the river we’ll be staying on!
Tom, interrupting everyone: Everyone, Georgiana is here!

The crowd goes wild, and, in a hidden corner, Horrible Edward asks Augusta if she really meant it when she asked for a rescue.

Augusta: 100%
Horrible Edward: Ok then. I have a carriage waiting; we can leave when the fireworks go off.
Augusta: Wait, tonight? I have nothing with me!
Horrible Edward: We only need each other! Also this is the only opportunity we’ll have: it’s tonight or not at all!

The party gets properly underway. While Arthur and Georgiana dance, he explains that not only is he happy, he’s excited about his future.

Georgiana: OMG, me too! I have something to share, and maybe it’s time I made my announcement.
Me, seeing Dastardly Duke’s unhappy face across the party: Oh no.
Tom, at Mary: Mystery Dad just told me he loves your vision for the old town! WTF? Why did you talk to him?
Mary: You blew me off. I could only put up with it for so long.
Georgiana: Ok everyone, announcement! Earlier tonight, Dastardly Duke proposed. And I said yes! Yay! So this is now an engagement party!

A young man drops his backpack and collapses face down to lie on the floor


A woman looks on in sad confusion

Everyone else thinks this is great news, including Lady D, which earns her another proposal from Rolly Price.

Lady D: My dude: she gains a title from this, and I would lose one if we wed. Sorry, not sorry.
Rolly Price: But we could be happy together! You’d rather stay alone for a TITLE?

Hard to argue, not gonna lie, especially since they’re both apparently outrageously wealthy. Across the party, Arthur delivers a super chilly congratulations that’s honestly impressively heartfelt given the circumstances. Georgiana, who doesn’t know about Arthur’s bird preferences, tries to talk to him, but is whisked away by Merciless Mama. Dr. Fuchs asks Liberated Lady for a dance, but she turns him down, much to everyone’s sadness (even Gross Priest seems to feel a little bad). Augusta corners Charlotte for a gut check on her plans.

Augusta: You said we’d find a way. What if I found one, but I’m nervous about what it could mean?
Charlotte, accidentally giving just the WORST advice: If you can be with him, take the risk. Otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life regretting everything.
Augusta, incorrect: Thank you, great advice.

All the couples take to the floor for a dance, and it’s quickly obvious that almost no one is dancing with the person they’d like to be dancing with. It’s a hot mess, and frankly I’m shocked no one bumps into each other given they’re all so busy pining.

Boring Ralph: Why are you so weird around Mystery Dad? He’s nice!
Charlotte: What? I’m normal!
Tom: Mary, I didn’t like it when you stood up to me!
Mary: Too bad, I like new liberated Mary!

Remember how I said almost no one is dancing with the person they’d like to be dancing with? There are two exceptions.

Lady D, to Rolly Price: Dancing is fun. I haven’t done it in so long.
Lady Susan, to Fun Uncle Sam, re: Lady D and Rolly Price: You know what, they are adorable. Very nice to see someone find love late in life.
Fun Uncle Sam: Maybe there’s hope for everyone!

And then, because this is a regency dance after all, everyone swaps partners, and Charlotte and Mystery Dad end up together.

Mystery Dad: I saw you talking to Augusta?
Charlotte: I won’t tell you her secrets.
Mystery Dad: I’m glad she has you to talk to. She’ll miss that.

The dance ends, and they’re doing that awkward thing where they pretend they wouldn’t rather be making out. Boring Ralph might have finally noticed what’s up, but before he can say anything Georgiana announces that it’s time for fireworks. Charlotte excuses herself while the rest of the crowd heads outside, including Mystery Dad, who asks Augusta for a truce.

Augusta: I know you’ve only tried to do what’s best for me. We won’t always agree, but I can move past it. I’m gonna go find Fun Uncle Sam.
Horrible Edward, definitely NOT a Fun Uncle, when Augusta tracks him down: You sure? Once we leave we can’t return.
Augusta: I’m sure!

They scamper off, but don’t go unnoticed: Gross Priest, at least, watches them go, and calls out after Horrible Edward. Inside, Charlotte corners Georgiana to yell at her about how she shouldn’t marry Dastardly Duke. She doesn’t know him! She doesn’t love him!

Georgiana: This isn’t about love, it’s about securing my position.
Charlotte: But what about your happiness?
Georgiana: What about YOURS? People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, pal. You’re choosing a loveless marriage, and we all know you’re in love with Mystery Dad.
Boring Ralph, picked the WORST time to intrude: Yeah, I guess we all do know that now? I didn’t want you to miss the fireworks.

Georgiana, wisely, uses that opportunity to escape this awkward conversation. Outside, Rolly Price thoughtfully tucks his coat around Lady D’s shoulders, prompting her to ask if he’s still offering marriage. He is, and she accepts. It’s pretty cute. Snarky Sister corners her brother to tell him that she’s found ways around Merciless Mama’s edicts, and that she’s sure he will as well. All of the Parkers look miserable. Fun Uncle Sam gazes adoringly at Lady Susan and asks if she’s found any other reasons to stay in Sanditon besides Charlotte, which she obviously has. What those reasons are, we don’t find out: Gross Priest interrupts to ask if they know where Mystery Dad is. Georgiana tries to comfort Arthur, telling him that just because she’s getting married doesn’t mean she won't still be his friend (sweet sentiment, wrong solution). Arthur, barely keeping it together, asks why she had to pick Dastardly Duke specifically.

Inside, Charlotte’s dealing with Boring Ralph’s pretty understandable freakout. He wants to leave immediately.

Boring Ralph: I need to get you out of here.
Charlotte: Why?
Boring Ralph: Sanditon isn’t good for you! Every time you come here it makes you into a different person, and you come home miserable.
Charlotte: It’s not Sanditon.
Boring Ralph: Then what is it?

She’s about to finally spill the beans when Mystery Dad and Fun Uncle Sam run into the house looking for her. Does she know where they went?

Charlotte: Where who went?
Fun Uncle Sam: We think Augusta ran off to elope with Horrible Edward.
Mystery Dad: You’re the only person she’ll listen to. Please help me.

I mean, yeah, obviously she’s going to do that! Sorry, not sorry, Boring Ralph! I just hope they make it in time. I also hope that we get some real honest conversations between Georgiana, Arthur, and Dastardly Duke, and maybe some additional info on whatever it is that Snarky Sister’s been hiding from Merciless Mama. But, as usual, we’ll have to remain in suspense another week.