'Sanditon' Recap: Season 3 Episode 4

Daniel Hautzinger
Rowleigh Pryce with Lady Denham at a party in Sanditon
Lady Denham is enjoying her time with Rowleigh Pryce, but doesn't want to give up her title to marry him. Photo: Joss Barratt

Sanditon airs Sundays at 8:00 pm on WTTW and is available to stream. Recap the previous and following episodes.
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Two weeks before her scheduled wedding in Willingdon, Charlotte still hasn’t left Sanditon, even though Georgiana has won her trial. Charlotte’s excuse: she wants to attend a party celebrating Georgiana’s victory, and to make sure that Georgiana is okay. She has misgivings on the latter count: Georgiana has given up on finding her mother and has been spending all her time drinking champagne with Lord Harry Montrose’s newly arrived, “fashionable” friends from Bath. Charlotte disapproves, worried about Georgiana’s mental state.

Nevertheless, she and Arthur find themselves drawn by Georgiana to the edge of the festivities on the beach. Arthur finally speaks to Harry; both thought the other was avoiding them in the wake of the shooting party. They continue their conversation in the privacy of a walk along the cliffs, and Arthur admits he felt a shock of recognition when Harry asked him if he was gay. He fears the difficulty of living such a life openly, but excitedly agrees to go to a secluded cottage in Wales with Harry.

Charlotte also had a heartfelt encounter on the cliffs, and she tells Georgiana about it. She is ashamed of kissing Alexander, and fears facing her fiancé Ralph.

And then Ralph appears: having read that Georgiana’s trial concluded, he has come to bring Charlotte home. She convinces him to stay through Georgiana’s party.

Samuel Colbourne has also stuck around in Sanditon longer than expected, sword-fighting with Leo and scheming with Lady Susan to play matchmaker with Alexander and Charlotte. Having failed in the latter— after Charlotte’s rejection, Alexander has begun to court Lydia Montrose, inviting her and her mother to tea—Susan is considering leaving Sanditon, so Samuel sets about convincing her there are other reasons to stay—such as the joy of racing carriages on the beach.

Samuel worries about Augusta, who has been exchanging secret letters with Edward. Alexander picks up on the correspondence when he spots Augusta with an orchid, which the Colbourne estate doesn’t grow. He forbids Augusta from leaving the house without a chaperone.

Samuel thinks Alexander will drive Augusta further into the embrace of Edward with such measures, but his brother isn’t going to listen to his advice. Georgiana will, however. The press is still slandering her despite her victory, and “relatives” continue to surface with claims on her fortune. Samuel advises her that the only way to stop it all would be to give up the fortune, or marry.

Lady Montrose, seeing everyone gossip about Georgiana in Sanditon’s tea room, takes pity and escorts her out for a walk in the fresh air. She advises that a title helps protect against rumors. While Lady Montrose’s advice seems well-meaning, her eye is also on the prize: Georgiana’s fortune, if she marries her son.

Mary has been pursuing plans to help the residents of the Old Town of Sanditon, which Rowleigh Pryce wants to demolish to build a hotel with Tom’s sign-off. She’s worried about an outbreak of illness, and has a scheme to help the Old Town—but neither Tom nor Lady Denham, a financier of the hotel, want to hear it. So Mary goes to Alexander, who is more sympathetic. She insists on bringing Charlotte to pitch Alexander after hearing Charlotte’s idea to build a school—and Ralph comes along as well.

The trio interrupts Alexander’s tea with Lydia and her mother—Lydia has impressed Alexander with her knowledge of horses. Augusta leaves in a huff during the awkward tea that ensues, and Charlotte follows. Augusta has finally met with Edward in person, thanks to Leo, and learned that he is going to leave Sanditon—he can’t bear to be near her if he can’t be with her—although he has also planted some ideas about escaping together, then rejected them.

Augusta laments her situation to Charlotte, without telling her the identity of her suitor. Charlotte tells her that she and her beloved will find a way to be together if it’s meant to be.

Another relationship is forestalled by an outside party when Dr. Fuchs returns from London and reveals to Reverend Hankins that he and Beatrice have been corresponding, to the Reverend’s disapproval.

Lady Denham also rejects a relationship: although she’s enjoying spending time with Pryce, she refuses his proposal of marriage because she wants to keep her title and fortune.

Like Denham, Harry decides to go no further in a romance, although he requires some outside prodding. His mother suggests to him that he end his relationship with Arthur—she knows he is gay. He could lose his reputation, or worse, his life.

Harry tries to tell Arthur—who is happier than he has ever been—that he can no longer go to Wales with him, but is interrupted at Georgiana’s party. So Arthur has to learn that Harry has proposed to Georgiana, and she has accepted, along with everyone else at the party via Georgiana’s announcement. Devastated, Arthur offers a pinched congratulations to the couple. When Georgiana later tells him that she’ll still have time for him, he asks why, of all people, she had to choose Montrose.

Beatrice is also pained, when she declines a dance with Dr. Fuchs, thinking of her brother’s disapproval. Lady Denham has a wonderful time dancing with Pryce, and decides to accept his proposal after all.

Edward tells Augusta that he has a carriage waiting for their escape, but they will have to go that night, during the fireworks, or not go at all. Augusta asks Charlotte for advice without providing details, and Charlotte, looking at Alexander, tells her to seize a chance to be with her beloved so that she doesn’t regret not taking it later.

As the party moves to the beach for the fireworks, Alexander approaches Augusta offering a truce. She then sneaks off in the opposite direction with Edward. The Hankinses catch a glimpse of them fleeing.

The siblings rush to inform Samuel, who has just been told by Susan that Charlotte might not be the only reason for her to stay in Sanditon. (A certain lawyer is great company.)

Samuel finds Alexander, and they rush back to the house, where Charlotte has remained behind to ask Georgiana to reconsider her engagement. Georgiana fires back that Charlotte is entering a loveless marriage herself, even though she’s in love with Alexander.

Ralph steps out of a room at that very moment. He wants to remove Charlotte from Sanditon immediately—she’s always miserable when she returns from Sanditon. It’s not Sanditon, Charlotte says.

The Colbournes rush in and explain that Augusta has absconded with Edward. Charlotte is the only one Augusta will listen to—will she help Alexander find his niece?