Ok, so some things improved a little this week, but am I alone in thinking that stretching this thing out to eight episodes is a bit much? Not even a bit–stretching something that’s already thin tends to result in complete breakage.
But all right, we’ll see.
For future reference: the young architect on the Sanditon project is named Stringer. And I’m not actually sure he’s an architect; he may just be the manager of the building works. Anyway, he keeps asking Tom for more money to hire more men but Tom keeps turning him down. Stringer’s father is a stonemason and is also working on the project. Put a pin in that.
Sidney and his friends are getting ready to just leave, because the friends are bored and Sidney is an ass who doesn’t care about his obligations to his family or his ward, who’s acting out all over the place. Tom basically begs him to stay and to keep his friends there, but Sidney tells him that if he wants these guys to stay, and to attract more like them, there needs to be more entertainment.
Tom takes that advice and goes forth to… fetch a doctor. He’s really hung up on the idea that Sanditon needs to be a seaside health spa, like the genteel baby of Bath and Brighton. But they need an eminent doctor around to act as the health hook. He returns with one Dr Fuchs, who has an intriguing “shower-bath” which he insists is really good for the health.
Lady D HATES doctors and can’t believe Tom keeps banging on about needing this guy. To try and convince her, he arranges for Dr F to do a demonstration at her home.
During said afternoon get-together/demo, Esther starts to work a bit on Lady D, commenting on how very charitable she is to take Clara on. Lady D practically goes apoplectic at the notion of being considered a charity, and she rather meanly tells Clara they may have to consider sending her on her way very soon.
Clara is starting to toy with Sir Edward, basically just to get on Esther’s nerves. These poor girls could have probably been interesting people in another era, where they were allowed to be more than decorative. Instead, they just have to be catty and strange.
When Dr F asks for a volunteer to try out the new shower, Clara steps forward. She’s put in a large bathtub with a curtain around it and handed a sort of shower head that’s connected to, I guess, a pump that hot water’s being poured into. Clara really enjoys it for a while, and then realises the outside of the pump is pretty hot, and purposely burns herself.
Screeching in pain, she’s carried away while Lady D alternately screams at the doctor and expresses concern for poor, poor Clara. I find myself wondering just how incredibly hot that water would have to be to heat the outside of the pump enough to cause that bad of a burn. The water coming out of the shower would have fried her without having to do anything herself!
Dr F can’t imagine what happened and decides he’s going to pack his bags and leave at once.
But first! There is a crisis!
While visiting the building site, Charlotte witnesses old Stringer falling and being half-buried beneath a pile of stones. Sidney comes out of absolutely nowhere and leaps in to lend a hand. He, Charlotte, and young Stringer manage to free the man, whose leg is badly broken.
They carry him to Tom’s house and send for the doctor. The doctor arrives and sets the leg, assisted by Charlotte and Sidney. It looks like old Stringer will be all right, but young Stringer still yells at Tom about not hiring enough men to keep the worksite safe.
After all the drama has passed, Sidney commends Charlotte for not fainting or being prissy about the blood or whatever and she nicely calls him out on assuming she’d be this shrinking violet. Seriously, man, the girl has about 10,000 siblings and grew up on a farm. I doubt she has a weak stomach or constitution. Sidney also kind of sort of apologises (without actually apologising) for their really awkward encounter at the beach. And–oh, look! Our two romantic leads are finally starting to show the slightest spark of chemistry! There’s hope for…something, I guess.
Meanwhile, Esther tries to handle Clara, but it seems Clara will not be handled. She’s steely and…kind of creepy, if I’m honest. Also apparently immune to pain, as she doesn’t even flinch when Esther digs her nails into her burn. She warns Esther to back off, because Clara’s not going anywhere. Esther goes home and tells her brother (whom she’s quite clearly in love with, and he with her, which is super icky even if they aren’t blood related) that Clara’s a beast. For those interested.
There’s now a rapprochement between Charlotte and Sidney, such that they can even play together with the Parker kids. The game gives Charlotte an idea, and she suggests Tom throw a regatta, to give the town a big event to rally around and bring people in. Tom loves it so much he completely takes credit for it. Nice.
Sidney needs to go to London for a little while. Before he leaves, he asks Charlotte to keep an eye on Miss Lambe. Miss Lambe, by the way, uses his goodbye as an opening to apologise to Sidney for her recent misbehaviour. Seems the reason she’s so desperate to get back to London is because she has a boyfriend there. We see her kiss his miniature before settling in to write a letter (to him, presumably.) We’ll just see how that goes.