The finale of Sanditon’s first season is rife with tragedies, broken promises, departures, and uncertain futures for many of the show’s leading characters.
One of the most unsettling moments, however, involves the fate of Sanditon town itself.
Here guest writer Maddison Rhoa shares some thoughts about its future…
Sanditon is left in shambles after a destructive fire demolishes a portion of the budding town. Against this dreary backdrop, members of the Parker family discuss their dwindling finances and try to formulate a plan to save Sanditon once more.
In an economically pragmatic move, Sidney Parker betrays his promise to Charlotte Heywood in favor of marrying wealthy widow Eliza Campion, whose fortune would be able to salvage the ruins of Sanditon.
The final episode ends on a particularly dour note as Sidney and Charlotte, who clearly have grown to love one another, try desperately to move on not only from Sanditon, but from the memory of each other.
If all that is needed to save Sanditon is funding, then there are several other characters who have it in their power to finance the rebuilding and breathe new life into the troubled seaside resort town.
In this article, we speculate about which characters might reach into their pockets and pull out a miracle to not only save the town in a possible second season, but discourage Sidney from marrying Eliza for her money.
The wealthy, opinionated, and powerful Lady Denham is, after having funded the development of Sanditon in the past, a natural contender when it comes to the Parkers finding a potential source of capital.
However, she ends the first season upset with Tom Parker and his demonstrated fiscal irresponsibility, and therefore seems a rare contender when it comes to loosening up her purse strings. Still, she sits on a large sum and may yet be convinced by someone (almost certainly not Tom) that investing in the refurbishment of Sanditon will not be in vain.
Could Esther, Babington, or perhaps even Mary Parker or Charlotte convince Lady Denham to invest in the beleaguered seaside town once again?
Heiress Georgiana Lambe has proven herself to be a true and constant friend not only to Charlotte Heywood, but to youngest Parker brother Arthur, as well.
However, during the first season of Sanditon, Miss Lambe was not of age (hence why Sidney was tasked with her guardianship), and therefore not in control of her own fortune. In a second season, she would realistically gain hold of her accounts and be able to invest her money where she wishes – that is, if she remains an unmarried woman.
With her loyalties tied to her good friends in Sanditon, Miss Lambe’s agency as a potential savior of the town would be unparalleled.
Lord & Lady Babington
The wedding of Esther Denham and Lord Babington at the end of season one solidifies the bond between two strong personalities who, together, would quite easily be able to influence the development of Sanditon.
Esther is not only Lady Denham’s sole remaining heir, but the mistress of the Babington estate. Immensely clever and now with plenty of assets at her disposal, shrewd Esther and her good-hearted husband could become incredibly influential should they choose to frequent Sanditon once more.
With this pair of equals in command, the potential for an act of charity to rebuild the town where they met, courted, and married would likely be well received by all.
We only get a few short glimpses of Lady Susan in the first season of Sanditon, in which she acts as a wise friend to Charlotte. Otherwise, she seems generally disinterested in Sanditon as a budding seaside town, especially when compared with more populous resort towns such as Brighton.
Lady Susan’s influence is incontrovertible, though, as her arrival in Sanditon naturally brings new guests to the town for the regatta. She likewise hints, before her departure, that she will visit Sanditon again and intends to bring many more influential friends with her next time.
Another favorable visit to Sanditon by Lady Susan and her wealthy associates might just be enough to convince her to invest in the town’s future.
Arthur & Diana Parker
Arthur and Diana are the two unattached Parker siblings, save for their desire to remain the closest of companions as they both age without the comfort and security of spouses.
Diana worries about Arthur becoming engaged to Miss Lambe, but he assures her they are nothing more than friends, and gently squashes the notion that he will ever become romantically involved with a woman.
Still, as two unmarried Parker siblings, prospects for either Arthur or Diana making a fortuitous match – even one based on companionship alone – can’t be ruled out completely. If that were to happen, and a generous spouse were to marry into the Parker family with money, then Tom’s great project might stand a chance yet.
Sidney Parker & Eliza Campion
And, of course, the most unfortunate solution for many would be if Sidney did go through with his supposedly loveless marriage to Eliza Campion, allowing him access to her fortune in order to recover Sanditon.
The question is, though, would Sidney remain in love with Charlotte, or would he have his head and heart turned by Eliza, a woman he admittedly loved in the past?
Would manipulative Eliza fight Sidney on spending their money to improve Sanditon? Or would this match, characterized by its financial practicality, really turn out to be the best solution?
There are plenty of options available to the Parker family as they consider how to rebuild and refinance Sanditon as a resort town – many of which do not require Sidney to marry Eliza for her money, but do require charitable action on the part of other characters. Which scenario do you think seems most likely?
Sanditon is available on DVD on Amazon.