Warning: SPOILERS for Sanditon Season 2, Episode 3
There's something off about Colonel Francis Lennox (Tom Weston-Jones) in Sanditon Season 2. Lennox led a British Army regiment to Sanditon at the start of season 2 and he's made romantic overtures toward Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams). But while Colonel Lennox and his regiment were welcomed to Sanditon with open arms, there are glaring flaws in his shiny armor that make Lennox and the Army's behavior and motives increasingly suspicious. Lennox may even prove to be Sanditon's first true villain.
Sanditon season 1 didn't have a villain in the traditional sense. For Charlotte, Sidney Parker (Theo James) was a villain, per se, in the early episodes when she was confounded by his mercurial attitude toward her. Later, Miss Heywood suspected Mr. Parker of profiting off slavery, which was proven false. But Sidney was no villain at all. Otherwise, the closest thing Sanditon season 1 had to a bad guy was Sir Edward Denham (Jack Fox), who conspired with Clara Brereton (Lily Sacofsky) to steal Lady Denham's (Anne Reid) fortune. Lady Denham disinherited both Edward and Clara, banishing both from Sanditon. Yet Edward and Clara have resurfaced in Sanditon season 2; Denham is now a soldier in Colonel Lennox's regiment but still scheming to finagle his inheritance while Clara was pregnant with Edward's baby, who was delivered by Lady Esther Babington (Charlotte Spencer).
However, there's mounting evidence that Colonel Lennox and the British Army will emerge as actual villains in Sanditon season 2. Lennox has been upright and gallant when it comes to courting Charlotte, who hasn't expressed any outright romantic interest because she's still mourning Sidney and has chosen not to get married. But Lennox's revelation that he was in love with Alexander Colbourne's (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) late wife Lucy before Colbourne stole her away and became responsible for her death raises eyebrows. There's clearly more to this sad tale than Lennox's account, and Charlotte has seen that her employer Colbourne is, indeed, hiding the true story. Yet there's an alarming coldness to Lennox when it comes to Colbourne that makes one question whether the Colonel is possibly hiding his own complicity in Lucy's death from Charlotte.
Meanwhile, the Army is not paying its debts to Sanditon and running up huge amounts of credit. N0 one was paid for the mess dinner Colonel Lennox and the Army hosted in Sanditon season 2, episode 2, and the town's shopkeepers are now hounding the beleaguered Tom Parker (Kris Marshall) for the money they're owed. Tom himself thinks highly of Colonel Lennox, who saved the Sanditon fair by loaning the town the Army's hot air balloon. Yet Lennox and his men continually con Mr. Parker into gambling money he doesn't have, putting the financially-strapped architect of Sanditon into an even worse position.
There's also the question of what's going on between Lennox and Edward. The perceptive Lady Denham senses something odd between them since Edward seems to have pulled the wool over Lennox's eyes. Yet it was Sir Denham who talked Lennox into bringing his regiment to Sanditon and Edward owes the Army money. Lennox may be in on Edward's plan to steal his inheritance from Lady Denham, or the Colonel may be trying to fleece the town of Sanditon before moving on.
While not as potentially nefarious, even Captain Carter (Maxim Ays) is behaving dishonorably in Sanditon season 2 by lying to Alison Heywood (Rosie Graham) about who he really is. It seems that Captain Fraser (Frank Blake) may be the only truly honest man in Colonel Lennox's regiment. Meanwhile, Arthur Parker's (Turlough Convery) bad feelings about Colonel Lennox and the British Army are going unheeded in Sanditon season 2, but the youngest Parker brother may be right all along.
Sanditon Season 2 airs Sundays @ 9pm on PBS Masterpiece.