DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Buccaneers Season 1 Episode 7, “First Footing,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
It’s penultimate episode time on The Buccaneers, and the drama is spread thickly like jam on toast. It’s delicious. “First Footing” addresses Jinny’s pregnancy, brings Guy and Theo’s rivalry to a head and reveals what was in Guy’s drunken telegram. Plus, Mrs. St. George confidently stands up to her awful, philandering husband. Not to mention, Richard finally realizes that his “relationship” with Miss Testvalley was textbook grooming and sexual abuse.
This outing is packed with narrative action that moves steadily from beginning to end. It’s entertaining as hell and lays the groundwork for the season finale. The stakes are considerably raised as far as Jinny is concerned, so I hope the gals find a way to help her escape. That said, this is the 19th century, so that’ll be tough.
Ready to delve into “First Footing”? Let’s get to it.
A Party to Remember
We open with Nan (Kristine Frøseth) and Theo (Guy Remmers), arriving at a New Year’s Eve party hosted by the Brightlingseas. Nan worries she’ll be the talk of the town because of her parentage. Sure enough, upon entry to the party, everyone’s eyes turn to her. Lord and Lady Brightlingsea (Anthony Calf and Fenella Woolgar) descend the stairs while complaining about the crowd. They can’t wait to send everyone home once the clock strikes midnight. They’re also embarrassed by Nan’s presence and how she’ll negatively draw attention to them. Calm down, Karens. Believe it or not, one isn’t solely defined by their DNA.
Meanwhile, Nan slips away to find her friends. Guy (Broome) and Theo have a tense chat about Nan and her finally revealed secret. Both men are positively catty. Theo’s pettiness rears its head big time, with Guy following suit. So much drah-maaah. I love it.
Later, Theo finds Nan drinking her champagne alone upstairs. Theo blurts a few unintentionally hurtful remarks, including asking why Nan isn’t grateful. He also tries to vent about gaining the respect of those around him. Honey, you’ve always been a duke. You come from money and privilege. It’s not the same. Nan storms off, rightfully upset with him.
“I’m the original American.”
Next, Conchita (Alisha Boe) and Lizzy (Aubri Ibrag) put a pair of judgemental partygoers in their place before comforting Nan in the bathroom. I love this scene in the bathtub. We finally address the elephant in the room: this story hasn’t centered as much on our main characters’ friendship as it should have. Perhaps that will change from here on out. This moment feels like our gals are getting back on track.
Elsewhere, Honoria (Mia Threapleton) finds Richard (Dylan) hanging out with his daughter Minnie, purposefully steering clear of the crowd. That’s how we introverts do it. Honoria broaches the subject of Miss Testvalley, confessing that she always viewed their former governess as more of a mother than their mom.
Honoria acknowledges that Richard harbored a specific bond with Testvalley. She wants Richard to finally admit that his relationship with Testvalley was the definition of grooming and just plain abusive. Unfortunately, he avoids participating in the conversation. I love Threapleton’s performance here — it’s understated and layered.
Meanwhile, Jinny (Imogen Waterhouse) and Seadown (Barney Fishwick) chat with Lord Brightlingsea about the “First Footing.” He wants Seadown to do the honors (who would bring all the bad luck), even though Richard is the oldest child. Why? Because Richard is too busy sulking — well, according to Brightlingsea. Perhaps his parents should support their kid. Just a thought…
Jinny excuses herself to the bathroom (to which Seadown responds by forcefully grabbing her forearm; big yuck) but really greets her parents, Mr. and Mrs. St. George (Adam James and Hendricks). Jinny updates them about Nan, revealing she told the Dowager of Tintagel about her sister’s secret. Mrs. St. George can’t believe Jinny would do such a thing. Why would she hurt her sister like that? Once Nan arrives to embrace her parents, Jinny departs, making a beeline for the bathroom. She unlaces her corset and clutches her stomach while crying. Oh, no. She’s pregnant, and that monster is the father.
Later, Nan escapes the party, finding sanctuary on the roof with Guy. This is a prime romantic spot. Their hands touch. Inside, Mrs. St. George runs into Lady Brightlingsea, who commends her for putting on such a brave face. Her lack of shame is inspiring! (Insert massive eye roll here.) Thankfully, Theo interjects, asking Mrs. St. George to dance. As they dance, Mrs. St. George admits she’s merely glad that Nan and Jinny are finding success in the marriage department (well, not so sure about Jinny, unfortunately). Theo asks Mrs. St. George what she wants, which gets her thinking.
Next, Lady Brightlingsea reunites with Richard. She fixes his clothes and urges him to head downstairs to the party. Richard tells his mother about what transpired with Miss Testvalley. He phrases it like a “courtship” but wonders if it was something else. He feels conflicted about it. Lady Brightlingsea admits she knew about it. That’s why they paid her off … twice. Oh, that’s vile.
Richard reminds his mom that he was a boy at the time. He needed his parents to protect him. Lady Brightlingsea brushes him off, claiming that mothers and sons don’t talk about personal matters in polite society. As far as I’m concerned, everyone in the Brightlingsea/Marable family except Honoria and Richard can eff all the way off. Side note: Dylan’s performance is heartbreaking. Richard is coming to terms with the trauma he suffered.
Outside, Lizzy participates in a fun game where she must guess who she’s bumped into while blindfolded. She runs into Seadown. He makes a lewd remark about knowing “every inch of” Lizzy despite her not realizing he’s standing in front of her. Disgusting. She confronts Jinny, who observes the interaction from afar. Lizzy vehemently states that Jinny and Seadown belong together before storming off.
What Do I Want?
Mrs. St. George declares to her husband that she wants a divorce. He scoffs, stating that she’s nothing without him. That’s when she reminds Mr. St. George that her daughter will soon be a duchess. She’ll have money and power to support her, so take that. I love her monologue about her girls helping her stand tall. That’s a neat bit of dialogue. Elsewhere, Mabel (Josie Totah) runs into Honoria at the carnival. They have an equally tense and awkward exchange. Mabel reveals she accepted Miles’s proposal to continue doing what she wanted, aka continuing her relationship with Honoria. Honoria accuses her of being “a liar and a disappointment.” Ouch.
Next, Guy and Theo’s rivalry comes to a head when the former learns that the latter intercepted his telegram to Nan in New York. They start throwing food at each other. Then, it escalates to physical fighting.
The rest of the partygoers are assembled around the clock, counting to midnight. Honoria shoots a glance at Mabel, who’s standing next to Miles (Shobhit Piasa). Nan doesn’t look too enthused. As Seadown steps over the threshold, thereby completing the “first footing,” Theo and Guy burst into the room, beating the snot out of each other. Both men stop, looking up at the faces watching them in shock.
Learning the Truth
Nan pulls Theo and Guy aside, scolding them for making fools out of themselves. Guy tells her that she never received his telegram because Theo read and discarded it. Theo urges Guy to recite its contents, which he does, and it’s perfectly romantic. Nan realizes that Theo has known about her lack of legitimacy all this time. Naturally, this rubs Nan the wrong way. Meanwhile, Honoria pulls Conchita aside for something urgent as Jinny hops into a carriage and asks the driver to take her anywhere. Poor girl.
Then, Theo chases down Nan and tries to explain himself. He claims he didn’t want to disclose his knowledge of her parentage to make things easier for her. Nan states that everyone in England would rather suppress what’s important instead of addressing it. At the same time, Conchita finds Richard on the roof. Uh-oh. He admits he shouldn’t have introduced her to his family. They’re toxic (well, except for Honoria). He wants to cut them out for good. Conchita embraces him, reminding him that she’s his family now. Aw.
Later, Guy and Nan sit near the carousel. She asks Guy if he still loves her. Guy lies, claiming he’s moved on with Jean. He plans to propose to her. Perhaps Guy and Jean can learn to love each other. Oof.
Seadown searches for Jinny, not realizing she has left. Well, she did … until she returned. Jinny knows her chances of escaping Seadown are slim. She tells him she was outside watching the fireworks but withholds info about her pregnancy. Elsewhere, Theo and Guy sit on the stairs and mend fences. Guy apologizes for trying to steal Theo’s lady. He admits he was rather drunk when he wrote that telegram (the equivalent of drunk texting). He bids farewell to the Duke of Tintagel.
The following morning, Nan and Theo sit in their carriage in awkward silence. Guy, ever the brooder, stands in the aftermath of the carnival, looking dejected. The weight of the world is on his shoulders.
Will Guy actually marry Jean? Will Nan move forward with her wedding despite her feelings for Guy? Can someone please rescue Jinny from that monster? Only time (and one more episode) will tell.
The Buccaneers streams new episodes every Wednesday on Apple TV+.