Brigands: The Quest for Gold – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Map

Episode 1 of Brigands: The Quest for Gold starts with a voiceover explaining the history of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies in 1860 when a red hero they call Garibaldi arrives promising people freedom, and the narrator says he joined the fight. The narrator says that they were lied to, and the people they fought with emptied the Bank of Palermo as a loan for war, taking all its gold and leaving them with a note saying that the gold was a war loan and would be paid back. However, the gold and the map of its location disappeared. 

The scene then flashes forward to two years later in Basilicata, and a man wearing a mask is seen dragging another one into town and handing him to the police. The man is the best bounty hunter in the country, known as Sparrowhawk, and he is the narrator at the beginning of the series. He says the map has been found and intends to find it and get the gold. He asks the police officer for information about someone, and the officer tells him about Clemente Degli Orti and points him toward his home. At the same time, we are introduced to Filomena, Clemente’s wife. She is from a poor background but marries Clemente, who sides with the colonisers taking the poor people’s land. Therefore, her family hates her and calls her a witch. 

Filomena stops at her family house and talks to a friend whose son, Jurillo, is sick after consuming contaminated water. Filomena asks the friend to sneak into her house later that night, and she will give him medicine and water. When she arrives home, she finds her husband talking to an Italian soldier, and he shows him a map. He says that the map will lead them to Palermo’s gold, and the soldier asks him to recruit more recruits for the Italian army. Filomena speaks up, saying that the people need food and water but not soldiers, which surprises the soldier since women are not supposed to speak up. Clemente ignores his wife, puts the map back in the safe, and locks it. He says the safe is the safest place since nobody can access it without the key. 

Later that night, Filomena’s friend shows up for the medicine and water. Filomena could get the medicine, but she could not get water with all the guards around. The friend does not want to leave without it, so Filomena takes her to the well to fetch some. Meanwhile, Clemente follows them to the well, kills Filomena’s friend, and throws her into the well when she refuses to listen to his commands. Somehow, Filomena survives and makes it out of the well back into their house.

After taking a shower, Clemente finds her in the bedroom and orders her to approach him. Filomena arms herself with a hairpin, which she uses to stab the unsuspecting Clemente twice in the neck. 

While Filomena kills Clemente, Sparrowhawk snoops inside the house, looking for the map. He hears Filomena’s scream, and he witnesses her killing Clemente. Noticing that someone has seen her, Filomena takes the keys and runs out of the house into the woods. The guards hear the commotion, which leads to Sparrowhawk’s arrest. He is put in the same jail as the person he had previously turned in, and they get into a fight. Sparrowhawk is moved to a different cell, meeting with Manzo and Ventre.

Meanwhile, Filomena runs into bandits the following morning. At the same time, the Italian soldiers search for Filomena at her family’s homestead when they are holding a funeral for Jurillo’s mother. The leader asks them to find her, or their sons will be forced to join the Italian army. 

The bandits blindfold Filomena and take her back to their hideout, making fun of her and wondering what to do with her. A woman, Cicci, who asks about the blood on Filomena’s clothes, joins the two bandits, but she refuses to answer. Filomena asks to meet Michelina, but another man joins and introduces the group to the Monacos, saying they work independently. One of them sees her expensive ring, and they start to enquire about her marriage. Filomena says she is a widow, and Pietro sends Celesti into town with the ring to find out if anyone is looking for the ring.

Celesti finds the padre. He tells him about the dead husband and that people are looking for Filomena, including outsiders. The only person Celesti can return the ring to is Filomena’s brother, Nino. Before he leaves, the padre implores him to join the fight and help eliminate the invaders. Celesti also mentions that they are coming from Calabria and heading towards Mignano to help a relative in jail.

Outside, Celesti runs into Jurillo, who is petting his dog, and he learns that Nino is poor. Sparrowhawk overhears Celesti Jurillo discussing Filomena’s whereabouts, and when taken in front of Fumel, he uses the information to bargain for a release. He promises Fumel to bring Filomena, who wants her back, whether dead or alive. 

Celesti arrives back at the hideout, and Jurillo secretly follows him. He says that he wants to join them and become a brigand. Jurillo sees Filomena and calls her the witch who killed her mother. Cicci gives Jurillo a gun, asking him to kill Filomena if he wants to join them. The bandits learn that the Italians are looking for her and even want to get rid of her sooner. However, Filomena tells them that she can get them money, and they spare her life. 

Later that night, they break into Clemente’s house, killing their way into the study. Filomena uses the key to open the safe and give them the gold, but she hides the map. The brigands leave the house and return to their hideout with the gold while Filomena stops to bid her brother farewell. 

Elsewhere, Sparrowhawk unties himself on the way to Mignano and kills the guards. The prisoners sharing his cell, Manzo and Ventre, plead for their lives, promising to be loyal to Sparrowhawk. They show him a symbol on their hands that makes Sparrowhawk spare their lives, and they strike a deal to work with Sparrowhawk in Mignano, after which they will part ways. At the end of the episode, Filomena heads back to the brigand hideout in the woods and announces that she wants them to make her a brigand. Pietro tells her that the Monacos welcome her while Cicci knocks her out with a gun. 

The Episode Review

The first episode introduces many characters in this series, some of whom we get to know while others, like Michelina, remain a mystery. Although we know little about what the brigands stand for, they are heading to Mignano to look for Pietro’s father. Another group heading to Mignano is Sparrowhawk and his two followers, Manzo and Ventre. It was the colonial period, and the Italians oppressed the townspeople by taking their land and forcing them to join the army led by Fumel. There is also the gold plotline, which adds the aspect of a treasure hunt, and Filomena has a map coveted by many people.

Will the series be able to give depth to all the characters? What are their backstories? At the end of the episode, the storyline is quite understandable, but the characters are a bit sketchy, and there is not much we can say about them by the end. Regardless, the episode sets the ground for all the characters and encourages the audience to look forward to the story development in the next episode. 


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