Feud: Capote vs. The Swans – Season 2 Episode 1 “Pilot” Recap & Review


Episode 1 of Feud: Capote vs. The Swans titled ‘Pilot’ begins with Truman Capote comforting Babe Paley. Her husband, Bill is having an affair with the governor’s wife, Happy Rockefeller. However, tired of being his mistress, she takes a gory revenge involving blood. Truman listens to Babe’s rants of being humiliated and helps her figure out what to do. She is so comfortable with him that she even cuddles with him.

It takes us to the 40s – the first time that Truman meets the Paleys. Bill doesn’t like his effeminate personality but Babe takes a liking to him. But Truman knows how to gather a crowd and charm everyone including Bill. He has all the gossip and during a dull dinner gathering, he spills on how William Woodward Jr supposedly died. His wife, Ann traps him by getting pregnant but when he wants to leave, she shoots him. His mother covers it as a burglary gone wrong to protect her grandkids. 

After dinner, Truman watches Bill hook up with someone and Babe confides in him. He also lets it known that he knows her secret accident and the restructuring of her face and they become best of friends.

Flashforward to the 70s — Truman has turned into a drunk and is unable to write while squandering the publisher’s money. His partner, Jack Dunphy is tired of him. Truman doesn’t care and instead hooks up with John O’Shea, a young closeted married man. They start hanging out and Truman takes him to his next gathering with some of his “Swans”.

It is revealed that Babe is Truman’s #1 Swan. She is perfect and they are close. Next is Slim Keith, she rose up by marrying rich and hobnobs with all the elites. The third guest is C.Z. Guest, a rich woman with a green thumb. The five of them have a meal together with the usual high society talks of who hung out with whom. But when John excuses himself, the Swans try to stop Truman from replacing Jack with John as his manager as they find him shoddy.

The lunch takes a turn for the worst as Ann Woodward shows up. They were close which is why she is hurt over him painting her as a murderer in his new book. Truman lashes back that she insulted him behind his back and so he took revenge. She throws water on him but Truman is not deterred. Slim warns him to not mess with her but he simply smiles. 

A little miffed with the Swans making a drunk Truman go home via the subway, John suggests what his new book should be on – the Swans. No one knows their problems, their scandals except Truman. This intrigues him and he ends up publishing an excerpt talking about Ann’s alleged murderous act and Bill Paley’s bloody affair.

While Ann kills herself, Babe is humiliated and lashes out at her husband. At the end of Feud: Capote vs. The Swans Episode 1, Slim comforts Babe and declares that they will close ranks. Truman killed Ann, so they will take vengeance by crushing him till he dies a much slower death.

The Episode Review

Well, Ryan Murphy is back with season 2 of the iconic anthology series Feud. Feud: Capote vs. The Swans Episode 1 is full of flashbacks to keep us hooked on what exactly is the catalyst for the present conflict. And since we know Truman is supposed to be the ‘bad guy’ it is interesting to see how these socialites trust him initially.

The pacing is a little wonky, not going to lie, as the first half of the episode purely is about Babe. It feels like a love story about to turn into a vengeance as it establishes her relationship with Truman. But she isn’t his only target. We quickly get a glimpse of his thoughts and relationship with the other socialites. But maybe each episode focuses on a different woman, so it is too early to judge yet. 

So far it is intriguing and we are absolutely tuning in to see how the women will take their revenge on someone so flippant, so slippery that nothing scares him. It is going to be a challenge and an entertaining one for us viewers.


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Read our season 2 review of Feud: Capote vs. The Swans here!

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