Maxton Hall: The World Between Us – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Under The Radar

Maxton Hall: The World Between Us episode 1 starts with the handsome James Beaufort waking up after one of his crazy parties. A girl is sleeping next to him, and we learn that she is the sister to one of his friends. As he leaves the room and heads towards the swimming pool, he misses a message from his distressed sister, Lydia. Upon getting to the swimming pool, he gets into a fight with his friends. The fight automatically comes to a stop when Lydia shows up crying. She tells James that a girl, Ruby Bell, caught her doing something wrong and their father and the press will kill her if the truth comes out. James is confused as he doesn’t know who Ruby Bell is.

The scene cuts to a few hours before this disaster. Ruby Bell is sitting on the bus on her way to school. She excitedly talks to her professor, Sutton, about her recommendation letter to Oxford. The professor is happy to read the documents Ruby gives him and promises to write a good recommendation letter for her. For Ruby Bell, Oxford University is her dream, and Maxton Hall is her ticket to get there. She has worked hard to earn a scholarship in the elite school and is staying under the radar. Most of her classmates are wealthy snobs, and to them, Ruby is invisible. She only has one friend, Lin, whose family went bankrupt.

As the day goes by, Ruby and the other students attend classes and have exciting debates in Sutton’s class, and the day is seemingly normal. After class, Ruby and Lin share their excitement over the upcoming school party. They are on the planning committee, and everything has to be perfect. It is at this point that Ruby notices she forgot to give Sutton a document. She rushes back to his office and finds him shoving his tongue down Lydia’s throat. Immediately, Lydia and Sutton go into panic mode while Ruby quietly flees. For the rest of the day, she is distracted and even more shocked when James, the school heartthrob, shows up at their planning committee meeting and asks to speak to her.

As expected of a high nobility snob, James proceeds to shove money on Ruby’s face while threatening her not to say anything about Lydia’s relationship with their teacher. Ruby is offended and throws the money back at him. She admits she might be poor but does not need his money. She leaves him and heads out to work. After school, Ruby works as a waitress to earn money so they can afford a new stairlift for their father, who is in a wheelchair. By the looks of it, Ruby’s family is struggling financially, but they are tight-knit and loving.

The following day, Ruby asks Sutton to return her documents as she is no longer interested in having him write her a recommendation. She argues his recommendation will be useless once the truth comes out. Later, James accosts her and tries to renegotiate. Ruby is clear she wants him to stay away, but James insists she must have a price. So far, Ruby has managed to keep a low profile, but if she keeps being seen with James, it will ruin her plan. When Ruby turns down his money, he offers himself, but Ruby asks him to stay away. 

James is not used to being turned down. He doesn’t believe Ruby doesn’t want anything from his family. His suspicion grows after seeing Ruby innocently strike up a conversation with his friend, Patel, during the Lacrosse game. He starts thinking the two might be planning something together after he slept with Alistair’s sister. In reality, Ruby and Alistair were making small talk about the game while she waited for the opportune time to ask the dean to write her a recommendation. The dean promises to write it if the Welcome party goes well. James confronts her and says people like her have no power and no one will believe her. He dares her to do her best if she is out to ruin him.

Days go by, and the school finally holds its welcome party.  Ruby does her best to make everything go smoothly, but she doesn’t plan for what happens when James brings in strippers to perform. The dean is disappointed in Ruby and decides to ban James from participating in the Lacrosse games. He orders the two to work together on the next school party to redeem themselves in his grace. James is surprised when Ruby doesn’t tell the dean about Sutton and Lydia. However, they loudly bicker about the dean’s decision to force them to work together.

After the meeting with the dean, Ruby dares James to do what he wants. She says she is not going to waste her chances at Oxford fighting with him. Of course, James takes this as a call for war and is determined to win.

The Episode Review

Lydia and James are experiencing a lot of pressure from their parents. From the outside looking in, you might think they have it all, but it is a façade. They only have each other, and that is why Lydia could only go to James for help. He is the only one who has her back and will protect her at all costs. However, James is wrong for antagonising Ruby. She has no plans to out Sutton and Lydia. She has her mind on Oxford, and that is all she cares about. She knows it is not her secret to tell and respects Lydia and Sutton’s privacy. While we don’t agree with a teacher dating a student, we can’t fault Ruby for minding her business. 

On the other hand, Ruby’s family is vastly different from James’s. Ruby and her sister Ember have two loving parents. Their family is happy despite their financial challenges and supportive. There is a sense of calm when you look at Ruby’s home life. However, James and Lydia might as well be living in a luxurious prison. Every move is monitored, and a slip-up means being salacious news for gossip magazines.


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