The Buccaneers – Season 1 Episode 3 “The Perfect Duchess” Recap & Review

The Perfect Duchess

Episode 3 of The Buccaneers begins in the aftermath of Theo’s proposal in a carriage. It hosts the to-be Duchess Nan, Conchita, and Mabel. They are en route to the castle in Cornwall. Nan is confused and sceptical after having accepted Theo’s proposal. She feels their understanding of each other is still lacking. Spending their lives together is a matter of great importance. The duties and obligations are a commitment of a lifetime, worrying Nan on the occasion when something goes wrong.

Conchita remarks how the “knowing” begins after the marriage. Nan’s conflict arises because of how she feels in Theo’s presence. They definitely have a spark…but is it enough to subsume the mountain of responsibilities they are about to take on? Before they get off, Conchita reveals to the girls how she will pretend to be the ideal daughter-in-law for Richard’s parents, giving them exactly what they want. It might help calm the storms with them and should bring her closer to Richard. 

Nan is overwhelmed by the reception and facade of the castle. She knows what she is walking into. And that prompts her to run toward the beach to catch a breath. Lo and behold, Theo is already standing a few paces away. He instantly recognizes that everything has perhaps moved too swiftly for Nan’s comfort. He begins by apologizing and even says to her that she can refuse his proposal if she doesn’t fit in after the Duchess’ private ball later that night.

It is indicated that Honoria and Richard’s parents are almost bankrupt. They overlook their American daughter-in-law’s fatal flaws just so that they can “pay the bills.” Conchita’s new moderated behaviour pleasantly surprised them. However, they all get a shock when they learn Seadown and Jinny have eloped together. Nan is unsure of the development as she knows this is unlike anything Jinny would be willing to do. She even tries to get confirmation from her first-hand but Seadown prevents it.

Jinny is smitten with him but still doesn’t know his true face. Honoria is excited to see Mabel but the latter is unimpressed with her casual remarks about how her parents are using the Americans. Nan has a formal introduction with Dowager Duchess. It is not exactly tense but there is a sense of occasion to Nan’s disposition. She knows the Duchess is arguably the most important person in the castle after Theo. Winning her confidence will be key to getting approval for the marriage.

Nan still has a long way to go in learning how to carry herself as Theo’s wife. They share an intimate moment when Theo shows Nan his paintings. They go on an impromptu horse ride along the beach’s coastline. However, Nan is surprised when she runs into Guy who turns out to be Theo’s best friend since childhood! What a twist in the tale.

She is finally able to get a moment with Jinny, who allays her fears about being roped into doing things by Seadown whom she doesn’t like. Guy inadvertently walks in on a half-dressed Nan, who is more concerned about him telling the truth about her to Theo. Guy makes it clear that he has never lied to his best friend and moreover, when the truth does come to light, his social standing will be desecrated. It will be scandalous and hence Nan herself should tell him the truth to get ahead of it.

Nan is officially presented to the audience at the Ball as Theo’s future wife. We hear clamours of approval from the people, which is an important aspect of the wedding. The dance begins in the traditional style bringing new life to the room. Conchita feels Richard’s parents turning against her after Jinny’s arrival. She feels it is because of the colour of her skin and confronts them. However, the parents turn their faces from her and Conchita runs out of the room in tears. 

Conchita runs towards the cliff in the pouring rain and Richard chases after her. Nan surprisingly calls her a “chaotic mess” and how she often does this to get attention. But it isn’t enough to stop Richard, who wants to proclaim his love. When he catches up with her, Richard proposes that they move to New York for a few months to rediscover the time they fell in love. She is overjoyed and fights with Nan when she comes back on this issue. Meanwhile, Honoria and Mabel kiss in the shadows, confirming their liking for each other.

Guy talks to a desolate Nan about the issue. He says that he will not tell Theo the truth but she must do something about it. Nan confirms her intentions to marry Theo at the beach. As she is going to bed with Lizzy, Nan learns that Guy had also arrived that day at Runnymede on a horse, but turned away after the big proposal. This revelation might bring out Nan’s inner conflict about what she feels.

The Episode Review

Episode 3 is all over the place, primarily because of the chaotic protagonists. It is tough to really understand what the girls want from their lives and how they feel about their prospective partners. All of this confusion is perhaps an authentic representation of them but gives us a difficult time to see the shape of how things might end up.

Nan’s love triangle is essentially in motion after Lizzy’s nonchalant remarks. Who is the better partner for her? Well, at this point, it is difficult to say. When  Nan herself seems confused, how are we supposed to know?

Conchita, at the outset, presented herself as a strong-headed character. But her lack of maturity and consistent bickering only expose her underlying narcissism. I get what they are trying to do with her to create an arc. But Conchita is quickly becoming an unlikeable character. Other girls, like the Elmsowrth sisters and Jinny, though, made great strides in the episode, signalling a positive outlook in the upcoming episodes.

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You can read our full season 1 review of The Buccaneers here!
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