The Buccaneers – Season 1 Episode 5 Recap & Review

Failed Betrayal

Episode 5 of The Buccaneers is set in Guy Thwarte’s ailing mansion. The day is 5 November, when the people in Britain celebrate the night of bonfires to commemorate the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Theo now knows about Guy’s telegram. He is cold towards Guy, who is in turn indifferent to Nan. He thinks she has read the letter.

Guy has only called an intimate gathering of just the main group since he doesn’t have the money to organize a bigger party. Nan volunteers to chop wood for the bonfire and even helps Guy in cutting wood. He says enough to give her a sense of what his feelings are for her by giving his parents’ example.

Lizzy and Seadown’s mind games continue. He keeps her guessing about what comes next. He is a gaping reminder of her shame. It is torture for her but none of the other girls know. Lizzy carries it around like a burden. Unbeknownst to him, Theo invited Jean on behalf of Guy to set them up. His intentions are honest although subconsciously, he wants to get back at Guy for not telling him the truth about his feelings for Nan.

Conchita and Minny have moved out of the house but Richard hasn’t told his parents yet. Instead of bonding with Jean, Guy strikes up chemistry with Lizzy. They have dessert together in the kitchen, sitting on the floor. She speaks of her relief over having stopped her efforts to attract a husband. Lizzie opens up about her feelings of fear and humiliation with Seadown but doesn’t name him. Guy offers words of comfort when he says that Lizzy had no fault in what happened. She breaks down in tears, easing her burden a little.

Jean confides in Mabel about her disappointment of not being able to find someone. Despite being nearly perfect in every regard, Jean somehow gets ignored. She doesn’t know what more she can do to win this “marriage game”. They also share a mutual fondness for how carefree and childlike the American girls are. Next, the party plays a traditional game to find the mashal in the maze. Lizzie stands up to Seadown by preventing Jinny from spending time with him. Theo wins the game, as he always does.

Guy and Nan meet in the maze. The picture reminds one of a confession box in a church as they speak to each other through the thick bushes. He mentions the telegram and Nan is suddenly confused as she is telling him Jean isn’t the right partner since they aren’t “best friends”. Guy also knows now that Theo received the telegram. Nan confides in Conchita who takes her on a path of self-destruction. Nan cites how possessive Theo is and his regressive views about women from just one line he said to her earlier.

And now Nan realizes she is actually in love with Guy and not Theo after not wondering at all in the last four episodes. Conchita’s reaction of excitement is childish, sacrilegious, and symbolic of the shambles she is as a person. It is abominable how she is leading Nan to make the biggest mistake of her life. Honoria and Mabel make love to each other in a secluded cabin not far from the maze.

Nan goes to confront Guy about his telegram. She admonishes him for making her feel confused and not saying anything earlier when they first met. Guy explains to her that they connected when they first met. But Nan refused to see it that way. And then she kisses him and tries to run away…only to be stopped by Theo. Guy lies to him that he is showing Nan “the garden.” The trio plays a game of poker symbolising their current situation. Guy wins the game and a considerable amount of money.

Theo spittingly brings up how Guy desperately needs the money given his financial situation. The servants are certainly not on leave; they’ve left because Guy’s family doesn’t have enough money to pay them. Theo then exposes Guy’s original plan to wed a wealthy New York bride. Nan then shows her cards, which make her the winner of the game. She laments how she has nothing to show for it, despite winning.

At the bonfire, Nan now turns on Guy. Within a matter of hours, she now abhors him for saying exactly what she needed to hear to win her over. And now, she won’t be with him. Theo and Guy talk privately and Guy reveals that he has lost the house. This party was a farewell. Theo offers to help him but Guy refuses the offer. When Jinny tries to go in, she realises Seadown has locked the door, to get back at her for abandoning him at the maze.

Honoria and Mabel have a fight when the former points out that their role play changes nothing in their lives. They will still have to live pretending to be someone else. If they show their true colours to the world, they’d be ostracized and ridiculed.

Theo apologizes to Nan for his behaviour the entire day. He reaffirms his love for Nan, who is once again convinced that his feelings are sincere. And then she kisses him.


The Episode Review

This is by far the worst episode I have watched this entire year. I mean…I am speechless. The nonsense breed of American feminism has spoilt the source material’s authenticity. Wharton’s novel is a piece that belongs to its times as a glaring reminder of what was; not how things should have been.

The stupidity that Nan spews in this episode has taken away all respect for her character. She started as the brightest among the lot. However, her progression has been on a downtrend. And in Episode 5, it crashes to an irrecoverable stop. She is of course spurred on by Conchita, whose lack of self-awareness and maturity is incredulous.

The writing is absolutely terrible. You will cringe hard listening to some of the dialogue that has made it to the final cut. How are professional writers producing this idiocracy?

And now they’ve suddenly made the Duke the bad guy. Just an episode ago, he was the dreamy Prince Charming that Nan and her friends couldn’t get over. And what did he do wrong? Why was he made to apologize? It is Nan who needs to apologize to everyone for being such a nuisance and so fickle-minded. The Americanization of the novel will hurt those who admire Wharton’s nuanced perspective. 

Honoria and Mabel’s arc is a bright hope…so is Lizzy, who finally sees that Seadown was in the wrong. Her sisterly love for Jinny is sweet and undoes – to an extent – the horribleness of Nan’s gaudy love triangle. 

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You can read our full season 1 review of The Buccaneers here!
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1 thought on “The Buccaneers – Season 1 Episode 5 Recap & Review”

  1. I read Whartons book a few years ago, the duke was always charming in the beginning but as time changed he has become different. Nan and Theos natural chemistry though is amazing and sometimes it’s a bit hard to root for Nan and Guy in the show(for me the chemistry isn’t there). But in the book you’ll see why things happen as it did, and Nans decisions made sense.
    Wharton is also an American so calling this book Americanization is obvious, well I mean she is American who grew up in the Guilded Age and came from old money (in the US). And in the original book the girls do come off as confident/strong personalities. Nan is also the youngest who is the most naive out of all in the beginning.

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