The Buccaneers – Season 1 Episode 7 “First Footing” Recap & Review

First Footing

Episode 7 of The Buccaneers is set at the house of Lord and Lady Marable. The time has ticked over to New Year’s Eve. Our focus once again is the pair of Theo and Nan, who arrive at the house amidst a sea of whispers. Nan is the talk of the town. The news about her illegitimacy, although not affecting the wedding, has dampened her spirits and self-confidence. Theo tries to encourage her to overlook the public scrutiny. But for Nan, it is too much. 

Guy and Theo have a brief chat where the former comes out all guns blazing. They do not seem to be on the same page when it comes to Nan and her embarrassment. It is clear a rivalry is brewing beyond the warmth of their lifelong friendship. Conchita and Lizzy are informed that Nan is desolate and crying in the washroom. They try to cheer up her friend and bring her out of the rut. Meanwhile, Seadown and Jinny sit outside in their carriage. They are apprehensive about going inside since they eloped together.

Seadown tries to buck up Jinny. But anything he does seems like an attempt to isolate her from her friends and family. In a big surprise for the girls, Tracy and Patti show up at the party. They were slated to arrive next week. Jinny approaches them head-on to update them on what has transpired. While Patti is devastated and consoles Nan who runs in to hug her, Tracy, in his typical style, is relieved that the Duke still wants to marry her. When Patti sees Guy and Nan together, she has the “I know what’s going on” look on her face. 

Honoria and Richard have a private conversation with Minnie, where she alludes to their stern and cold upbringing. It is also suggested that Testvalley was more of a mother to the children than Lady Marable. We follow Jinny into the washroom where she loosens her corset and holds her stomach in pain. Is she pregnant? Lady Marable tries to shame Patti but Theo intercedes and dances with her. They both apologize to each other but they are both in agreement that the marriage will be filled with love. Lady Marable goes to fetch Richard from the room when he confronts her about Testvalley.

It is confirmed: they had an affair. However, as we learn more details, it sounds more like abuse. Richard claims he was barely a boy and is shocked when Lady Marable expresses her cognizance of it. When Testvalley was dismissed from the service, it was for this precise reason. She also suggests that they had paid money to Testvalley to keep her mouth shut. While playing a game, Lizzy, who is blindfolded, runs into Seadown. He once again humiliates her, forcing Lizzy to back up in disgust as she takes it off. Like Nan, she admonishes Jinny for allowing her husband to continue shaming her.

The moment finally comes when Patti gathers the courage to divorce Tracy. She announces it as he beckons her to leave the party. Honoria is angry with Mabel for “making her feel special and like she deserves love.” She is clearly in love but because they can’t be together, the pain feels more weakening. Theo spots Nan and Guy sharing a few laughs as they descend the stairs. Theo insists on having a chat with Guy where he tells him off about spending time with Nan.

Theo mentions the telegram, prompting a shocked reaction from Guy, who wonders “if Nan really chose the Duke.” This sparks a brawl between the two men. All the other guests welcome the new year as the clock goes past twelve. The two men comically fall through the doors, much to the shock of everyone present. When Nan talks to them in private, Theo reveals the telegram and he compels Guy to tell her the contents of it. Guy makes an impassioned speech to Nan, declaring his love. The telegram also talks about Nan’s illegitimacy, which makes her very upset with Theo.

It means he knew beforehand about it and didn’t say anything to her. He also kept the telegram from her, fearing he might lose her to Guy. Theo chases after her and rightly points out that it wasn’t his secret to share or keep. But Nan, in her infinite wisdom, lays all the blame on Theo. She is internally reacting to Guy’s words, making it clear she loves him and not Theo. When they’re alone, Nan asks him if he meant what he wrote…but he once again tries to stick to what’s real – Nan and Theo’s wedding.

Amidst all the chaos, Jinny takes off on her own in a carriage. But as the scene intercuts with Seadown looking for her, she shows up back at the house. Guy and Theo have a quiet moment together where the former apologizes for sending the telegram. But he isn’t sorry for his feelings, which are quite real. Guy still promises to put it behind him and asks Theo to go ahead with the wedding. Guy’s farewell has an ominous sense of permanence to it. 

The Episode Review

The melodrama does not seem to end in The Buccaneers. Every episode brings a new phase of high fever for the characters who go berserk. Nan’s emotions are too intense and confusing to comprehend. Like so many episodes before this one, her love triangle takes precedence in the storytelling. For once, all of it comes out in the clear, which didn’t seem a necessity. Wasn’t it implied in all those awkward exchanges that Guy has feelings for Nan and perhaps she does too?

The writing is once again a mess. The writers’ room does not know where they’re taking this story, despite all of it coming pre-assembled. They do not know what to do with the characters and create arcs for them.

Love seems to be at the centre of all the madness, which is also sweet in a strange way, especially how the expression of love compares to modern times.

Christina Hendricks found her shining moment in the episode. Her arc is well executed and her moment of defiance truly feels good. Elsewhere, Honoria and Mabel’s subplot isn’t taking off. The attention to their unfulfilled love is annoyingly insignificant, which further dampens the show’s appeal.

Richard’s development seems to be interesting. Perhaps that tangent can give us a fuller picture. Until Nan is the focus of things, though, I cannot see the show improving.

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