Let The Tournament Begin
What does Marian intend to do?
Episode 9 of The Gilded Age Season 1 starts with Marian finalizing her plans with Tom Raikes. They’re running away together, with the intention of getting married and living happily ever after. Ms Chamberlain is there to help out, lending them her carriage that will help take them to Grand Central. When Marian tells Mr Raikes of their plan, he admits he loves her and the pair kiss in the park together.
Marian also has Peggy help smuggle out her traveling bag as Marian intends to stay at Tom’s apartment for the time being. Peggy though feels bad that she’s leaving Ada and Agnes in this way.
On the way out the door, Ada notices that Peggy is carrying Marian’s bag and worries that something untoward is going on. Ada does eventually sit with Marian though and learns the truth. Ada blames Raikes for not wanting to wait, urging Marian to actually tell Agnes the truth, regardless of how hard that’s going to be.
What happens with Mrs Astor and Bertha?
Meanwhile, Bertha shows up to see Mrs Astor but her butler is pretty adamant that she’s not in. At least not for her anyway. One of her friends shows up and it immediately annoys Bertha.
Mrs Astor snubbing Bertha is enough for her to make big plans and decide Carrie can’t perform with Gladys at the ball anymore. The two girls have worked hard for weeks and when Carrie finds out, she’s not happy and takes it out on her mother, storming upstairs.
Carrie is stubborn, refusing to come downstairs and asking her mum to drop off a tray of food upstairs, putting her foot down. For now, Mrs Astor plays along but for how long will she keep this charade going?
What happens with the Russell chef?
Over at the Russell household, the head chef arrives to see George with a big confession. It turns out he’s just a farm boy from Kansas and not actually French after all. In the past he started washing dishes in Cannes and then progressed up the ladder from there, learning his trade. Returning to New York, he donned the persona of Monsieur Baudin. His real name is Josh Borden. So why the confession right now?
Well, it turns out Josh’s wife has tracked him down and wants reconciliation. She’s found out that Josh is doing well and wants a slice of that lucrative pie.
When Bertha learns of his deception she’s not happy. She knows how cutthroat this society is and believes allowing him to keep cooking will tarnish her reputation. With Bertha’s ball on the horizon, Josh decides to try and convince his wife to divorce her, while George doesn’t believe firing their chef is the right idea, especially given how hard he’s been working.
Regardless of what George thinks, a new chef enters the fray; the arrogant Mr Charron. He throws the plans Borden had in place out the window and decides to do things his way. He arrogantly stands against Bertha’s wishes, wanting to do the food in his own way. That’s almost certainly going to go badly.
Does Mrs Astor apologize?
For now though, attention turns to Mrs Astor who shows up in the Russell hallway, wanting to talk. After explaining the situation, Bertha decides Carrie can perform after all… but only if Mrs Astor is at the party with her. Part of this stipulation also sees Astor convince Ada and Agnes to attend that night too, patching up this rivalry between the two households once and for all.
Meanwhile, word of Raikes’ devious behaviour reaches Ada as she learns that he was getting cozy with Miss Bingham the previous evening. At one point he leaned over and whispered in her ear, prompting Bingham to cling to his arm tightly.
Ada realizes that Marian is about to make a massive mistake and scrambles out the door to track her down and stop this from happening.
Why was Tom Raikes flirting with Miss Bingham?
Marian is flustered when she finds out, confronting Tom Raikes about his betrayal. He’s in his study and breaks the news to her that they’re not getting married. At least not right now anyway.
The truth is, Tom wanted to make sure “they have an armory for the battle that lay ahead.” In other words, he wanted more money and was going to grow closer to Miss Bingham to make that happen. He was going to leech off her fortune.
Marian is understandably heartbroken and says her goodbyes, deciding to part ways not as friends but also not as enemies either. Upon leaving, she sets out to stop Larry from delivering the letters to Ada and Agnes.
What is Peggy’s letter about?
Speaking of letters, earlier in the episode we saw Peggy’s mother receive one for Peggy. When her daughter returns home we find out exactly what this was. It turns out Peggy’s son is still alive and together, they intend to track him down. Given Peggy’s father lied about this, she wants him to help find the boy. He refuses to do so, believing he’s freed Peggy from a “life of shame.”
Back at the ball, Charron completely messes everything up and winds up blind drunk, rambling and singing on the table. So naturally, the 0ther workers set to work bringing Josh back as head chef to salvage the evening. He does just that, with Bertha and George deciding to keep him on after all.
What happens at the ball?
At the party, Raikes appears and he ends up talking to Marian, apologizing and admitting that he really does love her. However, his betrayal runs too deeply and Marian can’t bring herself to forgive him for this.
The dancing goes ahead that night, with Gladys growing closer to Oscar. He meets with John later on in private and believes he can reel her in. It won’t change anything between them but it appears while Raikes’ betrayal is a little too foolish and abrupt, Oscar’s is going to be far more subtle, setting things up for an intriguing second season.
How does The Gilded Age Season 1 end?
For Marian though, she’s intending to brave this world and face it head-on alongside her aunts after all, with Ada convincing her that this is home and she can stay for as long as she wants.
And so the season ends with the ball a success and a beautiful crane shot down the road as we see the two sides have finally reconciled.
The Episode Review
The Gilded Age bows out with a conclusive chapter, one that finally gives closure to the Raikes situation as Marian sees his true colours and finally understands what a deceptive guy he is. It’s a hard lesson to learn but hopefully one that she will take with her going forward.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of talking points and potential bouts of drama to come later on down the line. There’s the situation involving Peggy finding her birth son, Gladys getting closer to Oscar and the situation with George Russell and his railway still to take place. All of these are likely to be big talking points going into the second season
For now though, this final episode sees Bertha and George on the up, holding their heads high as the ball is a success and they manage to navigate through this murky myriad of class warfare to come out on top in the end.