The Buccaneers Episode 8 ‘s climax was always leading to a major decision on who Nan (Kristine Froseth) chose. The season finale allows for both an easy answer and one of the more thoughtful character moments of the series as it sets up a potential second season by allowing her to choose both on a technicality. She and Guy (Matthew Broome) are in love, but she’s marrying Theo (Guy Remmers), and it’s all to save her sister Jinny (Imogen Waterhouse). It’s a shallow, somewhat effective move that isn’t replicated within the rest of the season and constantly proves that Nan was only ever looking after herself.
The supporting characters have been the most interesting parts of the show the entire time. Not enough to justify watching all eight episodes, but certainly more engaging than Nan, who infuriates until the end even with her one final compassionate grace note. But the journey of her friends who are exploring their sexualities, the discrepancy of racial politics among the elitism of England’s wealthy, and the power dynamics between men and women are much richer in their depictions than Nan’s waffling between two men whom she is, quite frankly, undeserving of by how she’s been written. By the end of the season, the hope is for Guy and Theo to leave her and find others to set their sights on as she keeps them — especially Theo — in constant limbo.
We get grains of the larger cast’s storylines in this episode, which all crescendos onto Nan’s final decision so that she might still be the main heroine of the tale; God forbid Jinny be given an ounce of agency. Characters like Conchita (Alisha Boe) and Richard (Josh Dylan) and their familial and financial strife are put in the background; their traumas are reduced to C-plot fodder. Mabel (Josie Totah) telling Lizzy (Aubri Ibrag) she’s in love with another woman is written as an afterthought.
The biggest plot point involves Nan finally, momentarily, choosing Guy the night before her wedding when earlier Theo had given her an out to spare him the humiliation of being left at the altar. But Nan and Guy are interrupted by Jinny, who, after being physically abused by James (Barney Fishwick), runs to Nan’s aid, fearful now of both her and her unborn child. This is where the story pivots as she, Mabel, Lizzy, and Guy work together to help Jinny escape James’s monstrous disposition. Due to this, Jinny is able to escape with Guy. At the same time, Nan follows through with her engagement to marry Theo, with the latter having no idea she’s doing so as a power move to ensure the safety and stability of her family.
It’s a calculated move but one we understand for once. It doesn’t make Nan a likable or enjoyable character, but it at least finally delivers a bit of the idea of her being radical, something the show has been trying to convince us of the whole time. That said, it’s one moment that tries to absolve the rest of the series of missteps of corporate, faux feminism, and vapid fluff that is meaningless beyond the moment itself. The series is again bellowing at us about how forward-thinking these characters are and how their nonconformity rebukes standard gender norms. Still, it continues to do so in a way that lacks any heart, sincerity, or insight. It’s the Feminism 101 class you take in Freshman year costumed in immaculate dresses.
The Buccaneers Episode 8 works as a finale, in theory, by setting up continuing storylines that could help expand the world in a second season. But in terms of the story itself, it remains tired and trope-heavy without the charm that comes from those tropes. Give me all of the star-crossed lovers and love triangles, but do them well.
The Buccaneers Season 1 is out now on Apple TV+
The Buccaneers Episode 8
The Buccaneers Episode 8 works as a finale, in theory, by setting up continuing storylines that could help expand the world in a second season. But in terms of the story itself, it remains tired and trope-heavy without the charm that comes from those tropes.