There is always a special love for period dramas, especially British ones, with their depiction of propriety and corsets. This is why it was a no-brainer that we would watch Belgravia: The Next Chapter, even though we haven’t seen the prequel. The events of this series are set twenty years after Belgravia (2020), which means that not a lot is lost in translation. With that in mind, let us go through the recap of the first episode of the series.
What happened in Frederick Trenchard’s past?
Frederick’s parents had a marriage that was based more on convenience than on love or companionship. While that worked for them just fine, things were affected when they had children. Oliver had always wanted a child of his own, and while he initially agreed to raise Fred, knowing that he was the result of his wife’s affair, he was never able to fully accept him. At that point, Oliver thought that he couldn’t have children, which is why he was alright with Fred. But when he had a son of his own, James, things changed. Fred constantly has flashbacks of his father telling him that he is rotten and unloveable. Susan had taught Oliver to never cry and to keep burying his feelings within himself. Maybe she did it as a matter of pride or because she was scared that if other people came to know of this differential treatment, they would raise questions, which would eventually lead to the truth about Fred’s illegitimate parentage. Her intentions may have been good, but the result was a grown man who was deeply insecure and was paying the price for it, along with the ones he loved and cared for.
Why does Fred marry Clara?
Fred liked Clara the moment he saw her singing at a party. It seems like he had the reputation of being a ‘monk’, someone who was wholly disinterested in women and only cared about work. When he saw Clara and inquired about her, it was almost an instant match. Clara also liked him, and the two had a bit of a whirlwind romance. Clara’s sister, Emily, mentioned that he seemed a little too proud, but Clara thought it was his shyness. Knowing Fred’s past, it could have been a mixture of both, but Emily was right to be a little apprehensive while Clara was blinded by love. When Fred proposed to Clara, he stopped short of saying that he loved her. He just said that he ‘thought of her.’ Clara also did not notice this, and they both got married, like a match made in heaven.
It was mentioned a few times that Clara was much too young to be married. Additionally, Fred’s love language seems to be to financially take care of Clara and her family. The only thing is that Clara’s mother did not mention being bankrupt. Her dead husband had left the family with little to spare, but they were certainly not destitute. Maybe they just did not say it, but Fred made sure that they had a monthly allowance to keep up their standard of living. This could be an honest attempt to take care of himself, but on the flip side, it is creating a relationship that is very lopsided in power. Clara did not bring any dowry to the marriage, and this is what Fred had wanted since he said that he did not want to feel indebted to his wife and just wanted love. However, by helping her family, he is creating debt for Clara. It is also unclear whether she is aware of this or not.
When their courtship had just started, Fred got Clara new riding gear because her mother had mentioned that she needed it. According to Clara’s mother, she must have seen the benefits of the financial aspect of things. Emily found that strange because she sensed the disadvantages of the financial imbalance. Clara was just too in love to notice anything else. But it is Fred’s point of view that we are wondering about. He must have understood what Clara’s mother expected and was asking for from this union. It may not have influenced his opinion of Clara herself, but it must have added to his trust issues.
Do Fred and Clara reconcile after the fight?
The first night that Clara and Fred spend together, he is quite careful of his wife’s comfort and wishes. But when the time comes to communicate about his own fears and perhaps be a little emotionally intimate with his wife, he prefers to leave the room. The next day, Fred is mindful that he has made a mistake, and he admits to Clara that he has trouble trusting people. Clara asks what that means, but Fred doesn’t answer her.
During business, Fred wants to scale up. So far, he has been making small investments with good profits, but he wants to go big. Could it have something to do with his insecurity about his wife? He obviously doesn’t believe that she loves or trusts him, and he himself hasn’t let himself feel more deeply for her in case he gets hurt. Maybe he feels that more money and a greater position in society are the best ways to make sure she stays with him. Clara asks him not to worry about her too much and that she is stronger than he may believe. She has understood that Fred comes with a need for control, and he is not abusive, but he also doesn’t know how to properly be in a healthy relationship. Fred hired a lady’s maid for Clara himself, and while he says that they can change her if she doesn’t like it, the point is that this decision should have been Clara’s to begin with.
At the end of “Belgravia: The Next Chapter,” episode 1, Fred and Clara have a fight because he misunderstands Miss Davison’s teasing. She was making fun of him as women do of their friends’ husbands and partners, but Fred thought that Clara had actually spoken badly of him, and he wouldn’t hear her explanations. Clara got angry, and she was storming out when she fell from the stairs. The doctor was called in, and he told her to rest for a bit. It looked like Fred had been abusive, but the doctor was assured that it was far from the case. Fred is upset because Clara is angry with him. He understands that he was unnecessarily jealous and insecure, but he has no idea how to stop. Maybe he will learn in the coming episodes.
While Fred and Clara’s marriage is going to be at the center of the story, there are a few other significant subplots. There is the case of Fletcher, who is living under a different identity to escape the horrors of his past. Clara has neighbors who are hiding their child because of his epilepsy, and Fred himself has an estranged brother and a butler who is obsessed with him. This promises to be an interesting series.