‘Palm Royale’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: Is Maxine Speaking The Truth?

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Richard Nixon’s just become president, and feminism is taking America by storm. Set in 1969, when love wins all, Palm Royale is a zany tale of a young woman trying to fit into the world of country clubs and socialites. I went in completely blind to episode 1 of Palm Royale, and I was pleasantly surprised by its little subversions. There’s nothing new about this show; it simply repackages today’s favorite cinematic subject: affluence must die (at least on screen). What I mean by that is that I thought Hollywood’s “consume the capitalists” obsession had passed and now it was time for something new, and, I suppose, with the Oscar season just gone by, I do see a turning of the tide, but it’s not quite as obvious as the last one. With Barbie and Poor Things being the talk of the town, I would assume this upfront feminist take—a new wave, if I may—might be the new thing. Palm Royale actually manages to combine these two ideas and create a satirical world that is vibrant yet dark at its heart. We all love a good underdog rising through the ranks situation, and episode 1 is just the first step into the world of mod dresses, hippie circles, and soirees for cancer awareness.

Spoiler Alert


Why does Maxine befriend Dinah?

Palm Royale episode 1 kicks off with a blonde and brightly dressed Maxine jumping the wall into only the world’s greatest country club, the Palm Royale, in Palm Beach, Florida. It seems Maxine’s been keeping an eye on the most affluent of the lot that go to this club, the elite women that make all the difference, if you may. Repeat after me, ladies, “Nothing of beauty is safe.” Maxine’s hope is to get sponsored by one of the big hitters, and she’s got her eye on the ball immediately. Getting a fancy drink at the club, she sits across from a table of women discussing their first-world problems when Maxine tries to join in. She introduces herself as Mrs. Simmons, an unknown name that’ll get her nowhere. So, immediately, she’s photographed by the club runner and asked to step out. Maxine is certain she deserves a seat at this table, and she’s one of those fighters who will do anything to get what she wants. It appears as if she’s faking her story and might be a con artist, ordering grasshoppers at the Palm Royale only to be kicked out while living out of a motel room. 

So, when she’s in a fancy bedroom with expensive clothes and she’s talking to someone named Norma about how it’s so great that they’re the same size, it only makes sense to think she’s a thief. Norma’s an old woman who seems to be chronically ill and bedridden, though Maxine doesn’t seem to care one bit.  She only takes a bunch of dresses and bags of her liking for her next outing about town. On her way to get her nails done, Maxine comes upon Linda (played by a cheerful Laura Dern). Is it just me, or has she played Linda many times before?), a feminist who is trying to do something for the collective sisterhood of the world. Linda tries to recruit Maxine into her cause and invites her to a meeting, though Maxine claims she’s not interested in working or joining hands with Linda’s kind when it’s charity season and she has more important things to work on. 

While getting her nails done, Maxine notices Dinah, one of the women in the circle she wanted to join earlier. Dinah’s the talk of the town because she’s done so much for pediatric cancer and is about to be feted for the same in a grand event, of course. Maxine notices Dinah’s in a lover’s quarrel with someone who isn’t her husband (ooh, scandy). Seeing as she lives an “opportunist” life, she decides this is the moment she will change her life. Maxine makes it so that Dinah ends up bumping her car into Maxine’s. Seeing as Maxine is bleeding, Dinah gives her a ride to her family hospital, though when she’s asked to be examined herself, she goes feral and runs to the lady’s room. See, Maxine’s already caught on, and you should’ve too. 


How does Maxine help Dinah? 

Dinah’s in love with (whatever that means) a tennis instructor and is with child, though her husband can never find out, so she can’t really speak to any of her friends about it. Maxine uses this moment to befriend Dinah and actually help her, for the sisterhood, you know? But Dinah still sees Maxine as below her, a leech. But, seeing as she has nobody else to vent her frustrations to, she uses Maxine as a friend and then drives her to the motel. Now, Maxine makes her way to Linda and asks her for help with the abortion. This is Florida in 1969, so it’s a very risky business, but you know, feminists, they’ll do anything to help. At the same time, Maxine also sells off one of Norma’s expensive-looking necklaces at a pawn shop, claiming familial struggles. After getting Dinah fitted for her charity event, Maxine takes her to the hospital, where some nurses have agreed to do the abortion. Though Linda doesn’t show up because she doesn’t quite appreciate the company of people such as Dinah and Virginia, her colleague is with Maxine through the process. She calls Maxine a feminist, seeing as how she’s so caring for Dinah and wants to help her. Eventually, Maxine has to pay for the procedure a whopping $1,000 and then looks after Dinah for two days. Somehow, this is still not enough for Dinah, and she finally lifts the facade, revealing that she was never going to help Maxine and that she knows Maxine is a liar. 

Maxine tells Dinah that she met her husband, Douglas D’ellacourt (a pilot), at a pageant she was once participating in. The man fell in love with her and decided she shouldn’t be selected for the competition because she’d go on to win, so instead he wooed her. The D’ellacourts are a big name in the Palm Beach area, and Dinah does not believe a single word coming out of Maxine’s mouth. To make Dinah feel bad for her behavior, Maxine stirs the pot in the fancy shop where Dinah gets her dresses made, and takes the dress Dinah is meant to be wearing for the charity event. Before their big fight, Dinah had wanted Maxine to go pick it up anyway, so the shop didn’t stop her from taking it. Anyway, the guy is too caught up in the little story of how Dinah may be “sick” to really care. 


Who is Norma? 

When Maxine is trying on Dinah’s dress in her little motel room, Dinah shows up and is shocked by the sight. Before she can get an explanation from Maxine, though, Douglas shows up, and suddenly all of Dinah’s doubts evaporate. Now, Maxine finally has the upper hand and reminds Dinah that she wants real love for her, just like she has for Douglas. She basically threatens Dinah to sponsor her at the Palm Royale, and Dinah does. 

At the end of Palm Royale episode 1, Maxine gets exactly what she has dreamt about all her life. When she’s dancing with Douglas at the charity event after Dinah wins her award, Evelyn, one of the “wives,” shows up. Evelyn sends Douglas off to get drinks and calls Maxine a scheming and conniving young woman who stole Douglas from his aunt’s arms. Apparently, Douglas used to be the apple of Norma’s eye. Yeah, that Norma. Though one mystery remains, the show begins with a man asking Maxine some questions, and at the end of the episode, Maxine claims she doesn’t remember anything, or she may have eventually snapped from all the pressure, etc. There’s also a little preview of the series, and it looks like a murder is involved. 


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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