Robert In ‘Palm Royale’ Explained: Will He Survive?


It won’t be a surprise to anyone if Robert is considered to be the most popular character in Palm Royale. Not only is he absolutely loveable, but he’s also the most ordinary of the lot of Palm Beach residents. What I absolutely love is how the show slowly pushes him to the forefront of the plot and makes him go from an annoying, almost negative supporting character to the most beloved main character of the lot. Palm Royale is as much a commentary on late-60s and early-70s America as it is a celebration of the same era. It’s a show that at first seems to glorify the American dream but then butchers the idea as the show progresses. For such a colorful show and that too a comedy, it covers a relentless amount of bleak themes that somehow come through from under all the glitz and glam. There’s no denying that this is an entertaining show, and even if you don’t care for the little details, you’ve got to admit that the actors do a phenomenal job, and it just looks like everyone had so much fun putting this whole thing together. 

Palm Royale is set in 1969, the beginning of a new era, a more free America. However, at the time, its residents still lived covert lives. I don’t just mean the closeted gay men, but I also mean all the residents of Palm Beach, who are hiding some kind of truth about themselves in honor of being part of the upper echelon of society. Despite the appearance of happy, smiling faces, everybody and their mothers are in fact desolate. What’s the point of all that wealth and opulence when all you’ve really got is the luxury of loneliness? I guess the most obvious example of such a character is Maxine. The newest outsider is obsessed with marking her territory like a scared dog at the bottom of the pack. However, literally, the queen of this pyramid is also feeling the same way as Maxine. The only difference is that she’s in a coma for most of the series, truly enjoying the benefits of her money and power. And in the same way, there’s Robert. The resident gay best friend has no actual reason to stay in Palm Beach except for loyalty and affection.

Singer and actor Ricky Martin plays the admirable Robert, Norma’s close acquaintance and Maxine’s soon-to-be best friend. Ricky’s boyish charm and courteous ways are perfect for the character, and I honestly can’t differentiate between the two of them anymore. Maybe it’s really good acting, or maybe Ricky used his own personality to play out the character who hits close to home. Either way, Robert’s fantastic, and he’s also the most practical and logical character in the show. However, there’s one big problem. He’s also way too naive and innocent. See, Robert’s big problem is that he believes from the deepest corner of his heart that people can be as nice as him. He thinks Norma is kindhearted enough to take him in. But she’s just cunning, and we know now how much so after that big reveal. But this naivety allows Robert to befriend Maxine and Linda, the two women who desperately need his help to stand their ground. Between the three of them, the bond is strong, it’s pure, and it’s also challenging. None of them is playing around, and they all genuinely care about each other, which is a rarity given the place they’re at. 

Robert goes through many heartbreaks throughout the show. Not just in love but also in friendship. He could give Maxine a run for her money, especially with how the first season ends. Robert loses the one guy who wants to whisk him away thanks to Maxine, but later, I guess he knows that Maxine wouldn’t do anything out of spite towards him; she was simply helping her family. 

What Will Happen To Robert?

For all the many years he was with Norma, Robert never came out to her. I guess he was always terrified of what she would think of him and how he would treat her. On the other hand, Linda helps him, and Maxine, despite her initial confusion, accepts him wholly. Their friendship is honestly heartwarming. I guess, in a different world, Maxine and Linda would’ve helped Robert come out of the closet and live a happy life, but instead, he gets a proposal from Norma and a lesson from Tom about how being married and having kids makes him really happy (sigh). I suppose if Robert didn’t get shot, watching Maxine spill the town’s tea at her beach ball in front of the President would’ve encouraged him to own his truth too, but that would be optimistic thinking. But also, I guess if Robert survives the gunshot (which we’re all hoping that he does), his near-death experience may help him have a change of heart. A “YOLO” approach? Or maybe it’ll have the opposite effect and make him more of a recluse. However, by the time he wakes up, he may be in a new America. 

In many ways, I find Robert and Norma, or Agnes, now that we know very similar. They’re both lonely; they’re both hiding a huge secret, though completely different from each other; and they both rely on material wealth to gain lucrative happiness. But, of course, they’re two sides of the same coin, because Robert isn’t selfish or materialistic. He only cares about survival and the small pleasures of life. On the other hand, Agnes is never satisfied with what she has. What makes Robert such an attractive character is his kindness, and what makes Agnes detestable is her hatred. See, practically the same person! I kid. 

I guess, at the end of the day, Palm Royale proves that it’s always the innocent that get hurt in war. I’m obviously making an analogy, but work with me here. Maxine and Norma are the two teams, and Robert is collateral damage. We love Robert’s dedication, but occasionally, he’s got to be selfish too. At the end of the series, we see how much Maxine really loves Robert, as she screams his name when he’s shot. Unlike Norma, on the other hand, who seems to be trying to make her own statement, Maybe she does care in her own twisted way. After all, she did want to leave the estate to him. Maybe because Agnes has more in common with Robert than we’re made to believe. We’ll find out more in Palm Royale season 2, I suppose. 

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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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