‘The Buccaneers’ Ending Explained & Finale Recap: Did Nan Marry Theo?


It was in the finale of The Buccaneers that we somewhat realized the point of Nan being so irritating. It is because the other characters are so likable that her decisions feel welcome, for their benefit. Either way, The Buccaneers was a surprise. The first few episodes had some generic moments that were surprisingly laughable, but soon, the writing became too good to be ignored. The cast was fantastic, and we are in love with how it all comes together so beautifully. Now that we are at the finale, here is the recap of The Buccaneers‘ last episode, along with the journey of the characters so far.

Spoiler Alert

What is the central conflict between the characters?

The story starts with an American woman marrying an Englishman, and that leads to an intermingling of people from the two countries and how their entertaining differences play a part in very real problems. Conchita gets married to Richard, and her friends pay her a visit to England, where they have traveled with the agenda of finding husbands for themselves. Conchita is less than happy in her new house since her American ways don’t fit in with her in-laws’ English expectations, and she is left utterly alone. Meanwhile, Nan catches the eye of two men, Guy Thwarte and the Duke of Tintagel, Theo. She also comes to know that she is the illegitimate daughter of her father, and it is a new reality for her to grapple with. But before we get to Nan, we must address the problems of the other characters.

Mabel is a lesbian, and she is struggling to find her place in this world. She falls in love with Honoria (Richard’s sister), and the feelings are reciprocated. But Mabel decides to get married to another man, who is also gay. The marriage would allow her the freedom to be her true self without the expectations of a traditional relationship. However, Honoria is not completely comfortable with that, and these two are on the verge of a breakup.

Conchita has told Richard that if he cannot separate from his family, then she will stay away from him. Conchita doesn’t want Minnie to grow up in a stifling household, and if separation is the only way, then she will do it. However, during this time, Richard also comes to terms with the fact that he was sexually abused by his governess, Miss Testvalley, in his childhood, and his mother turned a blind eye to it. That makes him rethink his loyalty to his family and whether he would really choose them over his wife, with whom he can finally be his true self. As for Jinny, she is in an abusive marriage with James Seadown. James humiliated Lizzy right before proposing to Jinny, and he has been emotionally abusing her since. Jinny can feel that she needs to get away, but she is completely isolated from her family and friends because of her husband.

Finally, coming to Nan herself. She has been intolerable throughout the season, but in the finale, she redeems herself. Nan and Guy had feelings for each other, and trusting him, Nan revealed her secret to Guy. However, Guy was taken aback by that and left Nan alone (for a few hours), when the Duke met and proposed to her. Guy decides not to reveal Nan’s secret, but Theo ends up reading a telegram that Guy accidentally sent, through which he comes to know of his best friend’s feelings and Nan’s parentage. He decides to go ahead with the marriage anyway. Days later, when the three of them have an open confrontation regarding the telegram, Nan realizes that Theo always knew. She is initially angry with him, but Theo rightly points out that Nan should have been the one to face the truth. It wasn’t Theo’s responsibility to pave the path for her lies or whatever she chose to hide. But Theo also understands that Nan has strong feelings for Guy, and he asks her to make a choice. Nan chooses Theo because Guy says that he wants to move on.

What are Honoria and Mabel going to do?

Society’s expectations vary for men and women, even when the individuals have no interest in the opposite gender, and Mabel finally realized the repercussions of her marriage. She may be able to be herself, but she would need to give birth to children, as is expected, and then her life would become everything that she was trying to escape. She certainly would not be able to count on her ‘husband’ because this is a selfish arrangement at the end of the day, and he would have no obligation to accommodate her. Therefore, Mabel breaks down and tells her truth to Lizzy, who wholeheartedly supports her. That gives Mabel enough courage to finally speak about her feelings to Honoria. She proposes that they be together. They would never be able to get married or enjoy a traditional life, and they would be looked at questioningly by society, but they would be together and happy in their bubble. Honoria is more than happy to accept this, as it is exactly what she has wanted for such a long time.

Is Richard going to stay back in England?

Now that Richard has made the decision to choose Conchita, he happily cuts ties with his family and announces his intention to go his own way. However, Conchita gives him the news that they don’t have any money. Her father had made some bad investments, and breaking away from Richard’s family would mean that they were starting with an economic disadvantage. Richard doesn’t mind that, and he is ready to start over with his wife and child. But the next day, his father tells him that he is only left with a few weeks left to live. That means that Richard has to take up his responsibilities for the estate and the business. The freedom he was expecting is once again taken away from him. It is not clear whether he will take his father’s place. Would he really be able to desert his mother and sister? Additionally, he has Minnie to think about. She is just a baby, and he has to consider whether he can give her a decent life without being a Brightlingsea. Economics changes a lot of things, and though he didn’t care about it the evening before, he might consider it differently in the calm of the morning. That would mean that he lives with the enabler (his mother) of his abuser (Miss Testvalley), so maybe he will finally tell Conchita what he went through so that she can give her own input on the situation.

Why is Jinny trying to escape?

Jinny has been helpless for a long time, and now she is leaving for Scotland with James, which scares her even more. When James finds out she is pregnant, he hits her for not telling him sooner. It is unclear whether this was the first instance of physical violence or if it was a recurring thing, but Jinny knows that she can’t have her child grow around him. That day, Jinny finally asks for help, and that changes everything.

Why does Nan marry Theo?

It is the day before Nan’s wedding, and Theo’s mother tells her that she must go through with it. The current Duchess is very clear that since Nan did not leave when she had the chance to, she must see this arrangement through to the end since Theo and his position’s credibility rest on it. Additionally, Nan is aware that Patti can only gain her freedom if her wedding goes through. While Nan is grappling with it all, Guy breaks into her room in the middle of the night, and he tells her how much he loves her. Guy is leaving England the next day to travel the world, and he wants Nan to come with him. Nan agrees, as she would like nothing more than to run away from the mess she has so selfishly created. But when Jinny comes to her for help, the plan changes. Nan initially decides that she, Jinny, and Guy should escape together in the dead of night. However, while they are leaving, James catches them. Luckily, he doesn’t see Guy, and Nan lies that she has made up with Jinny, and they are just taking a walk to see the chapel. Nan promises Jinny to rescue her, and for the time being, Jinny has to go with James.

The next day, James apologizes to Jinny, though this is just a drop in the ocean, and it doesn’t change anything for Jinny. She is Nan’s bridesmaid, and they all walk towards the chapel, where James goes inside to wait for the women. That is when Nan and the others reveal their plan. Nan and Jinny are to escape while the bridesmaids slowly go inside the church. This is the window of time they have to escape their unwanted fates. But it is far from what the audience thinks is going to happen.

During The Buccaneers‘ ending, Nan tells Jinny that only she must go with Guy while Nan stays back to get married to Theo. She won’t be joining Jinny on the escape. Guy and Nan confess their love for each other, and Guy even says that their love is true and will eventually win. The night before, when Nan and Guy came back to their room, the Duchess was there. She probably wanted to talk to Nan, but seeing Guy, she understood the scenario. The Duchess has always said that the ‘institution’ comes first and not the personal happiness of the people involved. That meant that she would do anything to make sure that Nan married Theo. The only leverage that the Duchess had over Nan was that she could promise Jinny’s safety.

It is true that if Nan had left with Jinny and Guy, the three of them would have gotten nowhere. Guy had no money, and Jinny was pregnant, so neither of them could afford to be penniless and travel on the seas. But if Nan married Theo, she would have money and resources, which she could use to protect Jinny, and once the Duchess made her realize this, Nan and Guy knew they had no choice. This is why Nan put aside her feelings for Guy and decided to do the right thing for her family and get married to Theo. In a way, it might be a happy ending. Patti will have the freedom to divorce her husband, Jinny will be free, Guy may find his own way eventually, and even Richard could find employment with the Duke, letting him and Conchita break away from their family. Also, Theo is a good man. Perhaps with time, Nan would learn to love him or at least be happy with him. If this is the ending, it is not a terrible one and is better than the alternative.

Final Thoughts

The ending of The Buccaneers makes us glad. It might not be a win for ‘true love’ but it is a win for decency and consideration. Additionally, Nan has been the least likable person in the series so far; therefore, the finale of The Buccaneers feels like her redemption. It is a messy ending, but it is still cleaner than if she had actually run away with Guy, leaving so much destruction in her wake, and for that, we can forgive her for being annoying this whole season.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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