Bridgerton season 1, episode 1 recap – the opening chapter explained

December 25, 2020
Daniel Hart 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

“Diamond of the First Water” opens up the social season, where there are plenty of bets on potential marriages, and the pressures of being available and desirable are the only way to feel valuable.

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3.5

Summary

“Diamond of the First Water” opens up the social season, where there are plenty of bets on potential marriages, and the pressures of being available and desirable are the only way to feel valuable.

This recap of Netflix’s Bridgerton season 1, episode 1, “Diamond of the First Water” contains significant spoilers.

We have recapped every episode — check out the archive.


The opening

“Diamond of the First Water” opens with Lady Whistledown narrating; it begins in Grosvenor Square, 1813. She narrates about the marriage market in the social season. The latest mistresses are presented to the Queen. One of the women faints in front of the Queen. And then, Daphne Bridgerton is presented to the Queen. There’s anticipation in the room, and you can feel the nervousness emanating from Daphne, which is understandable; the series has markedly built this moment up. The Queen is impressed and kisses Daphne’s forehead.

Daphne and the others celebrate the success with the Queen. Eloise Bridgerton is less enthused about the situation, constantly being sarcastic.

Chaperoning Daphne.

Anthony Bridgerton is enjoying himself in “Diamond of the First Water”, sleeping with Siena Rosso. Afterward, he talks about how he could chaperone Daphne at the Danbury Ball. He talks about the need of protecting her. Lady Whistledown narrates how this is the Ball where the women find out if they can attain a match. Bridgerton Episode 1 is displaying the constructs of old-fashioned marriage season between wealthy families; it feels like a competition. It is a competition.

Keeping her protected

At the Ball, Anthony Bridgerton makes sure that Daphne is protected, fending off men he deems not good enough for her. Lady Danbury introduces herself and asks why she is not on the dancefloor. Marina Thompson attends the Ball that catches Colin Bridgerton’s eye.

Mingling on your own

Daphne mingles on her own and she ends up talking to Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings. She takes an instant interest in him. Her brother Anthony knows him and after a brief conversation, he tells Daphne that the best thing to do is leave the Ball, leaving the men wanting more. All this feels highly complex; we’ve gone from this to swiping on Tinder.

The market is heating up

The next day, Marina Thompson is presented in the story; Lady Whistledown wonders if the Queen should reconsider her praises. Marina lives under Lady Featherington’s roof. It’s worth noting that Lady Whistledown’s opinions in the paper are taken seriously by the families.

Taking Whistledown’s opinion seriously

Lord Berbrooke visits Daphne; she evidently isn’t interested — it’s etched all over her face. Daphne tells Anthony that Lady Whistledown has called her ineligible and blames it on her brother after scaring everyone away. Daphne states that social season is the only thing that makes her feel valued. There’s an air of tragedy in the story; how the only thing that makes women feel valued is the potential of marriage.

Family pressures

At dinner, Daphne and Simon are sat next to each other and they start bickering; Daphne calls Simon arrogant, and Anthony looks on suspiciously. He sees the tension between his friend and his sister. Later, Anthony is unhappy that his mother and Lady Danbury concocted this matchmaking scheme to bring Daphne and Simon together. It turns into an intense argument; the mother believes Anthony continues getting in the way of Daphne — she wants to know if he’s being an older brother or the man of the house in place of his father.

In the next scene, Anthony tells Siena Rosso that he cannot see her anymore and she feels betrayed. Bridgerton Episode 1 sees Anthony conflicted on his duties; his overprotective nature seems to be birthed from the absence of his father and having the responsibility of looking after the family.

At the Vauxhall Celebration, Anthony tells Daphne that she must marry Lord Berbrooke — she is dismayed at his suggestion. Meanwhile, Lady Featherington confronts Marina Thompson and tells her that she hasn’t bled for a month — she asks who the father is. Marina gets upset at Lady Featherington and ends up getting slapped.

The ending

Back to Daphne and Lord Berbrooke tries speaking to her about their marriage but she tells him to leave. Lord Berbrooke handles her, stating he is her last chance. Daphne punches him square in the face and knocks him unconscious. Simon is impressed by her. The pair continue to bicker like before but it’s clear they want each other. Simon has a suggestion for the Lady Whistledown issue — “Pretend to form an attachment”. Simon and Daphne walk through the Vauxhall Celebration together which turns head. The plan is to make Lady Whistledown believe that Simon is unavailable and Daphne is desirable. They plan to appear madly in love but do not plan to marry. Daphne’s mother and Lord Danbury look on and look proud.

Lady Whistledown writes her muses and she is happy about the match between Daphne and Simon.

Additional points
  • Simon Basset tells Anthony to stop talking him Duke of Hastings and asks him when he’s going to get a wife, rather than just having a mistress.
  • Over dinner, Daphne and others debate who they believe who Lady Whistledown is.

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