It feels like forever ago that “The Gilded Age” Season 1 came to HBO — but it’s been only a year and a half ago. But theres good news: “The Gilded Age” Season 2 is set to release this month, on Oct. 29.

With an entire year and a half between the first and second seasons, some details of Season 1 might be a little fuzzy. Instead of rewatching the entire season to prep for Season 2 (but who could blame you?), let’s go over the most important plot points from Season 1.

We finally have first looks at ‘The Gilded Age’ Season 2, plus a trailer — here’s what you can expect from the new season
‘The Gilded Age’ Season 2 cast: Exits, new characters and more

How many episodes are in ‘The Gilded Age’ Season 1?

There are nine episodes total, all of which are available on Max, Prime Video and Apple TV.

What happens in ‘The Gilded Age’ Season 1?

There are a few lesser plot points that I won’t get into — like the Russell’s maid trying to tempt George into an affair and Bertha attempting to marry off her daughter —but here are the most pivotal plot points from “The Gilded Age” Season 1, in no specific order.

Basically everyone moves to New York City

“The Gilded Age” Season 1 begins, as countless coming-of-age stories do, with practically everyone moving to New York City. And I mean everyone.

Marian Brook, fresh off the heels of her father’s death, moves in with Agnes van Rhijn and Ada, her father’s two sisters. The siblings had a strained relationship after their parents died, and Agnes ended up marrying into the wealthy, old money van Rhijn family. Ada never married.

Meanwhile, Marian meets Peggy Scott on her trip to New York City. The two bond and become fast friends. Peggy is returning to New York City after finishing her education, but makes the decision to avoid Brooklyn, her old stomping grounds.

As all of this happening, the wealthy, new-money Russell family is moving into the neighborhood — on the same block as the van Rhijns, in fact. The Russells’ wealth comes from the railroad industry and, despite their new-money status, matriarch Bertha Russell is determined to be accepted in New York’s fashionable society.

‘The Gilded Age’ Season 2: The real-life people behind your favorite characters

Peggy works for Agnes and starts working for The New York Globe

Peggy has one of my favorite storylines in Season 1. As a Black woman in the late 1800s, Peggy’s employment opportunities are limited. As a result of her friendship with Marian, she becomes employed by Agnes van Rhijn as her secretary.

As the season progresses, we come to learn that Peggy is an inspiring author. But because she’s a woman, some publications want her to write under a male pseudonym — or don’t accept her work at all. She eventually finds herself at The New York Globe — hired by T. Thomas Fortune, a real-life and influential Black editor and journalist — where she begins to work as a journalist.

The Russells attempt to join New York’s elite society

As previously mentioned, Bertha Russell moves to the neighborhood with a mission: to join and be accepted by New York’s elite society.

It’s a task easier said than done. Because the Russells are new money, they’re viewed as lesser by the older, well-established wealthy families. No matter how lavish her home is or how fashionably she’s dressed, Bertha struggles to break through.

Cue the scheming. Lots and lots of scheming. Throughout Season 1, Bertha strategizes her way into society. She gains the favor of Mamie Fish and Ward McAllister, two real-life gilded age party-throwers and taste-makers. But for all her scheming and strategizing, she can’t seem to gain favor with the old-money families, like the van Rhijns and the Astors.

‘The Gilded Age’ Season 2: The real-life Astor family

Throughout “The Gilded Age” Season 1, Bertha is continuously iced out of opulent social events hosted by old-money families. But, eventually, Bertha gets a significant win: she manages to wrangle some exclusive, high-society, old-money guests at her daughter Gladys’ coming out ball in the season finale.

While this certainly isn’t an end to Bertha’s quest to being accepted into old-money society, it’s a step in the right direction.

Marian gets engaged (and quickly unengaged) to Tom

Ah, Tom. The scrub of the gilded age. Marian first met Tom after her father died — he advises Marian on her father’s finances — and the two met up again in New York after he applied for, and later accepted, a job in the city.

Thus begins the whirlwind romance between Tom and Marian. The pair spend little time together before Tom proposes. Suspicious? You’re not the only one who think so! Both Agnes and Peggy are wary of the young, ambitious lawyer, albeit for different reasons.

As it turns out, they were right. Later in the season, Tom is spotted canoodling (in the 19th century sense) with a wealthy, old-money socialite. But Marian pays no heed to the many red flags, and the pair decide to elope. In a sad, but maybe not surprising, twist, Tom doesn’t show up to their elopement.

In the season finale, Marian runs into Tom at the Russell’s ball — with Miss Bingham hanging off his arm. Scandalous! The two have an emotionally charged conversation, ending in Marian walking off in tears. But later on, when Larry asks Marian who Tom is, she tells him he’s someone she used to know.

What is Peggy’s secret in ‘The Gilded Age’?

Again, one of the most interesting plot points in “The Gilded Age” Season 1 belongs to Peggy. Mid-season, Peggy reveals to Marian that she was previously married. When she was younger, Peggy worked at her father’s pharmacy and fell in love with a stock boy.

But Peggy’s father, Arthur, didn’t approve of the pair. So the two ran off to Pennsylvania and had a baby — who tragically died during childbirth. Arthur eventually found the couple and forced Peggy’s husband to sign a paper voiding the marriage.

But wait! In the series finale, we finds out that her baby actually didn’t die — in fact, it was taken by Arthur and put up for adoption. When Dorothy, Peggy’s father, confronts him, he tells her that they’ll never find Peggy’s child.

Peggy and Dorothy end Season 1 by beginning their search for Peggy’s child — hopefully, we’ll see the a reunion between Peggy and her child in “The Gilded Age” Season 2.

What happened at the end of ‘The Gilded Age’ Season 1?

We already covered a few ways that “The Gilded Age” Season 1 plot points tie up — Peggy and Dorothy leaving to find Peggy’s child, Tom abandoning Marian — but here are a few more noteworthy moments in the season finale:

Bertha triumphs over Lina Astor

Probably the biggest plot point of “The Gilded Age” Season 1 finale, Bertha finally gets the upper hand on Lina Astor. Because Lina has been less-than-kind to Bertha, she decides that Carrie Astor — Lina’s daughter and friend of Gladys — won’t get an invite to the ball. In order to snag an invite for her daughter, Lina finally calls on Bertha.

But the task proves harder than Lina likely anticipated. Bertha tells Lina that sure, Carrie can come to the ball — but only if Mrs. Astor and the van Rhijns attend, too. Lina agrees, and both the Astors and the van Rhijns make reluctant appearances at Gladys’ coming out ball.

Mr. Watson crosses paths with the married women he’s been following

Throughout Season 1, Mr. Watson — George’s valet — has been following a married woman around New York City and nonchalantly peering at her from behind a tree. Why? Who knows! While we don’t get an answer in the season finale, Mr. Watson and the mystery woman (who’s revealed to be a Mrs. McNeil) cross paths at the Russell’s ball — and she’s on the arm of her husband.

Again, no answers are given. Which makes me think that, hopefully, we’ll learn more about Mr. Watson and his mysterious woman in Season 2.

Marian and Larry have an interesting interaction

After Marian’s emotional confrontation with Tom at the Russell’s ball, Larry and Marian waltz around the ballroom. Later on, after the ball and in the wee hours of the morning, Larry escorts Marian back to the van Rhijn’s home. She tells him that she shouldn’t have told Larry about Tom in the first place — it should be noted that we don’t see this interaction happen on screen — to which Larry replies, “Of course you should.”

They chat about how she feels in a very friendly way, but many fans sense that the groundwork is being laid for a future romance between the two. In fact, many fans have speculated that Tom and Marian’s storyline played out in order to prep Marian for a romance with Larry in Season 2.

“The Gilded Age” Season 1 ends with Marian and Ada chatting about Marian’s heartbreak — Ada asks her if she’ll ever reveal what happened between her and Tom. Marian says that she’ll tell her eventually, but not now.

“This is your home, Marian,” Ada says. “You’re very welcome here. And things will get better. You’ll see.” After all, Marian has the entirety of New York to explore, Ada tells her, and “all the people in the city to choose from.”