Netflix's new South African mystery series — think Elite meets Gossip Girl — is full of pearl-clutching moments!

By Alamin Yohannes
May 23, 2020 at 10:00 AM EDT
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Warning: This article contains plot details from season 1 of Netflix's Blood & Water.

All Puleng wants is to find her long-lost sister.

On Blood & Water, teenager Puleng Khumalo (Ama Qamata) has always lived with the spirit of her sister Phumelele in her home. At birth, she was kidnapped, and her family has never recovered. They even throw a big birthday celebration for her each year. After seeing a girl named Fikile Bhele (Khosi Ngema) at a party she's sure is Phume, Puleng begins investigating this stranger. She infiltrates Fikile's life by switching schools and getting immersed in her rich influencer lifestyle. Netflix's second African original series (after this February's Queen Sono) presents its lead with an uphill battle to get to the truth.

The South African drama puts Puleng and its characters through the wringer as secrets are exposed, and unforgiving, heartless moves are made. Here are the 5 most scandalous moments from the first season.

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1. Wendy turns Puleng's article into a hit piece

On Puleng's first day at her new school Parkhurst, she discovers Fikile is running for Head Girl, a highly coveted position. The school's magazine, led by Wendy Dlamini (Natasha Thahane), is running profiles on all the candidates, so Puleng jumps to learn more about her potential long-lost sister. The interview goes wonderfully, and Fikile welcomes the new girl right into her crew. But, Wendy sees Fikile as a privileged brat and truly hates her, so when Puleng files her story, Wendy "edits" it into a hit piece. It suddenly looks like the new girl at school is taking a very public shot at the It Girl on campus.

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2. Fikile and swim coach Chad Morgan have sex at school

The first crack viewers see in her picture-perfect image is swim team all-star Fikile's secret affair with her coach, Chad Morgan (Ryle De Morny). In hotel rooms and on his desk at school, the two carry on a sordid affair. An affair that becomes the perfect ammunition after Puleng was wronged by Fikile. All it takes is one voice note to Wendy to end Fikile's romance, shattering her world in the process. and Fikile's entire world was shattered, and her romance was over.

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3. Chris and Fikile release a video about Puleng's family

When Puleng's father is publicly accused of being involved in his daughter's kidnapping, Puleng uses that to hide her real reason for transferring to Parkhurst. With a new last name – she uses her mother's maiden name – she hides in plain sight while searching for the truth. That is, until Chris Ackerman (Arno Greeff) finds out that she's actually a Khumalo. Fikile and her bestie Chris create a horribly sensational video that exposes Puleng as a Khumalo, as well as the crimes her father is accused of. Plus, they use Wendy's computer to post the video on the school magazine's account to frame her and make sure the entire school sees it.

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4. Coach Morgan's wife bursts into the school

After his affair is revealed, Coach Morgan goes into the school to make his firing official, and his pregnant wife Riley (Shamilla Miller) takes that opportunity to face Fikile. Bursting into classrooms, Riley searches for Fikile until she can confront her husband's mistress in a room full of students who are quick to record anything and everything with their phone cameras. Riley screams at Fikile, exposing her relationship with Coach Morgan to all of her classmates, which makes the school's hope of protecting Fikile's identity from the press difficult.

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5. The truth about Fikile

Puleng's mission to find Phume reveals the biggest scandal of the show. While there isn't a definitive answer to whether Fikile is actually Phume, the evidence piles up by the end of the season. Puleng's father is accused of selling his baby to a front company for a trafficking ring that faked adoptions. It turns out that the father of the boy Puleng loves worked as the organization's lawyer and easily could've taken Phume so she could become "Fikile." Whatever actually happened and whoever is responsible, Puleng shares her theory with Fikile in the closing moments of the season, so several powerful, rich people are about to get exposed.

Blood & Water is available to stream now on Netflix.

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