Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: The Tudors "Something For You"

Non Spoiler Review:
We get to see the benevolent side of Henry VIII as he deals with his people and in particular, the rebellious north country from last season. There continues more scheming in court, ranging from Surrey (Catherine's uncle), to questions about the succession for Edward, and Mary's role in the minds of the people.

Another episode with little action, and continued court intrigue, this instalment was made interesting by the king's journey to Lincoln, which provided an interesting setting. Culpepper and Catherine's affair continues, but her childlike giddiness and obliviousness to the schemers around her is getting a bit tiresome after three episodes. 

The rivalry between Surrey and the Seymours continues, as well, but this is very similar to what we've seen in the past with the Boleyns and the Seymours. But this is court, after all, and the machinations are a part of the drama. 

Spoilers Now!
The king returns to court, informing Catherine he was unwell but is now recovered. After a romp with Catherine in which he makes it clear he wishes she conceive a child, he disappears for a few days. He, in fact, goes to see Anne and young Elizabeth, who flatters her father and makes him proud of her intelligence and diplomacy. Anne continues to be the good woman that bears the king no problem at all, which further enamours her with him. While he's away, Catherine continues her tryst with Culpepper with Lady Rockford's aid.

Henry returns to meet with his council about their upcoming tour of the north, including meeting with King James of Scotland. Catherine bursts in to announce she's pregnant, which makes the king quite happy...for a brief time. Until she tells him she was mistaken, and he angrily returns to visit Anne. Despondent, Catherine pines after Culpepper and continues her affair while the king manages to seduce Anne.

Mendoza informs Mary that the succession is in question, given Jane was never formally crowned queen and some in court do not support Edward as next in line. If Catherine remains childless, then the question of succession would fall to Mary. Henry prepares to depart for the north, and while Catherine can now accompany him given she isn't pregnant, Mary is also travelling with them, as she is beloved by the more Catholic northerners. 

Surrey receives a knighthood given his blood ties to the queen, a position he eagerly accepts, given his ancestors were all members of the same honour. He is especially venomous to Seymour whom he sees as a low man elevated by the king at the expense of the true nobility. However, Edward is later informed by the bishop that Surrey's behaviour has been less than fitting a knight, receiving sworn statements of his behaviour, and that Surrey (gasp!) may actually be a Lutheran. In addition, Surrey flirts with Lady Hartford, Edward's wife.

In Lincoln, the king arrives to pardon his subjects who participated in last season's rebellion. But Catherine wants another liaison with Culpepper while staying in Lincoln castle, and has even composed a letter of her love for him that he and Lady Rockford read and mock in bed together.

This episode shows a considerably more mellow Henry than last. There is a nice scene of Henry blessing the poor and infirm, which shows he still possesses some humanity. He spends time visiting Anne and Elizabeth, whom he dotes on for her intelligence, and later on, with Edward. He is becoming pensive about his children, and Catherine's mistaken pregnancy quickly ends his honeymoon period with her.  He is nostalgic for his previous marriage, falling into bed with Anne, who has been the perfect wife more in divorce than in marriage. He caps his trip north with a grand gesture of forgiveness for the rebellion.

Undoubtedly the imminent reveal of Catherine's betrayal will smite his good-nature and the tyrant will come out, but that Henry can still illicit sympathy at this point is a credit to the writers and actor. Mary's greater roll and desires for the throne are also a welcome plotline as we see all the factors that will shape her bitter rule in the future.

Again, we get more two-dimensional villainy from Culpepper, Rockford and now Surrey, who seems to take delight in disrespecting his honoured position as a knight, despite the fact that he regards himself as royal blood. Lady Rockford's motivations for arranging (and now watching) the liaison between Catherine and Culpepper remain unclear. I hope some of these plot points are explained and not abandoned as The Tudors is sometimes wont to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...